Hon Jeffrey Bleich, Former US Ambassador to Australia & Chief Legal Officer, Cruise
Jeff serves as the Chief Legal Officer and Chief Risk Officer of Cruise LLC. His legal career has included serving as Special Counsel to President Obama in the White House, Special Master for the U.S. District Courts, court-appointed federal mediator, trial and appellate counsel, adjunct professor of law, and a managing partner of two international law firms. He has also served as the chair of multiple corporate boards, including the boards of PG&E Co. and Nuix USG, Inc. Besides these legal and business roles, he served as the 24th U.S. Ambassador to Australia from 2009 to 2013.
After receiving his B.A. in political science, magna cum laude from Amherst College, Jeff earned an M.P.P. from Harvard with highest honors in 1986, and a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law with highest honors in 1989. At Berkeley, he served as editor-in-chief of the California Law Review. He clerked for Judge Abner J. Mikva on the D.C. Circuit, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court, and Howard Holtzmann at the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in the Hague.
Jeff was a partner for 17 years at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, in San Francisco, where he specialized in high stakes technology litigation as well as significant pro bono civil rights matters. He was routinely recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers by Best Lawyers, Law Dragon, and other publications. He holds, or has held, several other leadership positions, including as chair of the Fulbright Board, chair of the California State University Board of Trustees, president of the California State Bar, president of the Bar Association of San Francisco, chair of the ABA’s Amicus Curiae Committee, and president of the Barristers Club of San Francisco. In 1998, he was appointed by then-President Clinton to serve as director of the White House Commission on Youth Violence following the tragic Columbine shootings.
In recognition of his service, Bleich has received some of the nation’s top honors, including the highest awards for a non-career ambassador by the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. In 2009, the City of San Francisco named a day in his honor. Bleich holds honorary degrees from San Francisco State University, Griffith University, and Flinders University in Adelaide, which in 2019 established the Jeff Bleich Centre for U.S. Alliance Studies in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance in his name.
Hon Dr Susan Close MP, Deputy Premier of South Australia, Minister for Defence and Space Industries, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Minister for Climate, Environment and Water
Susan Close is the Deputy Premier of South Australia and the Minister for Climate,
Environment and Water, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science and Minister for
Defence and Space Industries.
Susan has been the Member for Port Adelaide since 2012.
Before entering parliament, Susan was an executive in the Department of Environment
and Natural Resources and played a key role in the establishment of the Adelaide
Dolphin Sanctuary as a community advocate. She previously worked at the University
of Adelaide managing student services and holds a PhD from Flinders University.
Susan is a fierce advocate for women in the workplace, passionate about ensuring
accessible and quality education for all, deeply concerned about protecting nature, and
driven to deliver the best economic outcomes for South Australia so everyone can
benefit from a prosperous future for our state.
Lynn McDonald, Azure Space Lead Asia Pacific, Microsoft
Lynn is the Microsoft Azure Space Lead for Asia Pacific. In this role, Lynn is leading efforts to integrate the Azure cloud platform with an ecosystem of Space partners to develop cloud-enabled technologies for the space industry and its customers. Lynn is focused on bringing together innovation, products, and partnerships to deliver accessible satellite connectivity and space-enabled data and analytics insights to all industry customers.
Lynn has 25 years of Space expertise in Defense, the Intelligence Community, and Industry. She retired as a Colonel from the US Air Force in 2019 and joined Microsoft in 2020 to help initiate their efforts in the Space industry. She has experience in satellite operations, space launch, operational test for space programs like GPS, space-based intelligence, and cloud capabilities for space missions. She has held several military command positions leading large operational space organizations with complex satellite missions.
Lynn is passionate about the Australian Space industry and supporting diversity in STEM and the Space industry.
Kathleen Lively, US Consul General
Kathleen Lively is a career American diplomat currently
serving as U.S. Consul General in Melbourne,
Australia. Ms. Lively was the Minister Counselor for
Management Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi,
Kenya from 2019 - 2021. Prior to that, she served three
years as the Dean of the Foreign Service Institute’s
School of Applied Information Technology. Ms. Lively
has also represented the United States in Romania, The
United Kingdom, Japan, Poland and Afghanistan.
In Washington, she worked for the Undersecretary for Management and in the Bureau of
Information Resource Management. She started her thirty plus years of government
service as a Presidential Management Intern at the National Institutes of Health and the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Ms. Lively is a Washington D.C. native. She holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees
in Public Policy from the University of Chicago as well as a Master of Science degree in
Resourcing National Security from the National Defense University’s Industrial College
of the Armed Forces in Washington D.C. She is the recipient of a Presidential Rank
Award as well as numerous State Department Superior and Meritorious Honor awards.
She enjoys her family, sports, music, animals, teaching English as a second language,
chocolate, and the outdoors. She is married with two adult sons.