My experience at the Link Festival: a conference about design, technology and social change.

Last week, a third year undergraduate Commerce student, Blair Gao, had the opportunity to attend the Link Festival, a one day Sydney conference and event for people who are passionate about design, technology and social change.

Like many students, despite completing a B Commerce degree, Blair was curious and passionate about design and how design can be applied in order to change society. So she jumped at the opportunity to follow her curiosity and passion and undertake an activity for GLP points – realising afterwards that the content was also equally important for her own future and career …..

Link Festival was inspiring and educational. For me personally, some of the highlights were hearing from;

Dr Jordan Nguyen, a biomedical engineer who spoke of his ideas around emergent trends and divergent technologies, told his story of creating robots to assist people with high-level disability and shared his incredible thoughts on the future of human race.

Sally Ann Williams, from Google who analysed how technological development has changed careers in our society, and how computer science will continue to influence the job landscape in the future with the high demand for professionals with computer science skills. She explained her corresponding concerns that despite this, statistics suggest that the enrolment numbers at Australian Universities for corresponding STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, math) are still worryingly low for women.

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GLP B Commerce student, Blair Gao.


Felicity Furey, who discussed with us the lack of diversity in the engineering profession and how that impacts its community. She passionately encouraged young women to participate more in STEM careers.

Kyra Maya Phillips explained her Misfit Economy theory which explores what we can learn from pirates, thieves and people smugglers with regards to their innovative approaches to their respective “businesses”.


‘The Misfit Economy’ by Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips


Justin Jonesy talked about how he and his friend Cas paddled across Tasman Sea using a Kayak and how they conquered a hiking trip to the South Pole for first time in human history!

There were many other speakers as well who discussed various topics in design, technology and social change. As a finance student, I’m quite unfamiliar with these topics but I found it really interesting and inspiring to be immersed in a different (but still very relevant) world for a day.

But the Link festival was just a beginning for me. The world is changing dramatically and there is so much change taking place and so much to explore. There’s no doubt that the future world will be built based on computer science, and will affect all of us – no matter what we study or what our profession is. And I recognise that to become a future leader, I need to do much more than just seek inspiration. I need to experience, to meet and network, to explore and understand, and to keep up with the pace of technological development, so that I can be informed and aware and see where I can make and impact to contribute to changing the world. And that’s what I took away from this experience, and what I bring back to my Global Leadership Program.

Blair will be able to use this activity to claim points under the code GL X30 – Attending 2 on/off campus Careers Events. GLP encourages all students to use GLP as a way to explore your interests outside of your formal degree program. Get in touch with your GLP Advisor if you want to discuss the best way to approach your Experieintial Credit to suit your passions and interest.




Innovative Leaders Series: Student Ambassadors React to Session 1 speaker Dr. Jason Fox

Hailing from the dapper coffee capital of Australia Dr. Jason Fox is causing quite a stir amongst GLP Student Ambassadors. What is it exactly that has them intrigued? Is it his passion for liberating Australians from out-dated notions of motivation and progress? It is his unique insights on what the future of work will look like? The lessons he might be able to share from his work with Fortune 500 companies? Or is it his striking ability to skateboard through the streets of Melbourne in a completely tailored three piece suit? (Please see clip here)

Read on to find out!

Initial Reaction:



Perri Reynolds: “Who is this man? Why is his beard so impressive? Is it full of secrets? Can he really reinvent the way we work, change the game to strive for quality and curiosity over productivity and efficiency?



image4.JPGJames Bowers: This is the most ‘Melbourne’ guy I have ever seen. What does he mean by the changing nature of work? Leadership is developing? He’s right! He’s thinking critically about how leadership has changed and why the old standard ways of thinking just don’t innovate. How can we expect change if we just hit the same old steps time and time again?


Why are you looking forward to hearing Dr. Fox Speak?

Ashley: In a world where new technology is old news and an endless world of answers lay at our fingertips, I wonder what we, as young minds, will be able to bring to society once our studies are completed. What can we do now to harbour creative thinking, to pioneer new ideas, or re-think old ones? What tools do we need to become the next generation of leaders and innovators?

James: The world hasn’t changed, it is changing, and with each development the way that we conduct ourselves and the methods we use to deal with challenges become less and less effective. To be able to respond to a dynamic process like this, we as changemakers and visionaries must be liberated from the same old, the tried and tested, the safe. It’s not so much about risk, it’s about taking the lead rather than waiting to follow. It’s about having the drive to look beyond hard targets, beyond sets of numbers and dates and deadlines, and looking at the bigger picture. Dr Fox is bringing these concepts to the fore at a time when the world is changing faster than we can document, when adaptive actions are more necessary than ever to innovate, achieve and succeed.

