Gauri Bhalla

As the founder of Curious Collective Gauri is an educator entrepreneur and social innovation driver. She is a practitioner of lean start up and ‘learn by doing’ methodologies. Her passion is to explore and challenge business models, to extract shared value. Gauri started her career as an accountant and marketer in the corporate world with PwC and WorldCom, then found her vocation in education and has worked for Universities such as Cambridge and Stanford and the UTS Business School in Sydney as well as designing and running the Experimentation program for CBA.

Gauri is also Faculty at The School of Life, where she teaches "How to Think Like an Entrepreneur". Gauri finds people irresistibly interesting.  She understands the power of continuing education to transform and enable individuals and organisations to fulfill their potential.


Inge Cootjans

Inge is a proven entrepreneurial specialist in the field of commercial design execution.
She is always focused on creating value for both businesses and customers, combining future focused customer centric design with a high level of commercial acumen.

Inge has spent the last 19 years working across a wide range of industries partnering with companies likes CBA, Unilever, Suncorp, and Nestlé globally and locally to unlock transformational change and growth.


Steve Pozel

Steve’s career has covered areas including design, digital media, publishing, education and enterprise. His research and work in creativity, design-led innovation and leadership development has been the catalyst to consult to a broad range of industry from banking and telecommunications to mining and property development, and from cultural and community organisations to State and Federal Governments.

Steve has been a course lecturer in management at the University of NSW and the Banff School of Management, Canada and continues to be a faculty member at The School of Life, Sydney where he teaches programs on mindfulness and creativity.  Prior to joining the Curious Collective, Steve was CEO and Creative Director of the Australian Design Centre for over a decade.

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Jennifer  Pangas

Jennifer Pangas is a passionate design thinker and HR leader. Trained in Corporate Innovation at Stanford Business School  she brings expertise in design thinking combined with 17 years in consulting and corporate HR roles. Over this time  she has led teams in Europe and Asia Pacific in talent management, performance, branding, diversity, leadership, learning, culture and engagement. 

She has built award-winning HR programs that have been recognised as Australia's best. She was recently  acknowledged by HRD Magazine as leading one of the most Innovative teams in 2017, based on her work in the area of Leadership. 

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Vanessa Beggs

With over 20 years’ experience across the corporate, government and not for profit sectors, Vanessa is a strong leader who uses a collaborative approach to transform businesses and motivate others to achieve outstanding results. Vanessa has held a number of executive roles in strategy, change management, cultural transformation and organisational development predominantly with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Her key achievements are leading the creation and adoption of new workplaces and new ways of working, including innovation practices such as design thinking and experimentation. With a constant thirst for learning, she has carved a unique career path through creating opportunities and taking measured risks.  Vanessa sits on the Advisory Board for the School of IT, University of Sydney, is a Judge of the Eureka Prize, is Faculty at The School of Life and an ardent advocate of STEM education.  An agile thinker, Vanessa loves to make transformative change and thrives on ambiguity, complexity and scale.


Julian Kezelmen

Julian is an experienced innovation advisor, facilitator, and coach. 

After an early career in banking, Julian found a love for innovation and it's power to breathe fresh life into the workplace experiences of employees and the future prospects of small and large businesses. 

Julian works with leading innovation methods - Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Business Model Innovation - leading project teams in large Australian corporates, including Westfield, Perpetual and Mirvac, and in the public sector.

He combines deep commercial expertise with new ways of thinking and working to deliver outcomes that are as innovative as they are impactful. 

At the Curious Collective, Julian works to foster organisational entrepreneurship, spark creative energy in teams and bring about personal transformations in people

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Margaret Cheng

Margaret has extensive experience in corporate, startups and social enterprises which allows her to communicate efficiently and efficiently with people from diverse disciplines and cultures. She is valued for helping clients build and grow an innovation culture and working collaboratively with people and teams to push the boundaries of innovation by applying methods such as design thinking.

Margaret thrives in creatively building skills, learning experiences and networks needed for purpose driven entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs


Shannon Carruth

With 20 years experience across corporate, non-profit and government sectors, Shannon is passionate about innovation, social impact and cross-sector collaboration. Shannon’s strength is in her ability to maximise opportunities to create shared value through partnerships as displayed through her work with Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, NSW Community Relations Commission, Starlight Children’s Foundation, MBF and ING DIRECT.  Leading ING DIRECT’s Dreamstarter initiative,

Shannon is actively building shared value partnerships to grow the eco-system of support for social enterprise in Australia including crowdfunding, capacity building support and mentorship and relationships with initiatives such as Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s REMARKABLE Incubator. Creativity, collaboration, creating shared value, and community and employee engagement are her key strengths.


Michelle Tabet

Michelle is an Independent Strategy Director specialising in urban development. Her role is to inject fresh thinking, facilitate a robust process and develop the leadership capabilities of the teams she works with. She is part Innovation Coach, part Strategy Director, part Placemaker and her role is to challenge, disrupt and guide teams to new creative and strategic ideas. She brings to her projects and clients a global view and local perspectives, having lived in France, the UK, the US, Lebanon and Australia and she remains connected to a broad network of collaborators, friends and inspirations.


Melanie Owens

Mel is an expert in helping organisations identify true customer-centric value growth and develop innovation opportunities from this basis. She has worked on strategic brand, corporate & human organisational re-design projects with local and global teams in organisations such as Colgate Palmolive, Nestle, Sanitarium, CBA, Disney, Eli Lily and the Yoga Foundation. She is a skilled facilitator, coach and trainer, helping teams to collaborate for impactful outcomes. Having worked & lived across Asia Pacific, Mel brings her experience of developed & developing world organisations & cultures as a lens for each new challenge, in a human-centred design way. 


Emma Wood

Emma has held roles in small & large organisations, in Australia, the US & the UK working in a broad spectrum of industries, some of which include health, hospitality, telecommunications, entertainment and marketing. Emma’s career is defined by her ability to manage senior executives and their teams. She brings to Curious her strengths as an adaptable and professional administrator, trainer & ‘doer’.


Janine Tavares

After studying Cost and Management Accounting Janine worked as a Management Accountant and Finance Analyst at several large corporates in Australia, England and South Africa.

She has accumulated a broad range of skills through varied exposure to companies such as Commonwealth Bank, William M. Mercer, Bausch & Lomb Inc, Andersen Consulting, Old Mutual Asset Managers, Chase Manhattan and Merrill Lynch.

She brings with her a wealth of industry experience and a diligent, meticulous and structured approach to her work at Curious Collective.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much
— Helen Keller