Alumni Panel and Networking Dinner


What do you get when you bring together entrepreneurs, influential leaders and an engaged audience who are all focused on developing a mindset for success?

The opportunity to influence the next generation.

We held our first professional development event in collaboration with the RMIT Entrepreneurship Association (REA) on Friday 15th April 2016 at RMIT’s SAB Building.

This year’s Alumni Panel focused on the topic of ‘Creating Mindsets for Success’. The stringent job market has seen to the increase in competitiveness for graduate and entry level positions. Many people will hear the words ‘no’, ‘unfortunately’, ‘we regret to inform you’, before they’ll hear a much wanted ‘yes’.

But how do you overcome the most challenging part – your mind? That is what we asked our esteemed panel members.

Throughout the night we learnt about the different definitions for the term ‘success’ and the pathways towards it. Paul Gough explained that success is ‘fluid’ – meaning that each achievement is a stepping stone to the next. And that the concept of ‘constraint’ is sometimes the liberating factor of success, and the necessary evil that drives you to continuously push your boundaries.



Sandra Arico defined success to be the ‘sweet spot’ between passion, purpose and profit. She went on to explain that this sweet spot is about being connected and finding a deeper meaning through the alignment of values rather than focusing on materialistic outcomes.

Our Chapter Advisor, Sally Brooks, mentioned throughout her 25 years in education that those with the ability to be resilient and maintain an optimistic outlook on life were more likely to achieve what they set their minds to. She also talked about the stand-out qualities of passion, honesty, enthusiasm, and tenacity in students.

The main point that was driven home was shared by Kane Hooper and Christine Teo. Kane advised us to ‘play in traffic’ and not sit on the sidelines, whilst Christine encouraged us to ‘make valuable contributions to the wider community in order to make a difference’.

The panel also touched on the importance of rest, and the secret to finding balance. As Christine said, “be comfortable with the fact that you can’t have it all…at the end of the day, what is important to you?”. For those of us who are driven, it was also refreshing to hear that ‘life is a marathon and not a sprint’, and that it was important to slow down and take one step at a time.

The night concluded with a networking dinner at Zam Zam Cafe with the panel members, where we delved deeper into our discussion over delicious Indian and Malaysian food.


One of the highlights of the night is when our panel moderators and Co-Founders of REA, Bridget Dunne and Matthew Race, interrupted the panel to read us Dr Seuss’ book ‘Oh the places you’ll go’.

“Be your name,

Today is the day,

Your mountain is waiting,

So get on your way!”

All in all, the Alumni Panel was a great success, and we all took something away that better positioned ourselves for tackling life’s curve balls.
A massive thank you to all who attended and helped out with the event. We are also deeply thankful and appreciative of our panel guests and moderators, who contributed their wisdom and experience! We look forward to hosting more events like this!

Author: Farrah Lisa – Vice-President

Our Panel Members 

Paul Gough RWA – Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President, RMIT University

Paul-Gough-VCE_GOV-640x639Professor Paul Gough RWA is Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President of RMIT University, based in Melbourne, Australia. Paul is also head of the RMIT Sustainability Committee. A painter, broadcaster and writer, he has exhibited internationally and is represented in the permanent collection of the Imperial War Museum, London, the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, and the National War Memorial, New Zealand. In addition to roles in national and international higher education, his research into the imagery of war and peace has been presented to audiences throughout the world.

Sandra Arico – Senior Manager, Fastrack Innovation Program

Sandra Arico Sandra Arico is an RMIT Golden Key member representing the next generation of young leaders. Graduating from RMIT with an Entrepreneurship degree, two prestigious university awards – the RMIT Business Medal and the Patricia Guthrie Memorial Award – and a successful entrepreneurial events-based start-up, she was scouted by the CEO of Deloitte Digital to help drive digital innovation in a conservative professional services firm. The last five years have seen Sandra bring her vision, creativity and commercial talent to CSIRO, to start-ups and community-building initiatives, and now to RMIT, where she manages a thriving industry-based innovation accelerator program, Fastrack Innovation. Sandra is passionate about harnessing the capability of others, and believes strongly in empowering those she works with to turn their ideas into reality.

Kane Hooper – Business Turnaround Specialist

Kane HooperKane Hooper is a Deakin Golden Key member, a business turnaround specialist with extensive experience as a General Manager, as well as author of ‘Business CPR: How to save failing companies’. As the 2015 Deakin Golden Key Chapter President and recipient of the Dean’s Award while studying his MBA, Kane is passionate about academic excellence and transforming businesses and individual  mindsets for success. From office cleaner to General Manager within 12 months, Kane tells a story that inspires individuals to harness their networking skills. Kane continues to use his business skills and knowledge to develop student leaders, recover failing businesses, develop and teach the Work Integrated Program at Deakin University, and contribute on the Deakin Academic Board, Teaching and Learning Committee and the MBA Advisory Board.

Christine Teo – Founder of Generation 414

Christine TeoA Monash Golden Key member and winner of the 2015 RMIT Business Plan Competition, Christine Teo is the Founder of Generation 414, whose vision is to reach, rescue and restore women whose lives have been negatively impacted by the sex industry through the sale of handmade jewellery, bags and clothes. Christine is committed to advocating for social change through sustainable businesses with ethical principles and practice. A social worker by trade, Christine’s work experience and research in the area of community development and trafficking has led her to Asia, Europe and the United States. When Christine is not in Australia raising awareness of social issues such as poverty, mental illness, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, she can be found in the bars and brothels of Thailand doing outreach and building relationships with the girls, hoping to provide an alternative life to the one they never chose to be in in the first place.

Sally Brooks – Manager of RMIT Careers & Employability

Sally BrooksSally Brooks is the Manager of RMIT Careers & Employability, and Chapter Advisor for the RMIT Golden Key Chapter. Throughout her career, Sally has helped countless students and staff develop their careers and leadership potential. Sally is passionate about the student experience and work-readiness, in particular, integrating career development into the student curriculum. Sally works closely with the RMIT Golden Key Executive Committee to plan academic, leadership, and professional development events.


Our Panel Moderators

Bridget Dunne – President and Co-Founder of the REA

12822904_10208107473636517_2070548739_oBridget is a RMIT Golden Key member and co-founded the REA to connect entrepreneurs to opportunities and inspire them to build the ventures of tomorrow. As the recipient of the Jacques Nasser Travel Scholarship, Bridget recently travelled to Kansas City to learn from other student entrepeurs and community leaders about how to foster a strong and interactive entrepreneurial community. In her role as President of REA, Bridget is creating a thriving ecosystem that is uniting and supporting students from all corners of RMIT to develop, launch and grow businesses. Bridget understands the importance of entrepreneurship in Australia’s future and is passionate about guiding individuals to create sustainable, positive impact ventures that address our real world problems.

Matthew Race – Vice-President and Co-Founder of the REA

12517050_10208107228430387_1275822300_oMatthew Race is a RMIT Golden Key member and two time recipient of the Jacques Nasser Business Startup Scholarship for his renewable energy business NegaWATT Australia. Matthew is also an active leader of the Fossil Free RMIT campaign to divest RMIT’s endowment from fossil fuels, and was recently selected by the Vice Chancellor to represent RMIT at the United Nations COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris. As an advocate for technological, political and economic solutions towards mitigating climate change, Matthew is leading by example through his sustainable endeavours and is inspiring individuals to take direct action.


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