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Core Team

Our core team is skilled in learning design, digital development and learning delivery. We also work closely with a network of experts that have been carefully curated over time, to build robust and learner-centric solutions.
Lee Roulston

Lee Roulston

Co-founder,
CEO

Lee articulates the specific learning needs of the business’s audience to make sure the tone, language and messaging is engaging and right for the end user. Lee has a strong background in professional writing, the arts and education and is passionate about storytelling and bringing learning to life.

See Lee’s bio

Q

Lee Roulston

Co-founder, Director of Learning

The term ‘active learner’ is how I would describe myself both professionally and personally. At every opportunity, I am learning something new through conversations, podcasts, videos, or the old-school book. I have to admit I still love the feel of a real book in my hands and dive into all types of fiction and non-fiction as often as possible.

Going into teaching was natural for me, as education is one of my highest values. Leading on from teaching, I embraced learning and development opportunities that were about making a difference in the business sector. Combining my background in writing and editing with education, I have built robust content solutions on a variety of leadership, management and workplace culture related topics to help teams work to their fullest potential.

Eventually, I joined forces with Ben and Tara to establish Thinka. We provide a range of learning solutions to businesses, corporations, and training organisations to help educate and grow their people. Thinka’s approach is fresh, contemporary and practical – empowering people to take responsibility for their own learning and leadership development. I have a keen interest in combining creativity with learning, so on every project I’m keen to explore fresh ideas and new possibilities to appeal to learners.

What I really love about my role at Thinka is working in the ideation space with clients. When we are imagining learning solutions, I listen carefully to get to the heart of each client’s problem or challenge to make sure I truly understand their needs. Only when I have listened, do I move into prototyping ¬– bringing in my love of the English language to establish a tone and style that is engaging and right for the end-user.

As a business, I actively work on making sure our workplace culture is positive, inclusive and focused on learning. I introduced a ‘Capability Coaching’ program for team members, making sure each of our team members can access what they need to grow strengths and skills. I also use my yoga training to lead ‘Mindful Monday’ with the team. In this session, we practise meditation, discuss mindfulness techniques and other ways we can look after our mental health.

As a team that works flexibly, our stand-up meetings, check-ins and sharing sessions help us stay connected. For me, this embodiment of sharing and learning is what makes the Thinka team the leaders in the field that we are. I role model this by sharing knowledge from the books I read, talking about the latest thought leadership podcasts, and any other random bits of information I come across. I love history, sociology and human behaviour; nothing is too weird or wonderful to share.

I am honest, reliable and committed to the growth of our business, and this has often come at great personal sacrifice. Yet, I feel the grit I’ve shown to get Thinka off the ground and sustain it has been rewarded. We have achieved a number of national business and learning and development awards – recognising the excellence in our business and the solutions we create for our clients. I feel proud of how far we have come and what we have built and am excited about where we will go in the future.

See Lee’s LinkedIn

Ben Roulston

Ben Roulston

Co-founder,
COO

Ben leads the operations of Thinka, working with the team to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of technology, systems and process. Ben has a proven history in business and enabling high-performance leadership culture. He is a motivated self-starter when it comes to personal and professional development.

See Ben’s bio
Q

Ben Roulston

Co-founder, COO

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit – innovation, solving problems and fulfilling a purpose is what drives me. As someone dedicated to personal and professional growth, Thinka reflects so much of what I’m already drawn to and my highest values.

This business is the culmination of skills, knowledge, and expertise, that I started with Lee and Tara. We build fresh, modern and creative learning solutions for businesses and their teams – helping them to recognise their potential and drive high performance. We focus on developing skills and mindsets for the future using a range of modalities such as online and face to face workshops, activities, programs and customised solutions.

In building the company, I quickly recognised that it was paramount to align ourselves on culture and values so that we could more successfully help other businesses and training services – to live and practise what we are preaching. One area that sets us apart and has created significant impact was taking the time to discover our own team members’ individual strengths and giving them the opportunity to work on, develop and share these strengths with the rest of the team and our clientele.

Personally, my key strengths lie in strategic thinking, observing and predicting future trends, planning, influencing people and holding people accountable to the goals they’ve set. This means I am most effective in the business in the initial stages with a client. This is where I ideate on what they need, identify who their end-user is, and explore the different possibilities that might suit their situation. I am always accessing contemporary thought leadership to help businesses build high performing teams who are proactive in the workplace, and who are focused on application and change.

I take exception to the status quo and like to engage in a healthy debate where I challenge the thoughts, ideas, and perceptions of people. This leads to highly valuable experiences where we often uncover a solution or approach that is unconventional and effective for the situation. Through this process, we can also test the strength of ideas and address areas of concern, deficiency, or possible limitations. Taking the time to have these conversations at the beginning of the process means that the end-user experiences a service that is designed specifically for them and is rewarded by exceptional outcomes.

I believe that generating a culture centred around transformational leadership is the pivotal factor in creating high-performing people and teams. This means they are aligned on behaviour and expectations that will ultimately produce high-performing results for the organisation. My approach to transformational leadership is demonstrated through my development of resilience, self-awareness, and forward-thinking – and I work hard to share these lessons with the rest of the team.

