Skip navigation

Our People

Our people work to ensure we are deeply connected with experts in science, technology, industry, government and civil society, including within regional and remote Australia.  Our core team includes former Ministers of Government, business leaders, community representatives and open-minded systems thinkers. All share a commitment to creating powerful blueprints  for meaningful reform which are informed by the reality of the natural world, community needs and political realities.  


People

Liana Downey - Acting CEO
Liana Downey
Acting CEO
Liana is an accomplished leader with expertise in health, energy/climate and education. She has more than two decades of experience providing strategic and policy advice to state and Federal Governments, both as leader of McKinsey & Company's public sector and sustainability practices and as CEO of a boutique consulting firm with offices in Australia and the US. She was Deputy Secretary, Strategy & Delivery for the NSW Department of Education, Adjunct Associate Professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Policy, is an experienced Board Director (GAICD), holds an MBA from Stanford (Arjay Miller Scholar), and is the author of the numerous articles and Mission Control: How Nonprofits and Governments Can Focus, Achieve More and Change the World (Taylor and Rutledge).
Harry Guinness - Co-Founder
Harry Guinness
Co-Founder
Harry is a public and foreign policy professional with broad experience across private and non-profit sectors. His passion for strong and vibrant liberal democracy, and evidence-based policy led to his co-founding Blueprint Institute. Harry was adviser to Australia's Foreign Minister and the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, the Hon Julie Bishop, on key portfolio areas including international development, Africa, South Asia, and climate change. He has worked in public health and education campaigns in Kenya, Brazil and Australia. Harry holds Bachelor Degrees in Economics and Politics from the Australian National University and an MPhil in International Development from the University of Oxford. His research and opinion pieces have featured in The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, The Mandarin, ABC Online, and The New Daily.
Josh Steinert - Senior Economics Associate
Josh Steinert
Senior Economics Associate
Josh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) from the University of Oxford and a Master of Science in environmental economics from the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy & Resources at University College London. He is an experienced researcher and economist. His previous work has addressed a wide range of topics ranging from constitutional reform to energy policy and many areas in between.
Mark Ouliaris - Policy Associate
Mark Ouliaris
Policy Associate
Mark holds a Master of International Relations from the University of Melbourne (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science (First Class Honours) from McGill University. His published research has centred on a spatial analysis of Canada’s renewable energy endowment and a pathway towards decarbonisation. Prior to joining Blueprint Institute, his passion for pragmatic and evidence-based policy reform led to stints at the Institute of Health and Social Policy at McGill University—a multidisciplinary institute for research in support of effective social policy—and Reset Australia—an initiative working to counter digital threats to democracy across the world.
Tom Barrett - Operations Associate & Researcher
Tom Barrett
Operations Associate & Researcher
Tom recently received First-Class Honours for his thesis in Politics at the University of Sydney examining the conduct of China, and other nations, in elections for United Nations Specialised Agencies. This followed completion of his Bachelor of International and Global Studies, majoring in Political Economy and Government & International Relations. He was also selected to work in the the Sydney University Policy Reform Project, studied Populism, Authoritarianism and International Relations at the Freie Universitat Berlin and Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB) overseas, and has previous experience working with community social justice organisations.
Jessica Coburn - Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Jessica Coburn
Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Jessica has over 10 years of experience working as a high-level Executive Assistant and Office Manager. Her previous employers have included the University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and University of East Anglia. She previously resided in the UK and has a myriad of experience with different organisations (including a major book distributor and the Premier League). Her interests include adding to her extensive cookbook collection, restoring vintage furniture and gardening. Jessica recently completed Mental Health First Aid training.
Joshua Grice - Researcher
Joshua Grice
Researcher
Josh is a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Queensland completing a dual degree in Economics (Quantitative Methods) and Arts (History). He has a strong interest in both domestic public policy and global economic development sparked by a representative debating career, success in co-authoring a winning proposal for the 2020 Stanford/MIT COVID-19 Policy Hackathon, and his recent announcement as a New Colombo Plan Scholar (Singapore) by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Josh has experience as a research assistant in political economy, volunteer consultant for the QPHRA and in a variety of tutoring, coaching and community leadership roles inspired by his passion for young people and the power of education.  
Ali Jafferjee - Researcher
Ali Jafferjee
Researcher
Ali holds a Bachelor of Business in Economics and Business Strategy from Monash University. His previous experience at a Sri Lankan public policy think tank fostered a strong background in economics and public policy. As a researcher, he has worked on projects which address a wide range of social and economic issues such as advocating the alleviation of the tax on sanitary napkins and formulating a post-pandemic economic recovery plan.
Kate Green - Researcher
Kate Green
Researcher
Kate is currently in her penultimate year of a Bachelor of Economics/Arts degree at the University of Queensland, with plans to complete Honours in 2022. Within Arts, she majors in Psychology to complement her strong interest in Behavioural Economics and Public Policy. Kate has previously worked as a tutor for other university students and has volunteered as a consultant for YMCA and as a blog-writer for UQ.  
Zach Hayward - Researcher
Zach Hayward
Researcher
Zach is completing his honours year of a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics at the University of Queensland with a major in economics. His thesis investigates the causal impact of antenatal alcohol consumption on child health outcomes, while correcting for misreporting. Zach has research experience in criminology and health economics with a focus on applying econometric methods. He tutors in econometrics and microeconomics at UQ. He has created a novel data set of Australian Home Care Package providers which has resulted in published research. Zach has also led teams of student consultants working with community groups and not-for-profits and co-managed the UQ Student Managed Investment Fund.   
Tom Akhurst - Summer Research Scholar
Tom Akhurst
Summer Research Scholar
Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in politics and international studies from the University of Melbourne. He recently completed his thesis which investigated China’s revisionist foreign policy observed through its Digital Silk Road telecommunications initiatives in the Pacific. Tom was previously speechwriter and policy researcher to the federal Assistant Minister for Industry, Energy, and Emissions Reduction. He has also studied abroad at King’s College London and is concerned about threats to liberal democracy in the emerging information age. In his spare time, Tom is passionate about mental wellbeing and volunteers at Lifeline.
Nathan Twibill - Researcher
Nathan Twibill
Researcher
Nathan has recently graduated from a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Sydney, where he is also completing a Bachelor of Laws. He has achieved Dean’s List and first in subject awards at Sydney Law School. Nathan is a tutor at the University’s School of Economics, and enjoys teaching leadership and group management for Australian Army Cadets. He has participated in the University of Sydney Policy Reform Project and Summer Innovation Program, in the latter proposing a model for use of machine learning technology in wage underpayment investigations. He has studied the political economy of public policy at the London School of Economics, and written policy commentary as a columnist with Justinian: Australian Legal Magazine.  

