Advisory Board

Brian Fitzpatrick
Brian Fitzpatrick

Brian Fitzpatrick (Chair)

Principal Account Executive, Dialog Information Technology

Brian started work in the in the military as a Artillery Systems Specialist. He then went into Web Design and Multimedia, where he worked for a Web start-up in Brazil and then ran his own web business. He spent the last 6 years working in politics as a Technology Advisor and then as Chief of Staff to the Victorian Minister for Technology, Minister for Aviation and Assistant Treasurer. Brian is now working as an Account Executive at Dialog Information Technology Australia's largest privately owned IT company.


Tim Fawcett
Tim Fawcett

Tim Fawcett (Vice Chair)

Director Corporate and Government Affairs, Cisco

Tim leads Cisco's Corporate and Government Affairs function in Australian and New Zealand, is Chairman of Cisco's Social Innovation Committee and member of the Cisco ANZ Senior Leadership Team.

Tim is responsible for Cisco's national engagement strategy including executive level relevance, government and public sector liaison and advocacy, public policy influence and alignment and Cisco's corporate social responsibility program.

Regarded as a person of integrity and an authentic communicator, Tim has an enviable network of executive private and public sector contacts which supports his skills as a lateral problem solver.

Tim is an insightful, influential and entertaining public speaker and is a passionate advocate for the role that Information Technology and Communications can play in improving the lives of people around the world.

Tim holds a Masters of Public Policy from the Australian National University and is on the Dean's Honour List at the University of California. He is also an advisory board member of the University of Melbourne Melbourne Networked Society Institute, a Director of not-for-profit charity the Make a Difference Foundation, an Ambassador for the Snowdome Foundation, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the National Golf Club and the Hawthorn Football Club.


Kate Cornick
Kate Cornick

Kate Cornick

Chief Executive Officer, LaunchVic

Kate Cornick is the CEO of LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s $60 million startup initiative.

Kate is deeply passionate about the role of innovation in our economy and society more broadly, and has considerable experience in technology innovation across start-ups, academia, corporates and government.

Most recently, Kate led the development of human resources technology start-up Rision Ltd, creating new products, partnerships, sales and ultimately a listing on the ASX.

Kate previously held positions at the University of Melbourne including Director of Industry Engagement and Innovation, Executive Director of the Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES). She also co-led the establishment the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications - a joint venture between the University of Melbourne, Victorian State Government and global telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent.

Kate’s is a telecommunications engineer, and was involved in policy development for the NBN. She has held the positions of Senior Telecommunications Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and has also worked as a General Manager at NBN Co.

Kate Cornick undertook her PhD in optical telecommunications at the University of Melbourne and, as part of her studies, spent time at AT&T Research Laboratories, USA.


Cheryl George

Cheryl George

Group Leader - Government Business and Stakeholder Engagement, CSIRO Data61

In her role, Cheryl leads Data61’s strategic engagement with Commonwealth, State and Territory Government agencies across Australia, including the identification of new data-driven research projects and initiatives.

Prior to joining Data61, Cheryl led the Australian Trade Commission’s (Austrade) digital technology investment attraction group, supporting international companies to connect into new opportunities in Australia. Her previous roles also include leading the Victorian Government’s life sciences investment activities and also a role as Head of Investment for the Small Technologies Cluster (STC Australia), a small technology and medical technology focused start-up incubator in Melbourne.

With over 15 years’ experience in business development and investment attraction roles across government and industry, Cheryl has developed extensive networks within Australia’s technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing sectors and across Government.

Cheryl holds an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and the University of Melbourne, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Commerce from Monash University.


Chris Hancock
Chris Hancock

Chris Hancock

CEO, AARNet

Chris Hancock is CEO of AARNet, a position he has held since 2004. He came to the role with 25 years executive leadership experience, including 15 years in the media and telecommunications sectors.

As CEO, Chris has overseen extraordinary growth. Under his leadership, AARNet has extended the nation's advanced network infrastructure and developed a suite of leading-edge technologies and solutions enabling Australia's participation on the world stage for research and teaching into the future.

Today, AARNet serves Australian universities and the CSIRO, as well as many health and other research organisations, schools, vocational training institutions, cultural organisations and specialist content providers. More than one million people now access the network for teaching, learning and research.

