The ChatThe Chat

The Chat interviews outstanding graduates from the University of Technology Sydney who have excelled in their profession or community. Broadcast every Sunday at 3.30PM (Sydney time) on 2SER 107.3 Radio, live online, or subscribe to The Chat on iTunes and have it delievered straight to your device each week!

2015 Archive


Clary Castrission travels to India at least nine or ten times a year in his role as CEO of the 40K Group. Founded in 2005, the 40K Group has set up schools and installed education programs into some of India's most regionally segregated communities. It was while Clary was studying law at UTS, one of his professors suggested he travel to South India. Here ignited his beginnings as an entrepreneur, with his international travels inspiring him to develop an initiative that could make a huge social impact.


Ananas, Adrian Zumbo at The Star, The Argyle... if you have eaten out at any of these venues, you have seen the work of interior designers Rachel Luchetti and Stuart Krelle. The pair studied Interior Design at UTS, and after working out they loved designing spaces people could eat and drink in, they decided to set up their own business- Luchetti Krelle. The pair have been nominated (and won!) numerous design awards, and Rachel was awarded The National Association of Women in Construction Business Women of the Year in 2014. Rachel and Stuart chat to Ellen Leabeater about how they started their business, where they find their inspiration, and what their own homes look like.


Live performance in 2015 is well and truly alive says Executive Director of Sydney Theatre Company Patrick McIntyre. Having worked for The Australian Ballet, Sydney Film Festival and Sydney Dance Company, Patrick is no stranger to the arts. In his current role, he works closely alongside artistic director Andrew Upton to ensure audiences have a stellar experience of Australia’s most prestigious theatre company.


Simon Walsh liked anatomy as a kid, and thought he would end up studying medicine. When he didn't get the marks, Simon studied a Bachelor of Science. In his last semester, Simon studied forensic science, and became fascinated with how science could held solve crime. Now, he is the Chief Forensic Scientist for the Australian Federal Police, a role which he extremely passionate about. He is also the National Disaster Victim Identification Commander, and has been involved with identifying the bodies of Australian's during the Victorian bushfires in 2009, the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 and more recently the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 tragedy.


When Aidan Sarsfield started his industrial design course at UTS in the 90s, there were two computers for the whole faculty.But it was enough to spark an interest in computers and design, that eventually led him to apply to work for Animal Logic.Now, Aidan is the Head of Production Technology at Animal Logic, and has worked on the likes of The Lego Movie, Legend of the Guardians and Happy Feet.


It’s a day that Morgan Carpenter, president of Organisation Intersex International Australia says is instrumental in educating the majority that still don’t understand what intersex is.Splitting his time between a job in IT and OII Australia, Morgan says he’s found the perfect balance between business and pleasure, while at the same time advocate for a community that’s close to his heart.


Caroline Homer is a Professor of Midwifery at UTS, and the President of the Australian College of Midwives. Although she always says she is a midwife first- and uses her role as educator to explain the benefits of midwifery for women. Midwifery is something Caroline fell into; originally she wanted to work in oncology. The course she applied for knocked her back, so she followed her friend into midwifery. In amongst her academic roles, Caroline still finds time to practice as a midwife at St George Hospital in Kogarah. She's also a champion for the rights of women in childbirth both here and overseas.


Sarah Dingle has won a Walkley, a UN Media Peace Prize and a Kennedy- just to name a few. She's worked for the ABC and SBS, and has interviewed child sex offenders and extremists. She currently works for Background Briefing, an investigative radio program on ABC. It's a job that changes from story to story, and in this week's episode we find out about how Sarah copes with the demands of journalism. We also talk about what it's like to be on the other side of the story, following revelations Sarah's biological father was a sperm donor.


There's a lot to talk about when it comes to the queer community. When it comes to Sydney, Elias Jahshan is at the helm of discussion. Elias Jahshan is editor-in-chief of Star Observer, Australia's longest running and most respected LGBTI journal of record. Having written for both The Sunday Telegraph and the Hornsby and Upper North Shore Advocate, he feels most comfortable in his current role yet feels a large responsibility to represent the queer community in its entirety.


