BEL alumni shine in annual UQ Alumni Awards

17 Aug 2015

The Governor of Queensland is among five exceptional BEL alumni who will be honoured at the annual UQ Alumni Awards on 21 October.

Each year, the university celebrates select alumni who have achieved success in their industries and significantly bettered their communities.

BEL alumni lead the way in 2015, receiving five of the 14 awards on offer - including three of the six prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Awards.

BEL Executive Dean, Professor Iain Watson said the faculty’s success was indicative of its quality academic programs that emphasise entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership.

“BEL continuously demonstrates its ability to produce business leaders and game-changers in Australia and internationally,” he said.

“Our 55,000 alumni are committed to creating positive change wherever they go.”

The recipients were selected by a committee led by UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj.  

Congratulations to the following BEL alumni:

Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Awards

His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland

Bachelor of Laws 1971, Bachelor of Laws (Honours) 1972, Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) 2000

His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC has demonstrated a lifetime of achievement and community leadership at the very highest level, culminating in his appointment as the 26th Governor of Queensland in 2014. Described as one of the state’s top legal minds, His Excellency has had an illustrious career in law, becoming a barrister at 23, a Queen’s Council at 33 and a Supreme Court judge at 36. He became Chief Justice of Queensland in 1988 at the age of 40, making him the second-youngest Chief Justice of Queensland. Beyond the courtroom, His Excellency has devoted considerable time to charitable and community initiatives, including as President of the Australian Cancer Society, Chairman of the Queensland Cancer Fund, and Chancellor of the Brisbane Diocese of the Anglican Church. This extensive community involvement was recognised in 2000 when he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Ms Catherine Tanna – Bachelor of Laws 1984

Catherine Tanna is a Member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia and Managing Director of EnergyAustralia. Born, raised and educated in Queensland, Tanna has had a long career in Australia and internationally in the resources and energy industry. As Executive Vice President of BG Group, she led the $25 billion Queensland Curtis LNG project in Gladstone, one of the largest capital infrastructure developments in Australia at the time and one of BG Group’s largest investments worldwide. She has held senior executive roles with Shell Gas & Power and BHP Petroleum, managing material oil and gas operations and business in Australia, the United Kingdom, North America, Latin America, Asia and Russia. Recently, Tanna chaired Queensland 20 (Q20), a peak group of Queensland business leaders responsible for maximising benefits from the 2014 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane. She is a board member of the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, was formerly a director of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation and is a member of Chief Executive Women.

Mr Mark Sowerby - Master of Business Administration 2003

Mark Sowerby is the Founder and Managing Director of Blue Sky Alternative Investments Limited. As Australia’s first diversified alternative asset manager, Blue Sky has changed the investment landscape by opening up a wider range of options for investors. The company, which began in a small New Farm office with just $200,000 in capital, now manages over $1 billion worth of assets, has a team of 70 staff and is listed on the ASX with a market capitalisation of more than $230m. Through Blue Sky, Sowerby has made a significant contribution to the economy by driving entrepreneurship through private equity and venture capital, and educating and leading growth in the alternatives sector. In 2013, Blue Sky won the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Award for Growth and the overall Platinum Award for its contribution to Brisbane and its economy. In 2015, Sowerby was awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Queensland (listed category).

Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Mr Michael Boyd – Bachelor of Business Management 2010

Having founded or co-founded seven businesses before the age of 25, Mike Boyd is considered a tenacious businessman with an outstanding work ethic and leadership ability. He is credited with transforming companyVroomVroomVroom into a multi-million dollar business. Boyd was hired as CEO of the international car rental comparison business in 2012, when the company had just 18 staff. Today, with over 50 staff and a global market, the company turns over $70 million annually and the value of the business has increased four-fold. He keenly shares his business knowledge and acumen with fellow young entrepreneurs through mentoring and voluntary positions in a range of community initiatives including as Director of the Australian Institute of Management’s (AIM) Young Manager Advisory Board. He also established the non-profit group The Hive Network in Queensland, where like-minded entrepreneurs meet to network and share their skills. 

Colleges’ UQ Alumni Award

Mr Steven Skala AO – Bachelor of Laws (Honours) 1978

Steven Skala has forged an impressive legacy in many sectors. He is currently the Vice Chairman of Deutsche Bank AG (Australia & New Zealand) and he holds non-executive directorship positions in many influential public and private companies including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Wilson Group Limited, BlueChilli Technology Pty Ltd, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, the General Sir John Monash Foundation and the Centre for Independent Studies. He is also a Member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art (New York). In playing a significant role in supporting and influencing education, the arts, medical and policy research, entrepreneurs and business, he ensures that important voices are being heard at all levels.

The Faculty would like to congratulate all of this year’s award-winners. The complete list of recipients can be found here