Prior to joining AARNet, Chris held several key executive positions at Optus. He was an integral member of the senior executive team that completed the initial public offering and subsequent sale of Optus to Singtel.


Carolyn Phiddian
Carolyn Phiddian

Carolyn Phiddian

General Manager for Technology Strategy, nbn

Carolyn is the General Manager for Technology Strategy in the CTO group, responsible for the long range technology strategy of nbn.

Carolyn is a global expert in the creation and operation of nation-wide telecommunications networks.  Carolyn has over twenty five years’ experience in the telecommunications industry in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Asia Pacific.  Her career has been based on leading implementation of innovative technologies for practical business outcomes.

In nbn since 2010, Carolyn has established a number of engineering teams and functions, been the network design authority across FTTP, FTTN, Wireless and Satellite and also led network operations through a transformation to be ready for operating FTTN.

Previously Carolyn had senior management roles in Nokia developing and implementing IP based solution architectures for a wide range of clients. She started her career in Telstra culminating in being the first engineering executive for Voice on IP.

Carolyn has a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Certificate in management from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.


Ben Rimmer
Ben Rimmer

Ben Rimmer

Chief Executive Officer, City of Melbourne

Ben Rimmer was appointed CEO at the City of Melbourne in February 2015.

Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city and is driving the nation’s economy by contributing almost a third to all growth in gross domestic product. The City of Melbourne is undergoing significant technological, economic and ecological change.

Ben leads the City of Melbourne administration in supporting the Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor and Councillors to achieve their objectives and deliver the community’s vision of a bold, inspirational and sustainable city.

His role is also to ensure that City of Melbourne is ‘a leading organisation for a leading city’ – building current and future capacity to serve the interests of Melbourne and the evolving needs of the community.

Before returning to his home town of Melbourne, Ben was Associate Secretary in the Australian Government’s Department of Human Services in Canberra. He has also worked for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. Before joining the public sector he was Project Leader in the Boston Consulting Group’s London and Melbourne offices, and spent a year on secondment to Cape York indigenous organisations through the Jawun program.

Ben is a member of the Male Champions of Change program with a strong focus on delivering real and positive action for gender equality. He has degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Melbourne, and an MBA with distinction from the University of Oxford. In 2014 he received the James Wolfensohn Public Service Scholarship to undertake executive education at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government. Since 2015 he has been a member of the board of the Australian Youth Orchestra.


Emilio Romeo
Emilio Romeo

Emilio Romeo

CEO, Ericsson Australia and New Zealand

Emilio Romeo was appointed CEO of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand in January 2016. Prior to this role, Emilio was Director, Telstra Customer Unit (2010 – 2015), where he was responsible for securing and maintaining Ericsson’s strategic partnership position for a number of years. He was also previously Director, 3GIS & Hutchison Australia Customer Unit, and then Director, Vodafone-Hutchison Australia (VHA) Customer Unit.

Emilio has over 28 years of combined experience in the telecommunication and IT industry, where he has held various Senior Sales and IT Management positions within Ericsson ANZA, and prior to that, BHP.  He has been instrumental in driving business and technology evolution for customers across Australia and has played a key role in establishing Ericsson’s Market Leadership position in the region.

Emilio graduated from Swinburne University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science (Mathematics & Computer Science). He holds an Accelerated Development Leadership program certificate from the London Business School, and completed various leadership programs from Boston University.

He is a member of the Australian Industry Group (AIG), the European Australian Business Council (EABC), and a Member of the Board of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).


Matthew Vesperman
Matthew Vesperman

Matthew Vesperman

Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, Ciena

Matthew Vesperman is currently Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand at the Ciena Corporation. In this role he is responsible for the overall sales strategy and operation of Ciena in Australia and New Zealand. Mr Vesperman joined the Ciena leadership team in 2015, from previous tenure in Ericsson, Openwave and Nortel where he has held several senior management roles across the companies working in the Asia Pacific Region.

He has over 27 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and his extensive experience includes responsibilities in multiple regions and disciplines including engineering, product management and international sales. Mr Vesperman is an active member in the community and supporter of a number of charities. He holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the University of Technology, Sydney.