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Our People

Our People

Open Colleges is built on team engagement, passion and diversity and our people are focused on a commitment to improving the standard of education opportunities available to adult learners in Australia.

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/ Our People

Our Leadership Team

The culture of Open Colleges is founded on over a century of commitment to high standards, accessibility, affordability and real engagement between students, trainers, support staff and management, as well as dedicated faculty direction.

Our people are here because they have all been students at some time, and are now top professionals in their field, committed to providing you with the best student and stakeholder experience possible.

Jose Miguel Herrera-Perea

Managing Director 

Over the past 20 years, Jose has held positions driving growth and shareholder value in Europe, Australia and Asia. Jose’s passion for education is exhibited through his studies and career choices. 

Prior to joining Open Colleges, Jose amassed a wealth of experience across iconic organisations at the cutting edge of digital such as Google, SEEK Ltd, IDP Education Pty Ltd and Fujitsu. As COO, Jose led an ASX listed start-up focused on artificial intelligence for 3 years.  

Before that, he was Executive General Manager of Open Universities Australia Pty Ltd (OUA) for 6 years. His key achievements include leading OUA's emerging digital division, globally launching Open2Study: a MOOC platform and building an engaged community of 1+ million users across 100+ countries within two years.  

In 2014, Jose was accepted by Stanford University in the Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program. His qualifications include:

  • Graduate Certificate of Business Management from Monash University  
  • Bachelor in Business Management and Organisation from Universidad Complutense de Madrid 
  • Diploma in Web Design from Dublin Business School 
  • The APAC Executive Programme from INSEAD 
  • Member of the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) 

Jose is bringing in a new era at Open Colleges, by providing new direction through transparency and collaborative leadership. 

Alexis Watt

Chief Executive Officer - Open Colleges School of Health

Alexis is the CEO of Open Colleges School of Health, specialising in nursing and health industry courses from campuses in Adelaide and Perth.  

Alexis has managed multiple national and local programs under government funding at State and Commonwealth levels, and international student pathways from South East Asia, India, Nepal and Kenya. Large scale projects in workforce development for the aged care, community care and health industries have also been led by Alexis. 

As a Board member of the national peak body for private education and training, he has unique insights into national policy for the VET sector, including funding, regulation, quality assurance and reform. 

Jaco Jonker

Executive General Manager and Chief Financial Officer

Jaco is a multifaceted leader having held executive positions across various industries.   

With a career spanning over 19 years of financial expertise, Jaco has worked in the capacity of CFO, CEO and now as Executive General Manager at Open Colleges.   

Jaco spent 10 years at South Africa’s leading e-commerce marketplace ‘bidorbuy.co.za’, where he was responsible for the overall management, growth and strategic direction of the business. He was also responsible for identifying and executing on opportunities for investment in start-ups and other complementary technology businesses, including a very successful online payments aggregator. He has also worked in financial roles at Rectron Pty Ltd as the group financial director and gained 4 years of auditing experience at Deloitte in South Africa and the USA. 

As a CFA charter holder and Chartered Accountant, he has a wealth of experience in auditing, financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, modelling, valuations, management and strategic planning.    

Jaco has gained skills across various countries, including South Africa, USA, UK and Australia. He has served on several boards of directors and executive committees spanning several industries including, distribution, online marketplaces and online payment aggregators.  

His qualifications include: 

  • Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Accounting & Finance from the University of Johannesburg.  
  • Member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) 
  • Member of CFA Institute 

Jaco joined Open Colleges as interim CFO and has now assumed the position of Executive General Manager and CFO where he is involved in finance, technology, data and course development. 

Matthew Willis

Chief Education & Experience Officer 

Matthew has over 15 years’ experience in the private education sector across Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Matthew’s experience spans across Vocational Education & Training, Higher Education and English as a Second Language (ESL) sectors and has specialised in distance and online education particularly in quality service delivery, change management, business systems, business process engineering and teaching.

Prior to joining Open Colleges, Matthew has held numerous management roles across THINK: Education Group, JMC Academy, Thomson Education, AEON and NOVA. Early in his career, Matthew worked in Japan as part of  a team pioneering synchronous online education in ESL utilizing video based conferencing.

Jeff Lim

Chief Marketing & Sales Officer 

Jeff is an accomplished senior leader, with over 20 years’ experience in marketing, business strategy and digital specialisation.  

He has worked across a range of industries including sport, leisure and recreation, education, media (digital, TV & print), news and entertainment, property, auto, employment, travel, transport, consulting and more. 

Having held C-level and senior executive marketing roles at The B Hive, ingogo, Nine Entertainment Co, The Travel Corporation, Fairfax Media and MGSM, marketing great brands like nine, Domain, AAT Kings, Daily Mail Australia, 9Now,  MyCareer, Mi9 and more. 

He holds a Masters of Management and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from Macquarie Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from Western Sydney University. Jeff is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute (AFAMI), a Certified Practicing Marketer (CPM) and has won several marketing industry awards. 

At Open Colleges, he leads the customer-facing teams prior to enrolling as a student, across the areas of sales, marketing, product and technology.  

Christine Kotsapas

Head of People and Culture

Christine is an established HR professional with over 10 years’ experience spanning across Gaming, Entertainment and Engineering Industries, with expertise in culture change, employee engagement and change management.

