Speakers at Waste Strategy Summit 2019

Ali Abbas
Associate Professor
The University of Sydney

Associate Professor Ali Abbas is an academic at the University of Sydney in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He is the Founder and Director of the Laboratory for Multiscale Systems and is Director of the Waste Transformation Research Hub, a national research centre aimed at addressing the waste industry’s research and technological challenges.

Professor Abbas received both his Bachelors and PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Sydney, Australia. He has held previous academic appointments at NTU (Singapore) and UNSW Asia (Singapore) and visiting professor positions at several institutions including Harvard. His engineering research and expertise is in the area of Process Systems Engineering with application to circular economy and waste, Clean Energy, biotechnology and biomedical systems. He conducts fundamental and applied research, and has published more than 100 papers in international scientific and engineering journals.

Professor Abbas is the recipient of multiple awards including the Australia-Harvard Fellowship 2011 as well as the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) Fellowship 2012 (Australia-China Future Leader in Clean Coal Technologies). Recently he received the inaugural Sydney Research Accelerator (SOAR) fellowship for University’s most talented researchers in recognition of research leadership. In 2008 he was awarded the PSE Model-based innovation prize (London, UK).

Ali provides consultations to industry and Government and is currently acting as Founding Director of a new tech start-up – Automated Process Synthesis Co. Pty Ltd which is pioneering new artificial intelligence (AI) tools in engineering design.


Antony Castaldi
General Manager Supply Chain


Belinda Chellingworth
Resource Recovery
The GPT Group

Bel has a background in biodiversity, corporate sustainability, environmental education and energy efficiency; in recent years focusing on resource recovery in the public and private sectors. Her curiosity and love for life on earth has taken her to every continent, either volunteering, adventuring, working and backpacking. She is now settled back among the gum trees, most recently returning from working in the UK and Ireland for Veolia, the London School of Economics and Loowatt.  Bel currently implements resource recovery and waste avoidance initiatives across The GPT Group’s $24 billion Australian portfolio of premium quality office, retail and logistics assets.

She enjoys shining light on our hidden world of waste, and will work tirelessly to get the ‘real story’ to make evidence based decisions and will advocate at every turn for transparency and an educational approach in the waste sector. When not peering in the nearest bin, she can be found chasing a wave, ski hill, mountain…. or belting out a tune with one of her A cappella groups.

Alison Covington
Founder & Managing Director

Alison Covington is an innovator, passionate about creating change that disrupts industries, empowers communities and creates a better world. It has often been said she sees opportunities where others see problems. As a Director of multi-million public transport business, Alison developed a record for innovation and raising standards, increasing profitability in loss-making companies and guiding them through the obstacles of major industry reform. Her business success has become a platform for her philanthropic ideas – today, she uses her corporate expertise to benefit others and make a positive social difference as the Founder and Managing Director of Good360 Australia.

“Good360 is a matchmaker, helping repurpose things of value by directing them to the Australians who need them most. We bring together the people working to lift up Australian communities, and the spare brand-new goods of businesses. We connect surplus with need. The goal is for nothing useful to lie unused – either in a retailer’s warehouse or in landfill. Whether its toys to a family violence shelter or note books for a school—if Australians have the need, our business partners have the goods. “

Alison’s goal is to connect $1bn of brand-new goods to Australians who need them most.

Alison is passionate about starting conversation with Australians to talk about matchmaking ‘spare with need’. She believes great conversations can be had at BB’Q’s, dinner parties and workplaces. Once you know about Good360, honestly you will wonder why you never thought about it yourself – it is a no brainer – right. When she isn’t trying to make the rest of the country get onboard with the concept, she is home with the loves of her life, her husband of 23 years, 2 sons and a crazy border collie.

Georgina Davis
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
QLD Farmers’ Federation

Georgina is a Doctor of Engineering and holds masters degrees in Environmental Engineering (MEng) and Education (MEd).  She is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and Chartered Waste Manager, with over 25 years international experience.  She has an Adjunct within the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University and holds numerous Committee and Board positions. 

Georgina provides policy advice to the State’s peak farming body, Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and its members.  The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) is the united voice of intensive agriculture in Queensland, representing the interests of peak state and national agriculture industry organisations, which in turn collectively represent more than 13,000 primary producers.  She also provides both policy advice and peer-review to governments and government departments across a range of initiatives.

