Rising Star for Young Alumni Award
The Rising Star Award for Young Alumni is presented to an individual aged 35 and under who has demonstrated an outstanding level of professional achievement and community involvement since graduating from the University of Melbourne and/or recognition by colleagues and peers of outstanding leadership and impact as a global citizen, over a period of at least five years.
Rachel Yang BA, BCom, DipML 2011
This award recognises Rachel’s outstanding level of professional achievement and community service to date. Becoming Partner at Giant Leap while consistently being a supporter and builder of the Victorian entrepreneurship ecosystem, shows her commitment to not only her own success, but that of her peers and the wider community. She is a truly deserving recipient of the Rising Star Award.
Rachel is a Partner at Giant Leap, Australia’s first 100% impact venture capital fund backing mission-driven founders solving the world's most pressing problems.
Giant Leap has invested in over 20 companies to date across three themes: health and wellbeing, sustainable living, and empowering people. Investments include Seer Medical, Australia’s largest epilepsy diagnostic service; Who Gives A Crap, a sustainable toilet paper brand that donates 50% of its profits to build toilets in the developing world; Amber Electric, an electricity retailer shifting the world towards renewable energy by providing wholesale prices directly to energy consumers; and WORK180, the only jobs platform that pre-screens employers to empower women to find workplaces that support them in their careers.
Giant Leap is performing alongside top quartile venture capital funds in Australia, demonstrating that providing solutions to our biggest social and environmental problems presents the greatest business opportunities, with no need to trade-off financial returns for positive impact.
Rachel is also the Co-Chair of Startup Victoria, a non-profit, grassroots organisation with a network of over 60,000 people dedicated to supporting founders through their startup journey. Rachel was also selected as an inaugural member of the Victorian Government’s Innovation Taskforce in 2020.
Rachel previously worked at KPMG in management consulting and corporate finance, working on major infrastructure transactions, including the Metro Tunnel Project. Rachel also co-founded a nonprofit organisation to raise funds and awareness for motor neurone disease in 2012.
Rachel completed a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Modern Languages (Italian) at the University of Melbourne in 2011.
The Leadership Award recognises an individual who has achieved significant and recognised impact in business, government or the non-profit sector through leadership in career to date.
Robin Bishop BA, BCom 1994, LLB(Hons) 1995
This award recognises the outstanding passion and leadership that Robin has demonstrated throughout his career. His role as founding partner of BGH Capital, along with his experience at Macquarie Capital, demonstrate his excellences in business. Robin’s Directorship at the Burnet Institute and ongoing work as Commissioner on the Australian Football League Commission demonstrates his commitment to community. He is a truly deserving recipient of the Leadership Award.
Robin is co-founder of BGH Capital, which was established in 2017. It is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and is an independent private equity firm, owned and managed by its founding partners. At AU$2.6 billion, BGH Capital Fund is the largest private equity fund focused on Australia and New Zealand. BGH Capital partners with entrepreneurs, business founders and management teams to help them build strong, sustainable, market-leading businesses.
Previously, Robin was Head of Macquarie Capital, Australia and New Zealand, overseeing the region’s largest investment banking team. He has led over AU$125 billion in M&A mandates and over AU$40 billion in capital-raising assignments across a range of sectors and markets
Robin is a Commissioner on the Australian Football League Commission and a non-executive director of the Burnet Institute for Medical Research. He currently serves on the Australian Takeovers Panel.
Robin received a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne.
Outstanding Achievement Award
The Outstanding Achievement Award is given to an individual who has achieved long-term, sustained and outstanding achievement and leadership in business, government or the non-profit sector.
Rod Sims AO BCom(Hons) 1973
This award recognises the outstanding passion and leadership Rod has demonstrated throughout his distinguished career. As Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), he leads one of the most challenging enterprises in the country. In addition, he has advised some of Australia’s largest companies in his role as Director of Port Jackson Partners Limited and has been involved at a high level in numerous government and private roles. Rod’s achievements in each of these roles makes him a truly deserving recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Rod was appointed Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in August 2011 for an initial five-year term, reappointed for a further three years in August 2016, and reappointed again for a further three years until July 2022, making him the longest serving Chair of the ACCC.
