CEO &Team

Nick Kaye

Chief Executive Officer

When are you willing to break with convention?

Breaking convention is the SSE norm! Creating a larger common stage for a diverse group of rising stars from our 12 members can only be achieved by breaking convention. 


More about Nick Kaye
Nick Kaye brings more than 25 years of experience to his role as the founding Chief Executive Officer of Sydney School of Entrepreneurship.
Prior to joining Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, he was the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the prestigious Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship for a decade.
Kaye holds certificates from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, MIT Sloan School of Management, and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He was awarded a Master of Science Degree, with distinction, in international business and finance from the Stockholm School of Economics, and has Bachelor Degrees in Arts and in Commerce from the University of Melbourne.
Kaye continues to act as a Senior Advisor, International Relations, to the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship.
He has served on the boards and steering committees of various organisations including the International Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Policy, TiE Nordic, the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in Stockholm, the Idea to Product Global Competition, the Transit Incubator, and Connect Eastern Sweden.

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Sarah Nelson

GM Operations and Engagement

What is one thing you’d like to fix today? Who would you use to fix it?

Equity. I would use closer working relationships between government and industry to ensure that opportunities of all kinds are as accessible as possible. All while wearing local Australian fashion, of course.

More about Sarah Nelson

Sarah is the GM Operations and Engagement at Sydney School of Entrepreneurship and has been a crucial figure in the creation of the school.

In her role, Sarah is responsible for the smooth-running and successful operations of all SSE activities, both internally and externally. Sarah is also tasked with overseeing all communications for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship including marketing, media, stakeholder engagement, partnerships and corporate affairs, while simultaneously managing the SSE brand and overall stakeholder experience.

Sarah has more than 13 years of local and international experience across government and the private sector leading strategic communication and marketing campaigns for high profile organisations. Prior to her role at SSE, Sarah worked as an independent business advisor in New York City working with BASE3D, an Australian creative technology services firm and spent six years as Marketing Manager at Barangaroo Delivery Authority.

In 2015 Sarah was recognised as Marketing Winner in the B&T Women in Media Awards, honouring powerful and influential women across the Australian media landscape.

Sarah has a Bachelor in Media and Communications and Business Administration and Management from The University of Sydney, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Human Services from RMIT.

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Mike Budnow

Chief Financial Officer

What does success look like for you?

A thriving entrepreneurial community at SSE

More about Mike Budnow

Mike is the Co-Founder and Partner of Standard Ledger Pty Ltd and Chief Financial Officer at Sydney School of Entrepreneurship.

Mike’s expertise spans the breadth of accounting, financial analysis and reporting, taxation, and operational improvement. He is a trusted advisor to numerous private and publicly listed companies – bringing his passion and experience not only in their commercial activities, but across their strategic challenges and opportunities.

His specialties are expressed in his strategic insight, his skills of analysis and communication, and the breadth of his business experience across a range of industry sectors. His clients come from the Retail, Biotech, FinTech, Robotics, and the Virtual Gaming industries.

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Michele Scoufis

Academic Program Director

If you had an 8th day of the week, what would you do with it?

Probably listen to jazz, swim even in winter! Do a playback workshop and share food with friends

More about Michele Scoufis

Michele is the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship Academic Program Director, and brings more than 20 years of teaching experience in tertiary education in Australia and South-East Asia to her role at SSE. She has led and co-led multiple cross institutional learning and teaching projects including in the design of curricula in cross disciplinary contexts, collaborative peer review of teaching, communities of practice and leadership in higher education.

She was one of two Australians selected to participate in the Carnegie Institute Leadership Program and has been responsible for leading the development of higher education policies, processes and implementation in relation to academic promotion, assessment, program and unit development, approval and review processes.

Michele received a National Teaching award for improving the quality of learning and teaching in a large university using a communities of practice approach.

Michele graduated with first class honours in psychology from Sydney University and Clinical Psychology from UNSW.

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Stephen Rutter

Head of Experience

When are you willing to break with convention?

Why would I follow convention? I break with convention every time I try to solve a problem: I focus on discovering creative ways to solve problems and deliver on budget and within time constraints.


More about Stephen Rutter

Stephen Rutter comes to Sydney School of Entrepreneurship with more than 20 years’ experience in global business environments of logistics, entertainment and education management. He has worked for University of Technology Sydney, Cathay Pacific Airways and Show Group, Australia’s largest entertainment logistics company.