Perri: The idea to change the game, to rethink the structure and expectation of a 9-5 job, that is what interests me most about this speaker. As Jason Fox says, ‘it is the allure of the undiscovered possibilities that fascinates me’ – it will certainly be interesting to learn from this wild, bearded man from the town of Melbourne who claims to know not only the key to changing the game, but also, how to skateboard whilst doing it!


Dr Jason Fox will be the speaker at our inaugural Innovative Leaders Series event on the evening of Wednesday April 13.

Over the coming weeks you can expect a video message directly from Dr Fox that will give you a taste of what you can expect if you sign up to attend the inaugural ILS event along with other tips, hints and information to give you context for the ILS and to get you inspired.

You will also receive more detailed information about the evening, timings the networking component of the event and the practical information on how to book in.

Strictly business casual. 

Your attendance at these events is not compulsory, however they are advantageous to your development of networking skills and awareness of wider contemporary issues outside the Colloquia topics. The Innovative Leaders Series is an unparalleled opportunity for all GLP students to come together and enjoy a sense of community and celebrate the achievements of GLP students who have made outstanding contributions and gone above and beyond the requirements of the Program. 

Today: GLP. Tomorrow: A World of Opportunities

By Neha Chopra

Six years ago I attended the Macquarie University Open Day and was introduced to a lovely lady who spoke very highly of the Global Leadership Program. When she told me of all that she achieved through the program including doing a volunteering program in Borneo during the summer break, learning Mandarin and organising a domestic leadership conference I was in total awe.

I couldn’t believe that someone who had only been at Macquarie for two and a half years had been able to achieve all of that while studying full time.

Initially it seemed like an enormous commitment and gaining 200 experiential credit points sounded overwhelming, however when I attended the Welcome Session it became clear that it was possible and that there have been people who were able to meet the GLP requirements in the last year of their degree.

I had two years left when I started so I felt confident that it was possible. Once I made the commitment I knew it was only uphill from there. I enrolled in 5 colloquia sessions in the first year so I had things rolling. I made numerous friends through attending colloquia!

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Neha and friends at GLP Keynote Event 2015.

The Global Leadership Program has provided me with unparalleled opportunities to enhance my study experience and develop important leadership skills.

The GLP has been designed so that you not only learn global skills and understanding – you put them into practice by studying, volunteering and participating in activities in Australia and overseas.

I personally have been able to achieve so much through this program; including becoming a president of the Investment Banking Student Society, volunteering with the Harvest Hub during my summer holidays last year, an internship with Bloomberg, attended on campus seminars with the Consul-General of Spain and Greece, undertaking a short term exchange in Prague with the Global Leadership Exchange*,  participating at a domestic conference on self-development, attending career seminars and being a mentor for the LEAP** Refugee mentoring program and finally the First Step mentoring program.

I found my experience in Prague extremely exciting and believe that I have grown so much as a person. Here are a few photos from my trip.

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Lunch in Prague

The LEAP mentoring program in particular was so rewarding. I was paired up with a bubbly and extremely intelligent girl who was originally from Sierra Leone and who wanted to pursue medicine after high school. Throughout our time together I learnt that Mbalia wanted to be a doctor so that she could build a health clinic in Sierra Leone! How inspiring is that?  This was probably the highlight of my experience.

I am extremely fortunate and grateful for being able to have the opportunity to take part in the Global Leadership Program and fulfil its requirements. I believe the opportunity has definitely given me a competitive advantage in seeking a graduate job!

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Neha accepting Certificate


Neha completed a Bachelor of Commerce with a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie in 2015 and has accepted an offer to work with the  Northern Territory Government this year in 2016! 

* Overseas Short Course or Study Tour– Under 6 weeks
UG: GL X07. There is no form for this event. Please check the Experiential Credit table for evidence requirements.
PG: Overseas short course or study tour. There is no form for this event. Please check the Cross Cultural Practicum table for evidence requirements
** UG – GL X23 – Serving as a Mentor A or GL X24 – Serving as a Mentor B. Must submit an official signed letter demonstrating dates, tasks and at least 20 hours completed.


Five Minutes with Student Ambassador Yousof Ahmadzai!

Yousof.jpgI’m currently in my 4th year studying a combined Bachelor of Applied Finance with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours). I aspire to work in the corporate world dealing with investments and financial services, and later pursuing project and property management.

1. What is your favourite type of food?

Favourite type of food would hands down have to be Mi Goreng.

