Meet your mentors

Receive guidance from Australia’s leading UX Design, Product Management and Digital Marketing practitioners. All of our mentors have over 15 years experience in their field.

image-mentor

UX Design

Andrew Doherty

Former UX Manager Google

Andrew began working in tech when internet modems operated at 11kb per second and made that funny noise while dialing up. Most recently he has been working in stealth mode on a disruptive startup that aims to safely give every human being on earth their own artificially intelligent super powers - Simby.

Prior to Simby, Andrew was leading a UX design team at Google in Mountain View California, focusing on deep tech and the products of the future. He was responsible for envisioning, prototyping, and building product solutions that affect the daily lives of billions of human beings. He is a TEDx speaker and has worked as a technology advisor in customer experience for a number of high profile multinational organisations in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin and Sydney. With a wealth of real world experience, Andrew loves to help fellow UX designers to reach their personal or project related goals while being able to remain true to themselves, and the needs of their customers.

Elizabeth Pek

Head of UX NewsCorp

Elizabeth (Liz) is a versatile, strategic and pragmatic UX professional with 20+ years experience in designing, developing and transforming market-leading digital products and customer experiences for B2C, B2B and B2B2C businesses in both start-ups and enterprise settings. She has held many Head of UX roles in Financial Services, Telecommunications, Media, and Health and Wellness industries, working on award winning products and helping these companies build their design teams and capabilities.

Liz is passionate about creating experiences that deliver WIN-WIN for business and customer, by combining UX with agile, lean-startup and Human-Centred-Design (HCD) approaches. She enjoys working on the full customer experience life cycle from ideation, strategy & vision through to development, execution and delivery. She also loves coaching individuals and teams towards high performance, and supporting them to achieve the best versions of themselves.

Ken Wong

Senior UX Designer Qantas

Ken has over 17 years experience in UX design, most of which has focused on mobile strategy and design. As Head of UX at Fairfax Media, Ken received multiple Australian Mobile awards for his user centred, mobile led contribution to iconic Australian brands such as the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), Domain, Good Food Guide and Realestate.com.au. Throughout his tenure, Ken’s leadership saw Fairfax double its UX capability and he was instrumental in the launch of key flagship products including the Domain mobile app, which many of us use every day.

Ken has a passion for tackling complex design challenges and turning these into experiences that feel second nature to consumers and it’s this drive that gets him out of bed every morning. This project is a unique opportunity to be mentored by one of Australia’s leading UX designers and we’re so excited to welcome Ken to the Harness Projects mentor team.

Andrew Hiles

Senior UX Manager Vodafone

Andrew has been designing for over 18 years – starting out as a graphic designer before moving across into digital. He’s worked on projects for household names for both agency-side and client-side.

Moving up the design ladder, Andrew now focuses his energies on user experience as the UX Manager for Vodafone Australia. Andrew relishes a challenge and with solid experience leading UX teams on complex, large scale projects he’s seen his fair share of action. Andrew is a passionate customer advocate and derives his own personal satisfaction from creating experiences that make customer’s lives easier whilst adding value to the products he works on.

Mike Yap

Head of UX & Design Gumtree

Mike has been leading UX, design and product teams for over 20 years. Starting in the madness of the dot com bubble, Mike's career has taken him from fast-growing startups to multinational corporations in Sydney, London and Tokyo and on to some of the biggest tech brands in Australia.

Mike is currently Head of UX & Design at Gumtree and a member of the global eBay Classifieds Design Leaders Group. Prior to Gumtree, Mike was Head of Experience Design at Hipages, Australia's largest two-sided marketplace for home services. Before that, Mike led design and product management for mobile innovation on the CommBank app (Australia's #1 finance app) and CommBank's award-winning Youth app.

Driven by the belief that the best customer experiences are made by passionate, empowered designers, Mike is committed to coaching individuals to success and guiding organisations to new levels of design maturity.

