Leading The Product Sydney - Leading The Product

Your Host

Jen Marshall

Jen Marshall | Brainmates

Jen Marshall is CEO and Senior Consultant at Brainmates. She has deep experience in Media starting out her career as a News Producer at BSkyB, London. Before leading the team at Brainmates, Jen was the Product Director at Fairfax Media. Jen has an Executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management and a BA in Communications from Charles Sturt University. She is regular presenter at events on the state of Product Management.

Your Speakers

Ken Sandy

Ken Sandy | University of California, Berkeley

Ken Sandy is a 20-year technology Product Management veteran based in San Francisco Bay Area. He has led Product Management teams at an executive level at both fast-growth, early-stage companies, and for larger companies attempting digital transformations amidst industry disruption.


Ken is an Industry Fellow and Lecturer at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at University of California, Berkeley, where he instructs a pioneering Product Management course equipping students with real-world tools and frameworks, and immediately applying them on complex product initiatives. And he is an Executive Product Consultant, assisting companies to drive growth through establishing focused Product strategy, and maturing their Product Management processes and teams.

Previously, Ken was Vice President, Product at Lynda.com – the premier online learning company acquired by LinkedIn. Prior, he worked for companies developing content and advertising platforms for independent publishers, startups creating mobile messaging and social networking solutions, and led business units based in the US and China. He is an alumnus of University of Melbourne.

Trent Mankelow

Trent Mankelow | Trade Me

Trent Mankelow is the Chief Customer Officer at Trade Me, New Zealand's leading online marketplace and classified business, used by over 750K Kiwis a day.

For the last two-and-a-half years, Trent was Trade Me's Chief Product Officer, responsible for the product management practice used by 22 PMs across the business.

Prior to Trade Me, Trent was the co-founder and CEO of Optimal Experience, a UX consultancy started in New Zealand. Trent helped grow the business from two people sharing a desk in 2003, to 30 staff across Auckland, Wellington and Sydney before selling to PwC in 2014. He is a co-founder of Optimal Workshop (which builds tools for UX professionals), was the Chief Product Officer for a high-growth SaaS business, and has worked for Spark Ventures.

He's currently obsessed with mountaineering with the goal to climb Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, in December 2017.

Dr. Sarah Colley

Dr. Sarah Colley | Pockets of Brilliance

Dr. Sarah Colley is an organisational psychologist who works with organisations and teams to develop a range of human-centered development processes, based on applying insights from psychology, neuroscience and design thinking. Sarah has spent the past ten-years designing and delivering innovative training, development and coaching processes that result in sustained organisational change, enhanced cultural alignment, accelerated leadership development, improved team alignment / effectiveness, and enhanced outcomes for individuals and organisations.

Sarah has trained at Stanford Design School and utilises design thinking to collaborate in the creation of all processes with clients. She is an engaging facilitator and coach, having presented at national and international conferences including at the United Nations. She has designed and delivered hundreds of development processes across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The United States, Europe and Asia; across a range of industries including government, engineering, oil and gas, mining, rail, shipping, energy and explosives.

Susan Teschner

Susan Teschner | 99 Designs

Susan’s degree in Political Science qualified her for nothing, but her journey through the ranks of product management sure has. Having tried her hand at all angles of product, Susan’s found that straying too far from either the thinking or the doing makes her seriously cranky pants. She’s most happy building collaborative, creative and generally ass-kicking teams, learning daily, delivering on a shared vision and laughing hard along the way.

Currently directing a Product team spread between Melbourne and San Francisco, Susan’s work growing 99designs — the world’s largest marketplace for graphic design — keeps the cranky pants away.

Sara Wood

Sara Wood | GAP Inc

Sara has been leading Product teams since long before the discipline had a name. Starting in the early days of the first dotcom boom in San Francisco managing products such as Salon Magazine, she survived the bust and came through that period to lead teams at the executive level at Flickr, Wikia/Wikipedia, early stage starts ups such as Layer, international science organizations such as the United Nations, PLoS and Harvard, as well as large Fortune500 companies such as Gap Inc global.

Sara has developed her own outlook on what makes a team, a feature, a product and a company successful. She has worn many hats (depending on the size and maturity of the organization) and lived every incarnation of “process.” She has learned first-hand how to manage through complexity and changing economics (she also credits her years as a waitress and bartender to pay her way through University and Graduate school for this as well!).

Sara serves as an early-stage advisor to young companies, hoping to help accelerate their vision, while avoiding the all-too-common land mines along the way.

Cameron Adams

Sally O’Donoghue | ABC iview

Sally O’Donoghue is manager of ABC iview. iview attracts 2.1m monthly users, second only to Netflix for video on demand, and records more than 50 million program plays each month.

During Sally’s time leading product development, editorial and audience experience at iview, the service has continued to break new ground with multiple digital-first program commissions and initiatives unearthing new on and off-screen talent.

