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Bridge The Gap : Autumn 2024

by Dr Renée Ralph, Co-Founder, The Brilliant Foundation

From left to right, Max Clarke, Renée Ralph, Rutchi Kaushal, Marion Harel and Ben McGinty

PERTH, Western Australia - The young ones gathered for the Brilliant Sundowner 2024 at City Beach last evening to hear industry leaders share their lives. The weather was perfect in the still cool evening, with the sun setting in the background. Participants from Curtin University, University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University were eager to listen and ask questions.


From left to right : Daniel Gray, Third Year Commerce undergraduate at Curtin University, Max Clarke, CEO, Breastcancer Care WA based in Cottesloe; Rutchi Kaushal, Founder of Inner Spice; Ben McGinty, Talent Acquisition Lead, Woodside Energy; Marion Harel, Recruitment Coordinator, Mineral Resources

Daniel Gray was the Master of Ceremonies for The Brilliant Foundation Sundowner at Hamptons City Beach. Daniel was a former Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) graduate, who was involved in six productions as an actor before embarking a Bachelor of Commerce with Curtin University. He is now a third year student at Curtin University  focussing on International Business, specialising in Project Management and Small Business Start-up.


Daniel asked the guest speakers a series questions : "Which country do they come from and what do they do for work in Perth?"


Left to Right : Isobelle, Laura with guest speaker Max Clarke, CEO Breast Cancer Care WA and Ella

Max Clarke, CEO, Breast Cancer Care WA based in Cottesloe was born in England and worked in different industries such as Nationwide Building Society for six years before travelling the world for 14 months to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America and North America.


When he returned from his career gap, Max worked for UK’s leading life and pensions mutual insurers LV for five years before returning to the banking sector.

He was with Bankwest for over 6 years and was promoted to General Manager during that time.  During this period, Max completed his Masters of Business Administration with the University of Western Australia and Australian Institute of Company Directors. He said that it is important to keep learning, reading and up skilling.

Rutchi Kaushal FCA, Founder of Inner Spice


Rutchi Kaushal FCA was born in England and graduated from the University of Kent with an Honours degree in Accounting and Finance. She is a Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accounts in England and Wales (ICAEW).


She wrote an article titled An Unconventional Path : My Life Story for The Brilliant Foundation where she shared :”I moved from Kent to London, and whilst studying for my Chartered Accountant exams, I realised that I had this deep-rooted desire to travel and see the world. I felt that living and working abroad would be the perfect way to start that global journey.”


She encourages curiosity and exploration of life and to challenge your mind and status quo. After over 17 years in the corporate grind and reaching the pinnacle of her career as Group Chief Financial Officer and Group Financial Controller in top tier firms, Rutchi returned to Perth to establish herself as Founder of Inner Spice.


In this space, she has created her passion and love of bringing her cultural heritage and the love of spices to us. Rutchi conducts workshops for corporate events and personalised household gathering to show how spices can be recreated in food preparation and beverages.

From left to right : Emily G, Taylor's friend, Tania with guest speaker, Ben McGinty, Talent Acquisition Lead, Woodside Energy with Emily AL, Arthur and Taylor


Ben McGinty, Talent Acquisition Lead, Woodside Energy expressed his enthusiasm for travel and to explore the world. He graduated from Curtin University with a Double Degree in HR specialising in Asian language, Japanese. He shared: “I had no idea and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I graduated. Does anyone know? Initially, I had an internship in the retail sector, David Jones.” Then he decided to see the world.


His intention was to stay in the United Kingdom for six months, he fell in love with the place and he lived in London for the next eight years and enjoyed every moment of it. He stayed with Hays in London, focussing on recruitment within a consulting environment. Afterwards, he had another recruitment role within the construction industry and General Electric which gave him further insight and experience in the HR role.


Ben said:"I am lucky enough to have a job in Woodside, now Woodside Energy and I have been here for over 6 years now. In truth, a career is hardly linear.”