Nima Idelkhani

Former Head of UX IAG

With 15+ years of design, UX and product experience that includes numerous start-up and enterprise successes that include some of the biggest global brands under his belt, some say Nima knows a thing or two on designing products that people want.

After a decade of mastering his craft, in 2017 Nima co-founded 'We Discover' a customer-centric digital agency focused on creating meaningful experiences and after creating a multimillion-dollar business in under 3 years he took his next big challenge, becoming the Chief Product Officer in 2020 at an emerging prop-tech company. He aimed to prove that a 100% customer-centred approach will deliver the most desired and profitable product to market irrespective of how "old and resistant to change" the industry is.

Nima has extensive experience and skill in business and product strategy, understanding human behaviours and desires and knowing how to merge it all to find the best product-market fit.

 

Damien Lutz

Senior UX/UI Designer Vodafone

Working for start-ups, enterprise and B2B, Damien’s UX experience spans eCommerce, search aggregation, journalism and weather. Blending UX with service design, Damien thrives on creating simple solutions from complex challenges by seeking that sweet balance between desirability, feasibility and viability. He is currently a Senior UX designer and UX Research SME for Vodafone Australia, leading mobile, app and web projects from research to launch.

Damien holds a Masters in Digital Media and continues his own learning by studying various aspects of design—from gamification and speculative design to UX writing—allowing him to bring an explorative approach to nurture students' curiosity.

Lisa Huck

Former UX Research Lead Commonwealth Bank

Lisa is a UX Design Strategist specializing in Agile research & team building. She has 25 years of agency & client-side experience, including leadership roles at CommBank, Atlassian, eBay, Plantronics, and PC World. She has worked in Silicon Valley for more than half her career but she still calls Australia home, and has managed to retain her Aussie accent!

Lisa is passionate about helping others hone their UX skills in personally relevant and practical ways. In 2015 she was awarded a Governor commendation for leading a Design Thinking workshop with Social Ventures Australia & PWC for over 70 school principals.

On this project, Lisa will help each student gain a working knowledge of the critical facets of UX design & research, with special emphasis on “problem framing,” “empathetic interviewing,” and “quantifying the user experience” – to achieve customer-centred results with meaningful impact.

Jason Crane

Experience Design Consultant Tincrane

Jason is a strategic consultant who excels in helping organisations navigate disruption and change by pulling together collaborative teams in an efficient and consistent way. He has over 20 years experience in technology and design. He has a deep understanding of the digital interactions he designs as well as the holistic experience of the customer.

Jason has taught students and teams to design and build websites, create qualitative/quantitative research and assets, develop skills in user, customer and service design. He is always excited to share his knowledge and experience to those wanting to grow in design.

Sam Hancock

UX Lead Servian

Sam has 10-years experience working with various tier-one enterprise companies in building meaningful digital experiences. Sam specialises in establishing a fast-paced UX/UI design process that is both experimentation and validation heavy. Testing hypotheses early and regularly, enables complex, data-driven solutions to be both engaging and usable.

Vast knowledge across Service Design, Agile and strategic thinking has seen Sam work for some of the most iconic, data-driven enterprises in Australia, including - Optus, Westpac, ASX, Macquarie Bank, Telstra and Cisco.

Lara Atechian

Head of UX Booktopia

From the age of 18, Lara knew Internet and Digital Platforms were her passion. She started her career as a web designer and developer. Witnessing the digital landscape evolving and the importance of HCI coming into play, Lara made her move towards Human-Centred Design and Interaction Design. For almost two decades, she has been applying human-centered research and design thinking into developing user interfaces and digital products across different industries.

She is currently the Head of UX at Booktopia, leading the research, design and delivery of award winning web and mobile experiences, while she enjoys sharing her knowledge by teaching, mentoring and consulting.

