About us

We believe that your success is our success. We are a team of education industry professionals and experts dedicated to world's best practice. All of us have worked both for education providers and/or within the surrounding education services sector.

We offer our experience, knowledge, passion and skills to education providers around the world. Depending on your needs and your location, we’ll put together the best team to help you achieve the results you need.
Core team

Mark Pettitt

Founder

+61 438 900 244

Mark has more than 20 years’ experience at a senior level within the education sector. He has worked in international offices in Australian universities and TAFEs - notably as Director of International Marketing and Admissions at RMIT University. He was also Company Director for over 10 years at OCA Group and its subsidiaries: BPO Intelligence, Object Next Software and Oceanic Consultants - companies dedicated to improving the performance of education providers around the world through the provision of innovative IT-enabled services.

His experience offers clients unique insights into the global range of solutions and services available to education providers. His deep understanding of how complex organisations can be led to function at their best, provides clients with quick and sustainable wins, cost-effectively.
His areas of expertise are EdTech, student acquisition and retention, admissions and agent management, brand building, automated marketing, large system implementation, campus safety and dramatic improvements in recruitment processes.

Mark is a regular presenter at education conferences around the world and a passionate advocate for lifelong education. He is a strong supporter of and catalyst for collaboration between education providers and industry.

Experience: Curtin University, Swinburne TAFE, RMIT University, Monash University, BPO Intelligence (global marketing, printing and logistics), Oceanic Consultants (education agent) and Object Next Software (software solutions for admissions, agents and marketing)

Sharyn Martin

Partner

+61 402 993 466

Sharyn has more than 20 years’ experience at a senior level in international and domestic university marketing and recruitment offices, in government, in the private sector and as a private enterprise consultant. This gives her a unique and highly sought-after perspective on global education marketing strategy and the ability to deliver effective solutions to complex problems. Her areas of expertise are student acquisition and retention, marketing strategy, brand, lead generation and digital strategy.

Sharyn is a regular presenter at education conferences around the world and a keen mentor for up-and-coming talent.

Experience: Senior positions at Queensland University of Technology, Trade and Investment Queensland, Education Queensland International, Monash University and Social Garden (student acquisition agency). Consultant to Trade Victoria, Bond University, University of Queensland, University of Newcastle, Victoria University, Rockhampton Grammar School, ACPET-Business Mentor Services, IEAA, KENT Institute of Business and IT and Pragmatic Education Group.

Alek Voninski

Partner

+61 419 684 655

Alek has provided leadership, engaging strategy, sound management skills and expert consulting to the international education sector over the last 20 years. He has held senior positions within International, External Relations, Strategy and Marketing functions of a large research-intensive university for more than a decade as well as experience in the private education sector, both on and offshore.

Alek has significant experience working across operational excellence, student support service reform as well as small and large-scale organisational transformation projects in the higher education sector. Alek has held leadership positions in the AUIDF and Go8 International Directors forums and is currently undertaking his doctoral studies in international education and student employability.

Experience: UNSW Sydney, Charles Sturt University, UTS, Study Group, Hamilton College, State University of New York, SmartAlek & Associates Consulting

Elissa Newall

Communications and Digital Expert

+61 404 001 474

Elissa is a specialist in communications, digital and marketing with almost 15 years experience in Australian international and higher education.  

As one of Australia's leaders in education marketing, she has a track record for solving the unique sorts of problems thrown up by change, innovation and increased competition. With 10+ years in leadership and senior marketing roles, Elissa is known for her love of digital, data and transparency, and her ability to integrate technical, strategic and human perspectives to cut through inertia and establish a clear way forward.

She has held responsibility for brand, marketing communications, student recruitment and digital across education organisations, most recently as CEO of corporate education provider Plato Project. Prior to that Elissa worked as Assistant Director, Customer Acquisition and Engagement at RMIT University and in a number of management roles in the International Education Office at Australian Catholic University.

As past member of Austrade’s Digital Engagement Reference Group, former and inaugural Chair of the IEAA Victorian Young Professionals group, former Deputy Convener of the IEAA Marketing and Communications Network and regular presenter at education conferences around the world, Elissa is passionate about supporting ongoing development of the international education sector.

Experience: RMIT University (Melbourne), Australian Catholic University (Melbourne), Plato Project.

Lyndell Jacka

Insights Director

+61 435 166 755

Lyndell is an insights specialist with more than 20 years’ global experience.

She's passionate about helping organisations to unlock the value of data through deep market and customer understanding. Clients value her commercial acumen and meaningful interpretation of research and market intelligence to enable decision making.  

