The Profiles of Our Speakers Presenting at the
2021 ALGIM Conference

Associate Professor Catherine Ball, ANU

Dr Catherine Ball appears by arrangement with Saxton Speakers Bureau

Dr Catherine Ball is a scientific futurist, speaker, advisor, author, founder,  executive producer, executive director, company director, and charity patron working across global projects where emerging technologies meet humanitarian, education and environmental needs. Catherine also likes to create businesses and champion movements, collaborate with peers, and advise game-changers.

A sought-after voice across the start-up, futurist and tech world, Catherine works globally across a wide range of projects from creating documentaries and world-leading conferences and events, to advising on the use of novel approaches (e.g. drones) across environmental and humanitarian projects. Catherine is a proponent of community engagement with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and likes to demystify emerging tech.

Having been called a ‘social architect’, Catherine likes to connect people from different backgrounds across common themes. A champion of diversity and inclusion, Catherine believes we need points of difference to truly innovate and curate the changes we want to see in the world. Working to protect the natural environment and empowering all members of society through mutual education are core aspects of the projects Catherine chooses to spend her time and energy on.

Current Work:

Catherine continues to support Australia as being the world leader in the advancement of ethically driven technological applications. Industry 5.0 is emerging; with society and community at the heart of how we operate and curate emerging trends and capabilities.

Currently, Catherine is the 2020 patron of the Tech Girls Movement, a #SheFlies ambassador for Girl Geek Academy, and a mentor and advisor to the CEO of New York based Women Who Drone, as well as a mentor to the #SuperstarsofSTEM project by Science and Technology Australia.

An Associate Professor at the Australian National University and Honorary Associate Professor at the 3AI Institute; Catherine is leading national conversations around technology and its place in the current and future challenges in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Catherine’s latest business ventures include the internationally renowned World of Drones and Robotics Congress, established in Brisbane in 2017 and the free community resources of World of Drones Education, established in 2018.

Catherine is a board director for Aviation Australia and is on the international advisory board for the Schmidt Ocean Institute, which operates the first year-round philanthropic research vessel in the world, and Ocean Impact Org, a not-for-profit ecosystem for businesses working towards a healthier ocean.

Catherine holds a BSc Honours (Environmental Protection) and a PhD (Spatial Ecology, Descriptive and Predictive Statistics) from the University of Newcastle- upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom. Catherine lives in Queensland with her husband and two sons.

Awards and Honours:

  • 2020     Analytics Insight Worlds 50 Most Renowned Women in Robotics Award
  • 2018     Global Contribution to UAV Industry award from Shenzhen UAV Industry association
  • 2017     AFR’s BOSS Magazine True Leaders Game Changers
  • 2017     Women in Leadership Awards – Finalist Innovation Category
  • 2016     Financial Review & Westpac 100 Woman of Influence
  • 2016     Top 25 Women in Robotics List
  • 2016     Courier Mail QBM Magazine: 25 Influential Movers and Shakers of Queensland
  • 2015     AFR’s BOSS Magazine Young Executives of the Year Winner
  • 2015     National Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Corporate and Private Award
  • 2015     Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Awards Winner
  • 2015     Queensland Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Queensland Corporate and Private Awards Winner.
  • 2015     Innovator of Influence at Innovation Week
  • 2015     Courier Mail Q Magazine: Queensland 50 Best and Brightest


Sir Ian Taylor

Ian’s story is a fascinating journey, from growing up in a house without electricity in the 1950s, to being part of a company recognised globally as being at the leading edge of technology and innovation.

A former television presenter for TVNZ children's programmes like Play School, Spot On, and New Zealand's Funniest Home Videos, his very public life started when he joined the band Kal-Q-Lated Risk in 1967 as lead singer. After a stint in the army in the 1970’s Ian went on to complete an LLB degree from the University of Otago before setting up Taylormade Media, a television production company in 1989.

The following year he established Animation Research Limited, which quickly became one of the top computer animation companies in New Zealand and known internationally for its work, particularly in television advertising and sports graphics.

It’s' sports division, ‘Virtual Eye’, provides award winning graphics globally across a wide range of sports. This year marks almost 30 years since they developed the first graphics for The America’s Cup back in San Diego in 1992. In 2014 they won a prestigious Sports Emmy for “Outstanding New Approaches to Sports Coverage,” and they have been recognised by the New Zealand Hi Tech Trust with a special “Life Time Achievement Award.”

At a personal level. Taylor was inducted into the New Zealand Technology Hall of Fame in 2009 and was named North & South Magazines 2010 New Zealander of the Year. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of IT Professionals (HFIITP) in 2010 (under its former name New Zealand Computer Society), the top honour of the tech sector in New Zealand.

In the 2012 New Year Honours, Taylor was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to television and business. In 2013 Taylor was named Outstanding Maori Business Leader of the Year.

On 13 February 2019, Taylor was named Innovator of the Year at the annual New Zealander of the Year Awards. Awards organisers cited Taylor's business intuition and expertise as an exemplar of innovation in New Zealand.

In 2020 Taylor was named the Deloitte 200 “Visionary Leader of the Year." What fewer people may know is that it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

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