Graduating from the Executive MBA at UTS in 2013, Stephen was seconded to Flinders University as an Executive in Residence and provided their New Venture Institute with a strategic business plan. This was followed by another visit four years later to review their strategy and operations.

As Head of Experience, Stephen is developing a calendar of academic and co-curricular experiences for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship in its launch year. The aim is to cultivate and expand the SSE community via residences, scholarships and internships and leverage the academic program to broaden SSE experiences and audiences.

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Xenia Pridmore

Engagement Coordinator

What does success look like for you?

Success is a day where the SSE team share lunch (perhaps even a sneaky entrepreneurial doughnut or two) and our building is full to the brim with students.

More about Xenia Pridmore

Xenia is an Engagement Coordinator at SSE and is responsible for coordinating all engagement across SSE’s events, operations and internal and external communication.

Working closely with SSE’s partners, suppliers, industry contacts and the broader start up community on a regular basis, Xenia has played a large role in developing a strong entrepreneurial community around SSE.

With a Bachelor of Media and Communications in Theatre/Media from Charles Sturt University, Xenia has a creative yet strategic mind and brings a lively spirit to her role at SSE.

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Lynn Erkens

Project Coordinator

When are you willing to break with convention?

In the past, the greatest ideas have been developed by NOT following conventions. If you want something you've never had, then you have got to do something you have never done before.

More about Lynn Erkens

Lynn brings a global perspective to her role as Project Coordinator at SSE, and is responsible for publishing content across SSE’s website and social media channels. In addition, she also supports engagement activities and legal matters.

Lynn has a Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws and Masters of International and European Law from Tilburg University as well as a Masters of International and European Law from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.

Lynn speaks English, French, German and Korean and prior to joining SSE, Lynn worked as a research assistant at Tilburg University and a Legal Advisor at Legal Aid in Tilburg.

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Penny Buchanan

Events Manager

If you had an 8th day of the week, what would you do with it?

I would insert a day between Saturday and Sunday to spend more time with family and friends over a great breakfast, followed by some cricket at the park and shopping!

More about Penny Buchanan

Penny is the Events Manager at Sydney School of Entrepreneurship, and is responsible for delivering a wide variety of events for the School.

Working closely with event teams and contacts across Sydney School of Entrepreneurship’s member institutions, government and industry associations, Penny is responsible for developing a strategic program of events to help encourage and build an entrepreneurial ecosystem around SSE.

An experienced events manager, Penny has more than extensive experience in end-to-end event management, partnership management and has worked in roles across the public and private sector.

Prior to joining SSE, Penny worked Tourism Australia, The Retail Council and The Australian Red Cross.

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Lorraine Nicolas

Community Manager

If you had an 8th day of the week, what would you do with it?

Board a supersonic aircraft to see my family and friends scattered around the globe for a few hours or travel and discover new places- I'm usually spending my spare time being active: sports, social outings or volunteering for charities/events - sometimes all at once!

More about Lorraine Nicolas

Lorraine is the Community Manager at Sydney School of Entrepreneurship and has more than five years’ experience working in marketing and communication, events management and project administration in the higher education sector.

Lorraine operates at the interface between SSE community and operations, and is responsible for all aspects of the on-campus experience.

This involves recruiting and matching advisors and mentors with students, developing and implementing policy and process for participant journeys and building relationships with members, government, industry and the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Prior to her role at SSE, Lorraine worked in project and event management at Macquarie University and at International Studies Abroad where she worked closely with students to provide support and business development.

Lorraine has a Bachelor of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship from ESC Troyes, Champagne School of Management; a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Business and Management from Northampton University, as well as a Master of Commerce from Macquarie University.

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Dianne Keegan

EA to the CEO

What does success look like for you?

Success is having everything working like clockwork at SSE and at home, and baking a beautiful cake every now and then.

More about Dianne Keegan

Dianne is an essential member of the Sydney School of Entrepreneurship team, reporting directly to the CEO and providing administration support across the senior leadership team, Board and Committees.

She is responsible developing and implementing office systems and physical management of our office space.

Dianne is a highly skilled and experienced Executive Assistant and Facilities Manager.  With a career covering the Financial Services and Scientific Industries, Dianne is a professional relationship builder and driver of strategic systems and process innovation.

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Sarah Ashton

Comms Manager

When are you willing to break with convention?

If you believe you can find a more effective or efficient way of doing things, my philosophy is to give it a try. The worst that can happen is that it fails - and with failure comes significant learnings and growth.

