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Bond appoints industry heavyweights to oversee 'Transformer'


Bond University has appointed four of Australia's most successful business identities and entrepreneurs to oversee its new Australia-first program, 'Transformer', which was officially launched today (Monday, May 15).

The Transformer Advisory Circle will consist of Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and Blue Sky Alternative Investments founder Mark Sowerby, Virgin Australia director David Baxby, ECP Asset Management co-founder and portfolio manager Jared Pohl and GoldBean founder and chief executive Jane Barratt.

The Advisory Circle will provide independent expert advice on the strategic direction of the Transformer and actively work to broaden and strengthen the network of external partners contributing to the new program.

Bond University has invested $2.5 million in the Transformer - a co-curricular program that is aimed at instilling 'big-picture' thinking in students across all faculties at the independent Gold Coast university. 

More than 90 students have already enrolled in the new program, which is available year-round at no cost.  The Transformer is designed to encourage exploration, enable innovation and enhance students' entrepreneurial skills, to help launch their own business, further develop an existing one or benefit the community.

The program, launched on the University's 28th anniversary, will provide unparalleled access to industry experts, mentors, academic coaches, workshops and a new cutting-edge co-working space and will challenge students to adapt, create and collaborate in preparation for today's constantly evolving workplaces.

Bond University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, said the appointment of the high-powered Advisory Circle would underpin the Transformer program.

"Each of the four members of the Circle are highly successful and respected individuals in the business and entrepreneurial space," he said.

"Having the benefit of their unique insight and experience is a real coup for our students, and will ensure this program remains nimble and responsive to the fast pace of the modern business world.

"The Transformer will challenge students - no matter what they are studying - to adopt big-picture thinking, creative problem-solving and evidence-based decision making, which are all skills that are highly valued in the workplace, so that our graduates hit the ground running."

Mr Sowerby said the Bond Transformer program gave students a platform to challenge themselves and build on their entrepreneurial experience.

“Investing in and mentoring younger generations is crucial to successful growth. Specialised areas and programs to provide this help to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow gives the economy a huge ongoing dividend through job creation, wealth creation, and innovation,” he said.

“A vibrant start-up ecosystem is one of the important pathways for people to start their own business, find the right help, establish networks and just get started.

"We hope to encourage students to take the leap and become entrepreneurs, because entrepreneurship is the best way to change your life and the lives of those around you.”

Mr Baxby, Mr Pohl and Ms Barratt are all alumni of Bond University and said they were excited to again be involved with the institution and the new cutting-edge program.

Mr Baxby said every industry was being challenged by technology and the transparency it brought to entire value chains.

"I believe those entrepreneurs who are unburdened by legacy thinking are the ones who will succeed and the Transformer is the first step to helping build some great companies," he said.

Mr Pohl said with a trend towards similarity in the world, the millennial workforce needed to challenge themselves to stand-out.

"To break the symmetry, we need to differentiate ourselves, and our economy, through the development of our people," said Mr Pohl. 

"We need to give young entrepreneurs the confidence to pursue unique ideas which solve real world problems. We don’t need another social network or product marketplace."

Ms Barratt said jobs and careers as we know them today would 'look very different' in the future, meaning the acquisition of additional skills would become increasingly important.

"Creativity and entrepreneurial skills are vital for both individual success and the long-term health of the global economy," said Ms Barratt.

Click here for profiles of the Transformer Advisory Board Members.

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