Gemma Dawson
Manager Waste Strategy
City of Sydney

Gemma is the Manager of Waste Strategy at the City of Sydney. She is responsible for developing the City’s long term vision for achieving zero waste to landfill, supporting new service development within the organisation and advocating for greater investment in resource recovery outcomes at the regional, state and federal level. Gemma has a doctorate in field of organic waste treatment and was previously a waste consultant working on waste strategies, procurement and infrastructure delivery in Australia, the UK and the Middle East.

Paul Donaghy
Resource Recovery Manager
Woolworths Food Group

Incorporating over twenty years experience in Sales, Marketing, Waste Management, Resource Recovery and Commercial Management positions, Paul has successfully delivered a broad range of programs and strategies to key personnel and executive management in a number of industries.

Paul has a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in HR and a post graduate diploma in Marketing.

His time as a professional sportsman allowed him to develop an appreciation of a challenge and clearly saw this opportunity at Woolworths.

Paul has been at Woolworths for 2 and half years and is “Living the Dream” every day!

Jenni Downes
Institute for Sustainable Futures
University of Technology Sydney

Jenni Downes is a Research Consultant at the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, with 10 years’ experience in applied social research. Her passion is evaluation and research to develop effective strategies for household-level, organisational and society-wide change towards sustainable futures, and she leads the Institute’s work in designing and evaluation change programs relating to resource use, waste and recovery.

Jenni’s expertise is the design and delivery of program evaluations, including development of program logic/theory to guide initial design, formative and summative evaluation, value for money and impact evaluation. She has extensive experience in literature reviews, stakeholder engagement, quantitative data collection and statistical analysis, and high-impact visual communication of results. Recent experience includes evaluating food waste avoidance education, kerbside food waste recycling services, education and infrastructure interventions to improve recycling in multi-unit dwellings, and energy efficiency behaviour change. Jenni has qualifications in Sociology and Statistics and is currently completing a Masters of Evaluation.

Jeff Elliott
Environmental Sustainability Change Lead

Jeff is the Environmental Sustainability Change Lead at ANZ, with over 10 years’ experience in the sustainable buildings sector (including in state and local government, and environmental consultancies)

Jeff is a subject matter expert in energy, waste and water as it relates to an organisation’s operational footprint. He has significant experience in developing operational strategies and plans in partnership with a diverse range of stakeholders.

As ANZ’s Environmental Change Lead, Jeff’s role is to help ANZ on its journey of delivering significant positive change and impacts to the environment.  Jeff’s primary responsibility is to develop and implement environmental sustainability programs and support ANZ’s environmental change strategies through not just implementation but also through fostering and developing key partnerships with critical internal and external stakeholders.  ANZ’s aim is to reduce energy, waste and water consumption across ANZ’s global property portfolios and Jeff’s role is critical in delivering this.

Nick Florin
Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures
University of Technology Sydney

Nick has broad experience in university and industrial research in bio-energy/chemical synthesis, carbon capture for power and industry, synergies between renewable and fossil energy systems, and energy and climate policy appraisal.  He has successfully applied his research skills and leveraged his technical expertise to deliver a range of technical and policy projects for government agencies, industry and research institutes.

Sylvie Garner
Program Manager, Waste Policy and Legislation, Office of Resource Recovery
Department of Environment and Science (QLD)

Sylvie Garner is a Program Manager in the Office of Resource Recovery within the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science. She has formal qualifications in organisational communications and change management, which is also her key passion. Her achievements in this area to date span across a range of industries including personalised transport, consumer energy, and mining exploration in Queensland.

Sylvie has extensive experience leading and delivering strategic projects including the recent Investigation into the Transport of Waste into Queensland and is currently developing a plastic matrix to inform Queensland’s new Plastic Pollution Reduction Plan.

Sylvie is recognised for her collaborative approach and is working extensively with industry and a wide range of stakeholders to ensure Queensland’s efforts in reducing plastic pollution are impactful and achievable. 