Rod has extensive business and public sector experience. Immediately prior to his appointment to the ACCC, he was the Chairman of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales, Commissioner on the National Competition Council, Chairman of InfraCo Asia based in Singapore, Director of Ingeus Limited based in London, and a member of the Research and Policy Council of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. As a Director of Port Jackson Partners Limited, he advised the CEOs and boards of some of Australia’s top 50 companies on commercial corporate strategy over many years. He relinquished all of these roles on becoming Chair of the ACCC.
Rod is also a past Chairman of the NSW Rail Infrastructure Corporation and the State Rail Authority and has been a director of a number of private sector companies. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, he worked as the Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible for economic, infrastructure and social policy and the Cabinet Office. He also worked as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Transport and Communications. Between 1988 and 1990 Rod was the Principal Economic Advisor to Australia’s prime minister.
Rod was awarded the Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in 2022 for his service to public administration in economic policy and regulatory roles. Rod holds a first-class honours degree in Commerce from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University
Entrepreneurial Leadership Award
The Entrepreneurship Leadership Award is presented to an individual who has achieved significant and recognised impact in the entrepreneurial ecosystem over time.
Paul Bassat BCom 1989, LLB 1990
This award recognises the innovation and leadership Paul demonstrated throughout his career. Paul is a co-founder and partner of Square Peg, which is a venture capital fund focused on empowering exceptional founders across Australia, Israel and South East Asia. He has served on the AFL Commission since 2012 and is a director of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation and the P & S Bassat Foundation.
He co-founded SEEK in 1997 and served as CEO and then as joint CEO from 1997 to 2011, and served as a director of Wesfarmers from 2012 to 2018. He started his career as a lawyer and practised for six years.
SEEK has become one Australia’s most widely used and well-known brands, and Square Peg has grown quickly to become one of Australia’s most successful venture capital firms.
He holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.
This award recognises the significant and sustained contribution Faculty of Business and Economics.
Professor Margaret Abernethy AM
This award recognises the significant and sustained contribution Professor Margaret Abernethy (Maggie) made to the Faculty. In particular, we recognise the impact Maggie had on the student cohort throughout her Deanship. Maggie has been a champion for providing the brightest minds with access to a world-class education, regardless of socioeconomic disadvantage or circumstance. For these reasons, she is a truly deserving recipient of this award.
Maggie was committed to enhancing the student experience and increasing opportunities for students and developed numerous initiatives including volunteering opportunities, new student clubs and associations, numerous case competitions and business practicums that continue to this day.
Maggie holds the Sir Douglas Copland Chair of Commerce. She provided distinguished service to the University through her leadership positions within the University. In 2004 Maggie was appointed as Dean of the Faculty. She held this position for eight and a half years before returning to her department. Maggie built a strong leadership team within the Faculty which enabled her to implement major changes. Among these was the implementation of the Melbourne Model, which was no doubt the most significant change in higher education in Australia in the last 50 years and established a high-quality graduate school. During her time as Dean, the Faculty was ranked No. 1 in Australia on published teaching and research criteria and established its position as one of the finest business and economics schools in the world. She also was successful in obtaining funding for the new building (The Spot) and participated in its design and commissioning.
Maggie recognised the importance of philanthropy to the development and advancement of the Faculty. One of the objectives of her commitment to philanthropy was to ensure that the Faculty/ University was able to provide scholarships for students in need. The Faculty was very successful in raising funds for this purpose. It did so by increasing the Faculty’s engagement with the community and alumni. She established the Industry Board with a broad cross-section of industry leaders, a Foundation Board with the purpose of fund raising and an Alumni Council with the objective of ensuring that past and future alumni of the Faculty remained engaged. The first Faculty of Business and Economics Foundation Dinner was held while she was Dean. On the completion of her term as Dean, the Faculty Industry Board, raised $1 million to create the Abernethy Leadership Scholarship to be awarded annually to two students who have made significant contributions to leadership through their engagement with industry and the community. The Margaret Abernethy Scholar Program was also established following Maggie’s time as Dean for those students who receive a scholarship under the University’s Access and Equity Scheme. She mentors all students in the program.