As the Head of People and Culture, Christine is responsible for partnering with the executive team to drive the people strategy that delivers an engaging and rewarding employee experience as well as business outcomes.

Shekher Kishore

Head of Compliance and Resolution​

Shekher is responsible for the implementation of all quality standards across the organisation. He manages engagement with various stakeholders in the VET industry and relationships with the regulatory authorities.

Shekher has over two decades of collective experience of working in the hospitality industry and the VET sector. Qualified in the areas of hospitality and management, he progressed from the role of trainer and assessor to being the head of RTOs. 

With a deep understanding of the VET sector, the broader obligatory requirements and all aspects of operations management of an RTO, Shekher works with all divisions to ensure all quality standards are adhered to at all times.

Christina Shenouda

Head of Portfolio - Finance, Business & Technology

Christina initially started her career in law and transitioned to education and training 10 years ago. Christina has worked within a broad range of sectors within the education industry, including vocational education and training, multiple top-ranking universities and corporate learning and development functions in financial services, as an Educator, Leader, Project Manager and in learning design.

She is a passionate educator at heart, and an advocate for lifelong learning.

Christina holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing), Bachelor of Law, Masters of Law and Masters of Adult Education.

Jeanette Sticker

Head of Portfolio - Education, Animal Care, Design and Trades

Jeanette has an extensive career in education beginning with primary school education before moving into the VET sector.  

Jeanette is passionate about education and manages a team of Training Operations Managers and trainer/assessors across many courses in the business. Jeanette holds a Graduate Certificate in Management (Learning), Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as well as a Diploma in Education. 

Jeanette has been a ‘lifelong learner’ and her focus is education for all. Jeanette strives to ensure students have a great learning experience ensuring they graduate ready for their industry role. 

Bill Lovegrove

Chair

Emeritus Professor Lovegrove was the Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) from 2003 until retiring as USQ’s longest serving Vice-Chancellor in December 2011.

Prior to his appointment at USQ, Emeritus Professor Lovegrove was Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Internationalisation and Commercialisation) at Griffith University. He also held senior positions at the University of Wollongong after commencing his academic career at the University of Tasmania. Throughout his career Emeritus Professor Lovegrove developed an international research profile in the area of visual information processing and dyslexia.

Emeritus Professor Lovegrove’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honors and PhD in Psychology through the University of Queensland. He also completed an Advanced Executive Program at the Kellogg School of Business of North Western University in the United States.

He has extensive committee and Board experience having represented Universities Australia on the Universities Grants Committee of the University of the South Pacific, the Board of the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), the Board of Australian University Sport and chaired the Board of Graduate Careers Australia. He has also been a member of the board of a number of CRCs and is currently the Chair of the Study Queensland Industry Council and the Board of the Smart Water Research Centre.

Jim Taylor

Professor Taylor is currently a Professor within the Australian Digital Futures Institute at the University of Southern Queensland.

He is widely acknowledged as a leading researcher in online and open education having published a number of seminal research studies in e-learning, flexible delivery and open courseware.

In 2009, Professor Taylor received the Australian Higher Education Quality Award for his meritorious service to quality advancement in Australian higher education.

Professor Taylor received the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation in 2007 for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for 25 years of sustained leadership in enhancing the quality of open and distance learning in higher education, both in Australia and internationally.

Michael Linke

Experience in legal compliance of the accounting and finance profession, developing policy guidelines and educational courses that ensure accountants operate within regulatory boundaries set by ASIC and other government agencies.

Suzanne Judge

Suzanne has worked in many fields within local government from finance, records management, property management, procurement and executive assistance, to the role she has performed for the last decade in integrated and strategic planning. She develops strategic and operational plans and policies, manages projects and engages key stakeholders within the community.

Suzanne has been a Trainer and Assessor in the Business Services Training Package for the last seven years across a number of Registered Training Organisations including Open Colleges, St George TAFE and the NSW Department of Education and Training. She currently serves our Training and Advisory Board as a representative of the Open Colleges’ community of Trainers and Assessors.

Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Business from UTS, a Postgraduate Diploma in Local Government from Charles Sturt University and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Cathy Stone

Cathy's professional background is in Social Work, student support and research aimed at enhancing student equity in higher education. 

Accredited as a Mental Health Social Worker with the AASW, and a member of the Australian College of Social Work, Cathy has a long standing interest in and commitment to student equity, widening participation and improving the student experience for increasingly diverse university student cohorts. 

Following nearly 20 years in management and counselling within Student and Academic Services at the University of Newcastle, Cathy worked with Open Universities Australia as the Director of Student Success until the end of 2014.

Marcia Devlin

Professor Marcia Devlin’s research interests and expertise span higher education policy, equity, Indigenous higher education, standards, leadership, interdisciplinarity, teaching and learning, student engagement and learning, digital education and eLearning.

Current and recent national work includes contributing to federal policy development in the area of equity and leading national studies of effective teaching and support of students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds and of effective university leadership of learning and teaching.

She currently holds an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant on international student policy.

The author and co-author of more than 360 commissioned reports, studies, and articles in international peer-reviewed journals, Marcia also writes regularly on higher education matters for newspapers. Professor Devlin launched the SHEER Centre and presented the inaugural Sounding Board Scholars address in 2013. 

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