Alumni awarded for outstanding contributions

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Alumni of Distinction Awards; Peter Scanlon AO, Jennifer Nason, Kevin Wong and Hillan Klein, presented at Melbourne’s premier business event, the Melbourne Foundation for Business and Economics Annual Dinner.

By Niamh Cremins

The National Gallery of Victoria was host to Melbourne’s business leaders on Thursday 3 March as alumni, donors and friends of the Faculty of Business and Economics arrived to celebrate their connection to the University of Melbourne.

The awards served as testament to the strength of the University’s ties to North America, with two of the four award recipients based in the United States.

Hillan Klein (MApp Com 2008), made the trip home from New York to attend the event to receive the Alumni of Distinction Rising Star Award.  Hillan pioneered mobile banking at NAB delivering the first iPad app within Australian financial services, followed shortly with NAB’s official iPhone app. Combined these apps now account for over 25 per cent of NAB internet banking transactions and have been downloaded by 650,000 Australians.

Hillan founded start-up Budge, a pro-social mobile app that uses competitive nature to build awareness and fundraise for meaningful causes in 2011 and now holds the position of Chief Operating Officer at Namecheap, the fastest growing Domain Registrar in the world. Hillan leads a team of over 600 people supporting Namecheap’s 2.5 million customers and managing over 5.5 million domains globally.

Jennifer Nason (BA 1980, BCom (Hons) 1983), Global Chairman, Media and Telecom, Investment Banking at JP Morgan is also based in New York. Jennifer is now the global head of the TMT Investment Banking practice, responsible for clients across all three industry subsectors.

She was unable to make it back to Melbourne for the event but sent a short video message to accept the 2016 Alumni of Distinction Leadership Award.

She says her time at the University of Melbourne opened up a sea of possibilities that she never imagined were possible before.

“I have three older brothers, all of whom left school before they graduated,” says Ms Nason. “They all subsequently went back and finished high school at night time and then went on to tertiary education but I had the easier path. I was always very conscious of making the most of the opportunities that were afforded to me.

“It was really in those lecture halls that the world opened up to me, the possibilities of working globally, of learning about the global economy, political systems around the world, and I’ve pursued each and every one of my ambitions and dreams.”

The Alumni of Distinction Awards are an important way to recognise the Business and Economics alumni who have achieved excellence in their chosen field, and, through this, have made an outstanding contribution to the Faculty, University and wider community.

Find out more about the program, award categories and how to nominate.