Image: Front row: Paul Harpur, Karena Newland (CEO uLaunch), Peter Shergold, Lisa Chaffey, Elyse Jeffress (COO Angus Knight Group). Back row: Duncan Angus, Nic Fairbank
To drive innovation, uLaunch welcomes a Board of Directors assembled for their expertise and lived experience of disability.
Nearly 40% of uLaunch staff identify as living with a disability, chronic illness or injury, bringing an unparalleled level of insight, understanding and connection to the service we offer our participants.
Meet the Board
Proffessor Peter Shergold was for 16 years an academic historian at UNSW. He then became a senior executive in the Australian Public Service for 20 years, including stints as Secretary of the Employment and Education Departments. For 5 years he was Australia’s most senior public servant, Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. After 12 years as Chancellor of Western Sydney University, he now serves as Chair of a number of private, public and not-for-profit organisations.
(Also Founder and Executive Director AKG)
Duncan entered the hospitality industry in 1985, serving in a number of managerial capacities and later focusing on recruitment services to the industry.
In 1991, Peter Knight and Duncan founded Angus Knight as a training services company, which successfully expanded operations throughout Australia, delivering training programs in every State. In 1998, Duncan led Angus Knight in a successful bid for the Federal Government’s Employment Services Contract and most recently growth success in the UK CAEHRS tenders and the acquisition of large and successful training companies, Learning Sphere, and VFA.
As Executive Director, Duncan will focus his efforts on the Groups broader growth agenda. Duncan’s vision has always been to assist people and organisations in developing their full potential using the concept of ‘lifelong learning’.
Dr Lisa Chaffey (ClinScD) is an occupational therapist, executive coach, author and Paralympian, Lisa is an experienced leader across the fields of disability, community development, occupational therapy, and sport.
As a lifelong changemaker, Lisa is passionate about improving the lives of people with a disability. She focuses on changing the bigger systems, whether through policy, standards, teaching or leading by example. Lisa has taken her experience as a wheelchair user and created learning opportunities for industry, health professional students and people with disabilities throughout the Australia Oceania region.
A Doctor of Clinical Science, she’s worked in academia as a lecturer, in course development and research, and has been on program advisory boards for three universities. She is a member of the World Health Organisation, Standards Development Group, Development of global WHO standards for wheelchair provision.
She has used her training as an occupational therapist to run peer training for wheelchair users in Fiji and a wheelchair basketball clinic in East Timor in her volunteer capacity.
As the Chief Classifier VFL Wheelchair, she developed and implemented the first-ever classifying standards for this sport based on her extensive experience as a Classifier in Wheelchair Basketball.
During her varied professional career, she’s made good use of her strong skills in stakeholder engagement, service design, curriculum and research design and operational delivery.
Professor Paul Harpur was hit by an electric train at the age of 14 and lost his eyesight. He is now a guide dog for the blind user, a duel Paralympian, lawyer and internationally acclaimed disability advocate and scholar. He is a Professor in Law at the TC Beirne School of Law, where he has taught Corporate Law and work health and safety law for over a decade, and now leads a 4-year Australian Research Council Future Fellowship focusing on disability employment. Internationally Professor Harpur is affiliated with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and an International Distinguished Fellow with the Burton Blatt Institute, New York.
Karena has over 17 years’ Executive Level experience in Employment Services, in both not for profit and commercial organisations. For most of this time, she has been in Operational Management roles, including General Manager and Chief Operating Officer roles. She also has held Executive level roles in People and Culture, and Quality Business Improvement (Audit and Compliance). She has lead projects relating to mergers and acquisitions, and been involved in a number of successful tender submissions, Service Delivery Model designs and contract implementations. In 2014, she was awarded the NESA Discovery Grant, awarded annually to a leader within the industry, which led to her accompanying the NESA CEO to an international OECD Employment forum in 2015.
(Also Group CEO and Managing Director of AKG)
Nicolas (Nic) Fairbank joined Angus Knight Group in July 2022. Previously he was Chief Executive Officer of Programmed Skilled Workforce, Australia’s largest staffing business. Responsible for Programmed’s Staffing and Training businesses, he led more than 25,000 people across Australia and New Zealand. He was appointed an APAC Executive Member in 2022 impacting thirteen countries across the region.
Nic has a history of developing strong business relationships and effective market engagement strategies. Nic has led multiple acquisitions and successful systems, process and cultural integrations.
Nic as contributed to the design and led the implementation of technology that has driven operating improvements. Nic has championed the evolution of employment models and approach to skills building in Australia through industry collaboration and innovative apprentice and trainee programs.
He is a passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion and gender equality, significantly improving indigenous engagement and female representation in leadership roles as well as participation in traditionally male dominated fields of employment.
Nic is proud to be a Board Member of CEO’s for Gender Equality (CGE) since 2019.