HCA Journal

Getting to know an HCA Member - Adil Cader

Q: What did you study at Harvard and why? 

I have always admired the work of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, given the school’s contribution towards the discussion of public leadership and policy. Especially the work of the Belfer Centre towards diplomatic practice.


I am also a fan of JFK, having drawn lessons from his leadership and diplomatic legacy. During my time at the UN in New York, I did regular trips interstate. This included the JFK memorial in Dallas, TX as well as the Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. Combining this with my tour of the Kennedy School in Boston, I was inspired to one day do a program with the school to help my interest in governance and diplomacy.


I undertook the Executive Education Program titled Leadership and Character in Uncertain Times. It was aimed at emerging leaders from around the world. I found the program interesting especially given it being tailored to adaptive leadership, something pertinent in today’s world. Whilst I had planned to visit Boston to a program on-campus in 2020, unfortunately Covid restrictions meant I had to do the program online. It was still an interesting experience! It was great to be joined by leaders across government and diplomacy on the course.


Q: What is your role with HCA? 

I am involved with the Monday Club team, through assisting with the organising and running of our monthly events.  I am very fortunate to have a supportive and talented team to work alongside. Given my background in diplomacy, I have tried to bring a theme of global affairs to our events. The highlights from this year would be hosting the International Women’s Day event with Margot Wallström (former Swedish Foreign Minister), as well as hosting DAS Sandra Oudkirk for a talk on Australia-US relations.


Q: How has your experience with Harvard impacted your career? 

The program helped deepen my analysis on various governance issues. The networks and the friendships developed from the course are life changing. Many of whom I am still in touch with and collaborate with for various projects.


Even past the program itself, being part of the HKS alumni network has been of great benefit. This includes getting access to lecture series with thought leaders. I have also greatly enjoyed being able to partake in discussions with HKS Faculty.


Q: What is your main focus right now? 

My current focus is to increase awareness and education on global diplomacy, especially towards students and young professionals. The last few years have demonstrated the need to understand the interconnected nature of the world, and the intricacies of foreign relations.


Because of this, I started a vodcast series called Talking Foreign Affairs. A Youtube series where I interview senior diplomatic officials (including former heads of state) on various thematic foreign affairs issues. By having key decision makers, reflecting on topical issues in a candid and easy to understand manner, I intend to get more young people interested in global affairs.  


Q: What have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis? 

Adaptability and creativity are important skills!


Q: What does a perfect weekend look like for you?

Cycling around Kings Park with friends, before heading down to Cottesloe Beach for the sunset. 

Rodney Marks on the Benefits of Being a Member

Alumni and Associates of Harvard University in Australia are eligible to become members of the Harvard Club of Australia (HCA) and if in Victoria, the Harvard Club of Victoria. You may ask “What’s in it for me?”  It may be helpful in deciding about this opportunity if I share the long term, positive, experience I have had with HCA. This organisation has continuously supported me and my family.


I joined the Harvard Club of Australia when I was 31, as soon as I returned to Australia with Debra and our baby son, in mid-1988. As a freshly-minted Kennedy School grad, I was keen to continue the intellectual, social and purposeful conversations that I'd had on campus. My initial membership experience did not disappoint, and I've been a member continuously since then.


How does a Harvard grad become a comedian you may ask! In 1987, as a Harvard graduate student, a classmate asked a finance professor if we really needed computer skills, or a computer. The prof. replied that it depended whether, on graduation, we would have a secretary. If we were going to have such an assistant, then we could leave the computing to them. This example of expertise overreach struck me as hilarious. And sparked the germ of a career idea. I became and remain a professional comedian.


The Harvard Club of Australia has helped me clarify my career goals and connect me with numerous audiences. I'm deeply grateful. It's an unconventional career, so a quite unusual challenge for unofficial mentors and coaches, who are my HCA friends. I've been provided with pro bono performance opportunities that have led to paid shows, and have had two book launches sponsored by the Club.


By providing a seemingly endless stream of experts presenting at Harvard Club events, I've been able to devise 350+ faux expert comedy characters. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Harvard - academics, students and graduates. I believe in experts, and in expertise, in evidence, source material, reasoning, critical thinking, logic and rationality. There are subject matter experts of depth and Renaissance men and women of breadth.


