2023 ANZ RISE Mentors and Mentees Pairing

Our award-winning Rise Mentoring programme is a free, six month programme to support women working in, or aspiring to work in the media technology sector.

Scroll down to view the pairing up of mentees and mentors from our sixth annual mentoring scheme in ANZ.

The 2023 mentoring programme sees a variety of experienced broadcast media technology sector industry leaders, at a diversity of levels of seniority, ready to offer expertise, knowledge and guidance to our female mentees.

A special thank you goes to our industry sponsors for 2023/24 as the programme is only made possible due their incredible support. Learn more about our partners HERE >


Grace Cunningham

Grace Cunningham is the Studio Operations Senior Coordinator at PwC Australia, focused on streamlining production processes across PwC's five studios. Prior to this she worked as Production Assistant at advertising agency CHEP Network, Production Coordinator at KOJO, Media Exchange Operator at the AFL and Studio Technician at CrownBet's virtual studios.

MENTOR: Nina Walsh, Head of Business Development, APJ & Americas for Media & Entertainment at AWS

Jessica Paynter

Jessica has been a part of Gravity Media team for 8 years. Being brought on originally as a trainee, she is now a competent Communication Tech and Audio Engineer. Jessica is also a mentor to others through the Women in Broadcasting Program. There is always knowledge we can share and always something we can learn from each other.

MENTOR: Olivia Grimshaw, Presales and Customer Success Manager APAC at Grass Valley

Sharmaine Spencer

Sharmaine is an audio engineer, operations specialist, and emerging leader in the community broadcasting sector. She manages the Community Radio Network, a service that distributes radio programming to 150 stations across Australia. She has worked alongside hundreds of content creators to strengthen their skills in radio and audio production.

MENTOR: Manda Hatter, Head of Operations at Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Jennie Schiller

I initially joined Gravity Media in 2019 as a Media and Digital Coordinator before joining the Gravity Production Team in 2021. I have a Bachelor of Communication in Media Arts and Production and Journalism, and a Certificate 4 and Diploma in Screen and Media

MENTOR: Tanya Rai, Marketing Manager at Telstra Broadcast Services

Penny He

I'm a media and entertainment finance pro with 8+ years experience. I deliver insights, lead teams, and specialize in financial planning, budgeting, and cash flow management. I'm also a fashion enthusiast and stylist.

MENTOR: Trupti Patel, Head of Program Management at Telstra Broadcast Services

Taylah Gillis

Hi, I am Dominika and currently working as a Senior Product Manager in the Product team. I am also Product Owner of one of Engineering teams. I am experienced in delivering playback features in OTT industry. My goal is to build the highest quality, scalable solutions which give the best user experience. I strongly focus on improving processes, innovation and delivering value to the customer.

MENTOR: Monica Forlano, Head of AFL Studios at Australian Football League

Aayushi Parikh

A marketing professional experienced in executing digital campaigns and brand strategies, based on extensive research and deep understanding of stakeholder and online community management. Driven by curiosity around people and a knack for creative generous thinking, my preliminary passion lies in marketing analytics, campaign management, and measuring success. Have an increasing appetite for coffee, gin and to learn.

MENTOR: Emily Crews



Nina Walsh

Nina Walsh is the Head of Business Development, APJ & Americas for Media & Entertainment at AWS. She joined AWS in 2020 to lead M&E strategy for the region and is a global leader for Content Production, with over a decade of experience in visual effects (VFX) and animation. Prior to AWS Nina held senior leadership roles in business operations, strategy, commercial, creative, and technology. She led large-scale digital transformation and strategic growth programs for Tier 1 Film and Television production studios in the US, Canada, and Australia. Nina is an industry leader in her field, drawing from more than 18 years in M&E, spanning broadcast, radio, sports, and content production. She enjoys public speaking and presents regularly at global industry events. Nina has held production, technology, and leadership roles across some familiar industry brands including: Fox Sports, AFL, NHL, MLS, Bell Media, Deluxe, Company 3/Method, Encore Post & VFX, and Animal Logic. She is a passionate mentor and people leader who enjoys building inclusive and high-performing teams. Nina holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Sydney, and is a member of industry association, the Visual Effects Society (VES).

MENTEE: Grace Cunningham, Studio Operations Senior Coordinator at PWC Australia

Olivia Grimshaw

Olivia Grimshaw started her career in London in the theatre industry and transitioned into commercial television. After relocating to Sydney, Australia Olivia continued in broadcast operations for cable and commercial television. Upon returned from 3 years in the Netherland Olivia expanded into digital and online consulting for an Australian Sports Code. Olivia is currently providing content solutions to the media industry as the Presales and Customer Success Manager APAC at Grass Valley.

MENTEE: Jessica Paynter, Audio Engineer at Grvavity Media

Manda Hatter

Manda is a passionate Television industry professional who started over 35 years ago as one of the first female camera operators in Australia and since then has worked across all facets of TV including various Production & Operational roles and has spent the last 23 years in Senior Leadership. Manda’s main focus over the past few years has been leading major transformation projects in two Networks which included developing and implementing technical systems, organisational restructuring, streamlining processes and productivity improvements. Manda’s strengths lie in building a motivated and committed team with 360 degree collaboration as a key element. A proven leader of large and complex teams, Manda has a focus on building sustainable change in the culture of the organisations she works for. Manda has a strong focus on Diversity and Inclusion and believes in bringing your whole self to work. Jan 2017, Manda moved to the ABC as Head of Operations and quickly became the LGBTQIA+ Champion for the ABC. Manda founded, and Chaired ABC Pride from 2017 to 2023 when she handed over the role to two Co-Chairs to elevate their vision for ABC Pride. In 2018 the ABC entered the AWEI Awards (Australian Workplace Equality Index) for the first time. Manda led ABC Pride to it’s history making inaugural participation in the Mardi Gras parade in 2019 and was incredibly proud of her team at ABC Pride whose work throughout the past 5 years saw the ABC to receiving three awards both at at the AWEI 2021 & AWEI 2022 events. Most improved employer (2021), Gold employer (2021 & 2022), Best External Media (2021 & 2022) and CEO of the Year (2022). Manda also worked with Executives and Senior Leadership to ensure the Mardi Gras and Sydney WorldPride events across 2021 – 2024 came home to the ABC as host broadcaster. Outside of her leadership role in television, Manda has been involved in the LGBTQI community since returning from the US in 1997. She held the roles of Secretary and Ride Leader with Dykes on Bikes before becoming President for the term 2014 – 2016. During this time, Manda worked with various organisations to help grow the Dykes on Bikes brand through her connections within the community. Through these ties, Dykes on Bikes expanded its membership, supporters allies and friends and offers diversity and inclusiveness.

MENTEE: Sharmaine Spencer, Community Radio Network Operations Coordinator and Team Leader at Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA)

Tanya Rai

Tanya has worked in the broadcast and entertainment industry for over 15 years with a range of experience in marketing, events, project/account management and advocating diversity. She has worked with the BBC, Cheltenham Literature and Jazz Festivals, International Broadcasting Convention, Gritty Talent, British Arrows, Wildscreen and Icon Films. She also worked for Sundog Media Toolkit, managing projects to create automated cloud native tools for the versioning of packaged media (DCP & IMF) and building relationships with leading Hollywood Studios and UK broadcasters and as Marketing and Communications Manager at Pebble, who deliver automation, playout and management solutions for the broadcast community. Tanya currently works for Telstra Broadcast Services (TBS) as Marketing Manager to market their broadcast end to end solutions including a global media network, cloud-based media production, world-class satellite services and managed production and playout services. Tanya has hosted and produced many of the episodes featured in the ‘Rise In Conversation With’ webinar series, interviewing women in senior leadership roles from ITV, The Financial Times and the BBC. She also launched her own podcast in 2020, where she talks to diverse guests who work in the broadcast and creative industries about their top three ways of 'Keeping It Real'.

MENTEE: Jennie Schiller, Production Assistant at Gravity Media

Trupti Patel

I came to Australia in 1995, with my degree in Bachelor in Architecture. I have worked in IT and Telecommunications industry since 2000 and was the lead web site designer, and PM to deliver the VF Mobile Number Portability for their supplier. Over the years I have worked in Retail, banking and telecom industry, as I found my interest in Project, program management and as analyst shine strong. In 2009 I joined Telstra for the T-Box program of work and since then worked on IPTV and media broadcast projects and program of work. In 2015 with Telstra's acquisition of Globecast Australia, I had the opportunity to deliver the relocation program of work and since then have grown with the company. In my current role, I am leading a team of project managers, program managers and business analyst in delivery of broadcast media projects and program of works for Telstra Broadcast Services.

MENTEE: Penny He, Finance Manager at Deluxe APAC

Monica Forlano

Monica Forlano is the Head of AFL Studios which is the production and in-house creative agency of the Australian Football League. Monica has over 20 years of media industry experience ranging from managing international operations of cable television in Europe, to leading broadcast channels and content production departments in Australia. Her key career achievements include developing marketing and business transformation plans around media creation and distribution, successful launch campaigns for major television programs and sports documentary production Monica is also the Chair of Endometriosis Australia, the preeminent peak body for endometriosis and the largest non-government funder of research into this disease suffered by an estimated 830,000 Australians.

MENTEE: Taylah Gillis, Multiskilled Technical Operator at MKTG Sports + Entertainment Australia

Emily Crews

Coming Soon

MENTEE: Aayushi Parikh, Digital Campaign Coordinator at Bolster Agency (Creative Agency)


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