Sally has previously held senior product and editorial roles at BSkyB and Virgin Media UK before joining ABC TV in 2011. Sally completed post-graduate studies in Communication at Swinburne University of Technology.

Syed Ahmed

Syed Ahmed | BUPA Australia and New Zealand

From global multi-national corporate enterprises to early stage start-ups, fluid, fast-moving digital experiences to deep, mission-critical enterprise IT systems, Syed has experience in synthesizing business outcomes with the technologies that enable them.

He is currently the Head of Digital Products and Operations at Bupa Australia and New Zealand, where he begs, cajoles and sometimes leads a number of cross-functional multi-disciplinary teams in delivering and managing the digital product portfolio. Prior to joining Bupa, Syed worked across technology management, strategy and advisory roles across a range of organisations including ThoughtWorks, Servcorp, Perpetual and Avanade.

When he’s not juggling corporate priorities, Syed provides advice to early-stage tech start-ups, mentors a small number of start-up founders and occasionally helps out as a judge in start-up competitions. He also considers himself a coffee enthusiast (one level below snob), is a keen camper and occasionally gets to ride his motorbike.

Syed has a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Information Systems, a Master of Information Systems (Honours) in Artificial Intelligence, and an MBA from AGSM.

Magnus Billgren

Magnus Billgren | Tolpagorni Product Management

Magnus Billgren is a Product Guy. He has been developing and rolling out products throughout the globe in different settings. But always technology intensive products in the B2B space.

He has created products that have generated billions in turnover. Industrial tools, CRM system, Neurosurgery equipment, Telecom switches, IoT platforms, Car diagnostics, Diving gear and more. Magnus has guided Product Managers to success in different technology & market environments. Product Management tools like Value Tree®, PMA, Product SoundTrack® and Value Development Model bear his signature. He has also built and sold two IT companies (in CRM and digital communication) . Magnus has done product management at ABB, the Swedish Post, Bergman & Beving and Strålfors, where he developed award winning products .

He is the founder of Tolpagorni Product Management, one of the largest Product Management Companies in the world. He is a founding member of ISPMA. He is contributes in research for Product Marketing, Business modelling, Product Planning and sits on the steering board for university projects. With an educational background in Engineering, Business, Philosophy and Industrial Design he takes on projects from holistic but yet pragmatic point of view.

He has trained thousands of Product Managers. Companies like Ericsson, Profoto, Würth, Volvo CE, Atlas Copco, IBM, Transmode, Interspiro, Vendemore are using his expertise to develop and manage technology intensive products. Tolpagorni has consulting and speaking engagement around in world in countries like China, UK, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Finland and more.

Twitter handle: @magnusbillgren


Lightning Talks

Katherine Barrett

Katherine Barrett | carsales.com.au

Katherine Barrett is a traveller, story teller and team appointed nerd whisperer. Since her start in product management Katherine has worked on researching, creating and optimising products but takes the most joy from making product moments that surprise and delight. Having started her product management career by decommissioning a product Katherine has seen the birth, life and death of products and lived to tell the tale. With a love of shiny objects Katherine recognises the importance of curation and clarity in product design.

Twitter: @Misscommunikat

Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor | TAL

Dan is General Manager of Innovation at TAL, Australia’s largest Life Insurer, where he leads the innovation team including TAL’s Accelerator, Incubator and Data Lab.

Dan has been at the frontline of corporate innovation for over 15 years, working in and with some of the world’s largest companies to establish and sustain innovation. He has developed and launched everything from digital payments technologies to engineering services, from smart home products to electric vehicle businesses, and from media ventures to telecoms tariffs – and even founded some of his own businesses along the way, not least a vineyard in Argentina.

Dan is a thought leader and published author (The Secrets of Big Business Innovation) with deep expertise in customer-led proposition design, leveraging the power of data and technology, and critically, how to deliver innovation in the corporate environment.


More speakers to be announced soon


Where is it?

Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf

Getting there

Take the Wheat Road exit and keep left past the IMAX Theatre. From the Wheat Road drop off zone take the escalators up one level to the Balcony Level.

Take train to Town Hall Station. Exiting station, follow Bathurst Street towards the IMAX Theatre at Darling Harbour. As you enter Darling Harbour, make a right. You will pass the IMAX theatre and follow the path along the Cockle Bay Wharf side of the Harbour. Once you get to Dockside, take the escalators to Balcony Level.

Drive down Market Street toward Darling Harbour and turn left onto Sussex Street. For parking, use Wilson Carpark at 201 Sussex Street. Park on Levels C1, C2, or C3 and take elevator to Level B. Walk along the footpath bridge, over the roadway, and Dockside will be located to your left. Alternatively, you can park directly behind the IMAX building.

*Please note that Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf is located on the Sydney CBD side of Darling Harbour between the IMAX Theatre and the Pyrmont Bridge.*

The after party

Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf