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Emerging Leader Submissions 2021

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Note: Submissions where the nominees are not aware of the nomination are not listed.


Megan Capicchiano

Deakin University

Deakin University

Demystifying Digital – Inspiring Culture Transformation

I am combining 2 key initiatives that Megan was responsible for throughout 2020 under this ‘Emerging Leader’ award nomination.

Firstly, Megan led an initiative titled ‘Demystifying Digital’ impacting all Deakin staff. In a challenging year for many, she took the opportunity to promote a digital culture of experimentation, self-directed learning and sharing across the University. She demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities, empowering her team to apply their strengths to the initiative and being visionary and inspiring with the approach. 

Secondly, Megan was a key champion for driving a connected IT Team in 2020. She worked with the Leadership Team on developing and practicing a servant leadership approach as well as initiating regular ‘share sessions’ across the IT Portfolio and contributing positively to these.

Both of these initiatives are the perfect example of Megan’s inclusive leadership style and her desire to drive a culture of connectedness and personal growth at the University.  


Irene Pridham

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University

Leadership in Action

During 2021, Irene stepped up into a new manager role to support the Student Systems team in their BAU activities and also to manage the transition to the new governments reporting compliance TCSI project. The team were under immense pressure and stress when Irene joined them and has used the skills and knowledge learned during the CAUDIT leadership institute around coaching and straight talk to bring about a change in performance for the members of her team and unlock and maximise the potential of each of them.


Mitchell Bull

University of Newcastle

Exemplary Leadership During a Time of Change

Mitchell Bull is responsible for leading and managing the North Client Support Zone at the University of Newcastle during a period of extensive change and a global pandemic. Mitchell previously stepped into the role of Acting Team Leader for the End User Compute team and immediately set about improving the existing ways of working, setting up the team for success in the future state. He extended the role of the team in the adoption and support of new technologies, streamlined service offerings to meet client needs, enhanced the security posture of the University, and has grown and nurtured his team members. Following IT Services shift to a new operating model in 2020, Mitchell’s proven performance and ability to adapt to change led to him being appointed to the Client Support Zone Lead role. While leading his team through the transition to new ways of working, Mitchell also led a number of initiatives which assisted the University’s staff and students through the COVID-19 shut downs. 


Fadi Alja’fari

Deakin University

Deakin University

Leading Enterprise Cyber Security In Uncertain Times

Fadi led the cyber security function at Deakin in 2020 with a heightened level of commitment, guiding his team, the digital portfolio and the University through the challenges COVID presented. With our staff and students having to rapidly pivot to working and learning exclusively from home, Fadi navigated the complex and risk filled landscape presented with agility and a level head. Despite the disruption, Fadi also continued to deliver on his previously set commitments, delivering a cyber security strategy for Deakin which was enthusiastically endorsed by Executive. His commitment wasn’t limited to Deakin, he also expanded his work with peers in the sector. He’s a member of CAUDIT CISO and the Australian Higher Education Cyber Security (AHECS) Operation group. He engaged in community events and conferences, sharing insights and raising emerging trends and issues to collaboratively work with peers in the sector to remediate and solve. 


Liz Walkley Hall

Flinders University

Flinders University
Leading with emotional intelligence in 2020

2020 saw my leadership tested in ways that could never have been anticipated. I found myself revisiting the learnings from the CLI – most notably, the VUCA leadership framework – to supplement my usual empathetic leadership style. COVID-19 was a perfect VUCA storm. At the outset, we faced the difficult decision of whether to recommend the Library close during lockdown. We transitioned our library service fully online and library staff to working from home so we could close the physical spaces.

This necessitated:

  • Developing new services to showcase the digital Library
  • Coordinating business continuity, including communication to Library staff and University community
  • Developing a roadmap for return to campus work and reopening of physical spaces
  • Planning for potential future disruptions.

Ultimately it accelerated the Library’s digital transformation journey, in the creation of new service provisions:

  • Systematic review support service for researchers
  • Online content advisory service for lecturers
  • Specialised learning online module for students

Mark Brodsky

Australian Catholic University

ACU logo

The Unofficial CISO – Influencing the direction of Cyber Security across organisation and industry

Leading both the introduction of a University-wide Cyber Security program and contributing to the sector, Mark Brodsky has taken every opportunity to provide value and leadership to his community. Mark has completely redesigned the Cyber Security program at ACU, provided leadership and guidance on a Multi-Factor Authentication rollout, supported ACU through a cyber incident, and contributed significantly to the sector by feeding back his experience and insights. He also provides a practical, business-focussed lens through which to view all challenges and opportunities. 


Louren David

Australian Catholic University

ACU logo

IT Idea-Reality Model and Framework; and Build a collaborative and innovative team

Louren David is a natural leader. She looks at opportunities with different eyes, and asks questions and leads them to innovative, holistic solutions that positively impact the entire University. Her immediate team cite her passion and drive as her most inspirational qualities; qualities she models every day through her actions and fulfilling partnerships with diverse members of the University community. She is also the driving force behind introducing the IT industry-leading Idea to Reality process and framework of project discovery and initiation.
The model manages all non-production support demands through to the delivery of sustainable, scalable enterprise solutions collaboratively across the university;

  • Significant achievement in implementing LeanIX, ACU EA Repository based on CAUDIT Business Capabilities model as one stop shop for all ACU system/application Lifecyle.
  • Leading management and shaping of the university’s demand for IT enabled change
  • Assuring the university of alignment with enterprise strategy and architecture, risk/security, procurement and legal requirements;
  • Introduced ACU IT Governance to approve and fund new initiatives