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Current AJF Board Members

Chair

 

Bruce Miller

Mr Bruce Miller AO

Term: 24 August 2020 to 23 August 2025

Bruce Miller AO was Australian Ambassador to Japan from August 2011 until January 2017, and has had 45 years’ association with Japan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney.

Mr Miller spent most of his 32-year public service career handling Australia's relations with East Asia. In Australia, he occupied senior positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Office of National Assessments, including as A/g Director-General for a year.

On 6 April 2022, Mr Miller was appointed as Chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board. He joined the TAL Dai-ichi Life Board in April 2018. He is an advisor to TAL's Japanese parent, Dai-ichi Life Holdings, and also to Japanese company INPEX.

He is Chair of the Advisory Board to the Asia Institute of Griffith University, a member of the Advisory Board to the Australia Japan Research Centre at the Australian National University and President of the Chadō Urasenke Melbourne Association.

Mr Miller was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours and was invested by the Japanese Government with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in 2020.

In 2018, he married his partner of 25 years, Mr Mikio Ishizawa.


Deputy Chair

 

Professor Veronica Taylor

Term: 24 August 2020 to 31 July 2022

Professor Veronica L. Taylor is a Research Professor of Law and Regulation at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet). She currently directs the ANU Japan Institute.

Professor Taylor is an international and comparative lawyer specializing in legal and institutional reform and economic development. She has designed and led legal reform projects in Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Netherlands, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Professor Taylor was previously the Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and an ANU Public Policy Fellow, and Director of RegNet and the ANU Japan Institute. Prior to joining ANU, she was the Director of the Asian Law Center at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she led the Japanese Law Program.

She also served as Chair of the Japan Foundation's American Advisory Committee.

Professor Taylor serves on the Executive of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee and is a Board Member of the Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies (FAJS).


Board Members

 

Wendy Holdenson

Ms Wendy Holdenson

Term: 24 August 2020 to 23 August 2023

Ms Wendy Holdenson is Director and Executive Vice President of Mitsui & Co. Australia.

Mitsui & Co. Australia is the wholly owned Australian subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., one of the world's most diversified trading, investment and services enterprises. Its diverse portfolio of businesses in Australia includes iron ore, coal, gas, oil, food, grain, salt, woodchips, power generation, machinery, steel products, chemicals, technology and financial services.

Ms Holdenson has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors. She represented Australia in Japan as Consul-General and Trade & Investment Commissioner. In that role, she successfully attracted foreign investment to benefit Australia's food services, biotechnology, IT and energy sectors. She was later State Director Western Australia/South Australia /Northern Territory for the Australian Trade Commission.

Ms Holdenson has held executive positions in Ernst & Young, Caltex, and GHD. She is a proponent of innovation as the key to corporate sustainability, and has championed innovation programs in all these organisations.

Ms Holdenson has served on education institution and government boards. As Business Champion for the Federal Government's New Colombo Plan, and Trustee for the Mitsui Educational Foundation, she is passionate about mobility in Asia for young Australians. She is also on the Maggie Beer Foundation Board, which aims to improve the quality of food for residents in aged-care homes throughout Australia.

Ms Holdenson has a Master of Commerce from UNSW; her under-graduate degree is from Sophia University, Tokyo. She currently mentors high-achiever undergraduates at the UNSW Business School.


Adam Liaw

Mr Adam Liaw

Term: 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2024

Mr Adam Liaw is a writer and television presenter. Before his current career, he was a lawyer for more than a decade between Japan and Australia, most recently with The Walt Disney Company in Tokyo.

After returning to Australia from his time in Japan, Mr Liaw turned to writing. He has published six books on Asian cuisines, and written as a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Guardian.

His television series, Destination Flavour, has travelled through Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Singapore and China. In 2017 it won the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award for Best Lifestyle Television Program.

Mr Liaw is UNICEF Australia's national ambassador for nutrition, and was appointed as an official Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese Cuisine by the Japanese government in 2016.

He speaks English, Japanese and basic Mandarin Chinese.