Lyndell is well regarded for her love of making data and insights relevant, applicable and visually engaging. This is underpinned by her ability to synthesise complex sets of statistics and information, for example, snapshots of international student visa trends and perceptions of study destinations.

She has led, shaped and created research and insights delivery, most recently as Head of Research at international education services agency, IDP Education. Her areas of research expertise include brand and advertising, customer experience, consumer behaviour and segmentation.  

Lyndell is recognised as a leader in international education insights. Her findings have been cited in international education and media publications and used to help shape business strategies for many leading international universities.

As a regular presenter at education conferences around the world, Lyndell enjoys promoting the value of data and insights to deliver the best outcomes for international education.

Experience: IDP Education - Australia, National Australia Bank - Australia, Telstra - Australia, Orange (now EE) - UK, TNS (now Kantar) - UK & Australia

Hayley Shields

Student Acquisition, Retention and Success Expert

+64 21 616 791

Hayley is a marketing, recruitment, and student experience expert and recognised leader in international education. She has held leadership roles over two decades across Australia and New Zealand.  Most recently she was the first national Director International Student Experience for Education New Zealand, designing strategy, research, employability and digital innovation for international student experience nationally.  She has led international recruitment, communications, sales and marketing in a number of higher education institutions.

Her experience in large complex public and not-for-profit organisations has honed her client and stakeholder relationship management expertise, while developing her networks globally.  A creative thinker and problem solver, she is known for her ability to achieve cut through and results, whilst putting people first. A trained leadership coach and alumni of Leadership New Zealand, Hayley has a special interest in developing people, facilitating high levels of engagement and creating a positive and high performing workplace culture.

Hayley is a regular presenter at global education conferences, and a passionate advocate for education as an enabler of personal, economic, and social development and cultural understanding.

Experience:Education New Zealand (Govt), University of Auckland, CPA Australia (employability), University of Melbourne, UNSW.

Oliver Forstescue

Higher and International Education Expert

+44 79 6084 9566

Oliver has nearly 20 years of experience in international education having held positions in Japan, the UK and Australia.

For the past six years, he was the Director of International at CQUniversity Australia where he oversaw the reengineering of their international operations resulting in double digit annual growth in international student enrolments while lowering their risk rating to one of the lowest in the sector. He developed their learning abroad program from scratch and was the Lead on the New Colombo Plan funded Reimagining India programme – one of the largest ever government funded outbound mobility consortiums. Oliver was an Executive Board member of the Australian Universities International Directors’ Forum (AUIDF) for four years before being elected President and Chair in 2018.  

Oliver has significant experience working across marketing, recruitment and admissions, learning abroad, compliance, and international partnerships in a range of university and dual sector settings. He has also worked closely with language centers having started his career as an EFL teacher. He is a regular speaker at international education conferences and has been an active coach and mentor to emerging sector leaders. His professional interests include mindful leadership and organisational design, process optimisation, and the application and impact of technology and automation on our sector.

He is now based back in the UK.

Experience: CQUniversity Australia; RMIT University, Melbourne; University of Westminster, London; Japanese Exchange &Teaching (JET) Program, Okinawa; Programme of International Education Exchange (PIEE), Tokyo

Raelene James

Creatives and Design

Raelene has over 15 years’ experience within the domestic and international higher education sectors specialising in marketing and communications. Working for Study Group for over 10 years, Raelene lead Creative Services for the Australasian Division which involved working with various GO8 pathway providers as well as liaising with internal stakeholders to develop and expand Study Group owned colleges.  

She has owned and operated graphic design, marketing, communications and photography businesses specialising in providing services to various private and government owned institutions. Being active onsite at various colleges, both VET and University, has given her great insight into the student journey, agent requirements, how a campus runs and also compliance requirements for publications and marketing.  

Her areas of expertise are project coordination, particularly with various stakeholders located remotely, graphic design and implementation of branding, strategic planning of communications and production schedules. Her ability to form relationships with all stakeholders at every level insures projects are completed on time and within budget.

Experience: Study Group brands: Taylors College, Martin College, AIAS, ACPE and EmbassyCES, and partnerships with their pathway providers – University of Sydney, Monash University, The University of Western Australia, The University of Auckland, AUT University, Massey University and Charles Sturt University. The Hotel School, Southern Cross University, BROWNS English Language School, Canterbury Technical Institute, Site Institute, HTMi Australia, Trade Investment Queensland and Study Queensland. International printing and distribution through BPO, ILG and IPG Marketing.

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