20 influencers worth knowing about

To commemorate Pesel & Carr’s 20th year, we are publishing a series of our top 20 tips, recommendations, insights and more, right here on our website! In this edition, we are highlighting 20 of the most influential Australians of the last 20 years, who have kept various industries bristling with innovation and excitement.



Glyn Davis

Kicking off our list is the Vice-Chancellor of Australia’s most prestigious and highly-ranked university, Professor Glyn Davis of the University of Melbourne.During his twelve-year reign, Davis has revolutionised the university’s academic structure, implementing what’s known as the Melbourne Model. The six USA-style liberal arts degrees he’s put in place, have seen the University become more popular and respected than ever before.

Linda O’Brien

The illustrious Pro Vice Chancellor of Griffith University, Linda O’Brien, is perhaps one of the most inspirational women in education today. Recognised by the Australian Financial Review/ Westpac’s 100 Most Influential Women award in 2014, O’Brien has consistently proven that women can be top-notch leaders. She has dedicated her entire career to ensuring all social groups are included in education. “I think equity in education is essential”, she says, “Diversity of opinion, multiculturalism and linguistic diversity are also important.”



Adrian Turner

Nationally renowned tech entrepreneur, Adrian Turner, CEO of Data61, is our very own innovation genius. From his breakthrough ideas in various industries, to his work with CSIRO, Turner has helped lead the nation’s fourth industrial revolution. Turner has brought emerging professions, such as personalised medicine, agribusiness and the recent wave in hardware, to the forefront of society and continues to push great ideas likely to be adopted by generations to come.

Claire Mula

Fashion forward people, this one’s for you. Director and co-founder of Sprooki, Claire Mula, introduced the digital marketplace to the world in 2011. The technology helps retailers’ reach potential customers via smartphone, where they can make offers and increase their visibility in a very competitive industry. The company has already made waves in 70 major shopping malls in Southeast Asia and boasts a partnership with over 3500 retailers, – there is no sign of it slowing down soon.



Michelle Payne

In 2015, Payne whipped her way into history when she became Australia’s first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup in its 155 year history. This milestone, immortalised in Payne’s 2016 Australia Hall of Fame award, has sparked a wide attitudinal shift towards women in sports. As Payne herself has declared, “women can do anything and we can beat the world”.

Payne has also received the Don Award for the “sportsperson who, through their achievements and example over the last 12 months, is considered to have most inspired the nation”. In October last year it was revealed that the actress Rachel Griffiths will be making a film about Payne’s incredible journey: Ride Like A Girl.

Arthur ‘Big Artie’ Beetson

The first Aboriginal Rugby League player to captain Australia in any major sport has also been described as “the greatest attacking forward of his generation”. Beetson sent entire stadiums into a frenzy after taking charge in the Kangaroos match against France in 1973, leading Australia in the 2nd Test of the 1974 Ashes series and then in six World Cup Games. The football superstar turned coach was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 1987 for his contributions to rugby league and is further commemorated in Queensland’s Indigenous Hall of Fame and by a statue in Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.



Ian Frazer

Dubbed as “God’s Gift to Women” by The Weekend Australian Magazine, Ian Frazer’s vaccine for cervical cancer has seen him win CSIRO’s Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science in 2005, 2006 Australian of the Year, the Howard Florey Medal for Medical Research in 2007 and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Frazer is also responsible for preventing the deadly Human papillomavirus, or HPV, in boys and men across the nation. A true hero for many.

Sophie Scott

Sophie Scott’s prolific career as a national medical reporter for the ABC has raised awareness of many health issues affecting  Australia – most notably, the preventive measures that we can take to stop birth defects and miscarriages.  Scott has received numerous awards for her ground breaking reporting, including the Australian Museum Eureka award and the Health Research in the Media award. The latter was for her remarkable ability to communicate intricate medical terms to the general public.



Tim Costello

Not just Peter Costello’s brother, Tim Costello is a man of serious moral conviction who has been the CEO of World Vision Australia for more than a decade. In acknowledgement of his various crusades against social wrongs, Castello was voted as Australia’s most influential figure in the not-for-profit sector in 2014. Described as a leader and a visionary who “walks the walk”, Costello said after his win that he thinks  “our sector’s the glue for Australia”, particularly as people are feeling hopeless and grumpy and let down by political leaders. I think our whole sector is really the hope-giver so to be honoured in that way is fantastic.” Nobel peace prize, anyone?

Cassandra Goldie

A fighter against the evils of gender and age stereotyping, this human rights activist is perhaps the closest Australia has to a real life superhero. Before becoming CEO of the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) Cassandra Goldie was Director of the Sex and Age Discrimination Unit at the Australian Human Rights Commission, and worked with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. In 2012, Goldie was named as one of Westpac/Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence: “she is a fabulous advocate for people experiencing poverty and inequality in Australia, always speaking from a strong and respectful values base.”



Lucy Turnbull

Not only is she Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s wife, Lucy Turnbull is “his most trusted confidante” (the Australian Financial Review) and a very smart, successful cookie herself. Turnbull is a respected city planner, Sydney’s former lord mayor, Chair of Prima Biomed, Chief Commissioner of the Great Sydney Commission, a director of the Grattan Institute and chief patron of the National Portrait Gallery. Whew. Nicola Wakefield Evans praises Turnbull as an “’esteemed woman that straddles a number of spheres of influence: government, business, local communities and interest groups, particularly in the property sector.”’ Our next Prime Minister, perhaps?

David Rohrsheim

Did anyone expect our taxi services would be so quickly and completely overtaken by  downloadable application known as Uber?  The mastermind behind this new business giant is its general manager, David Rohrsheim, a man whose success is every young entrepreneur’s dream. Not only did he “crack the nation’s taxi monopoly” and take Uber from completely illegal to (almost) completely legit with a few lobbying manoeuvres and a simple grassroots PR campaign, Rohrsheim single handedly manages a US$6.4 billion chauffeuring empire. Oh, and he also introduced Australia’s very own UberEats food delivery service too.



Dr Tim Flannery

Regarded as one of Australia’s best scientists as well being one of its best-selling authors, Dr Flannery has many strings to his bow. He is an expert mammalogist, paleontologist, and a game-changing environmental and global warming activist with a gift for making science accessible. In 2007, Flannery was named Australian of the Year for his contributions to the Copenhagen Climate Council, an international climate change awareness group.

Ronni Khan

As founding director of the non-denominational and not-for-profit organisation Ozharvest, Ronni Khan well-deserved her award of Australia’s Local Hero in 2010. Committed to finding and redistributing unwanted food from restaurants, retailers, food outlets and corporate kitchens, Khan has built Ozharvest into an organisation that nourishes at-risk people across  Sydney, Canberra, Wollongong, Newcastle and Adelaide. Khan was a finalist in two categories of Telstra Business Women’s Awards in 2008.


That’s it for now. We hope your head isn’t spinning from all this high-achievement! It was hard to narrow the list of influencers to 20 people. Who do you think we’ve missed? Are there movers and shakers in your world that Australia should know more about?