Board Members

Lachlan Crombie - Co-Founder & Board Director
Lachlan Crombie
Co-Founder & Board Director
Lachlan has a strong background in law and government. Lachlan worked in the NSW Government in a variety of roles, in both Houses of Parliament. Lachlan was responsible for significant legislative reforms while working for Nationals member and now Deputy President, the Hon Trevor Khan MLC. He also worked for the State Attorney General, and was in charge of criminal law policy. He is now the Director of Political Engagement at PremierState and PremierNational. Lachlan holds a Bachelor of Laws from Queensland University of Technology and a Master of Business (Sports Management) from Australia’s leading Sports Management School at Deakin University, Melbourne.  
Hon Lisa France - Board Director
Hon Lisa France
Board Director
Lisa has worked at the highest level of State Government and the energy sector. She is currently Global Head of Corporate Affairs at Energy Developments. Previously, as an LNP member for the seat of Pumicestone, QLD she was appointed Assistant Minister for Natural Resources and Mines 2012-2014, and Assistant Minister for Finance Administration and Regulatory Reform 2014-2015. Immediately after her parliamentary career Lisa worked in as Australian Energy Regional Director for Hatch, a global energy, metals and mining company.
Hon Jenny Gardiner - Board Director
Hon Jenny Gardiner
Board Director
Jenny Gardiner is a life-long campaigner for rural and regional communities.  As a Nationals member of the NSW Legislative Council (1991-2015), Jenny was Deputy President of the Legislative Council (2011-15) and The Nationals Deputy Leader in the Legislative Council (2000-15).  Jenny chaired/served on a multitude of parliamentary inquiries, eg, rural health, regional and metropolitan transport, planning, regional development, privileges, electoral law.  A former General Secretary of the NSW Nationals (the first woman to hold such office in any NSW party), Jenny actively works to see more women in politics.
Ian Hancock - Co-Founder & Board Chair
Ian Hancock
Co-Founder & Board Chair
Ian is Managing Director at PremierState and PremierNational, a leading public policy and corporate affairs consulting firm that advises across a range of industries on how to achieve outcomes with State and Federal Governments. Ian is also a Founder and Director of Clean Energy Strategies, a renewable energy consultancy that specialises in procuring renewable energy for large energy users. Ian studied a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Business (Economics) at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Kevin McCann - Board Director
Kevin McCann
Board Director
Kevin McCann is Chairman of Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited and China Matters and a Director of E&P Financial Limited. He is a Trustee of the Sydney Opera House Trust, a Member of the Champions of Change Coalition, a Presiding Pro Chancellor of the University of Sydney, a member of the John Grill Institute of Projects – Advisory Board, a Member of Barker College Council and Origin Foundation Pty Limited and a Director of the Australian Haydn Ensemble Inc. He is a former Chairman of Macquarie Group Limited and Macquarie Bank Limited, Origin Energy Limited, Healthscope Limited and ING Management Limited, Fellow of the University of Sydney and former Chair of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust and the National Library of Australia Foundation and Vice Chairman, New Colombo Plan Reference Group and a former Director of the United States Studies Centre. Kevin practised in Commercial Law as a Partner of Allens Arthur Robinson (now Allens) from 1970 to 2004 and was Chairman of Partners from 1995 to 2004. Kevin has a Bachelor of Arts and Law (Honours) from Sydney University and a Master of Law from Harvard University. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2020 for services to the business, corporate governance, and as an advocate for gender equity.