I understand that some new grads, and newly-arrived not-so-new grads, are hesitant to join the Harvard Club. That decision is unworthy of a Harvard person, and is up there with vaccine hesitancy! Being a Harvard graduate gives you a ticket to meet and learn from a huge range of impressive people. I've met many amazing people who I probably wouldn't have met otherwise, and certainly wouldn't have met them again and again, and developed real relationships with them. The Club provides many opportunities to meet other members.


Firstly, there are cultural events: parliament and government houses, historic houses, major venues of interest in Sydney, theatre, dance, literature, museums, art galleries. We've had visits to each of these and more, and we've had presentations by leaders of these artforms and institutions.


Secondly, we've had seminars by politicians of all major parties, public sector leaders, business CEOs and board members, non-profit sector leaders; and individuals of note unattached to organisations.


Thirdly, there have been purely social events, including drinks at pubs and clubs, picnics and walks.

Fourthly, there have been trips away. I fondly remember a long weekend in Canberra, where we had tours of notable institutions and presentations by parliamentarians and public sector executives and Club members.


Fifthly, there have been academic speakers, some quite technical. Many of these have been from Harvard, others with links to Harvard.


Sixthly, there have been media commentators, journalists and opinion makers.


Seventhy, and that's a word you don't hear often enough, there have been events - such as end-of-year parties - held at the private residences of Club members. These have been a great privilege to attend, and are continuing examples of the generosity of fellow Club members.


If I only spoke to people in my own field, the echo chamber effect would be a likely outcome. Being able to listen to and hear other people quiz experts in medicine, science, law, the military, the arts, social science, education, government, politics, the media and business has been like a PhD in continuing professional education. (Anyway, that's what I claim to the tax office.)


I would encourage young potential members, that is new grads, to consider this: You never know who is going to be in the room at a Club event! You could be sitting next to that executive search consultant you've been looking for, or a potential employer, or an investor. So the topic of the presentation, or the speaker, is not as crucial as simply turning up, again and again.


Such relationships last for generations. This year, a past club President mentored my youngest son, who is off to Harvard as a research engineer, and helped strategically with the bureaucratic hurdles involved in navigating the US visa system. An introduction was made to a Club member he thought could assist, and magically the visa interview was expedited! He also paid for coffee and cake on a number of occasions. How good is that!


In a few months' time I will be turning 65. As I look back on more than half a lifetime's membership of the Harvard Club of Australia, I appreciate the genuine value that it has given to me. Joining the Harvard Club of Australia is one of the best choices I've ever made.

Getting to know an HCA Member - Elizabeth A. Evatt AC


Q: What did you study at Harvard and why? 

I studied at Harvard during the academic year 1955 - 1956. I took a Masters degree in Law, with constitutional and administrative law as my main subjects. This happened because Professor Julius Stone of the Sydney University Law School encouraged me to undertake further studies and helped to organise a scholarship to Harvard.


Q: What has been your experience with HCA? 

I was introduced to the Harvard Club by my brother-in-law Harry Seidler, on my return to Australia in 1973 after having lived overseas since 1955. I have participated in some interesting events over the years, and recently I have enjoyed going to some of the  Monday lunch talks.

Q: How did your time Harvard impact your career?

Although I chose not to follow an academic career, my studies at Harvard widened my knowledge of law, and that is always valuable.

I also made some lasting friendships. 


Q: What is your main focus right now?

I retired from direct professional life some time ago. My current interests are in the reform of the criminal justice system to reduce the numbers in prison, and in particular to reduce the high over-representation of indigenous men and women in our prisons. I am a supporter of a project to provide alternative paths for women affected by the criminal justice system, in order to keep them out of prison and engaged positively in the community. 

Q: What have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis?

Like many others I have learned how to deal most effectively with Zoom and other similar programs.

I have been impressed by the way that most people are willing to comply with rules which are somewhat disagreeable in order to protect the safety of others.


Q: What does a perfect weekend look like for you?

When I worked professionally on weekdays, I liked to spend weekends at my place in the Blue Mountains.

There I would enjoy a good walk and dinner with friends

Nowadays, weekdays and weekends are not really differentiated!

Getting to know an HCA Member -  Anita Kumar

Q: What did you study at Harvard and why? 