My philosophy is that to be a leader you no longer have to be the ‘know-it-all’, but embody the ability to bring out the best in others. This establishes a positive environment forged on respect, understanding and empathy, allowing people to be the best version of themselves and create happier lives. Making this kind of impact is the legacy I want to leave and impart to our learning community, partners and team at Thinka.

See Ben’s LinkedIn
Tara Ridsdale

Tara Ridsdale

Co-founder,
Head of Client Experience

Tara works with our client community to understand their learning and development needs and shares ideas and insights to inform new thinking. Tara believes working in partnership with our clients leads to win-win outcomes and forward-thinking learning solutions.

See Tara’s bio

Q

Tara Ridsdale

Co-founder, Head of Client Experience

I am a big believer in enjoying the important things in life, like time with family and friends, great food and travel. I like to bring these elements to my role by creating an environment of respect, curiosity, problem-solving and of course, plenty of fun.

My career began in the banking industry working on a major project as the Training and Communications Coordinator, where I discovered my passion for Learning and Development. I had the opportunity to find new ways to deliver training – adding value to individuals both personally and professionally.

One project set the scene for my future career – a major system roll-out across the entire bank, where I was responsible for testing, implementing and training teams across different departments. I was determined to understand their individual needs to make a positive difference in their roles. From this experience, I understood the importance of working in partnership with others and leveraging important insights from subject matter experts.

As a co-founder of Thinka, with my partners Lee and Ben, I care deeply about our culture. I’m the harmoniser of the team who solves problems with empathy and honesty. My curiosity has led me to create special bonds with the Thinka team and our broader client community. I love to invite people in to the Thinka culture and see how they help to influence it.

In my role as Head of Client Experience, I work with a partnership-first mindset to truly understand the pain points and gain points of a learning and development solution for our clients. I work collaboratively across the Thinka team to make sure the initial concept is executed in line with the client’s expectations. I want the client’s learning experience to feel like a testament to the organisation’s values and culture.

One project that has really stood out to me throughout the Thinka journey is the concepting, design and production of a complex piece of digital learning. The topic was safety, and we were able to take this from being a traditional piece of learning to a one-of-a-kind, contemporary, award-winning piece of work. This piece of learning showed the potential and power of a supplier-client partnership approach.

I work with a range of clients across different industries and have built solid, collaborative relationships with them. They have confidence in our business because we have built it from the ground up and have a strong working knowledge of learning and development.

Thinka’s reputation precedes us and we are often referred to as the go-to people for high quality and fast turnaround on projects. This has led to many satisfied and loyal clients that return to us time and again. Because our team is built with a focus on our individual strengths, we can deliver promptly on projects without ever having to compromise on quality, as we all have our niche areas of expertise and work together like a well-oiled machine.

I love the innovative work Thinka produces and how we are constantly pushing the boundaries to make our clients smile. This makes me proud to be a co-founder.

See Tara’s LinkedIn
Carolyne French

Carolyne French

Head of Learning Experience

Carolyne works closely with clients to determine how they want to grow and develop their leaders, with a strong focus on accountability and results. Carolyne has a background in leadership, consulting, overseeing Organisational Development and is a passionate, accredited CliftonStrengths coach.

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Q

Carolyne French

Head of Learning Experience

Brilliance is inside every single person; and I want to help people recognise it within themselves. There is nothing I love more than watching as an ‘aha’ moment, or breakthrough as it occurs and the growth that follows. For the past 20 years, I have been privileged to work in the learning and development space, with individuals, teams and executives. I have seen first-hand, the benefits of working with individuals to unlock their potential and create positive impact in their workplace performance and results.

I believe in seeking out and investing in talent, always recognising individual strengths, and I build and mentor teams that deliver results with lasting impact. Because I sustain authentic relationships at all levels of an organisation, I advocate for a collaborative learning culture – where development is life, not an event. My combination of purposeful action and a fast pace ensures momentum and inspires those around me to take risks, step outside of their comfort-zone, and make things happen.

I have been with the Thinka team since March 2020 as Head of Leadership Excellence. I focus on building capability by teaching human leadership skills that can be practically applied. In partnership with our clients, we deliver these outcomes through a range of coaching sessions, workshops, programs and resources – either face to face or online.

In the initial stages of the Thinka-client relationship, I work with the client to truly understand the causes of problems they are experiencing, not just the symptoms. I find reverse engineering is the most effective way to produce powerful and practical results. From the outset, we are focusing on what the outcome needs to be and making sure we are setting end-users up for success. From here, I partner with the learning design and digital teams to find fresh and innovative ways to deliver our learning content.

Our desired outcome as a team is to draw out the unique talents of every person. We want to inspire a curiosity in them to want more out of every area of their life. We create ‘out of the box’ learning experiences that lead to easily-applied skills and long-lasting change. I enjoy enabling others to push their perceived boundaries – to face what scares them, for them to ‘feel the fear’ of the activity and do it anyway. This is where real personal growth happens.

Organisations who are focused on their people are the ones that light me up the most –those who understand that it takes time and intentional effort to drive change. I enjoy working with organisations who have leaders who want to grow, but need a nudge in the right direction, along with the resources and confidence to get them there. I am excited when I see organisations foster peer-to-peer leadership in their culture to obtain exceptional results.

I believe the value people receive from the work I do with them is finding happiness in what they do. This increases their engagement with their work and overall wellbeing. We are always careful to consider this when we design programs, workshops and resources at Thinka. As a company, we represent exactly what we are helping our clients to achieve.

See Carolyne’s LinkedIn
Dee Ridsdale

Dee Ridsdale

Head of Digital Learning

Dee oversees the digital development of projects, working closely with clients to bring the final vision to life. She has a strong knowledge of graphic design and eLearning authoring tools, and works closely with our experts on animation and video. Dee enjoys a creative challenge and has meticulous attention to detail.

See Dee’s bio
Q

Dee Ridsdale

Head of Digital Learning

Joining the Thinka team has proven to be a valuable opportunity to stretch my creativity, curiosity and leadership potential. Coming from the banking industry, I have combined skills developed there – a strong work ethic, collaboration and attention to detail – with my natural artistic flair. This is a strong formula for heading up the Digital Learning team.

In my role as Head of Digital Learning, I am involved in up-front consultation with clients and I listen carefully to get a full picture of what is involved in the digital space. I make sure clients understand the steps involved to achieve their goals and the timelines that govern digital production. Then, I brief the project into my diverse team made up of talented in-house employees and contractors from all over the globe.

As Head of Digital Learning, I work with my team to design our learning solutions in a way that enhances the user experience while fulfilling their educational needs. We make sure that every program, module or resource is delivered in a fresh, modern and innovative way. Every day, we are levelling up in the digital space and pioneering the way we deliver solutions. I enjoy using my vision and creative thinking to take learning from being just ‘the written word’ into something that is beautifully finished.

As a child, I was always exploring my creative side through painting and drawing – but it wasn’t until I started at Thinka that I uncovered my true potential and put it to use to benefit others. I often research the science behind how design can enhance learning, improve retention and lead to higher engagement. It is this tenacity to learn and innovate, that shows my passion and commitment as both a Leader and Digital Designer.

Being able to move quickly and nimbly on projects has seen my team pull off complex solutions within tight time restraints. An example of this is during the 2020 pandemic – when we were asked to take a nation-wide conference with over 500 attendees online in just 4 weeks. It needed to be a fully functioning platform with many moving parts; including a full journey map, access to previous recordings and allow for multiple hosts, and of course, it needed to look visually stunning.

My delegation skills were put to the test on this project, as I managed multiple contractors to bring all of these moving parts together. I was solving problems and editing right up until the last minute, but the whole conference went off well and we received excellent feedback from attendees. It is always my intention to exceed client and learner expectations and it was very rewarding to be able to achieve this on this project.

Personally, I am inspired by the thought of bettering myself just that little bit more every single day. I am constantly learning new things and reminding myself to become the best leader, designer, and team member I can be. I know how many opportunities I have to grow and learn, and I want to embrace them all, while empowering those around me to do the same.

See Dee’s LinkedIn
Heather Thomson

Heather Thomson

Project Lead

Heather works closely with clients, keeping them informed of project progress and updates. Heather has many years’ experience coordinating projects and enjoys being the conduit between the Thinka team and our clients. Heather has strong organisational skills and is motivated to deliver great outcomes on every project.

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Q

Heather Thomson

Project Coordinator

The Thinka team is a dynamic and creative group of people who like the change and pace of different projects. I work closely with the team as a project coordinator and enjoy my role in helping to bring learning to life.

I have worked in project coordination and finance administration across various industries and have returned to Learning and Development as I’m passionate about learning. I’m strongly committed to personal and professional development and am always seeking opportunities to improve myself and realise my potential. I believe in Thinka’s ability to provide these kinds of learnings for their clients and their focus on human skills. I like learning about ways we can become more mindful and intentional in all areas of work and life.

I bring processes and disciplines to Thinka from my experience across different projects and roles. I have a diverse set of skills that help me look at things in multiple ways, ask good questions and solve problems. Listening is vital, and I use this skill to understand how I can help get the best outcomes from our team and our clients on every project.

I believe in bringing efficiency and a ‘can do’ attitude to every task, no matter how big or small. I am always thinking of the little details and ask myself each day: ‘what can I do in my role to make the lives of our clients and the Thinka team easier?’ I make sure every aspect of my role is delivered to the highest quality and celebrate opportunities to build strong partnerships with people.

Because the role of Project Coordinator is rapid, constantly changing, and involves managing lots of information, I like to switch off and explore nature in my spare time. My family and I go hiking, and I enjoy spending time lots of time outside – clearing my mind and releasing any stress. This release is essential, as it means I can get the best out of myself. My son and I are big fans of David Attenborough, and we like to discuss different issues that affect the planet and think about better ways to live more sustainably.

See Heather’s LinkedIn

Sean Badley

Sean Badley

Learning Delivery Lead

Sean partners with clients to bring new skills and capabilities to life in their organisations. Sean has a deep history in business leadership and team development and is passionate about creating engaging learning experiences for all learners. Sean has a warm, collaborative facilitation style and is committed to fostering inclusive environments for learning.

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Q

Sean Badley

Learning Delivery Lead

I live life with the knowledge that learning is not finite – every day offers an opportunity to learn something new and grow as a human. Sharing knowledge and supporting others to reach their full potential is in the fabric of my DNA. I love it!

My career has been anchored in working with global branded organisations. Through this experience, I have learned that people are the real key to any brand or organisational commercial success. And I have seen how culture, communication and a sense of belonging are pivotal in creating productive, innovative and enjoyable work environments – where teams and individuals thrive.

I became part of the Thinka team because of the organisation’s ethos and commitment to making the future of work more human. What if leaders and teams were equipped to understand and navigate human behaviour, difficult (or conflicting) conversations, and diverse working environments respectfully and productively? Now, that’s a world of work I want to help create.

In my role, I partner with clients to bring these skills and capabilities to life for learners, delivering engaging learning that holds real-world application. I love being a part of a learning experience that supports personal growth through expansive thinking, shifting mental modes, and building a growth mindset.

My learning journey continues every day. As an MBA candidate with RMIT, I constantly develop my knowledge and skills in business and leadership practices (current and future). I hold a post-graduate degree in business administration and an advanced diploma in leadership and management.

Outside of learning and sharing knowledge, I’m a lover of great food, conversation and music. Outside of work, I can be found having a deep philosophical conversation or grooving to some fantastic hit tracks from the ‘90s.

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Emma Bennett

Emma Bennett

Learning Design Lead

Emma is passionate about creating learning experiences that advance skills and knowledge, positively influencing behavioural change. She is driven to develop learning that is current, relevant and reflects industry best practice. She has a strong background in learning design, project management and stakeholder engagement.

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Q

Emma Bennett

Learning Design Lead

One of the things that became immediately clear to me about Thinka when I joined the team was their commitment to not only provide fresh, innovative and creative learning solutions for clients, but also to build a culture of collaboration, trust and accountability within the team. As someone who finds deep satisfaction in working hard with others on achieving goals, the Thinka environment means I can work to my fullest potential.

Throughout my working life I have always been attracted to writing and education, but I have spent most of my career working in learning and development for emergency services. Consequently, I have developed essential skills in problem-solving, business agility, stakeholder engagement, project planning and leading high-performing teams. I am also skilled in deciphering technical information into more easily digestible content.

My role at Thinka allows me to use my talents to help solve the problems and challenges faced by clients to make sure learning hits the mark with the intended audience and helps to positively influence behavioural change. I’m passionate about creating learning experiences that are innovative, engaging and reflect best practice in the industry.

I am a lifelong learner and this is reflected by an extensive list of qualifications including a Bachelor of Arts/Professional Writing and Editing and a Master of Education (specialising in education technologies); as well as various other qualifications in leadership, management and learning design.

I am particularly interested in research and user experience (UX) and how this can be applied to learning design. I think deeply about how the learner interacts with and experiences the finished product so that a person’s learning experience is as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

In my personal life I love to be outdoors in nature and I thrive on challenges. I am constantly pushing myself to learn and discover new things and I love the idea of dreaming up a challenge or goal, working towards it and learning something new in the process. In 2019 I finished my first half marathon, followed by my first short distance triathlon in 2020 and taught myself to swim in the process. I look forward to thinking up a new goal for myself in the near future to keep challenging myself and learning to push through my limits.

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Marguerita Perilli

Marguerita Perilli

Vocational Content Lead

Marguerita oversees all our VET learning projects. She maintains a strong collaborative and solution-focused approach with her clients. Marguerita is passionate about harnessing her extensive experience and knowledge in Learning and Development, at both a corporate and VET level, to deliver engaging, valuable and high quality outcomes for her stakeholders.

Marguerita’s bio coming soon!
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Mark Abdel-Sayed

Mark Abdel-Sayed

Senior Creative

Working at the intersection of brand, design and technology. Mark is a hands on creative, collaborating to craft solutions that connect with people, transform businesses and shape culture. An experienced Senior Creative with close to two decades of working in the design industry, Mark is our right brain injection for any upcoming projects.

Mark’s bio coming soon!
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Peter Bagi

Peter Bagi

Learning Designer

Peter works as part of the learning design team, writing and creating content for a range of projects. He enjoys working with different clients and brands to gain an understanding of their unique voice, and adapting his writing to suit this. Peter has a strong passion for literature and is energised by writing meaningful content.

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Q

Peter Bagi

Learning Designer

I enjoy working at Thinka for two main reasons. Firstly, the content I’m assigned to work on is mentally stimulating and interesting, with my professional and academic background strongly complementing the work I do.