At the end of 2011, like many young people, Jerome Doraisamy was letting of steam at a music festival after a stressful year. Jerome had been working part time, studying full time, as well as spending over 30 hours a week volunteering for the Law Students Society. It was during the festival that Jerome realised he wasn't having fun, and believed he was suffering from depression. This was the beginning of a journey that has led him to publish his first novel- The Wellness Doctrines.


Keeping the government in check is no easy job, but it's a role that Elizabeth Tydd relishes. Elizabeth is the Information Commissioner of NSW & Chief Executive of the Information and Privacy Commission, or IPC. In her current role, Elizabeth is a champion for open government, giving people the opportunity to question government decisions. She is also extremely passionate about public participation. Elizabeth studied Law at the University of Technology Sydney, and also has a Masters in Administrative Law.


Richard Prangell started off as your typical law graduate, who aispired to work at one of Australia's top tier commercial law firms. It was a struggle to find a job after graduating into the global financial crisis, but eventually Richard landed a job as a paralegal at Norton Rose Fulbright. But after 12 months, Richard decided that working at a top tier law firm was not for him. After spending time working at a boutique law firm, Richard realised his ambition: to open his own law firm. Five years after graduating, Richard has successfully started his own firm, Viridian Lawyers.


Richard Tamba is a businessman and engineer, and designs transmissions for car companies around the world. The son of a mechanic, one could assume that Richard followed in his father's footsteps. But he originally wanted to be a pilot. An unfortunate incident meant he had to change tack. He decided to use his "fixie" skills and started studying mechanical engineering at UTS. Richard now holds more than 50 patents, and is helping what is left of the Aussie motor industry.


Ten years in the making, Grant Scicluna is busy premiering his first feature film at festivals around the world. It's received high praise, and is set to land in Australian cinemas in 2016. Down River was written and directed by Grant, and filmed on a shoestring budget over twenty-five days. The Australian film industry is hard to crack at the best of times, let alone for a first timer. So how did Grant do it?


Print, television, radio, theatre. Dom Knight has done it all! Dom is most well known for being part of The Chaser, meeting Chas Luccidello and Charles Firth in high school where they managed the school newspaper. Now, he presents the Evenings show on 702 ABC Sydney and across NSW and the ACT, and he is also the author of three fiction novels.


There is never a typical day for Katie Slattery, a sports scientist at the New South Wales Institute of Sport. She spends time putting athletes through their paces in the heat chamber, taking blood samples, and testing the urine of athletes - just to name a few tasks. Katie initially thought she would end up as a PE teacher. Instead, she studied Sport Management at UTS, and has completed an extensive amount of research looking at how to help athletes train at their optimum level.


You probably watch TV every day, and on this week's program we get to go behind the scenes and chat with one of Australian television's biggest influencers. Brian Walsh, Executive Director of Television at Foxtel, has worked at the company since its inception, and was the second person on the payroll when the company started. He is now the man behind what we see on TV, helping launch great Australian dramas like Love My Way and Wentworth.


Stuart is a former Olympian, and is currently and investment analyst with Fidelity Worldwide Investments. He managed to juggle his Olympic career while working at KPMG and Macquarie Bank, training in the morning and evening and working during the day. This week on The Chat, Ellen Leabeater talks to Stuart about what he learnt in his time as a rower, and how it helped him in the corporate world.


If you are a fan of cats, coffee, or space, this is the story for you. Wenee Yap and Thomas Derricott are the proud owners of Sydney's newest cat cafe, Catmosphere, which opened its doors this weekend. But how exactly does one go from being an arts graduate to owning a cat cafe? In this week's episode Ellen Leabeater sits down with the couple to explore the international experiences that helped shape their future, and find out how the space themed cat cafe came about.