I received the fellowship from the Ferris Family Foundation to participate in the Executive leadership program “Strategic Perspectives in Non-profit Management”. The program brings together over 150 non-profit leaders across the globe making it a fertile ground for collaboration, innovation and critical thinking.


Q: What is your role with HCA? 


Since completing my education at Harvard, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the judging panel for the “Ferris Family Fellowships Program”. Each year, we receive 40 or more applications from well accomplished non-profit leaders across the nation, who want to explore how they and their organisation can contribute to building a stronger society that is socially just, sustainable and impactful. It’s been a privilege meeting and getting to know so many leaders and their organisations.


Q: How has your time Harvard impacted your career? 


It certainly has been a life-changing experience. I was able to achieve the goals I set out to accomplish, which was to double the number of children and families we supported in a more sustainable way. Most importantly it invigorated my passion, connected me with many individuals including members of the Harvard Club, who have been extremely generous over the years with their time and advice to support children from all walks of life to have the opportunity to flourish. 


Q: What is your main focus right now? 


I am currently the CEO of Early Start a leader in early childhood education, research, leadership and support, and an entity of the University of Wollongong.  Early Start is a $44 million collaborative initiative between the Commonwealth Government, the Abbott foundation and the University of Wollongong, providing a positive impact on the life trajectories of children growing up in regional and remote Australia.


My focus is leading Early Start to support families and communities in creating opportunities for children growing up in regional and remote communities. We work with families, caregivers, educators, professionals and policy makers to create positive outcomes for young children. Early Start also hosts the Discovery Space, a children’s museum that stimulates curiosity, nurtures creativity, builds confidence, hands on learning and provides opportunities for social connection, wellbeing and development.


Q: What have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis? 


I learnt a lot about the people connected to Early Start. The team at Early Start was the lifeline during COVID, their resilience, ability to innovate, step-up and challenge themselves, take on leadership and support one another, and continue to maintain our vision to support children and families has been outstanding. COVID has taught me more about creating room for people to lead, embrace the challenge and build a culture where staff belong while further sharpening our focus in driving our vision.


Q: What does a perfect weekend look like for you? 


Spending time in the bush, long hikes clambering up rocks to enjoy the view, listening to the birds and making the most of what Mother Nature has on offer.


Getting to know an HCA Member -  Katherine Suttor

Q: What did you study at Harvard and why? 

I was in the MBA class of 2016 at Harvard Business School.  There are many reasons people undertake a masters of business administration: to transition career, to access a new salary, or to learn more about business.  For me it was as simple as chasing a life changing experience. Being a boarder in high school as well as a student at a residential college at university, I had experienced learning with and from incredible people and I wanted the chance to have the same at a top tier business school. People often ask is an MBA at HBS is ‘worth it’.  The answer comes down to what they hope to get out of it.  In my case, it is a resounding yes!  


Q: What is your role with HCA? 


My role is liaison for HBS, which is a conduit between the business school and the Harvard Club of Australia.  An important part of the role is being a source of information and connection for current, prospective and returning students.  The other part of the role is maintaining our club’s relationship with the business school professors and support faculty.

Q: How has your degree impacted your career? 


In many ways!  Perhaps it is easier to speak to the tangible way the incredible people I met because of it have influenced my career.  One of those people I had the honour to know was Vimpi Juneja (MBA 2000). When I was looking to leave management consulting, I happened to run into Vimpi at the gym.  Someone who always gave the time of day, Vimpi wanted to hear all about my plans and jumped at the chance to introduce me to a role he thought would be a good fit.  Thanks to our shared MBA experience and the person Vimpi was, he had my resume in the right hands within hours of our chance encounter.  Twenty-two months later, I am still at Qantas Loyalty.


Q: What is your main focus right now? 


Thinking of something witty to say as I write these answers…


Really, work throughout COVID has been challenging and demanding like for many others.  My focus right now is to make sure I am filling my energy jar with the most important personal and professional rocks before the sand of “small stuff” starts pouring in.


Q: What have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis? 


Professionally: I learnt that working for an airline comes with some turbulence! And being amongst genuine, supportive and inspiring colleagues is the critical ingredient in managing the profound uncertainty and change brought on by a global pandemic.


Personally: I have learnt that even in the most uncertain and destabilising of times the strength, love, courage and hope of family and friends will triumph.


Q: What does a perfect weekend look like for you? 