Dick Gross
Mayor – Canal Ward
City of Port Phillip

Ricki Hersburgh
Board member, Acting ED
Plastic Oceans Australasia Foundation

Appointed by the producer of ‘A Plastic Ocean’ (the internationally acclaimed movie) and the founder of Plastic Oceans UK, Ricki has been at the helm of Plastic Oceans Australasia for the past two years. The foundation is based in Melbourne and works throughout the region to change the way we deal with plastic waste by challenging society’s perception that this indestructible substance can be treated as ‘disposable’. Plastic pollution is a global issue that impacts our ocean, our health and our wellbeing. Through education, business and science, Ricki and the team are working to stem the tide of plastic entering the ocean. www.plasticoceans.org.au

As Executive Director, Ricki has been instrumental in forging relationships for the organisation from local to global platforms. She is responsible for driving change through education programs that are underpinned by professors, scientists and global leaders. Her extensive list of industry contacts and experience in other environmental initiatives has been a driving force in raising the profile of POA amongst industry and government.

Ricki started her plastics journey at an early age working with her family’s plastic recycling business. Since then, she has devoted her life’s work to environmental sustainability projects in the corporate, community, government and not for profit sectors. Ricki has a diverse professional background having initiated various programs such as the Asia Pacific ‘Healthy Oceans’ campaign in Hong Kong for schools and for Marine Parks Forever in BC, Canada.

Ricki was previously the Business Development and Sustainability lead for one of Australia’s leading urban development industry bodies, operating the delivery of the Enviro Development program – a scientifically-based assessment scheme with specific focus on waste, water and energy challenges. With extensive experience working with a variety of stakeholders in previous senior management sustainability roles with WWF, Greening Australia and Greenfleet.

Holding degrees in marketing and business management, Ricki is also a councilor on the John Monash Science School Board, (Melbourne) a committee member for Greening the West and an FIA associate.

Nev Hyman

Neville (“Nev”) Hyman is an internationally renowned entrepreneur, having established two of the best known and most successful surfboard brands in the world: Nev Future Shapes and recently Firewire Surfboards. To compliment the Nev surfboard range, he set up Nev Japan, an apparel, shoes and accessories company. He was also a pioneer in the development of CAD/CAM (AKU Shaper) computer surfboard design and manufacturing. Nev is an accomplished entrepreneur, a philanthrocapitalist, a competent director and advisor with links globally through his various ventures. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the NevEarth fund and NevHouse as well as a sincere passion for humanity and the environment.

David Hodge
Managing Director
Plastic Forests

A self-confessed ‘eco-industrialist’, David is the Managing Director of Albury-based Plastic Forests, the first company globally to commercialise an innovative dry-cleaning process to recycle contaminated plastic films - without using water. The huge amount of ‘unrecyclable’ plastic film going to landfill due to its contamination, such as plastic bags from the food industry and agricultural silage wrap, motivated the dedicated team at Plastic Forests to develop their unique solution to this global problem. Plastic Forests seeks to rescue plastic waste from landfill and recycle it into sustainable products to create a circular economy.

Plastic Forests is winner of the NSW Green Globe Innovation Award 2018, Inside Waste’s Circular Economy Award and Outstanding Recycling Facility Award 2018, the Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow Award 2017 and the Endeavour Award for the Most Innovative Manufacturing Company 2015.

Anne Karin Kehlhofer
Manager Environmental Sustainability
Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Anne is the Manager, Environmental Sustainability at Taronga Conservation Society Australia. She is a trilingual Swiss-Australian citizen, who has a multi-disciplinary background in sustainability, environmental management, human geography, business and education.

She has worked across diverse sectors (including: public, private, not-for-profit and tertiary education), and has thereby acquired strong expertise in waste management, energy, sustainable procurement and green building.

In her current role at Taronga, she is responsible for integrating and managing environmental sustainability performance across the seven divisions at both Taronga Zoo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

A key focus of this role, is to mitigate the organisation’s carbon footprint, reduce waste going to landfill and increase resource diversions by identifying opportunities, collaborating closely with internal and external stakeholders, while focus on technical, operational and behavioural aspects simultaneously.

