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Smarter Workforce Executive Briefing

  • Rudy Karsan

    Rudy Karsan

    As co-founder and CEO of Kenexa (, now an IBM company, Nooruddin (Rudy) Karsan built the company to its current standing as a leading global provider of business solutions for human resources. Kenexa’s unique combination of software solutions, content and services helps organizations improve business outcomes. Started in 1987, Kenexa boasts a global presence in more than 20 countries, over 2900 employees, and a stellar client list that includes four of the Fortune 5. Kenexa has received numerous awards in the HCM and HR technology space, including Forbes’ Fastest Growing Technology Companies, and Top HR Product of the Year by Human Resource Executive® magazine in 2008 and 2010. The company was acquired by IBM in December 2012 to provide a platform for their Smarter Workforce initiative.

    In addition to his leadership, Karsan brings to the company his vision of serving humanity, which has become Kenexa’s mission. He has been lauded for his entrepreneurial and humanitarian achievements by the Kauffman Foundation, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program, the Young Presidents’ Organization, the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board and the Welcoming Center of Philadelphia. In 2010, he co-authored a book, We: How to Increase Performance and Profits through Full Engagement, which was a NY Times bestseller, and illustrates many of Karsan’s personal beliefs with respect to organizational and career success. Karsan attributes his personal success to the unconditional support of his family, which he considers his greatest achievement.

  • Robert Orth

    Robert Orth

    Robert Orth joined IBM Australia in 1982. Prior to joining IBM, he was a serving officer (Flight Lieutenant) in the Royal Australian Air Force. He is currently the Director of Human Resources, IBM Australia/New Zealand. In this position he is responsible for the Human Resources functions across the business including: learning, professional and management development, leadership development, organisational culture and change, performance management, compensation and benefits, Occupational Health and Safety, Diversity, Workforce Management, Recruiting, employee relations and industrial relations.

    He was appointed to this position in March 2002 having previously held the role of Director of Talent for IBM Asia Pacific for 4 years. In his Asia Pacific role, Mr Orth travelled widely across the Region and to Europe and the USA.

    During his tenure, as A/NZ Human Resources Director, IBM Australia has been recognised for its leadership in diversity and corporate social responsibility including awards for: the Prime Minister Employer of the Year Award; ACCI Gold National Work and Family Award; Government Award for Employer Champion for Mature Age Workers; Diversity@Work Employment and Inclusion of People with a Disability Award and Inclusion of Mature Age Workers Award; EOWA Employer of Choice for Women –each year since 2001; ‘Gold’ rating in the Corporate Responsibility Index.

    Over the past 31 years Mr Orth has held various management positions in IBM; 16 years of these in line management positions in Sales and Marketing. He has also held a number of regional positions in Australia/New Zealand including responsibility for total business process re-engineering across the company, customer service and quality, strategic planning and direct marketing.

    He is a Fellow of the Australian Human Resources Institute. He is on the Boards of IBM Australia Limited. The Diversity Council of Australia and The Leadership Consortium.

    Mr Orth has a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Diploma of Education, both from the University of Sydney.

  • Susan Ferrier

    Susan Ferrier

    Head of People Performance and Culture, KPMG

    Leading large scale complex organisational culture change and building high performance organisations have been a hallmark of Susan’s career. She combines her broad business knowledge and commercial acumen to ensure the potential of people is maximised and central to delivering business results.

    At KPMG Susan is responsible for leading the design and implementation of the People Strategy and management of the firm’s people and internal communication teams. Working closely with the senior management team, Susan is leading a program of large scale enterprise wide organisational change and capability building to ensure KPMG achieves its aspiration to be the ‘Best Firm to Work with for our People and our Clients’.

  • Nicole Blunck

    Bio – Nicole Blunck

    Following the completion of a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Economics and Management in 1993, Nicole has worked in the Human Resources field for close to 20 years.

    From her first role in 1995 combining recruitment, payroll, administration and event management in the retail industry, Nicole moved onto the growing telecommunications industry, spending over 6 years in various HR roles at Singtel Optus Singtel building in-depth knowledge in all facets of Human Resources.  Employee relations, diversity management, change management, mergers and acquisitions, organizational review and design, leadership and management development were just some of her areas of focus.  During this time, Nicole completed 2 year post graduate studies in Human Resources Management.

    Having successfully built her own HR team, in 2001, Nicole led and managed a major organisational review at Optus, predominately focusing on the implementation and change management requirements.

    In 2002, as a first step into the IT industry, Nicole went onto a HR Management role at Sun Microsystems.  Continuing her theme of change management, Nicole managed the local implementation of global operational reviews.

    After joining Microsoft Australia in late 2003 as Human Resources Manager, Nicole took 9 months maternity leave after the birth of her first child.  On her return, Nicole took up the role of People and Organisational Capability Lead for Australia and NZ which she did for 8 years.

    In February 2011, Nicole moved to AMP as the Head of Culture and Engagement and is responsible for developing and implementing AMP wide culture and engagement strategies and initiatives.

  • Zed Ivankovic

    Zed Ivankovic

    Zed Ivankovic is the corporate communications manager for Amcor, a Top 50 ASX listed packaging company operating across 42 countries. This role has global communications remit, engaging 33,000 employees across six business groups, and building a positive reputation for Amcor globally. Zed has worked in corporate affairs roles for the past 10 years, specialising in internal and external communications, including media relations. Prior to Amcor, Zed worked at ANZ, GE Capital, Telstra and Medibank Private. She has a Master of Communications from RMIT, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne. Zed is based in Melbourne, Australia.