Secondly, I appreciate the opportunity to write content that has a meaningful and tangible impact. Seeing my writing transformed into material that will genuinely help others, in short timeframes, is a fulfilling aspect of my role.

My sustained interest in the role’s learning and development component is directly linked to my belief in the power of self-improvement. I love trying new things – as long as the passion is there, I can do something. As an active learner, I am always open and curious about new information. As an avid reader, I enjoy motivational books including inspirational autobiographies. I challenge myself by taking online courses in skills that are new to me, like digital design and video editing.

While living in Brisbane, I completed a Bachelor of Business Management as well as my Graduate Certificate in Business (majoring in Marketing). After graduating, I worked as a Content Executive for a digital marketing agency, followed by freelance work as a content producer with a wide variety of clients, including business coaches. I’ve always loved Melbourne, though, and moved here at the start of 2020.

In terms of my background, my family travelled a lot when I was young. My dad was a Pastor, and we moved to Hungary as a family when I was very young. Living there until I was five gave me a craving for exploration, which still forms a strong part of my identity today.

Along with my passion for learning and creativity, I have meticulous attention to detail that is central to my Learning Design role. With empathy as one of my top strengths, I enjoy building relationships with people and seeking to understand their diverse perspectives and viewpoints. Two other key ‘CliftonStrengths’ of mine are ‘futuristic’ and ‘strategic’ – I am always keen to establish a clear idea of my goals and map out the necessary steps to get there.

My personal interests have always included creative writing – namely science fiction, a genre I’ve written in since high school. Although I’ve always written for fun in the past, my aim is to publish something in the next few years. This interest has been with me since childhood and it probably started when my Dad made us watch Alien when I was two, which traumatised me for a while! I’m obsessed with the endlessness of space, as I believe it holds infinite possibilities for stories.

The mission to build a space station on the moon is something I follow avidly, as I love the innovative developments involved in space travel. When SpaceX launched the first commercial flight of astronauts to the International Space Station, I woke up at 5am to watch it.

I look forward to further developing in my role at Thinka because I’m energised by it, from brainstorming new ideas to breaking down briefs and developing contemporary content – I am truly excited by the creative process and making an impact on learners.

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Scott Bilkey

Scott Bilkey

Digital Developer

Scott creates interactive and engaging eLearning modules that feel fresh and modern. He has knowledge and experience with many different eLearning authoring tools and LMS’s, and an ability to learn new programs quickly. Scott has an eye for detail and a passion for creating impressive eLearning.

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Q

Scott Bilkey

Digital Developer

As a naturally curious person, I have a wide variety of interests and passions.

One of these is drawing, which I’ve been doing consistently since I was a child. Depicting what’s in my mind has always been one of my central interests – including at school, when I often got into trouble for drawing when I was supposed to be listening!

Another central interest of mine is brainstorming solutions to persistent technological problems. While I’ve always had a wealth of ideas about how to improve the technology we have, I’m also aware of the more problematic side of promising new inventions. While I enjoy considering how to better integrate technology in our homes, for example, I also think carefully about what could happen if people misuse technology and how to prevent this from happening.

I was attracted to working at Thinka as a Digital Developer because of its intensively client-focused nature. I’m inspired by the prospect of creating something that will be immediately useful to the client, rather than getting ‘lost in the void’. Whenever I complete a piece of work, I’m rewarded by the knowledge that a client will directly benefit from my efforts.

I also greatly enjoy the diverse nature of our work at Thinka. My mind naturally travels in many directions, and Thinka genuinely gives me the chance to explore many of these avenues in a customer-driven, commercially-focused setting. When building eLearning, this autonomy is important to the creative process and exploring innovative solutions. I also enjoy collaborating with the client in the review process – so we can work together to deliver the best outcomes for the learner.

Although I essentially stumbled into learning and development as a career, I’ve always been keenly interested in the diverse techniques different people use to learn information. It’s been eye-opening to see just how creative the art of learning design can be, and the impressive variety of ways in which skills can be taught effectively.

I studied a Bachelor of Multimedia Design (a combination of design-based thinking and technology) at the University of Queensland from 2012–14. After working at TAFE QLD as an Instructional Designer, I moved to Melbourne in 2018 to continue my work in this field.

I have a well-rounded technical skill set, plus a creative one. I am keen to learn new things whenever I have the chance, with one of my distinctive skills being the ability to rapidly pick up new concepts. If you throw something brand-new at me, I’ll tinker with it and do extensive background research until I’ve picked it up and can use it comfortably.

My temperament also suits the agile and collaborative way of working at Thinka. As someone who’s cool under pressure and pretty hard to aggravate, I’m a genuine team player who appreciates seeing all sides of an issue and uniting diverse perspectives. I am excited by the variety of tasks I’ve already experienced at Thinka, and am looking forward to continuing my exploration of eLearning’s vast potential.

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Michael Cook

Michael Cook

Graphic Designer

Michael applies fresh, creative approaches to learning solutions in line with each client’s branding requirements. Michael has a strong background in graphic design, having worked in fast-paced environments to deliver beautiful results. He enjoys the challenge of new ideas and new projects.

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Q

Michael Cook

Graphic Designer

I thrive on challenges and doing new things, so I enjoy the ever-changing projects that come across my desk. That’s why Thinka is such a good fit for me – as it incorporates variety with a great work environment. Even though we work with tight deadlines, I am good at remaining calm and focussed when under pressure and thrive in a busy workplace.

In my role as Graphic Designer, I work hard to bring visual appeal to content and enhance the user experience. I explore a number of creative and innovative ideas and apply these to potential learning solutions, before narrowing these down to a ‘best fit’ design solution. In this mix, I also need to consider the client’s style and brand guidelines to find a nice balance between our vision and their requirements.

The projects I work on are usually delivered in a series of briefs and I work closely with the Learning Design team to transform raw content in assets like presentations, takeaway workshop resources, marketing materials and eLearning modules. Along with my creative flair, I put my researching skills to good use – to find the perfect fit icons, graphics and photography to bring the learning solution to life.

In my role, I confidently and competently use the Adobe Suite; mainly InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and Premiere Pro. I apply my creative vision to make the learning materials feel like they are working cohesively together, but more importantly, are user-friendly and an exciting learning experience for the end-user.

Never one to do things the same as before, I am always on the lookout for how I can improve, adapt or enhance visual elements – to make each product feel like a unique piece of work. Along with my creative skills, I possess the ability to learn, interpret and implement new tech systems, programs, and platforms. With the ever-evolving world of technology, it seems that every day there are new and innovative tools to explore. I enjoy seeing if they might offer that point of difference a client needs to achieve their eLearning goals.

With technology, being able to understand programming means that I can troubleshoot issues using multiple plug-ins or other fixes. When an issue does show up, I am relied on to work at it, research and learn until we solve the problem. In these situations, a bit of my competitive spirit and determination to get an answer comes out in the workplace.

Outside of work, I enjoy anything I can do outdoors. I love playing AFL, cricket and tennis and going bike riding, fishing and gardening. My wife is a primary school teacher – so together we are often doing art and creative activities, while getting our children out and about appreciating nature. My home office is decorated with my kids’ colourful drawings, which fills me with joy and a massive sense of pride.

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Jade Deutrom

Jade Deutrom

Learning Partner & Facilitator

Jade works alongside clients to create an insightful and memorable learning environment. Jade has an organisational development background and uses her engaging and compassionate facilitation style to captivate learners. She feels passionate about creating workplaces and cultures where people maximise their potential.

K
Jade’s bio coming soon!
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Kev Lavery

Kev Lavery

Learning Technologist

Kev works across both the client and business side of technology at Thinka – whether it’s looking at new technology or how to get the most out of existing technology. Kev takes a ‘horses for courses’ approach to learning and communication; always looking for modes and methods that best fit the audience and content.

See Kev’s bio
Q

Kev Lavery

Learning Technologist

I came to Thinka after 13 years in education; first as a specialist teacher of Media and Art and then as an eLearning trainer and admin. While these different parts of my career involved a range of skills, they were based on the understanding that all teaching and learning is underpinned by good communication. And to that end, the purpose of all of the technology we use is to communicate more clearly, more efficiently, and to better engage your audience.

In my role as Learning Technologist, I am responsible for exploring the technology available to Thinka and our clients – looking at both current and future uses of that technology. This can take on different forms but the key is to first understand the purpose for the technology or the problem it’s addressing. With this understanding, it opens up a lot of questions and avenues for exploration – to figure out whether the tech we’ve got is ‘fit for purpose’.

We all know that there’s often a little more to the tech we’re using but usually any deep exploration is hampered by a lack of time. The increasingly rapid rate of change in tech can make this even trickier – how do you know whether your approach makes sense, whether you’re using your tech in the best possible way, or what new or under-used features are available?

Diving down these research ‘rabbit holes’ is a big part of my role at Thinka; from big picture explorations of platforms to ‘how can we PowerPoint better?’ and everything in between. The outcome of these explorations is as much about enabling better business practices as it is about alleviating the anxiety that comes with not knowing whether you’re doing the ‘right things’ with your tech.

While I manage a lot of responsibilities across different parts of what Thinka does, my primary purpose is to empower people to use technology, experiment with it, and not feel like they’re any less for not being as tech-savvy as they think they should be. When it comes down to it, everyone knows a lot more about the tech they’re using than they think they do; they just sometimes need a little help applying that knowledge.

In terms of how I approach my work, a wise friend once explained to me that creativity lives in two states; input and output. You’re either taking in new influences or you’re producing something. This concept has really stuck with me – that all of life is just inputs and outputs – and that the process is as valuable as the work itself. And that’s me… always inputting or outputting – sometimes both at once. As an educator, writer, designer, animator, film maker, musician, gif artist, system administrator and parent, bits and pieces of all of these things come into play when I’m involved in a tech project.

My role as a Learning Technologist is about agility – fitting as a bridge between a lot of different parts of the business. And while this role will continue to be shaped by the needs of the business and our clients, I think a lot of that malleability will always be part of what I do; because learning and technology are fluid concepts that are constantly shaped by change and advancements in the way we work.

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Zoe Lethbridge

Zoe Lethbridge

Senior Learning Designer

Zoe partners with clients to create authentic, evidence-based learning experiences. She is passionate about problem-solving and enjoys engaging with stakeholders, understanding their needs, and meeting those needs with innovative and inclusive learning solutions. She has a strong background in digital learning design, project management and cross-functional collaboration.

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Q

Zoe Lethbridge

Senior Learning Designer

You know how some kids ask ‘why’ about everything? I was one of those kids, and I’m sure I drove my parents to distraction. But I never grew out of it – the older I became, the more questions I had, and I still love learning about anything and everything. So imagine my delight when I discovered the field of learning design – a career where my curiosity, analytical skills and love for learning would be an asset. As soon as I heard about it, I knew it was the path for me.

Since 2017, I’ve spent all day, every day learning new things – about my clients, about their pain points and aspirations, and about the subject matter itself – then breaking that information down, analysing it, and building it back up in ways that help other people learn new things too. It’s a rewarding career, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

My role at Thinka is particularly stimulating because it offers so much variety. Whether I’m designing for technical training, job skills, or leadership capabilities, our work with clients from the corporate, government, non-profit and education sectors means there’s always something different to sink my teeth into.

But my favourite part of my job is solving problems – the more complex, the better! I love the challenge of using my knowledge of learning theory, educational neuroscience and inclusive design principles to solve problems in collaboration with the wider Thinka team. By drawing on each other’s strengths, we find creative, engaging, and practical solutions for our clients, and seeing it all come together gives me a great sense of satisfaction.

Before I transitioned to learning design, I spent a decade in the emergency communications sector as a triple zero ambulance call-taker and dispatcher. My experiences gave me the resilience to tackle the day-to-day demands of my learning design work and prepared me well for managing competing priorities and time-critical projects.

But perhaps the most meaningful lesson I took from my time in the emergency services was the value of clear and direct communication. There’s nothing like a life-or-death situation to drive home the importance of saying what you mean and getting to the point! It’s become part of my personal philosophy, and I bring this approach to everything I do.

On the weekends, you’ll find me exploring with my dogs or enjoying a comedy show with my husband – if I’m not busy studying, that is! Having recently completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and a Graduate Certificate in Education (Innovative Learning Design), I’m taking some time to get reacquainted with my family, my dogs, and my Netflix account before continuing with the Master of Education.

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Kaitlyn Loft

Kaitlyn Loft

Learning Designer

Kaitlyn works with the learning design team to research, design and write content in line with each client’s requirements, reflecting best practice and current trends. Kaitlyn has an arts background and enjoys the learning opportunities her role offers on every new project.

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Q

Kaitlyn Loft

Learning Designer

For as long as I can remember, I have loved using writing as a format to express myself, communicate and share stories with others. It seemed fitting to turn this passion into my career. In 2019, I graduated from LaTrobe University with a Bachelor of Arts – English Literature, Humanities & Writing. This gave me a whole new scope and appreciation for the art of writing, editing, sharing knowledge and ideas.

When I entered the workforce full-time, I was fortunate to join the team at Thinka. Here, I have been supported, encouraged, mentored, and have embraced opportunities to stretch my skills across different projects. I enjoy researching, curating content and writing learning content for a wide range of subjects. I am also involved in editing and quality controlling content – drawing on my qualifications, attention to detail and love of the written word.

Being part of the Thinka team has taught me a great deal. I have discovered new strengths, creative outlets and how the world of Learning and Development works. I am able to hone my craft and push the boundaries on some projects, and these efforts have been openly received. I have always had a less than orthodox approach personally and professionally, but this artistic style that helps me achieve unique goals and outcomes – especially on creative projects.

Outside of work, I invest energy into my ongoing personal growth and development by being creative in other forms like art, oil painting, exploring and hiking. I am an active learner, a deep thinker and am a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion.

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Vanessa Lontos

Vanessa Lontos

Learning Partner

Vanessa works closely with clients and industries to explore, define and operationalise their learning and development strategy. Vanessa’s expertise in learning consultation, program architecture and client engagement helps businesses to design learning solutions that meet individualised needs and achieve meaningful results.

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Q

Vanessa Lontos

Learning Partner

I love being part of the magic that occurs when a team comes together to create meaningful work.

My working life over the past 20 years has been a great adventure. I’ve been part of wonderful teams, businesses and organisations that have helped me grow, learn and contribute in a way that has fulfilled me both personally and professionally.

My career began in the healthcare industry as a community pharmacist and pharmacy owner. Here, I discovered my deep passion for supporting people to build their health and wellbeing and I learnt how to lead teams while managing a dynamic environment.

Being part of and leading frontline pharmacy teams was where I discovered my love for leadership. I learnt how building team and leadership capability can make a measurable difference to business performance. I also experienced the power of empathy, building relationships, communicating effectively and how small moments of meaningful connection can transform the customer experience.