From left to right : Daniel Gray, Master of Ceremonies with Imogen and guest speaker Marion Harel, Mineral Resources


Marion Harel is currently working with Mineral Resources as a Recruitment Coordinator. She was an international student from Mauritius and graduated from Curtin University. She said that as an international student it was really difficult to get an internship because she didn’t qualify for the graduate internships as she wasn’t an Australian citizen.


She worked doubly hard to find leads and managed to secure two internships in her last year before graduation. Marion shared that the internships opened new opportunities and networks for her. Through word of mouth, she was introduced to other job openings that led to her job stability and financial independence.


Daniel asked the guest speakers whether education is important and what do they look for in a potential employee?


Max shared that having a degree is important as it shows that an individual has the discipline, commitment and focus to complete a program.  

As for a potential employee, Max responded that working in Breast Cancer Care WA, the work they do is rather heavy and is important to find a team member that has a personality that is positive and has fun in what they do. He said: “Having an individual that work hard, doesn’t necessarily mean long hours but the person has to have a great work ethic and is passionate with what they do is really important for me and the team.”  


Rutchi explained: “We are very lucky to have access to education in Perth. I was lucky myself to have studied in an international university and it was, it is a privilege to meet and have access to other interesting people who think differently and develop new skills. As for potential employee, what I look for is whether they will fit in the environment and being able to find somebody that understands the value of time and communication. Being on time and be able to communicate are the two values that are important to me.”  


From left to right : Tania, Morgan, Ella, Emily with guest speaker Ben McGinty, Woodside Energy with Zak

Ben said: “Education is critical in today’s world. It is not about getting a degree and sticking the paper on the wall. Education is on-going. Education isn’t formal or within a classroom setting. Education can be chatting to someone in a networking event, be curious, ask questions or being part of conversation or attending a seminar. Have a curious mindset of how can I learn more or how can I seek to understand what is going on or what future might hold? The curious mindset is vital for personal growth.


Education is important for Marion and having a degree  in Perth is great because education back home in Mauritius wasn’t the best. The degree has offered the golden opportunity for her to work in Perth and picking up new skills during internships such as excel spreadsheets, word and interacting with your colleagues within an Australian culture and the way of doing things.


Bridge the Gap Sundowner - Autumn 2024

After stories were shared, the students had the opportunity to chat with the guest speakers.


Responses by the panel:

“The toughest challenge in HR is people management. Human beings are so different and have different personalities. As a HR professional, we need to have the ability to understand and communicate very well. That is really important.”


“You take cultural and values any day of the week over technical competence.”

“The values you hold. Develop character in being the right sort of person and the sort of moral person. Aristotle believed in developing character in intellectual steps and learn from those mistakes that develop the muscle of character.”

“Making mistakes is okay because that is good and you will learn from it. Be curious. There is a massive world out there that is really rich and really textured. Ask questions and be involved in it.”

“Have a growth mindset. That is so important”

It was a lovely sundowner where the youth chatted to the professionals, asking questions pertaining to their lives and the way forward.

The Brilliant Foundation is truly grateful for Max, Rutchi, Ben, Marion for volunteering their time and to share their life experiences with the teens and undergraduates. The experience was totally positive and the ambience was alive and engaging. Thank you all for coming.

For the university students that attended this sundowner – Thank You so much for coming! All of you you inspire me every day to do better!

Remember that these amazing individuals are no different to you and I.

They are Resilient. Diligent. Hardworking. Focussed. Passionate.

They find meaning in what they do every day.

Ordinary individuals, doing extraordinary things – in their roles, they seek to work on initiatives and projects that have value to make life lighter, more enjoyable and liveable.

True grit to do better, overcoming adversity and challenges through hard work, positive action and self-awareness.

Not the fake news that we see every day in social media, sensational news, reality TV or influencers touting wares.

They have continued their personal development and life-long learning through education.

They have done the hard yards to lead a fulfilling life. You can do the same.

So please start getting organised.

Make a Plan.

Read your academic journal articles. (do not roll your eyeballs at this stage)

Do your research.

Update your Endnote.

Attend your lectures face-to-face and attend ALL your tutorials.

Find your friends and your tribe. Maintain Your Friendship.


From left to right : Emily and Ella

From left to right : Shannon, Georgia, Emily, Hannah and Laura




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