In the days before CSI popularise forensic investigation, Shari Forbes enrolled in Applied Chemistry and Forensic Science at UTS. Shari and her classmates only had a vague understanding of what they were in for. Fast forward to 2015, and Shari is about to help launch Australia's first decomposition facility, the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER). The facility will study human bodies as they decay.


Andy is best described as a musician with an MBA. Andy never quite finished his undergraduate Arts/Law degree because he ran off to London to play in a band. Upon his return to Australia, Andy ended up working at IBM, and undertook an MBA at the University of Technology Sydney. But his passion for music continued, and in a strange turn of events ended up helping a room of teenagers to write a song.


William Kontaxis has wanted to be a lawyer since he was 12, and after studying business and law has fulfilled his dream and made it as a corporate laywer. But he is a corporate lawyer with a conscience, working for Salvos Legal. The work William does helps to fund a second law firm, Salvos Legal Humanitarian. This arm helps people who are left out of the legal system, because they don't qualify for legal aid yet still struggle to afford their own lawyer.


Dena started off as a sculptor and has always been fascinated with design. But soon her career took a rather startling left turn, and she found herself collecting pee, all in the name of science. Because reusing our waste may work well in theory, but making it work in real life is going to require some design. And that's where Dena comes in.


Chris Zaharia is unlike anyone else we have talked to on this show. He's only a couple of years out of Uni, and yet already the Chief Technology officer of a fast growing startup. It's called Zookal, and it's in the textbook rental business. As someone who studied both tech and business (accounting) at University, it's the perfect marriage of his education. But Chris has already ventured beyond the confines of textbook rental. He knows that the space is changing fast, so he has begun experimenting with virtual reality and other modes of distributed education. It's a task that takes a fair bit of ingenuity and technical know fair.


Nick Harrington is still a freshly minted graduate, but he has already made an outsized impact. He's the founding director of the Manjeri School Project, an organisation dedicated to empowering a rural Ugandan village through education and sustainable development. The story starts before Nick began uni, when on his gap year he discovered a school with crumbling infrastructure and unpaid teachers. He set about creating a business, to restore the school and make it sustainable. Several years later the school is now out of bankruptcy and has a number of businesses operating throughout the community.


At the age of 52, Pat Richardson decided to go to University. She applied and was accepted to study a Bachelor of Communiations majoring in Radio at the University of Technology, Sydney. Pat spent time at 2SER during her degree, but radio was not her only passion. She has published two books, and produced a third with the help of journalist Anne Skinner. That book contains letters her Aunt Queenie sent home while working as a nurse during WWI.


More than 55,000 kids around Australia owe their colourful little laptops to One Laptop per Child Australia. An organization founded and run by Rangan Srikhanta, a former refugee and graduate of the University of Technology Sydney. Growing up, Rangan had his sights set on becoming a CEO of a big corporation. But it was his passion for social justice and will to give back to Australia that took over. After a brief stopover at Deloitte, Rangan has concentrated on growing One Laptop per Child.


Fashion is something Bolor Amgalan has always wanted to do, and coming from a creative family it seems like a natural fit for the Mongolian born designer. Bolor has recently graduated from a Fashion and Textile Design course at the University of Technology Sydney, and she has already received high acclaim for her first Australian collection. Bolor's passion lies in 'zero waste' designing, which hopes to reduce the environmental footprint that comes with fast fashion.


Stephanie Wee cares deeply about social justice and wants to change the world. It's hard to imagine when looking out over Sydney Harbour from her office in the corporate law firm Gilbert and Tobin, but the corporate world has allowed her to take on incredible pro bono legal work. Recently, she was part of journalist Peter Greste's legal team. Before that she worked on a huge action on behalf of Aboriginal workers, taking on the government for unpaid wages.


At the age of 35, Leona McGrath sat her teenage children down and said she was going to university to pursue her dream of midwifery. They told her she was mad. Fast forward to 2015, and Leona has had a distinguished career as a midwife working with Aboriginal women at the Malabar Community Midwifery Practice. She now works for NSW Health helping to increase the Aboriginal nursing and midwifery workforce. Click here to view Leona's alumni profile.


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