Our judges

We are pleased to present an independent panel of local and international judges, each one an expert in their field.
Each category will be judged by three experts, one each selected for their expertise in communication, design and plain language sectors.

Judges: Communication

Sylvia Bell is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Director on the Australasian Reporting Awards Board. She has held executive roles in health, research, environment and media portfolios, specialising in PR, corporate communications and stakeholder engagement.

Danielle Bond is Chief Marketing Officer of global engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Aurecon. She previously led the marketing team at Ernst & Young across Oceania, where as a member of the Global Marketing Leadership Team she contributed to global brand and marketing strategies across 140 countries.

Amanda Dennett is Head of Digital Experience at the Australian War Memorial and Board member of the International Association of Business Communicators (Canberra). Previously, she pioneered social media customer service at the Australian Government Department of Human Services, and is now conducting research on this at Swinburne University of Technology.

Harley Dennett is editor of The Mandarin, Australia’s news and analysis site for public sector leaders. His work as a senior journalist and communications professional in Australia and USA included a stint as Washington correspondent, where he covered two Barack Obama campaigns for Crikey, JOY 94.9 FM and US magazines.

Sophie Elsworth is the national personal finance journalist at News Corporation. Her columns and articles appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, The Courier-Mail in Brisbane, Adelaide Advertiser and Hobart Mercury. She regularly features on TV and radio discussing money-related matters, including on Sky News and A Current Affair.

Gerry Gaffney is a highly-experienced user experience consultant across public and private sectors. He heads UX consultancy Information and Design, is former Director of Publications at UXPA, former managing editor of User Experience magazine and is co-author of Forms That Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability. Gerry’s podcast is uxpod.com.

Elle Geraghty is one of Australia’s best-known content strategists and presenters. Founder of Elle Geraghty Content Strategy, she has worked with big-name companies such as Qantas, Atlassian, the Australian Museum and various Australian Government departments. Elle is also founder and organiser of the Sydney Content Strategy Meetup.

Michelle Guillemard is the founder of Health Writer Hub, a freelance health writer and President of the Australasian Medical Writers Association. Passionate about helping people improve their health communication skills so they can write clearly and concisely, Michelle has taught courses and workshops for writers and corporations in 38 countries.

Kerry O’Shea manages Public Affairs for the Law Institute of Victoria, responsible for issues management, media relations and social media. A former journalist, she has led communications in the legal sector, government and media, including as Strategic Communications Manager for the County Court and Supreme Court of Victoria.

Judges: Design

Greg Branson is a leader in the Australian design industry. He is co-founder of the Design Business Council, a former President of AGDA Victoria and a member of the Design Management Institute. Greg serves on curriculum committees for VCE, TAFE and university study, including for Communication Design at RMIT University.

James de Vries is former Creative Director of Harvard Business Review, where he transformed the brand from a traditional business to a dynamic digital media organisation. He is founder and director of de Luxe & Associates, an Australian consultancy that works with global clients on design and publishing strategy projects.

Che Douglas is Senior Vice President and Head of Design at The Wall Street Journal, where he is responsible for the user experience of apps, websites, publishing tools, newsletters and voice products. Prior to New York, Che founded and ran award-winning branding and design agency Beyond The Pixels.

Christine Elmer is a communications leader with expertise in branding, corporate communications and issues management. Her teams have won numerous accolades, including the Issues and Reputation Management award at the Asia-Pacific Communication Awards and an IABC Gold Quill excellence award. Christine is currently Vice President IABC Editorial Advisory Committee.

Kevin Finn is founder of TheSumOf. His work includes developing the branding and visual language for Edward de Bono’s life’s work—the first time this has ever been done, as well as the identity for SBS, the world’s most multicultural broadcaster.  Previously, for seven years he was Joint Creative Director of Saatchi Design, part of the Saatchi & Saatchi global network.

Derryn Heilbuth has worked across the globe, covered women’s issues as a journalist in apartheid South Africa, studied French in Paris and English literature under author JM Coetzee. A former head of publications at Westpac, she founded and built BWD Strategic into one of Australia’s leading strategic advisory consultancies.

Serpil Senelmis is founder and co-director of Written and Recorded, a content creation agency that specialises in podcasting, copywriting and training. Her career spans 20 years in the media, presenting on TV and radio and writing for major news outlets. In this time, she’s covered breaking news and exclusive interviews.

Alex Tyers is a communication and information design specialist, co-founder of Transmission Design and former senior research fellow at the Communication Research Institute. He has received numerous awards for design and illustration, including from AGDA, MADC, the New York Art Director’s Awards and the International Institute of Information Design Awards.

Harriet Wakelam is Director Design Centre at IAG, leading a multi-disciplinary team across innovation, futures strategy and customer experience design. She has previously led customer experience for companies such as Medibank, Australia Post and National Australia Bank. Harriet is a current Board member of Service Design Network Melbourne.

Judges: Plain language

Christopher Balmford is a past-president of Clarity and chairs the International Plain Language Federation’s Standard’s Committee, which is applying to the ISO to develop a plain language standard. In 1999, he founded the consultancy Words and Beyond and 2000 founded the legal document provider Cleardocs, which ThomsonReuters acquired in 2011.

Deborah Bosley Ph.D. is Founder of The Plain Language Group, a US-based plain language consultancy. She is the author of three books on clear communication, has been interviewed for Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, is a past Board Member of the Center Plain Language and past-president of PLAIN

Anne-Marie Chisnall is Deputy Chief Executive at Write Limited, New Zealand’s leading plain language consultancy, where she helped develop the WriteMark document quality mark. She works with organisations to build plain language culture and achieve Write’s mission of helping people get more value from their business writing.

Dorothy Fauls is a plain language specialist whose PhD evaluated the effectiveness of plain language legal information for vulnerable Australians, from the viewpoint of legal service providers. Her work and research led her to Darwin, where she now works on producing accessible legal information for the Northern Territory.

Joh Kirby is a co-founder of the Clear Communication Awards and a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship to research best practice community legal information. She is a judge of the Plain Language Awards and a recent past Present and board member of Clarity, the international body promoting plain language and the law.

Emma Mellon is a highly-experienced writer, editor and communications professional who specialises in ‘translating’ complex information and using it to tell compelling stories. She is a former Communications Director at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and is currently co-leading communications for a $140 million joint digital program between four health services.

Bob Milstein is a health lawyer and plain English trainer and document writer. With a background in professional medical negligence litigation, Bob has long been aware that clear communication — or its absence — often lies at the heart of legal disputes. This awareness triggered his original interest in plain legal communication.

Andrew Pegler is an award-winning plain language editor, writer and trainer. His company Andrew Pegler Media is a preferred supplier to the Australian Federal Government and the Victorian Government. He presented at Clarity 2016 global conference on plain language and was a judge of the 2018 NZ Plain English Awards.

Stephanie Roy is a Canadian lawyer, plain language specialist and co-founder of En Clair Service-Conseil Inc., which specialises in creating clear documents and web content. Her commitment to clear communication of the law earned her the 2013 Young Bar Association of Montreal award for Lawyer of the Year – Leader of tomorrow. She is currently the Vice-President of Clarity.

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