Leigh Cunningham is a lawyer with a career as a senior executive for a number of public companies in Australia and global companies headquartered in Singapore where she lived for 12 years.
Prior to returning to Australia to take up her current position as CEO for IPWEAQ, Leigh was the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Association of Independent Authors and previously, Director Finance & Operations, Asia for Worldtrade Management Services (a business unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers).
Leigh has 24 years’ experience in membership organisations including as the CEO for the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators, Australia and concurrently as the Secretary-General for the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, and as the Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Project Management.
Leigh has three master’s degrees in law, commerce and an MBA where she graduated ‘Top Student’. She is also the author of four multi award-winning books.
It’s going to be another big year and we’ve prepared ourselves with the recruitment of four new team members for three new positions and a replacement for Paula Paul who left us to return to family in Canberra.
We’re delighted to have an engineer back on staff with the arrival of David Thilwind who has taken on the role of Director, Product Development. It is great to have someone on staff who understands ADAC! In a nutshell, David’s priorities are to:
Actively promote awareness of, and the benefits of IPWEAQ’s technical products and services to government, industry and other organisations.
Proactively gather knowledge and information from industry to guide future initiatives based on key needs and demand.
David lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and three sons. He has been consulting in the oil and gas industry for the past few years after returning to Australia from Hong Kong.
Nadia Marks joins us in a newly created role as Director, People & Capability. Nadia’s responsibilities are sector-wide and focussed on the next generation from university students to graduate programs and soft skill training programs on leadership, communication skills etc for our younger professionals. ‘Capability’ means not just our internal capabilities but the future capabilities of our sector. Nadia has recently returned to Australia after four years in Singapore.
Our professional development program continues to expand each year as we gather more and more information about the needs of the sector. And with Nadia also developing new programs, we employed Kate O’Riordan in a professional development support role - Professional Development Manager. Kate comes to us from the CCF in Sydney having moved to Brisbane with her husband and two young sons.
Celebrating Mum's 80th birthday
In Paula’s place, we have Monica Robertson as our Events & Marketing Manager. You will get to meet Monica at Gatton, in Rockhampton and of course, at the annual conference in Brisbane in October. Monica is recently married (maiden name Brennan but she assures us there is no connection to Past President Ged Brennan). Monica is also a debating champion so we may see her participation in this year’s debate. Suggestions for a topic are most welcome!
Our team is expanding and so is our capability, and we aim to make a sizeable contribution to our sector. What is not expanding is the size of our premises in Albion but for now, we all have a place to sit.
Finally, please take a moment to read our proposed new constitution. It is intentionally uncomplicated so that you don’t need a lawyer to explain how it operates. I’d be happy to discuss it with you any time you’re available.
Many of you have recently celebrated family members or friends graduating from university. Our family was in Townsville in December to celebrate the end of an era with my nephew, Jack Rycen and his girlfriend, Lara Seeger graduating with an Academic Medal and a Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery from JCU. They’ve since started their careers as young doctors at Townville Hospital. We’re very proud of them both.
And further celebrations in our family with my mum turning 80 in February. Congratulations, Mum!
Chief Executive Officer
Leigh's nephew, Jack Rycen and girlfriend, Lara Seeger graduating from JCU with a Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery with Academic Medals. Congratulations to you both!