Christian LaFrance

Head of Design Beem It

Christian brings to his students 19 years of experience across the entire UX lifecycle - from opportunity research to the definition, validation and release of new apps and websites. He collaborated at strategic and executional levels with Lexus, CBA, Westpac, Woolworths, Google, Menulog, Network 10, the ABC and the NSW Department of Transport & Education to deliver impactful solutions that advance target users' lives.

He mentors students on making user experience design actionable by helping them to reflect on their project work, by providing insight into practical challenges and by broadening perspective.

He mentors students on making user experience design actionable by helping them to reflect on their project work, by providing insight into practical challenges and by broadening perspective.

 

Product Management

Andrew Doherty

Former UX Manager Google

Andrew began working in tech when internet modems operated at 11kb per second and made that funny noise while dialing up. Most recently he has been working in stealth mode on a disruptive startup that aims to safely give every human being on earth their own artificially intelligent super powers - Simby.

Prior to Simby, Andrew was leading a UX design team at Google in Mountain View California, focusing on deep tech and the products of the future. He was responsible for envisioning, prototyping, and building product solutions that affect the daily lives of billions of human beings. He is a TEDx speaker and has worked as a technology advisor in customer experience for a number of high profile multinational organisations in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin and Sydney. With a wealth of real world experience, Andrew loves to help fellow UX designers to reach their personal or project related goals while being able to remain true to themselves, and the needs of their customers.

Nima Idelkhani

Former Head of UX IAG

With 15+ years of design, UX and product experience that includes numerous start-up and enterprise successes that include some of the biggest global brands under his belt, some say Nima knows a thing or two on designing products that people want.

After a decade of mastering his craft, in 2017 Nima co-founded 'We Discover' a customer-centric digital agency focused on creating meaningful experiences and after creating a multimillion-dollar business in under 3 years he took his next big challenge, becoming the Chief Product Officer in 2020 at an emerging prop-tech company. He aimed to prove that a 100% customer-centred approach will deliver the most desired and profitable product to market irrespective of how "old and resistant to change" the industry is.

Nima has extensive experience and skill in business and product strategy, understanding human behaviours and desires and knowing how to merge it all to find the best product-market fit.

 

Digital Marketing

Nell Norman-Nott

Former Head of Marketing Linkedin

Nell has over 15 years’ marketing experience in listed and entrepreneurial environments spanning the UK, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Originally from England, Nell has lived in Australia since 2009 where she held leadership roles at Yahoo7 and then at LinkedIn as Head of Marketing and Head of the Employer Brand and Media.

Nell has a passion for building marketing solutions that fit the most challenging client brief and as a team leader, combines this with building others’ skills at digital and content marketing. Nell is a public speaker at industry events most recently at the Digital Innovation Summit and Mumbrella360. Nell is a judge for the industry awards – B&T, Mumbrella & Women in Media. Nell continues her own learning, studying Psychology with Monash University which allows her to bring a deep understanding of the science of human behavior to marketing.

On this project, Nell will facilitate the learning of each student in the core areas of digital marketing; understanding an audience, crafting a digital content strategy, defining channels and measuring impact.

Rebecca Lovitt

Former Head of Marketing Alcohol & Drug Foundation

Rebecca has a diverse portfolio of skills across strategy, marketing, experience design, and digital product development built over a rich career journey of nearly 20 years. She has headed up digital teams in corporates, health organisations, not-for-profits and tech start-ups.

Always curious and a passionate continuous learner, Rebecca thrives in environments where she can enable and empower others to be their best. Collaborative practice is at the heart of her operating style with Rebecca loving the challenges of bringing together teams of diverse talents with a clear shared objectives to work on transformative projects.

For Rebecca, the arena of digital marketing unites her love for user experience, creative, strategy and engagement in a space that continues to evolve rapidly.

Agility, adaptability and curiosity are both mindsets and values that guide her practice. Rebecca is working on a range of projects including Heading up Digital and Marketing at Leadership Victoria working on the implementation of new brand, web and marketing stack.