Mark Connors

Mr Mark Connors

Term: 24 March 2020 to 23 March 2023

Mr Mark Connors has a diverse background including legal, financial services, professional sport, rugby commentary, charity work and Board directorships. Following completion of his law degree at QUT he practised as a lawyer in Brisbane over a 12-year period and combined this with a professional rugby union sporting career representing both the Queensland Reds and Wallabies.

His rugby career highlights include winning the 1999 World Cup, as well as Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations Series' victories with the Wallabies, and Super 10 Championship wins with the Queensland Reds. During his professional rugby union career, he also lived and played rugby in both England and Japan, has performed numerous speaking engagements and held an ongoing part-time rugby commentary role with Radio 4TAB for nearly two decades. Mr Connors previously served as a Director on the Board of the Australia Rugby Union from 2007 to 2012 and subsequently on the Board of the Queensland Rugby Union from April 2012 to July 2019.

Mr Connors entered the Financial Services Industry in 2006 post his legal career. He spent 10 years with Wilsons before joining FIIG Securities in mid-2016 as its Queensland State Manager. Mr Connors was then appointed as FIIG's national Head of Private Client Solutions in June 2018 and remains in that role.


Chris Saines

Mr Chris Saines CNZM

Term: 24 March 2020 to 23 March 2023

Mr Chris Saines is Director of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane, Australia. He has worked for over 35 years in leading galleries in Australia and New Zealand as a director, curatorial and collection manager, educator and curator. As Director of QAGOMA since 2013, he has overseen major exhibitions by top international artists Cai Guo-Qiang, David Lynch, Cindy Sherman, Yayoi Kusama, Gerhard Richter and Patricia Piccinini. He has driven record attendance for the Gallery and steered the eighth and ninth editions of the flagship exhibition series, The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. His current focus is to reinvigorate the original Queensland Art Gallery building and drive the creation of a dedicated all ages learning centre for the Gallery.

Previously, Mr Saines was Director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand from 1996-2013. He is currently Chair of the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors, has judged major national art prizes, and sat on the selection panels for both Australia and New Zealand's representation at the Venice Biennale.


Ms Yuki Nakamura

Term: 4 October 2021 to 3 October 2024

Ms Yuki Nakamura is the Executive Director of Nakamura Chocolates with operations in Australia and Japan.

A Tokyo native, she spent time in North America before relocating to Australia and to train with the celebrated pâtissier, Emmanuel Mollois, after which she set up Nakamura Chocolates. She has been a small business owner/operator, practising chocolatier and consultant to the chocolate manufacturing industry for over 15 years. In 2017, she licensed Nakamura Chocolates to Hon Takasagoya in Japan and works closely with Japanese operations.

Ms Nakamura is an active public speaker and panellist, talking on doing business in Japan, female entrepreneurship, and healthy relationships with food. 

She has a degree in Sociology and her previous career was in research and development in the semiconductor industry.


Professor (Hon) Caroline McMillen AO FAHMS

Term: 4 October 2021 to 3 October 2024

Professor Caroline McMillen commenced in the role as Chief Scientist for South Australia in October 2018 after serving as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle for 7 years.

She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2020, awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Adelaide in 2019 and was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and a Bragg Member of the Royal Institution, Australia in 2015. Professor McMillen was also honoured at the end of her term as Vice-Chancellor to be presented with the Key to the City of Newcastle by the Lord Mayor in recognition of her leadership contribution to Newcastle and the region.

She holds a BA (Honours) and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford, and completed her medical training graduating with an MB, B Chir from the University of Cambridge.

Professor McMillen serves on a range of boards and advisory groups in addition to the AJF Board – as Chair of the Adelaide Biomedical City Board, member of the Royal Institution of Australia Council, the Australian Science Media Centre Advisory Board and the University Council of South Australia, and she is currently the Australian representative for the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the Council of the University of the South Pacific. She is also a Director on the Boards of Compass Housing Services Pty Ltd and DMTC Ltd.

Throughout her career Professor McMillen has been committed to building collaborations between universities, government, industry and communities that drive innovation and have a positive impact on the economic, environmental, social and cultural health of Australia.


How can I contact a Board Member?

You may contact any AJF Board Member through the AJF Secretariat in Canberra.

View the AJF homepage for details.

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