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Foundation USA's volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of six distinguished individuals, who all have Tasmanian connections and proudly support the University of Tasmania.

Board of Directors

Mark Habner

Mark Habner earned his combined degree in the Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Tasmania in 1992. He graduated with a MBA with Distinction from Northwestern University (Kellogg) in 1997. He is a CPA (Australia).

Mark is CEO and Co-founder of Beckway Group, which provides experienced talent, search and software services to the private equity sector. He has over 25 years’ experience in both the private equity and operations consulting sector in the USA, Australia and Europe.

Previously Mark was a Senior Managing Director with SSA & Company where he led the firm’s Capabilities Practices. Prior to SSA Mark was a Partner with RMB Capital Partners, a leading mid-market private equity fund in Australia, where he led and managed investments in healthcare, industrial products and business services. Mark began his career at Booz & Company.

Mark lives in the New York metro area with his wife Pam and twin sons.

Conrad Axelrod

Conrad Axelrod earned his combined degree in the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Tasmania in 2002, and the Graduate Certificate in Legal Practice in 2003. He went on to complete a Master of Laws in 2006 at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Conrad is an attorney at Schulte Roth & Zabel, a multidisciplinary law firm, and serves as Special Counsel, Investment Management. His professional focus areas include the formation and structuring of private equity and alternative investment funds, with a particular emphasis on buyout, real estate, credit and infrastructure funds.

Conrad is based in New York City, where he lives with his wife Sofia and two young children.

Dr Nicholas Direen

Nicholas (Nick) Direen earned his Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Tasmania in 1995, and was awarded the University Medal. He graduated as a PhD in Geology & Geophysics from the University in 1999.

Nick also holds graduate certificates in Applied Finance from the Securities Institute of Australia, and Tertiary Education from the University of Adelaide.

Nick is currently a Business Analysis Advisor at ExxonMobil Upstream Development Company, seconded to Esso Australia until 2021. He has worked as a research geoscientist at Geoscience Australia in Canberra; Lecturer in Geophysics at the University of Adelaide; and as a petroleum geology consultant working worldwide with FrogTech Pty Ltd, based out of Hobart. Nick has published over 60 scientific papers, and has contributed to the discovery of new oil and gas fields in Argentina, India, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea.

Nick is currently based in Melbourne. His eldest daughter graduated from UTAS in Hobart in 2018.

Christine Hawkins

Christine Hawkins earned her degree in Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours from the University of Tasmania in 1993. She received her Six Sigma Black Belt from BHP in 2001 and graduates from the Stanford School of Business Innovative Leaders Program in 2018.

Christine is Director of Incubations in the HP Inc Office of the CTO. She has led various teams across Asia and USA during her career at HP and currently leads the wearables incubation whilst also assisting the HP Megatrends team to inspire HP and HP customers to look to the future. Christine consultants to the Australian Institute of Management on Lean Six Sigma curriculum and assessments and prior to HP, she was a Master Black Belt for Qantas, Telstra, Westpac and BHP.

Christine lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner Adam.

Dr Nicholas Hope

Nicholas “Nick” Hope received undergraduate degrees from the University of Tasmania and Oxford University, and graduate degrees from Oxford and Princeton, where he completed a PhD. He was awarded the Tasmanian Rhodes Scholarship in 1965.

Nick recently retired from his position as Director of the Stanford Center for International Development (SCID). He directed SCID's China research program for two decades. His research focus is private enterprise development in China and progress of reforms in China, especially in the financial sector. His interests are in East Asian economies, especially China and Indonesia, the development of Asian economies, and the role and effectiveness of international financial institutions.

Nick is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives with his wife Ellen.

Geoff Stanley

Geoffrey “Geoff” Stanley earned his Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Tasmania in 1982.

Geoff is a highly accomplished capital markets advisor, financier, director and chairman. Over 30 years of experience in industry, capital markets, and board rooms brings with it a broad array of contacts and knowledge across the mining, technology, finance, government and philanthropy landscapes.

Geoff is based in the New York Area.