Justin Koek
Director, China National Sword
NSW Environment Protection Authority

Yasmin Grigaliunas
World’s Biggest Garage Sale

Yasmin Grigaliunas, CEO and Co-founder of the World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS), is on a mission to turn Australia’s circular economy aspirations into reality while at the same time providing social good. Winner of the 2018 Lord Mayor's Business Award for Sustainability, and the Cleanaway Waste Innovation Award at The Cleaner Suburbs Awards, also in 2018, Yas is a current Impact 25 Nominee, a SheEO Semi-finalist and a RiverPitch semi-finalist. In 2017 she ditched a traditional career and lucrative salary to commit full-time to her role as CEO and Co-founder of the World's Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS). WBGS design innovative solutions to commercialise the circular economy through the activation of dormant goods for good. WBGS maximises the value of products already in the economy, through the circular principles of recycle, repurpose, reuse, repair and re-commerce, which diverts landfill, and draws wealth from waste, while investing revenue back into local communities. Our business exists to solve problems for several consumer markets, as well as economic and environmental issues. We impact governments trying to keep products and materials from ending up in landfill, and enterprise and industry seeking brand alignment to sustainability and altruistic values. WBGS has donated generously to charities, diverted over 3.3-million kgs of potential waste from landfill and contributed over $1.7-million in social value to the global economy. Yas and her organisation are living proof that you can provide positive impact for people, planet and profit for purpose.

Kate Harris
Chief Executive Officer
Good Environmental Choice Australia

Kate Harris, CEO of GECA is passionate about leadership, capacity building and education aimed at finding sustainable solutions for the future.

Kate is also Vice Chair of the Living Future Institute of Australia (LIFA), Non Executive Director of ALCAS- Australian Life Cycle Assessment Society, an Executive member for ASBEC- the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and a Director of the Global Ecolabelling Network.

With a Masters in Social Ecology and graduate of the Asialink Leaders Program, Kate also draws on her diverse experience in the performing arts, executive coaching, cultural change and organisational development, helping individuals, organisations and communities to create systems change for a better future.

Alex Larance
Manager - Environmental Services

Alex has extensive project management, environmental management, project approvals, engineering design and construction management experience across urban development, ports, coastal, infrastructure, mining and heavy industries. Within Cardno, he is responsible for providing team leadership and environmental consulting expertise on an array of significant development projects. His expertise areas include strategic advice, project management, operational management and compliance improvement, quality systems design development and assurance, environmental management system development and improvement, environmental assessment, report writing, data analysis, stakeholder engagement strategies and associated stakeholder consultation.

Alex has a degree in Environmental Science (Management) coupled with formal engineering qualifications and has a keen interest in providing effective project management expertise to ensure technical as well as economically, environmentally, socially responsible and quality project outcomes. He has prepared and implemented a range of construction and operational management plans to ensure statutory compliance for public and private clients across the urban development, heavy industry, ports and coastal, waste, mining and manufacturing industries.

Alex is client focused, highly organised and is an excellent communicator with experience managing a range of specialist engineering, planning, environmental and construction professionals to successfully delivery complex projects. This has included acting as project manager and lead consultant overseeing engineering design, construction, environmental planning, constraints analysis, waste management, ecological and cultural heritage surveys, geotechnical, land contamination, noise, air quality, water quality, flooding assessments and preparing high quality technical reports and documentation.

Dr Samane Maroufi
Research Associate

Samane Maroufi holds both a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from UNSW Australia. For part of her PhD, Samane worked with the CSIRO (Clayton, Melbourne) for almost a year on measuring the dissolution rate and diffusivity of quartz in molten slags at high temperature. After finishing her PhD, Samane joined the SMaRT Centre in 2015 as a research associate where she is working on the use of non-traditional waste materials in iron-making and steelmaking industries and the transformation of e-waste glass into value-added products.

Miles Mason
Business Development Manager
New Energy Corporation

National & International Business Development Manager with over 20 years experience in the waste to energy, renewables and environment industry. Leadership roles in Industry and local ministry. Project Management and Operational roles in large and small Waste businesses. Skilled in broad range of senior roles in Waste industry including securing new business, Contracts, Operations, Management, Project Development, Capital raising, Financial Modelling, Public Speaking, Sustainable Development, Environmental Compliance, Wastewater Treatment, and Environmental Impact Assessment. Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from University of New South Wales.