My passion for learning inspired me to expand my own skills and I am a certified coach and trainer. My qualifications include: Certificate IV Life Coaching, Level II in Health and Wellness Coaching, Trainer of Coaching and Speaking Skills, Certified Practitioner – Life Coaching, Practitioner of Neurolinguistic Programming and Performance Coaching. I continue to share these skills and experiences in my ongoing role as a consultant, speaker, trainer, facilitator and coach.

My love for learning strategy has resulted in the design, development and delivery of a variety of high performance programs across different areas. These areas include: customer care and engagement, solution selling, leadership, building a culture of learning, innovation, change management and improving team and business performance. While every learning strategy is unique, they all start with identifying the learner and what they need.

I became part of the Thinka team after having the wonderful opportunity to work and partner with the team on a variety of different projects. I felt an instant connection with the team and with the Thinka message of making the future of work human. I love the way we work together to create learning solutions that have impact.

In my role, I work closely with clients to define and bring to life their learning strategy. We work together to explore specific business and team needs to create learning solutions that are meaningful and measurable.

My learning journey continues everyday through my love for reading, podcasts, TED talks and deep curiosity for people and how we can do things together to create meaningful connections and impact in the world.

I have a gorgeous daughter, Olivia, and we love dancing together, going to the beach, walking our dog and laughing while singing in the car. Every day, Olivia teaches me how to keep bringing passion to my work, how to keep finding joy in the little things and to always stay curious and open-hearted.

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Michael McIvor

Michael McIvor

Partnership Manager

Michael has a strong history working with businesses across multiple industries to build healthy supplier-client partnerships. Michael is committed to working with organisations to create learning and development experiences that are truly excellent – knowing the value of a functional, high-performing team.

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Q

Michael McIvor

Partnership Manager

Helping people, teams and organisations become the best versions of themselves is the mantra I live by. For the longest time, I have placed the highest value on personal and professional development, and being part of the team at Thinka allows me to help others realise that value as well.

With a career spanning many industries, including retail, hospitality, events, sponsorship, manufacturing, real estate and coaching, there is one thing I have always enjoyed regardless of the role or business; the people. My favourite part of any role is building and growing relationships with people.

In my role as Partnership Manager at Thinka, I’m fortunate enough to do this every day. Working with new and existing clients to understand their needs and growth opportunities, then teaming up with the Learning Design team to create a unique solution, is at the core of what I do.

From a young age, I have enjoyed being part of a high performing team – whether that be on the sporting field, in various bands on the music scene, or in a corporate environment. Being at Thinka is no exception. The team culture is built on a strong purpose – the idea of ‘making work more human’ – and the team work together and challenge each other to be better every single day.

If I’m not at work, you can find me spending time with my family and friends. My wife and I and our three children live a very busy and full life, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Camping, fishing, playing and watching sports, and being creative, is how we spend most of our time – with a sprinkling of entertaining friends with BBQ’s or wood-fired pizza nights.

In essence, I love spending time with people, enjoy good conversation, and am very good at listening to understand people’s needs and what’s going on for them. I bring this enthusiasm, communication strength and love of people to my Partnership Manager role every day.

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Han Nguyen

Han Nguyen

Project Coordinator

Han works closely with clients to explore, define and operationalise their learning and development strategy. With a background in accounting, data analysis and project management, Han will work as a conduit between our clients and team to define processes, address any pain points, and deliver results.

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Q

Han Nguyen

Project Coordinator

What motivates me is learning and experiencing things in life. Coming from a degree in accounting, I have experienced working in large companies and exploring different areas in the field.

I have a background as a Master Data Analyst and setting up vendors/customers in systems, as well as collaborating with business units. Yet, I realised that I wanted more continuous learning in my career and saw how much you could learn by working on a variety of projects.

I started my project journey as a Business Analyst four years ago in Hong Kong at an aviation company. My main responsibilities were understanding the team’s processes, any pain points they had, and work with them to overcome issues. The goal was to streamline processes and centralise into one department. It was all about process improvements and reducing waste such as over-production, waiting time, over-processing and defects.  

This passion for learning and working on a variety of projects, inspired me to expand my own skills by studying a Project Management Professional (PMP) course; to become a certified project manager. 

I love to explore, be curious, and ask questions about what other teams are doing – as I get to learn different things daily. It helps me grow and contribute in a way that fulfils me both personally and professionally. As part of the project team, I get to discover how each team works and build collaborative relationships with clients – so we’re always working together to achieve results. 

I became part of the Thinka team, as I was attracted to the variety of different learning and development projects the business engages in. I felt an instant connection with the team and with the Thinka message of helping to make work human through the power of learning. I love the way we work together to create learning solutions that have impact and real, measurable results for our clients.  

During my time outside of work, I love the outdoors and exploring different places that I haven’t been to before. The good thing about having lived in Hong Kong was that there were so many hiking trails, some right at your doorstep! Travelling is also another passion of mine; where I get to explore other cities and learn about their culture, try out interesting cuisines, and check out the amazing architecture.  

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