2.  Tell us about some of your extra-curricular experiences. Any big highlights you could share?

I am/have been involved with numerous organisations and societies on and off campus – some including UNIT, Enactus, LEAP Mentoring, Ubar Social Committee, United Nations Youth, and of course the GLP! One of my highlights would be presenting in front of the Department of Education and university officials on University Experience Day – helping promote pathways initiatives for refugee children.

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Enactus Leaders 2015

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University Experience Day with LEAP Mentoring

3. Outside of Uni and the GLP… what do you get up to?

I’m accredited for my Certificates 3 and 4 in Fitness and Personal Training as I am very passionate about health and exercise. I’m also a big music festival fan, as well as working part time to build up the bank.

4. What advice would you give to students who are currently completing the Global Leadership Program?

Take on any opportunity in your way, and think outside the box as well to those opportunities that challenge your current mindset and perceptions.

5. What’s your favourite part of the program?

My favourite part of the program is the flexible nature which allows students to augment the structure around their academic, social and political interests. The GLP definitely opens eyes and catalyses self-growth in more ways than one.

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Global Leadership Canberra Symposium 2015

6. What business, person or innovation has been your biggest motivator?

Michael Yardney – one of Australia’s most highly regarded property investors who illustrates his techniques in both a simplistic, yet complex nature.

7. What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given?

Failure is the quickest route to success, as long as we learn from our setbacks and use it as motivation to bounce back higher.

8. Your philosophy is…

My philosophy revolves around the importance of striving for progress, rather than perfection. The time will pass anyway, but experiences shape us.

9. What do you want to do when you grow up?

At least once feature on a television game show – such as Deal or No Deal. A man can dream. If this doesn’t work out, hopefully I will have achieved my desired career pursuits and have a solid foundation to travel me forward in life.

10. Would you rather have to swim across a 50 metre pool to escape a hungry shark or run across a football field (110 metres) to escape an angry gorilla?

I’ve always wanted to play real life Temple Run – so I would have to choose running across a football field with the gorilla chasing me!

Five Minutes with Student Ambassador Ashley Avci !

Hi Fellow GLP Students,

I’m a third-year Bachelor of Environment and Bachelor of Laws student. This is also my third year taking part in the GLP and I greatly look forward to developing more skills this year through the program. My focus for the year is to remain healthy and happy, and continue advocating for animals. If you’re interested, please follow my cause at ‘Fin Free Sydney,’ my not-for-profit for sharks.

Come say hi at the uni and feel free to ask me any questions about my GLP experience, I’m always more than happy to talk and/or just listen 🙂

May you all have a wonderful 2016!

1. Do you have any strange habits?  Eating mangoes in the shower!

2. Your work volunteering for wildlife has taken you to many different parts of the world… where would you like to go next? This is a very difficult question, as there are so many species that need saving. I would say, wherever I am needed most, that’s where I’ll go. At the moment I am working on several issues in Australia, such as shark finning.

3. What sorts of things have you been doing alongside your degree? I run my own not-for-profit Fin Free Sydney with my sister. We aim to change the negative view of sharks that is portrayed in the media and lobby the Government for greater protections for sharks. I also intern at Parliament House in Sydney for Dr. Mehreen Faruqi, a wonderful upper house MP. There, I help conduct research and draft animal welfare bills.  I am currently working for Sea Shepherd Australia campaigning for Antarctic Krill. Krill are currently being over-fished for the booming vitamin supplement industry, pet food and farmed fish feed. This is a serious issue that is contributing to climate change and killing off precious marine life.


4. What advice would you give to students who are currently completing the Global Leadership Program? The Global Leadership Program has so much to offer. My advice would be to choose Colloquia that interest you, this is a great place to start as many of these sessions have the ability to inspire you and give you new ideas. If you’re stuck on where to go with the program, seek advice from the professional GLP staff, they’re a wealth of knowledge.

5. What’s your favourite part of the program? The opportunities. I loved the Canberra Symposium trip, we met so many wonderful professionals on and I learnt so many new things about Australian and international relations.

6. What business, person or innovation has been your biggest motivator? My family and friends, the everyday courageous people I am so lucky to have in my life. There are just too many noteworthy humans to name. Captain Paul Watson is one. He has always fought for what is right

7. What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve been given? Believe in yourself, success comes from within

8. 10 years from now… What do you hope to be doing? Wherever I am, I hope that I will be making a significant difference to the lives of animals.


9. Where would we find you in your spare time?  Reading, learning, acting then trying to relax with my family.

10.  What’s worse: hearing someone chew gum, or listening to someone tap their pen? Gum!


If you’re interested, please read an article I recently wrote! #KrillFree here!