David Pearson
ENGAGE Program Leader
Fight Food Waste CRC

Experienced in leadership of applied multidisciplinary research. Expertise in consumer science and social marketing to achieve environmentally sustainable food systems. Clients include United Nations, Governments (Federal and State), Not for Profits and Industry Organisations. Specialist in strategic communication and policy development for diverse stakeholder groups.

Valentina Petrone
Senior Environmental Consultant
Encycle Consulting
With over 10 years of experience in the construction industry, working across Europe and South- East Asia, Valentina has acquired excellent design, environmental sustainability and project management skills, delivering complex projects within time, budget and to quality.

Valentina has a sound understanding of the waste and recycling industry, operations, technologies and initiatives. She also maturated a strong expertise in delivering energy performance rating projects as well as developing and implementing corporate/community waste management initiatives while facilitating behaviour change.

Helen Pinch
Sustainability Manager, Sustainability and Industry Affairs, Government, Industry, International and Sustainability
Qantas Airways

Helen is a manager in Qantas' Sustainability team. Helen has extensive experience in sustainability and has been involved in the development and implementation of Qantas' new Waste targets. Since the announcement in February, Helen has been leading the group's waste strategy assisting in key milestones such as the World's First Zero Waste Flight in May. Helen has over 5 years of experience working in sustainability and has an academic background in Environmental science from the Australian National University.


Blaise Porter
Sustainability Manager ANZ
Fujitsu Australia

Blaise is the Sustainability Manager for the Oceania region at Fujitsu.  Her current role draws on a decade of IT experience to help businesses address their ICT sustainability challenges.

As Sustainability Manager she also operates Fujitsu's wide ranging EMS that includes office, warehouse and data centre operations; including the recycling of over 370t of eWaste and the consumption of nearly 2 million mWh of energy annually.

Kate Ringvall
Country Manager Sustainability Retail

Dr Kate Ringvall is the Country Manager for Sustainability at IKEA Australia. With more than 20 years’ experience working, studying and exploring the many facets that make up Sustainability as we know it today. Her first job as graduate was in a recycling processing factory in Fremantle and Kate remains an avid recycler! Kate has a Masters in Public Policy and a PhD in Planning and her areas of expertise are in Sustainable Transport Planning, Sustainable Cities, and Transit Orientated Development, and Energy Efficiency in the Built and Environment. At IKEA Australia Kate’s work encompasses the full depth and breadth of integrating sustainability actions and implementing the People and Planet Positive Strategy across all 10 IKEA stores.

Michael Stojanoski
Environmental Consultant

Experienced Environment professional with a demonstrated history of working in waste and manufacturing industries. Skilled in EQS management systems, project management, Risk and Compliance Management, Sustainability, Environmental Impact Assessment, Environmental Management and carbon markets. Strong business development professional with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Sydney and Bachelor's in Science from the University of Wollongong

Ron Wainberg
Technical Director
MRA Consulting Group

Ron Wainberg is a consultant with a particular interest in resource recovery from waste materials, the development of practical waste management strategies, and how processing technology can be successfully applied to recover resources from wastes.
As the Waste Advisory Team Leader and subsequently Technical Director for Waste at Hyder Consulting in Sydney, Ron was involved in a significant number of studies in the waste sector, either directly leading the work or providing technical advice and a quality review.

Ron was previously the Program Manager for Solid Waste Management at the CRC for Waste Management and Pollution Control with responsibility for Solid Waste, Site Remediation and Waste Minimisation.

From 1989 to 1996, Ron served as an external director of Waste Service NSW. He has been an active member of the Waste Management Association since 1996 where he has served in a number of roles, including as the National President from 2009 until 2013.
Ron’s experience in Solid Waste Management is built on the strong foundation of experience gained in engineering design, project management and business development in the process control, petrochemical and other industries.


Speaking opportunities are still available for Waste Strategy Summit 2019

Introduce your company, showcase your leadership and demonstrate how you can help by speaking to this senior gathering of waste management executives from across industry.

Use this unique forum to voice your opinions on the most important issues facing waste strategy management today. Speakers will assert themselves as advocates for the future success of the sector.

For sponsorship opportunities at Waste Strategy Summit 2019, please contact, Katherine Kaczmarek on +61 (0)2 8188 7537 or email katherinek@questevents.com.au

Download a sponsorship prospectus here!

Waste Strategy Summit 2019