Conference Committees

Steering Committee

The  Steering Committee (SC) 's primary role is to provide strategic direction and oversee all other conference committees and working groups and use its reasonable endeavours to further the prosperity, reputation and business interests of AIEC.
The Steering Committee ensures the conference meets professional development, networking and business needs of the international education sector, especially the needs of the conference hosts’ stakeholders, namely IEAA members and IDP clients.

James Bennett

Head of Business Delivery & Evolution, IDP Connect

As part of the IDP Connect APAC unit, James is responsible for leading the team supporting the Client Managers' engagement with IDP Connect clients. He also works across the IDP Connect global teams to help evolve, shape and develop new products and services for clients through co-creation and co-design. James Joined IDP Education in 2009 and before that was in the international recruitment team at Monash University.

Honourable Phil Honeywood

Chief Executive Officer, International Education Association of Australia

Phil has been IEAA's Chief Executive Officer since November 2011. Previously, he was a Member of the Victorian State Parliament (1988–2006), Minister for Tertiary Education, Training and Multicultural Affairs (1996–1999) and Deputy Leader of the Opposition (2002–2006). Since retiring from politics, Phil worked at Stott's Business College and Cambridge International College.


Jane Li

Country Director, Student Services Australia IDP Education

For 19 years Jane has been pursuing her passion of helping international students realise their dreams for studying in Australia. Completing a Masters degree from the University of Wollongong as an international student and working in various roles within the sector, Jane has established a deep understanding of international students' needs and how an Australian education experience could transform their lives. Jane currently heads IDP's student placement and IELTS test operations with a focus to deliver the best service to support onshore international students' needs and guide them to achieve their learning and career aspirations.


Brian Smith

Stakeholder Engagement Manager, IDP Education

Brian Smith is Stakeholder Engagement Manager at IDP Education based in Melbourne Australia. Brian's work focuses on key stakeholders such as Government policymakers, national and international peak bodies, and education providers worldwide.


Kelly Smith

Pro-Vice-Chancellor International, Murdoch University

Board Member, International Education Association of Australia

Kelly Smith completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Curtin University in 1987. After further study in teaching English as a second language, he taught for 10 years in Japan and then at The University of Western Australia's Centre for English Language Teaching. In 1999 Kelly moved into a role in the administration of internationalisation in the University's International Centre. After completing an MBA at The University of Western Australia in 2000, he worked for a time in the private sector with Study Group before returning to The University of Western Australia initially as Associate Director and then as Director of the International Centre. In November 2015 he took up the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) position at La Trobe University. In 2018 he was additionally appointed as Director of La Trobe's Confucius Institute. He has been at Murdoch University since January 2020 and is currently Pro Vice-Chancellor International.

Professor Simon Ridings

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International), Edith Cowan University

Vice President, International Education Association of Australia

Professor Ridings is Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Vice-President at Edith Cowan University (ECU). He joined ECU from a career in academic leadership and university business development and is a nationally and internationally recognised leader in the higher education sector. Before his current role at ECU, he held Deputy Vice-Chancellor roles at Curtin University and the University of Canberra.

Professor Sarah Todd

Vice President (Global), Griffith University

Board Member, International Education Association of Australia

Sarah Todd is Vice-President (Global) at Griffith University and a Board member of IEAA. Previously, she was the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor International at the University of Otago from 2006–13. Sarah is President of the Asia Pacific Association for International Education and Chair of the Universities Australia and Innovative Research Universities (IRU) International Committees.

Josephine Williams

Events and Partnerships Manager, IDP Education

AIEC Conference Manager

Josephine joined IDP in 2013. In her current role as Events and Partnerships Manager, Josephine manages the Events team and oversees the AIEC and other IDP events. Prior to IDP, Josephine worked as a bid manager for the Melbourne Convention Bureau and as an Event Coordinator at a professional organising agency. She has also worked in English Language teaching and public relations in Korea, and as a translator in Canada. 

Program Committee

The Program Committee’s purpose is to plan, develop, manage and deliver a world-class conference program that meets the needs of the Australian international education sector. Members of the Program Committee include subject matter experts in all key interest areas of the conference.

Stephen Biggs

Executive Director, DE International (Education Queensland International)

AIEC Track Chair, Schools (SCH)

Stephen Biggs has a career spanning 30 years in the Queensland State Government.  For the past five years, Stephen has been Executive Director of DE International, providing short and longer-term education programs to over 22,000 international school students in Queensland state schools each year.  DE International also facilitates student exchange, study tours, professional visits, and scholarship programs.  Previously, Stephen held senior roles in Trade and Investment Queensland for 10 years including Overseas Market Development, Queensland Education and Training International and International Operations divisions.  Earlier in his career, Stephen led rural community economic development initiatives and worked in commodities marketing. 