Three ingredients make a perfect weekend for me

  1. Outdoor sport – I love cycling, skiing, running or hiking with my partner.
  2. Brunch – which is probably throwback to dreaming of being on the other side of the café working weekends at university.
  3. An early Sunday night – It helps me feel ready of the week ahead, even though it sometimes makes me feel like a nana!

Getting to know an HCA Member - Guy de Fontgalland


 Guy de Fontgalland is an Australian citizen and HCA member who graduated from Harvard Kennedy School in 1982. The Harvard Club of Australia’s reach is wide. Like a number of our Australian members Guy lives overseas - currently working in Tbilisi, Georgia having founded ChildFund-in-Georgia – an NGO focussed on children’s’ development through village resources development and entrepreneurial skills and activities, such as organic home gardens, across the whole of Georgia. Guy has been at the forefront of finding solutions to the nation’s pressing needs to bring life into the far-flung villages through educating school children in village resources development and income generation. Within the last two years they have developed and delivered 48 workshops for about 1000 students on Village Development Through Social Enterprise. The students have gone on to develop mini business plans, using village resources to generate income. Apart from the knowledge factor, the workshops gave the students an insight into life itself and the need to explore ways and means of survival and growth.

Guy has lived and worked in Georgia for over 10 years after a number of assignments with the UNDP, World Bank IFC in Asia and the South Pacific. He also worked with the Westpac Banking Corporation while in Australia.


Guy invites Harvard Club of Australia members to explore ways and means of helping CFIG to consolidate its operations with whatever ideas and financial assistance they can offer. He also invites club members to visit Georgia where he will be pleased to organise for them to meet with school principals and children and participate in the workshops in village resources development.  


You may contact Guy at: fontgalland.childfund@gmail.com


Web: www.childfund-in-georgia.org


Getting to know an HCA Member - Q & A with Lisa George

Q: What did you study at Harvard and why? 


I completed a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.  Originally this was because I wanted to become a diplomat, having completed my undergraduate studies in Political Science (along with Chemistry and Italian...an eclectic mix!).


Q: What is your role with HCA? 


I am a past Councillor & Co-President of the Club (2008-2016) and current Chair of the HCA Ferris Family Fellowship Program (2016-present).  The latter is an annual scholarship that enables two Australian non-profit leaders to attend the highly regarded one-week program: Strategic Perspectives in Non Profit Management at Harvard Business School.  It is a privilege and highlight of my year to lead this program.  


Q: How has your degree impacted your career? 

It’s had a profound impact.  Studying at the Kennedy School changed my career trajectory away from the US Foreign Service and into politics.  I initially worked for a US Senator on his fledgling Presidential campaign, which was ultimately unsuccessful.  I then gravitated to the non-profit and philanthropic sectors, where I have since worked both in the US and in Australia.   I am currently Global Head of the Macquarie Group Foundation, overseeing the philanthropic activities of Macquarie Group around the world.


Q: What is your main focus right now? 


My main focus right now is on the personal front. My family is relocating back to Sydney from Singapore, where we moved in 2019. 


On the professional side, I’ve been busy with my team allocating a special $20 million fund to COVID-related efforts around the world.  It’s been a critical time for philanthropy to step up, so my role as a Director of Philanthropy Australia has also been a key focus.  


Q: What have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis? 


That the Harvard network is both critical and generous in a crisis.  I called on classmates and other alumni working in philanthropy around the world to find how others were responding to the crisis.  This helped inform my approach in my role as Global Head of the Macquarie Group Foundation.


Q: What does a perfect weekend look like for you? 


A swim, quality time with my family and some great meals shared with friends.  I can’t think of anything better.


Getting to know an HCA Member - Q & A with Melinda Muth

Q: What did you study at Harvard and why? 


I did my MBA at Harvard.  I first studied Design at University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Design, Architecture & Art.  I was more interested in art and architecture than commerce but I needed to earn a living.  After graduation from UC, I landed my first job and moved to Manhattan.  It quickly became clear that a strong understanding of the world of business was a requirement for success.  I applied to a number of business schools and was lucky enough to be accepted at Harvard.

Q: What is your role with HCA?