Strategic Council

The Hon Bruce Baird AM
The Hon Bruce Baird AM
Bruce Baird was elected to the NSW Parliament in 1984 and held a number of shadow portfolios including Transport, Aboriginal Affairs and Finance. On election of the Greiner Government, Bruce was appointed as Minister Of Transport and Roads. In 1990 he was appointed Minister of Sydney's successful Olympic Games, and in 1993 became Minister for Tourism. He was elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in 1993. In 1998 he was elected to the Federal Parliament where he was Chairman of a number of committees including the House Economics Committee. Upon leaving Parliament he joined a number of industry boards in the tourism, transport and arts sectors.
Cameron Hepburn
Cameron Hepburn
Cameron Hepburn is a Professor of Environmental Economics and Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Holding degrees in law and engineering from the University of Melbourne and a doctorate in economics from Oxford, Professor Hepburn has served as Managing Editor of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy and Associate Editor of the European Economic Review. He is a leading authority on environmental economics, and regularly advises national governments such as China, the UK and Australia, as well as international institutions [such as the World Bank, IMF, OECD and UN].
The Hon Robert Hill AC
The Hon Robert Hill AC
Robert Hill was a member of the Australian Senate from 1981 to 2006, representing South Australia. Robert was Leader of the Government in the Senate from March 1996 until his resignation in January 2006. He has held a variety of portfolios, including as Minister for the Environment 1996 – 1998 and Minister for the Environment and Heritage 1998 – 2002. In June 2012 Robert was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the Parliament.
Wendy Machin
Wendy Machin
Wendy Machin is an experienced Chair and non-executive Director currently sitting on Boards in the public, private and NFP sector. Wendy was the first female member of the Nationals elected to the New South Wales Parliament. During this time Machin served as Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Roads and Assisting the Minister for Transport. Machin is a former President and Director of the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA), Director of Destinations NSW, Chair of Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) and Committee Member of the Olympic Stadium Committee.
Gisele Kapterian
Gisele Kapterian
Gisele is Director of Public Sector Strategy in the Asia Pacific region at Salesforce. She has extensive experience providing strategic advice to governments and corporations on a range of legal, business, political and public policy issues. A lawyer by training with international experience including Geneva and London, Gisele most recently served as political adviser to three Australian Federal Cabinet Ministers, including as Chief of Staff in the super-portfolio of Industry, Innovation and Employment. Gisele has a Masters of International Law from Cambridge University and was admitted as a lawyer of the NSW Supreme Court in 2007.
The Hon Adrian Piccoli
The Hon Adrian Piccoli
The Honorable Adrian Piccoli served as a Member of NSW Parliament for 19 years and as the NSW Minister for Education for 6 years from 2011 until 2017. Adrian is widely respected by the Australian education sector. He led the political campaign to reform school funding in Australia and is currently the Director of UNSW’s Gonski Institute for Education. In 2017 Mr Piccoli was made a Professor of Practice in the School of Education at UNSW and has also been made a Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.
Michael Priddis
Michael Priddis
Michael Priddis is the CEO of Faethm.ai, a fast growing Australian start-up that enables companies and governments to navigate and prosper from emerging technologies including AI, robotics, advanced materials and IoT. He is an expert surrounding the future of work and a Member of World Economic Forum’s Global AI Council. Michael previously worked as a Partner and Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group.
Anna Skarbek
Anna Skarbek
Anna Skarbek is the CEO of ClimateWorks Australia. A former banker and green policy adviser, Anna has led ClimateWorks since its creation in 2009, analysing emissions reduction opportunities and partnering with business and government to unblock barriers to a low carbon economy.

Sign up to our mailing list here