Leading a successful Gold Coast property development firm while chairing a national charity is all in a day’s work for Bond University alumnus, Mr Tom Ray, who was last night (Thursday, 18 May) recognised for his exceptional contribution to business and the community at the University’s annual Alumni Awards.
Mr Ray was awarded the Robert Stable Alumni Medal, the highest honour given to an alumni. Other major award winners included Commonwealth Bank financier, Harrison Jones, who took out the Young Alumni Award, and lawyer and humanitarian protection specialist, Katrina Elliot Myerson, who received the Community Achievement Award.
Mr Ray balances his impressive corporate career – serving as the Executive Director of property investment company, Ray Group – with a passion for community. Over the past five years, he helped establish and chair the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation, helping to raise around $6 million for spinal research.
Mr Ray, who was raised on the Gold Coast, said Bond University had a profound influence on his professional journey. The award also has a personal touch as Mr Ray’s late parents particularly Brian Ray was involved in the development of the University.
“I believe Bond’s point of difference is the personal attention provided by academics and their ability to find and unlock a student’s potential,” Mr Ray said.
“Bond has always had a strong focus on a student’s character, drive and leadership ability, in addition to their previous academic performance, and that was really important to me when I started university.
“Bond has a transformative effect on students; helping young people discover their potential. It allowed me to achieve growth and academic maturity that I don’t believe I would have otherwise reached at any other tertiary institution.”
Mr Ray was educated at The Southport School, where he excelled in sport, leading the First 8 Rowing Crew as Stroke. He double-majored in Communication and Marketing at Bond in 1992 and was named on the Dean’s List in his final semester for his outstanding academic results.
Mr Ray began his corporate career with advertising heavyweight John Singleton’s Sydney agency, servicing high-profile clients including Warner Bros/Village Roadshow Theme Park and KFC. He soon became the agency’s youngest Account Director and worked on Paul Keating’s 1996 Australian Labor Party campaign as Head of Press and Radio.
Mr Ray returned to the Gold Coast in 2003 and along with his brother Jack, remains at the helm of the Ray Group, carrying on his family’s successful business legacy.
Mr Ray said he continued to focus on balancing his corporate and community commitments, which included serving as a Director of The Southport School Foundation and as one of the founders of the Salt Surf Life Saving Club.
“My daily goal is to keep working towards being a decent, well-rounded corporate and community citizen and, a good father, husband and friend – and I believe these values of citizenship were instilled in me at Bond,” he said.
Katrina Elliot Myerson - the recipient of the Alumni Award for Community Achievement - has been striving to protect the rights of detainees, refugees, women and children, and survivors of serious violence and conflict around the world since graduating from Bond with a Bachelor of Arts and Laws in 2004 and Master of International Relations and Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice in 2006.
She has worked as Child Protection Officer and Australian Youth Ambassador for Development at UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) based in Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as Humanitarian Protection Specialist for UNICEF, and as Detention Delegate for the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross).
Ms Myerson is now working with the Australian Red Cross in a senior national policy position.
Young Alumni Award winner Harrison Jones graduated from Bond University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Commerce and Law. Mr Jones has demonstrated a passion for giving back to the community, having volunteered for numerous charities and organisations since 2010 including the Sony Children’s Holiday Camp, the Australian Red Cross, the Robina Community Legal Centre, the Youth Off The Streets initiative and Cabramatta High School.
He is currently working as a Healthcare Account Manager with the Commonwealth Bank’s Corporate Financial Services team.
Bond University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, said the 2017 Alumni Awards continued the University’s proud tradition of acknowledging the achievements of its 25,000 graduates.
“We are incredibly proud of every one of our alumni, their energy, drive and entrepreneurial spirit leading to such diverse careers that they have built around the globe,” Professor Brailsford said.
“Not only are our graduates achieving outstanding success in their chosen fields, they are also making a significant contribution to industry and the community - both locally and internationally.
“All of this year’s Alumni Award recipients are exemplary community leaders, who serve as role models for current and aspiring Bond students.”