I think it’s safe to say I am a ‘rusted on Club veteran’.  I’ve held a range of roles with HCA starting with Club Councillor in 1993 and staying on to become Club President 2002-2004. While I was President, Harvard Club Australia Philanthropy (HCAP) was formed and I became an HCAP Director.  After my term as Club President, I began to play helper and informal understudy to Clive Gard on management of the annual Program for Leaders and the Non-Profit Leadership Program.  With Clive’s passing in 2014, I succeeded him as Program Director for both programs, a role I still hold even though Covid has put things on pause for the moment.


Q: How has your degree impacted your career? 


I’d have to say it was life changing, a real eye opener on career possibilities.  I have to admit I thought business was boring until I spent 2 years at HBS.  I didn’t want to leave Harvard and thought about trying to do a DBA in organisational behaviour, but personal circumstances were not right at the time.  The idea went dormant for a while but the seed had definitely been planted. Eventually I did a PhD in organisation behaviour at AGSM/UNSW.  The impact of the faculty at HBS, my respect for them and the quality of their work as teachers and developers of knowledge has had a profound impact on me.  It’s the reason for the work I have been doing for the last 20 years, from faculty member at AGSM to facilitator and Faculty Advisor at the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).


Q: What is your main focus right now?


My main focus now is work with the AICD, mainly program facilitation, but also development of course materials and writing.  I co-authored a book published by AICD ‘Setting the Tone from the Top: how director conversations shape company culture”.


Q: What have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis? 


Slowing down can be quite liberating and fun!


Q: What does a perfect weekend look like for you? 


My favourite thing to do on the weekend is invite a group of friends around and try out a new recipe with some good wine so match….life is only as good as the next meal


Getting to know an HCA Member - Q & A with Jon Lindsay


Q: What did you study at Harvard and why?


I studied “business administration” at HBS.


Before I went I had no idea of business but knew I was a good project manager, working for a UK civil engineering contractor. HBS in the 1980s still justified the label “The bootcamp of Capitalism” The Entrepreneurial Finance course run by Bill Sahlman was the highlight of my two years and I still regret not going into true venture capital after Business school. My career in Project management was fun but didn’t pay and held no promise of career progression.

Q: What is your role with HCA? 


Convenor, of the Queensland Chapter.


I joined the club when I arrived in Brisbane in 2009 and was drawn to the club to broaden my network. What I found was friends rather than an intense Business network. Indeed many of the members of the Queensland chapter are drawn from schools other than the Business School. We try to get a range of events for the Queensland members – sports events, dinner events, breakfast speakers as well as our flagship Thanksgiving dinner event and we are always keen to get local members involved in championing a particular program.


Q: How has your degree impacted your career? 


Having a Harvard MBA has allowed me to move across very different industries over my career. From engineering, I moved to run a 150 year old textiles business, then to a global strategy role in man made fibres followed by a jump into credit insurance, from which I observed with increasing alarm the excesses of the 2000s in the financial services industry.. I decided to be more adventurous and moved to Australia. I felt confident that with my Harvard background this would allow me to start again in a new country.


Q: What is your main focus right now? 


I work with CEO’s to improve their “leadership Flow”, which is ensuring that their top team talk about the right things at the right time with the right people taking ownership. Much of that is done in my role as a chair at The Executive Connection, which is part of the world’s largest CEO peer support organisation. The focus right now is helping these leaders seize the opportunities that COVID-19 has presented them.


Q: What have you learned during the COVID-19 crisis? 


In simple terms, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated business model innovation by between 3 to 5 years in less than 9 months. The opportunities provided by the global disruption caused far outweigh the risks. While acknowledging some sectors, such as aviation, will remain depressed for years, most industries are realising an acceleration of structural shifts already underway.


Q: What does a perfect weekend look like for you? 


Jane and I like nothing better than to pop over to North Stradbroke Island (“Straddie” to us Queenslanders) for the weekend. During the winter the bush walks appeal walking Mt Coo-tha, or further afield Mt Barney and the Sunshine coast. I have been known to pop down to one of my local pubs – The Breakfast Creek Hotel and have a Beer off the Wood – the nearest thing you can get to traditional

  British beer!

Getting to know an HCA Member - Q & A with Tom Saar

Q: What did you study at Harvard and why? 


I earned my MBA in 1987. I studied engineering at Cal Berkeley but soon realised that I had no intuition for engineering.  So business seemed like a good way to go. HBS was a huge learning experience both in and out of the classroom.  The Socratic cas