Episode 94 – Prof. Paul Lever – CEO – Mining3

Prof Paul Lever was appointed the CEO of Mining3 in May 2012. He is also the Professor of Mining at the University of Queensland.

Paul has extensive research experience in the fields of robotic and automated mining systems, smart mining machines and systems and intelligent data analysis techniques. He has worked on projects that include intelligent control algorithms for an automated (robotic) excavator and developing the science of bucket/material interactions to improve the performance of large excavators.

He held several positions at Mining3 prior to becoming CEO that included Research Director, Vice Present for Business Development and Program Leader. Before joining Mining3 in July 2000 he was head of the Mining and Geological Engineering department at the University of Arizona.

Prof Lever obtained a BSc in Mining Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and received his MSc and Ph.D. in Mining Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

Paul lives in Brisbane with his family.


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Prof. Donna Pendergast – Education Executive & Chair

Professor Donna Pendergast, Dean and Head of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, talks: Hearing others and shaping ideas, being a lifelong learner, growth mindset, collaboration over competition and diving into different worlds.

First and foremost Donna Pendergast is a born teacher, an education leader who is passionate about the possibilities and transformational qualities of learning.

Teachers and education have such a vital role to play in so many ways and I am focused on giving students capabilities to carry through life… education as a field is so crucial to the success of business and social enterprises,” she said.

Julia Davison – CEO – Goodstart Early Learning

headshotJulia Davison, CEO Goodstart Early Learning, talks: Early education, taking sabbaticals, learning through failure, being authentic and jumping ship.

Julia Davison is the CEO of Goodstart Early Learning, one of Australia’s largest social enterprises. She drives the strategic direction of Goodstart, which has over 615 early learning centres across the country in each state and territory, with more than 15, 000 staff educating over 70, 000 children. Goodstart is committed to working with children, families, communities, governments, and sector stakeholders to lift the quality of early learning in Australia, as international evidence proves the first five years are pivotal to how a child develops into adulthood.  Julia became CEO of Goodstart at a critical time.

Nina Chen – Founder and Director – Harvest Education Technical College

Nina-196x300The power of one: Nina Chen, Founder and Director of HETC, talks education, grabbing opportunity and transforming one country at a time.

Nina Chen is an entrepreneur and the Founder and Director of Harvest Education Technical College (HETC), an educational institute with two Brisbane campuses and over 3000 international and domestic students. HETC offers courses in business, hospitality and technology among a range of  other study areas. Energetic and boundlessly passionate about her work, Nina is a young woman who has achieved incredible things in her career and she has a personal, fascinating story. Nina strives to help others less fortunate and as well as operating HETC she is constantly working on ventures overseas to improve third world countries. She is also a mum to three young boys.

Jodi Schmidt – CEO

0b66f43Jodi Schmidt — Former CEO TAFE Queensland On the Changing Landscape of Education & Why it Pays to Be a Yes Person

Jodi Schmidt is someone who has made some significant career achievements at a relatively young age. The education sector is currently undergoing immense disruption and change, so it was fascinating to speak with Jodi and hear her views on shifts in the industry both in Australia and globally.

Jodi is the former CEO of TAFE Queensland, a role she has held since 2013. TAFE Queensland is the state’s largest, most experienced training provider delivering practical, industry-relevant training to more than 120,000 students each year across 500 programs. Jodi has extensive experience as a leader within the education, training and employment sectors, having previously worked for a number of organisations including the Department of Education Queensland and Southbank Institute of Technology.

Geoff Abbott – Director Executive and Organisational Coaching – Queensland University of Technology

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAUfAAAAJDBmNGMyMjZjLWNkZTYtNDZlNS05ZjkwLTM3ZmE2ODFjNzIxZAGeoffrey Abbott Director Executive & Organisation Coaching at Queensland University of Technologys (QUT) Graduate School of BusinessOn Adding Power to Leadership & the Importance of Being Playful.  

The Arete podcast regularly features CEOs and senior leaders who discuss how much of an influence formal coaching and mentorship have played in them achieving career success. It was a wonderful opportunity then, to have Geoffrey Abbott on the podcast to share his knowledge of  leadership and coaching from an academic perspective. Geoff is the Director of Executive and Organisational Coaching at Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Graduate School of Business, where he manages coaching services to support learning and leadership development across masters and corporate programs; and develops and delivers coach training programs specifically tailored for leadership development. It’s a role he has held for a number of years and he has some excellent insights into coaching and leadership. His own career path is one which has led him to be regarded as one of the foremost experts on executive coaching in Australia.