Melanie Duncan

Convener, IEAA Student Life Network

AIEC Track Chair, Students (STU)

Melanie has worked in higher education for over twenty years with extensive international admissions expertise in designing and implementing policies, procedures and processes within an ESOS/TEQSA framework; and leading international-specific campuses for both universities and third-party providers. She has also been leading teams of international education professionals across all tertiary international student lifecycle administrative processes and wellbeing service delivery. Much of her work has been working with international students to overcome their academic and personal hurdles. Her extensive experience working with students has seen her work broaden in recent years to design higher education policy. She has also developed student-centred wellbeing programs to enable a physically and emotionally safe learning environment for enrolled domestic and international tertiary students. He is the Convenor of the IEAA Student Life network.

Ewa Filipiak

Director, International Engagement, TAFE Directors Australia

AIEC Track Chair, Vocational education and training (VET)

Ewa is the Director, International Engagement, at TAFE Directors Australia since December 2019. Ewa has extensive experience in the design and management of international education and training programs, particularly in the vocational education and training sector.  She also has significant experience in policy planning and advocacy, partnership development and capacity building in countries across the Asia-Pacific region and Africa.

Andrew Foley

College Director & Principal La Trobe Operations, La Trobe College Australia

Convener, IEAA Pathways Network

AIEC Track Chair, Pathways (PATH)

Andrew is the College Director and Principal of La Trobe College, the pathway provider for La Trobe University. He has worked in international education for over two decades in various roles, including teacher, ELICOS Director of Studies, pathways College Director, and he hopes, as a good colleague and mentor. Recently he has appreciated the opportunity to give something back to the sector through his involvement in the IEAA Pathways Network, of which he is the Convenor. Andrew has undertaken postgraduate studies in linguistics and business administration and has also worked overseas, including Spain and Cambodia.

Louise Goold

Director, Murray-Goold International

Director, Development and External Relations, Faculty of Education, Monash University

AIEC Program Chair

AIEC Track Chair, Business development and strategy (BD&S)

Louise Goold is Director Development and External Relations at the Faculty of Education at Monash University, a role that encompasses national and global engagement responsibilities. Louise has been an international education professional for more than 25 years and has been at the forefront of change as our profession has grown and developed. She has extensive experience in the field within the public and private sectors. She has held several senior positions including with AusAID, almost 10 years as International Director at Flinders University, two years as Education Manager with the British Council in Australia, and three years as Director of the Centre for Global Programs at Swinburne University. Louise has also consulted privately in international education for more than 18 years via her company, Murray-Goold International. For the past 15 years, she has been the Program Chair for the Australian International Education Conference (AIEC).

George Hernandez

Founder and CEO, Sofiri Pty Ltd

Convener, IEAA Marketing & Recruitment

AIEC Track Chair, Marketing (MKT)

George is a technologist and student recruitment and marketing professional with 18+ years of experience in advertising, media, sales, design and digital marketing. He has worked in the education sector for over nine years in different roles, including marketing leadership positions in two Australian universities and practice lead with the higher education consulting group servicing universities in three continents. He founded Sofiri in 2016 and currently works as its CEO. George holds a Master of International Business and before working in Australia, also worked in the US and LATAM. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. He is the Convenor of the IEAA Marketing and Recruitment network.

Dale Druhan

Deputy Manager, International Stakeholder Development
Deputy Convener, IEAA Scholarships and Fellowships Network

AIEC Track Chair, Scholarships and fellowships (S&F)

Dale is a marketing and international relations professional with 7 years’ experience working in international education. She is currently the Deputy Manager, International Stakeholder Development at the Australian National University (ANU) responsible for advancing its international engagement and partnerships agenda. Dale maintains partnerships with key international stakeholders including education agents and sponsor bodies. She is also Deputy Convener of the IEAA Scholarships and Fellowships Network.

Damir Mitric

Learning Design Manager | Digital Learning
Melbourne Business School

Convener, IEAA Teaching & Learning Network

AIEC Track Chair, Teaching and learning (T&L)

Damir has over a decade of global experience working in Higher Education from professional, consultancy and academic roles. He initiated and managed significant innovative multi-channel curriculum embedded learning support programs and resources – including enrichment, engagement, and transition. He led and implemented large scale strategic transformation projects, including curriculum redevelopment for blended and online learning, professional learning for digital teaching, and holistic internationalisation of the curriculum. Damir is the Senior Learning Designer in the School of Business and Law at RMIT University, Convener of IEAA's Teaching and Learning Network and Honorary Research Fellow in the College of Arts, Social Science and Commerce at La Trobe University. He is the Convenor of the IEAA Teaching and Learning community network.

