Our people

Nicholas S Barnett BEc, CA, FAICD
Nicholas S Barnett BEc, CA, FAICD
Chief Executive Officer

Nicholas has been a director, business leader and consultant for over 30 years. He is chief executive officer of Insync, a former partner of KPMG, non-executive chairman of Ansvar Insurance and a non-executive director of Mission Australia. He co-founded Board Benchmarking and Gender Worx. Nicholas is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD) and a member of the Australian Human Resource Institute's (AHRI) Research Panel.

Nicholas is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organisations to reach their full potential. He is an author, speaker and expert media commentator in relation to governance, organisation culture, risk and gender diversity. He has written three books on leadership, culture, engagement and transformational change.

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Des McGowan
Des McGowan
Executive Director and Founder

Des plays a leading role in ensuring Insync's continued growth. Des brings a unique mix of understanding organisational effectiveness, strategic leadership, multi-industry networks and strong interpersonal relationships.

Des is passionate about ensuring that
Insync's culture is understood and adopted and about ensuring that relationships with clients are long-term and mutually rewarding. He has held proprietary and senior advisory roles in strategic human resources within government and industry for more than 30 years.

Des has undertaken substantial international and Australian organisational research focusing on organisation alignment. In 2003 he developed the world's first web based alignment diagnostic tool -
Insync Surveys' Organisation Alignment Survey, now the Alignment and Engagement Survey. Des' expertise covers logistics, government, professional services, education, health and aviation across Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, Canada and UK.

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James Garriock
James Garriock
Executive Director and Practice Leader - Government and Utilities

James is deeply committed to helping organisations become more effective, working with executives of a range of client organisations on improving staff, board and customer engagement.

James' undergraduate qualifications are in politics and psychology, and holds a Masters degree in Environmental Management. He combines these with considerable consulting and leadership experience to provide value and insight to our clients. James' particular passions are water, NRM, utilities, governance, leadership and employee engagement.

James worked at KPMG Consulting and also spent more than a year working as an 'Australian Volunteer Abroad' in the Solomon Islands, and three years riding a motorcycle around the world.

James' community involvement includes the facilitation of the Ignite program - a leadership intensive for high potential leaders from Leadership Victoria. He has also participated in the CEO Sleepout, a homelessness awareness raising event for St Vinnies. James is involved with the Melbourne Forum, CEDA and the Australian Water Association.

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Murray Chapman
Murray Chapman
Practice Leader - Health, Education and Community Services

Murray is responsible for managing Insync's business operations in Asia Pacific. He works with leading clients to understand the key drivers of employee and customer behaviour, and to convert these insights into actionable improvement plans.  Murray has responsibility for ensuring that Insync fully understands its clients' objectives and delivers the insights and plans needed to drive sustainable high performance.

Murray has 25 years' experience in management consulting and general management. He has been Vice President (AT Kearney), General Manager (National Australia Bank), Strategy Consultant (Accenture) and Marketing Manager (Kimberly-Clark). In his previous roles, Murray has led significant business transformation initiatives and culture change projects for large multi-nationals and government departments.

Murray has worked with leading organisations in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in Australia, Europe and South Africa.   These include Glaxo SmithKline, Rolls Royce, NAB, Kimberly Clark, Anglo American, Origin Energy, Department of Defence, Department of Human Services, Inland Revenue, YMCA, Anglicare, and The Salvation Army.

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Tony Salvage
Tony Salvage
Managing Director - Sydney and Practice Leader - Commercial

Tony has an outstanding record as a business leader within dynamic organisations, having worked closely with some of the APAC region's premier brands (VISA, CBA, Westpac, Qantas, QBE, Lion and Bauer Media). He has previously held senior managerial positions with ORC International, BDRC Jones Donald and AMR Interactive.

As the leader of Insync's Commercial Practice, he is responsible for transforming customer and employee experience to underpin business performance. He has extensive commercial experience in the financial services, retail and travel sectors. Tony has a particular interest in strategic thinking and problem solving, and is passionate about working collaboratively with clients to drive organisational success. 

Tony regularly talks at industry events including Mumbrella, ADMA, ESOMAR Asia and AMSRS, most recently presenting 'Customer Centricity in the Millennial Age' at the Customer Experience Management (CEM) conference in Sydney, July 2015. 

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Dr. Erika Szerda
Dr. Erika Szerda
Principal

With a Doctorate in Organisation and Industrial Psychology (Uni Melb) and a registered psychologist, Erika brings over 15 years' practical experience working in consulting. Erika is passionate about partnering with organisations to become more effective.

Offering both strategic and practical advice, Erika is a specialist and trusted advisor in matters pertaining to organisational culture and organisational health, running a full suite of survey diagnostics, focus groups, and Executive workshops. She also enjoys facilitating 360 feedback reviews and coaching C-Suite Executives. 

In her decade with the company Erika has coached and mentored our own project managers and consultants to realise their potential and contributed to industry thought pieces, including 5 ways to unleash the productivity and innovation within

Erika has worked on numerous customised and consulting projects. While her experience spans many industries, she has a particular interest in the Finance, Technology, Transport and Logistics and Retail industries.

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Christie Fullarton
Christie Fullarton
Principal

Christie is an organisational psychologist with 15 years' experience through a diverse range of roles including senior consultant, HR consultant, research fellow as well as a senior management role at Caraniche. As a part of the team at Insync, Christie works with client organisations predominantly in the health, education and community services sector. She is passionate about helping her clients achieve their organisational goals, in particular through surveys and research, with the core purpose of achieving sustainable organisational performance.

Christie has worked with a broad range of sectors in Australia, including government, a range of community and health / aged care services, community health centres and hospitals as well as corporates.

Her areas of expertise include customised organisational research, debriefing and coaching (360, individual, group), psychometric assessment, leadership development programs, exit and entry surveys and organisational culture assessment and intervention programs.

As an experienced researcher, Christie also has several publications in internationally peer reviewed journals.

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Michael Melki
Michael Melki
Business Development Director

Michael is based in Insync's Sydney office. He regularly travels to clients in Queensland and Western Australia  delivering consulting solutions around people and business performance improvement.

Michael started his career in the finance and accounting industry holding qualifications in this discipline. After his last post as a senior finance executive for a multinational publishing organisation, he changed his career path towards sales and marketing and so for the second half of his career, he has occupied sales and regional management roles within the sectors of business services, advertising, psychometric testing and recruitment. This dual discipline of finance and sales allows him to understand the broader business needs of an organisation.

He currently specialises within the sectors of business services, financial, government and professional services. He recognises that businesses within these sectors often struggle with the importance of leadership and management skills when it comes to people performance and engagement. This is where Michael makes a difference.

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Michael Samarchi
Michael Samarchi
Director, Higher Education & TAFE

Michael is responsible for Insync's strong relationship with the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL). He also manages the growing partnership with the university student services community, TAFE sector and health and government sector libraries. Insync is the leading tertiary library survey provider across Australia, making Michael responsible for most of Australia's tertiary library client research. Michael also works with several international campuses.

His 25 years' experience as a library and information specialist in government, academic and private sectors gives him an impeccable understanding of libraries' unique survey needs. He values the importance of measurement to ensure libraries deliver on their commitment to serving the information needs of their clients.

Michael has outstanding people skills and is inspired by utilising surveys and other available technologies to explore new opportunities to make libraries even better for end users.

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Samantha Hawkins
Samantha Hawkins
Senior Manager
Samantha's expertise lies in the areas of focus groups, depth interviews, communications audits and management, design and delivery of bespoke and customised surveys. Working across a number of sectors, her industry specialisation is recognised in transport and logistics, with a specific interest in the blue collar workforce.
 
Samantha brings over 10 years of in-depth generalist research experience to Insync. She has held a number of roles within the Cordiant Group & AVICOM (part of WPP), and as a freelance researcher facilitating research during company mergers, acquisitions and during organisational change programs. In addition, Samantha has managed public consultation research, customer, supplier and product research, plus managed projects investigating Employee Value Propositions.
 
Samantha has provided operational and strategic advice to many senior management teams. She has an honours degree in Psychology and trained with the Association of Qualitative Research Practitioners in the UK.
 

Jacky Heath
Jacky Heath
Senior Manager

Jacky is the Senior Manager in our Sydney team and is a passionate member of the Insync Health, Education and Community Services practice group. She partners with her clients to measure and improve organisational sustainability, employee and client engagement, program outcomes and community impact. 

Jacky is a highly skilled researcher with 16 years' knowledge and experience in B2B customer research, employee research, market research and social research. 

She is particularly interested in the links between employee and customer engagement, believing that both customer centricity and employee engagement are needed for an organisation to achieve sustainable high performance.

Jacky is responsible for the strategic management and direction of projects from research design to delivery of presentations. Her post survey consulting experience includes facilitation of focus groups, manager education sessions and action planning workshops.

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Sasha Lord
Sasha Lord
Senior Manager

Sasha is Insync's Senior Manager based in Melbourne. Her focus is the Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian Public Sector.

Sasha has worked within government for ​7 years and is a self-confessed ​public sector tragic. A former Local Government Professionals (LGPro) Board Member and Institute of Public of Administration (IPAA) Advisory Committee member, she is committed to providing opportunities for Government to deliver their multitude of services in the most effective, efficient and customer friendly way.

Sasha is driven to develop and implement strategy which creates high performing organisations that are connected to their community. Known for her big ideas and commitment to delivering new innovative ways for improved service delivery, she delivered a Local Government First Behavioural Insights program to assist a council to maintain their revenue in the current rate cap environment.

Sasha has delivered a number of Service Review, Change Management, Corporate Performance and Governance programs across government.

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David Shannon
David Shannon
Senior Manager

David has held commercial management and consulting positions across multiple sectors in Australia, the UK and Europe, and specialises in Finance.

After gaining undergraduate qualifications in Business Management and Marketing, David spent four years in the Australian Finance sector managing large teams on the east-coast of NSW, and went on to leverage this industry experience to deliver behavioural consumer insights and market pricing strategy to boards and senior leadership teams for many of the largest brands in the UK and Europe.

Since returning to Australia he has occupied senior sales management positions in the WPP network, and has sharpened his gaze to digital experience and the vital interdependency of employee and customer engagement in driving organisational performance. Most recently David has overseen digital product and service research to inform and implement large-scale digital campaigns.

David is passionate about employee wellbeing, and exercises this mantra via a range of interests outside of work. He is a keen writer and has had feature articles published in AMSRS monthly magazine, and a vocal supporter of the NFP sector and Closing the Gap initiatives.

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Ian Bycroft
Ian Bycroft
Manager

Ian joined Quantum (now Insync) in 1999 and has been building, running and reporting on staff surveys for Australian corporations ever since. Ian's specific expertise now lies in customising survey solutions for the utilities, banking, automotive, retail and community services sectors.

A small sample of his clients includes SA Power Networks, Western Power, Jemena, Australian Gas Networks, EnergyAustralia, SA Water, CSL Limited, Brookfield Multiplex, Crown, Amnesty International, Elders and Toyota.

Ian and his team have developed a range of summarised statistical products, continuous improvement and benchmarking systems to enable clients to easily interpret survey results and to manage their organisation's performance.

Results from formal client survey evaluations confirm that Ian is highly regarded for his client support, responsiveness, presentation of information and managing very complex issues when required. 

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Laura Dainton Smith
Laura Dainton Smith
Manager

Laura is a dedicated researcher and project manager. Her expertise lies in developing bespoke solutions based on diverse client needs, and she is ​passionate about investigating community expectations in relation to large scale projects. While Laura has worked across a wide range of industries in her seven years with Insync, her specialisation is in the water sector.

In addition to her general research and project management expertise, Laura is a highly skilled qualitative researcher. She has experience and training in deliberative methods, undertaking in-depth interviews, running focus groups and designing complex thematic analysis.

Laura has almost a decade of research experience across academic, corporate and not-for-profit roles. She holds holds a Masters of Science degree (Behavioural and Social Sciences) from Brown University (Rhode Island, USA), graduate qualifications in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from the University of Melbourne.

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Sophie Owen
Sophie Owen
Manager

Sophie has six years' experience working as a project manager and research consultant. She has experience working across all phases of research, managing a portfolio of projects, including both ongoing, tracking projects and one-off research projects. She has experience delivering projects nationally and globally, advising clients on how they can best engage their employees and other stakeholders to improve organisational performance.

Sophie's core experience is in employee, customer and patient research. She has worked with numerous clients across a range of industries, with particular expertise within the health and community services and transport and logistics industries. Sophie's key skills include client liaison, stakeholder engagement and consultation, research design, data interpretation and analysis and delivery of insight and recommendations.

Sophie has been with Insync for four years. In that time she has managed over 80 projects. She partners with clients to understand and deliver on their requirements, collaborating with both external and internal clients to ensure the successful delivery of all projects. Her knowledge in employee and customer research and practical experience in methods for improving employee and customer engagement supports this. Her ability to advise and guide clients throughout the research project is a key strength. This ensures clients feel supported and empowered throughout the entirety of the project. 

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Jia Lim
Jia Lim
Manager

Jia is a Manager within Insync's Commercial practice group, helping a variety of clients from the Financial, Construction and Manufacturing industries measure and improve their employee and customer engagement.

Jia has over 10 years of market research experience. She has recently returned to Melbourne after working in Singapore and China for 6 years where she worked for a global research firm. Here Jia worked with multinational clients managing both small and large multi country projects.

Jia is passionate about working with organisation to achieve greater understanding of internal and external clients, with the aim to drive strategic decision and planning. Jia seeks to manage projects effectively and efficiently, and works continuously to service clients from front to end. 

Jia holds a Bachelor of Mass Communication and is proficient in Mandarin, Malay and Cantonese.

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