Geoff was raised in Tasmania, the fourth of five children. He began his career as a teacher after graduating from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Geoff’s academic qualifications also include a Graduate Diploma in Education, a Graduate Diploma in Psychology and a Phd in Business. Since 2005, he has been Director of the Centre for International Business Coaching and joined QUT in 2009.


Geoff on LinkedIn 

The University of Tasmania


Ray Weekes, CEO in Residence QUT Business School & Chairman CEO Institute of Queensland

Ray Weekes – CEO in Residence QUT Business School – on Taking Time to Reflect, the Power of Education and Why You Can Never be too Optimistic.

Ray Weekes is currently an Adjunct Professor and the CEO in Residence of Queensland University of Technology Business School. He is Chairman of the CEO Institute of Queensland and a director and advisor of various organisations within both the community and commercial and academic sectors. Ray is the former Managing Director of Castlemaine Perkins and former CEO of major, multinational company Rothmans Holdings Limited. Ray has also previously been a member of the Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation Board and is a member of the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame Governing Committee.

Ray is dynamic and highly engaging, someone who I was really excited to host on the Arete podcast. He was open and genuine throughout our conversation and was all too happy to reflect on his career, sharing his insights and accomplishments with honesty and humility. I’ve known Ray for a long time and he’s been a tremendous friend and mentor not only to me but to Arete Executive. It was a welcome opportunity to return the favour by giving Ray the space to share his fascinating story. Ray is a great example of someone who has used his success as a platform to give back, by mentoring young CEOs and senior executives emerging through the ranks; as well as showcasing the achievements of those who have walked the path before him.

Born in Sydney’s Bondi, Ray started boarding school at just four years of age and later attended Canterbury Boys’ High School before completing a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting at the University of New South Wales. After university adventure beckoned and  a young Ray travelled extensively through Europe in a Volkswagen van. He spent a significant time in Canada before returning to Australia to become a chartered accountant, and complete post graduate courses in business administration and education.

Ray was raised by his Mother in a single parent household on a modest income. Ray’s Mother was a senior executive at a time when it was unusual for women to hold top-tier positions. She taught Ray the power of education, and instilled him with an understanding of the opportunity for financial security and independence a career in business presented. They are values which still ring true, inspiring Ray’s role as Chairman of QUT’s Learning Potential Fund – a scholarship which provides assistance for financially disadvantaged students to help them achieve their academic goals. Ray can count many milestones along his long and diverse career, but cites being married to wife Penny for 46 years as one of his greatest achievements.

Ray is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management, and is also a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.


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Richard Kennerley – Former Executive Director – University of Queensland Business School

Changemaker, Richard Kennerley – Former Executive Director of University of Queensland Business School Executive Education – talks diversity, innovation and holding true to your beliefs.

The notion of adaptability kept emerging during my discussion with Richard Kennerley and he is indeed an individual who is willing to embrace change. Richard relocated to Australia from his native UK in 2010 to undertake the role of State General Manager of National Australia Bank, Queensland.  In 2014, he became the Executive Director of the University of Queensland Business School Executive Education, transitioning to a new sphere after working in finance and corporate banking for over 30 years.

The eldest of three siblings, Richard was raised in a middle class family in north-west England where he attended Sir John Deane’s Grammar School. A qualified banker and corporate treasurer, highly successful executive and leader, Richard’s career got off to an unconventional start. Fuelled by a touch of teenage rebellion, a young Richard challenged his traditional upbringing and dropped out of his degree to sing in a rock band. It wasn’t long before he changed direction and decided to do something a little more “respectable.” Richard assumed a position at National Westminster Bank where his talent for banking was quickly realised and the rest as they say, is history.

Richard’s capacity to think outside the box has been pivotal to his success as a leader, and has seen him deliberately and successfully deliver strategy around diversity and equality. Richard is a Graduate of the AICD Company Directors program. He also has extensive experience in finance and corporate banking in various leadership roles, previously as the Head of Corporate and Structured Finance, Clydesdale Bank and Director of Corporate Banking, Hill Samuel Merchant Bank

In addition to his role at UQ Business School Executive Education, Richard is also Vice President of the Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club and is a board member of the Australia China Business Council and Youngcare Changemakers.


University of Queensland Business School

Chartered Institute of Bankers

Associate of Corporate Treasurers

Brisbane Broncos Leagues Club

Australia China Business Council

Youngcare Changemakers

If you enjoyed this podcast please share it with your friends. We would also love you to subscribe to the Arete Podcast on I-tunes or Stitcher to stay abreast of our latest discussions with leading CEO’s and Non Executive Directors and post your comments.

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