More about Sarah Ashton

As Communications Manager, Sarah leads SSE’s content program, is in charge of campaign management, our media centre, communications strategy and stakeholder relations.

She is a creative and enthusiastic storyteller with 14 years’ PR agency and in-house experience. She comes to SSE with a proven track record of effective communications work across leading Australian and global brands including Telstra, BigPond, eBay, GIO, Kellogg’s, Nestle, Wizard Home Loans (GE Money), lastminute.com, Roche Pharmecticals and Dairy Farmers.

Sarah has a genuine interest and proven experience in Corporate Social Responsibility and innovation.

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Board of Directors

Professor Mark Wainwright

Professor Wainwright
has more than 25 years’ experience as Chair and Board Member of co-operative ventures in the higher education and industry sectors including numerous co-operative research centres.

Professor Wainwright has more than 25 years’ experience as Chair and Board Member of co-operative ventures in the higher education and industry sectors including numerous co-operative research centres.

Prior to accepting the position of Chair of Sydney School of Entrepreneurship (SSE) Board of Directors, Professor Wainwright was the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of New South Wales.

Professor Wainwright holds a Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from McMaster University in Ontario, as well as a Master in Applied Science in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Chemistry from the University of Adelaide.

Professor Wainwright is presently Chair, TAFE New South Wales Higher Education Governing Council; Chair, Intersect Australia; Chair, Smart Services CRC; Chair, Cancer Institute NSW Grants Program; Member, Hong Kong Polytechnic University International Advisory Board among a long list of distinguished board memberships, external committees, institutes and societies in Australia and overseas.

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Dr Raji Ambikairajah

Independent Director

Dr Ambikairajah is presently the Chief Operating Officer for Women in Banking and Finance. She has also been a Consultant for Driftwood Capital and Nectar Partners, as well as setting up the start-up companies, Vast Audio and Personal Audio.

Before joining the SSE’s Board of Directors, Dr Ambikairajah was Chair of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Sub-Committee of the Sydney Division, Engineers Australia, and Sub-committee Member of the Mentoring Committee of the Centre of Engineering Leadership & Management, and Higher Degree Research Committee of the Academic Board, University of New South Wales.

Dr Ambikairajah holds a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering, as well as an Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering, both from the University of New South Wales.

She is presently the Chief Operating Officer for Women in Banking and Finance. She has also been a Consultant for Driftwood Capital and Nectar Partners, as well as setting up the start-up companies, Vast Audio and Personal Audio.

Dr Ambikairajah is currently a Board Member of UNSW Innovations and Sub-committee Member of the Strategy Committee of the Sydney Chamber Opera. She is also an Interview Panellist for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Professor Attila Brungs

Professor Brungs is the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Technology Sydney. He has previously held senior positions with the CSIRO, McKinsey & Company and Science Know-How.

Professor Brungs is the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Technology Sydney. He has previously held senior positions with the CSIRO, McKinsey & Company and Science Know-How.

Professor Brungs was awarded a First Class Honours Degree in Industrial Chemistry from the University of New South Wales (where he also received the University Medal). He is also a Rhodes Scholar, and has a Doctorate in Inorganic Chemistry from Oxford University.

Professor Brungs is currently Convenor, NSW Vice-Chancellor’s Committee; Deputy Chair, Universities Admission Centre Board; Advisory Board Member for NSW Data Analytics Centre, UTS Beijing, and the Australian Higher Education Industrial Association; and Chair, UniProjects. His experience includes many distinguished past board and committee memberships.

Some of Professor Brungs’ present key appointments include the Federal Government Research Data Infrastructure Committee; the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council; and the Universities Australia Vice-Chancellors Group, which are in addition to many other past government and institutional appointments.

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Professor Kevin Hall

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at The University of Newcastle, Professor Hall, has a unique blend of higher education and private sector leadership experience, and is a lifelong innovator.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at The University of Newcastle, Professor Hall, has a unique blend of higher education and private sector leadership experience, and is a lifelong innovator.

He has been in his current role for two-and-a-half years, and has held previous academic positions as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and External Partnerships, University of Guelph in Canada; and Head of School, Queen’s University, Canada.

Professor Hall has more than 25 years of industry leadership experience, including 22 years as CEO and President of HCCL Engineering. He was also the Founder and Board Chair of Pathogen Detection Systems, a start-up that successfully sold to a multinational company.

Professor Hall’s experience as an Executive Board Member spans across 17 organisations in Canada and Australia, and he is currently a member of the Leadership Circle of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centres.