Caryn Nery

Director, Transnational Education Partnerships, Victoria University

Convener, IEAA Transnational Education Network

AIEC Track Chair, Transnational education (TNE)

Caryn has been involved in the IEAA TNE Network's leadership for over 10 years and currently holds the role of Convener for the Network. She joined Victoria University as Director, Transnational Education Partnerships in June 2019, and oversees partnerships in Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka, and India. Before this, Caryn worked as Associate Director, Partnerships and Development at Monash College and spent 9 years at RMIT, managing TNE partnerships in the Asian region.

Natassia Bell

Professional Learning Officer, International Education Association of Australia

AIEC Track Chair, Professional development (PD)

Natassia has joined IEAA to support the organisation's professional learning program, our Networks and Young Professionals. She began her journey in international education with ACICIS in 2018 where she worked in marketing, student recruitment and program administration. Natassia's commitment to the sector is inspired by her own experiences studying abroad, in Indonesia, during her International Studies degree at RMIT University and her subsequent research projects on mobility practitioning.

Brian Smith

Stakeholder Engagement Manager, IDP Education

AIEC Track Chair, English language (EL)

Brian Smith is Stakeholder Engagement Manager at IDP Education based in Melbourne Australia. Brian's work focuses on key stakeholders such as Government policymakers, national and international peak bodies, and education providers worldwide.

Paula Soon

Assistant Director, Pathways and Operations, Global Marketing, Digital and Student Recruitment, RMIT University

Convener, IEAA Admissions & Compliance Network

AIEC Track Chair, Admissions and compliance (A&C) 

Paula leads the Pathways and Operations teams at RMIT University whose focus is across domestic and international admissions, pathways, credit and systems.  She is an active member of the admissions and compliance community and is the Convenor of the IEAA Admissions and Compliance network.

Simon Watson

Senior Manager, International Mobility Programs, University of Technology Sydney

Convener, IEAA Learning Abroad Network

AIEC Track Chair, Learning abroad (LA)

Working across most international education sectors for over 20+ years, Simon currently leads the UTS learning abroad team, managing year-long, semester and short programs, and successfully inbound study abroad program. A passionate supporter of global mobility and its value to all graduates, he ensures equity, social justice, and inclusion in learning abroad. He is proud to have fostered growing indigenous participation and is leading an advisory group to the NCP Secretariat, Convener of the IEAA Learning Abroad group. He regularly speaks at Australian and international forums to foster shared learning. Simon also speaks Japanese.

Dino Willox

Director, Student Employability, The University of Queensland Student Employability Centre

AIEC Track Chair, Employability (EMP)

Dr Dino Willox is Director, Student Employability, at The University of Queensland and a Principal Fellow of AdvanceHE. They are responsible for the strategic direction, policy, and services that help students become game-changing graduates. Dino collaborates with stakeholders across curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular spaces, taking a multidimensional approach to embedding employability. Dino is Chair of the Employability Group and a member of the Student Experience Committee at Universitas 21, a global network of universities committed to fostering global citizenship through research-inspired education, student mobility, and internationalisation advocacy. Dino's pronouns are they/them.

Organising Committee 

The Organising Committee's primary purpose is to oversee the conference's operations, develop and improve standard operating procedures (SOPs), coordinate logistics, oversee the working groups, and ensure IDP and IEAA's schedule of activities are carried out as per the plan.

Emily O'Callaghan

General Manager, International Education Association of Australia

Emily has worked in international education for over 15 years. In her current role, she oversees IEAA's governance, policy and major projects. Prior to IEAA, Emily was Regional Recruitment Manager Indian Sub-continent/Middle East at Victoria University. Emily also represented the university in South-East Asia, Europe and the Americas in senior mobility, pathways and admissions roles. Emily has a business degree majoring in marketing and is an Alumni of the AsiaLink Leaders Program. 

Kim Stevenson

Director, Think Business Events 

It's the challenge of achieving individual conference success that keeps Kim motivated even after 26 years of industry experience. With an attention to detail that sets her apart from her peers, Kim is skilled at ensuring each part of the conference puzzle is carefully considered to realise optimal outcomes. With an honest and practical approach, she is skilful at building trusting and open relationships with committees and staff alike.

Josephine Williams

Events and Partnerships Manager, IDP Education

AIEC Conference Manager

Josephine joined IDP in 2013. In her current role as Events and Partnerships Manager, Josephine manages the Events team and oversees the AIEC and other IDP events. Prior to IDP, Josephine worked as a bid manager for the Melbourne Convention Bureau and as an Event Coordinator at a professional organising agency. She has also worked in English Language teaching and public relations in Korea, and as a translator in Canada.