Some of his society memberships include the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, The Institution of Engineers of Australian International Association for Hydraulic Research, American Society of Civil Engineers American Beach and Shore Preservation Association, and The Coastal Education and Research Foundation, Inc.

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Professor Denise Kirkpatrick

Professor Kirkpatrick has been a senior academic in the field of education in Australia for 20 years with experience setting academic strategies in a variety of universities in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East.

Professor Kirkpatrick has been a senior academic in the field of education in Australia for 20 years with experience setting academic strategies in a variety of universities in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East.

Before joining the SSE’s Board of Directors, Professor Kirkpatrick was a member of its Steering Committee and Interim Board of Directors.

Professor Kirkpatrick was conferred a Doctorate in Teaching and Learning from the Edith Cowan University, a Master of Education from the University of Western Australia, as well as a Bachelor of Education from the Western Australian College of Advanced Education, and a Diploma of Teaching from the Western Australia Secondary Teachers College.

Professor Kirkpatrick is presently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President, Academic at the Western Sydney University.

She is also a member of the Senior Executive Group at Western Sydney University, as well as being Chair of the University’s Academic Planning and Course Approvals Committee. Professor Kirkpatrick is also a board member in Joint Venture and External Partnership Entities.

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Fiona Pak-Poy

Ms Pak-Poy has more than 20 years’ experience working with the start-up community as an investor, mentor, board member, and entrepreneur.

Ms Pak-Poy has more than 20 years’ experience working with the start-up community as an investor, mentor, board member, and entrepreneur.

Before joining the SSE’s Board of Directors, Ms Pak-Poy held directorships including Chair in more than ten companies in Australia and the United States. She has also been an Investment Manager and Partner in the venture capital fund, Innovation Australia, and a Councillor for the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCAL), as well as a Board Member of Adelaide Research and Innovation.

Ms Pak-Poy has an Honours Degree in Engineering from the University of Adelaide, and a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She has also lectured at the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, and the University of Adelaide.

She is currently a Non-Executive Director for the Securities Industry Research Centre of Asia Pacific (SIRCA) and the iSentia Group Ltd (ASX:ISD). Ms Pak-Poy is also a Committee Member for the Biomedical Transnational Fund.

 

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Liane Sayer-Roberts

Before joining the SSE’s Board of Directors, Ms Sayer-Roberts founded Sauce Communications,
a public relations and events management company which is focused on working with organisations that are based in, represent or need to reach audiences in rural, regional Australia.

Before joining the SSE’s Board of Directors, Ms Sayer-Roberts founded Sauce Communications, a public relations and events management company which is focused on working with organisations that are based in, represent or need to reach audiences in rural, regional Australia.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the communications industry in Australia and New Zealand, Ms Sayer-Roberts specialises in strategic counsel, crisis communications, and reputation management. Her dual practice is in delivering value for people and businesses in rural Australia, as well as ensuring regionally based practitioners have access to rewarding career paths, and are able to participate in forums that will assist their future.

Ms Sayer-Roberts has previously been a Director of Riverina Citrus and Riverina Regional Tourism. She is a member of the Women in Entrepreneurship initiative of the Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Skills and Minister for Small Business, John Barilaro.

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NSW Government

The Hon John Barilaro MP

John Barilaro is the proud Member for the Monaro and was recently elected leader of the NSW Nationals and Deputy Premier of NSW. He is the Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business.
In our changing economy and with innovation forging the path for start-ups and SMEs to thrive, John has embraced the case for change and ensured that Government priorities are focused on creating a fertile ground for entrepreneurs and start-ups to cultivate new ways of thinking and new ways of doing business in NSW.

Photograph of John Barilaro NSW Deputy Premier
John Barilaro is the proud Member for the Monaro and was recently elected leader of the NSW Nationals and Deputy Premier of NSW. He is the Minister for Regional NSW, Skills and Small Business.

In our changing economy and with innovation forging the path for start-ups and SMEs to thrive, John has embraced the case for change and ensured that Government priorities are focused on creating a fertile ground for entrepreneurs and start-ups to cultivate new ways of thinking and new ways of doing business in NSW.

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Department of Industry

The NSW Department of Industry leads the state government's contribution to making NSW a fertile place to invest and to produce goods and services, and thereby create jobs and opportunities for our citizens

The NSW Department of Industry leads the state government’s contribution to making NSW a fertile place to invest and to produce goods and services, and thereby create jobs and opportunities for our citizens.

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