100+ combined years
experience in business between
Australia and Japan


Trent Alston; B.Build (Hons, UNSW); GMQ (AGSM); AMP (Insead); GAICD

Trent Alston has a commercial and robust level of expertise combined with a unique ability to forge capital partnerships, work cross cultures, interpret complex data and use it for commercial advantage. This experience has been gained over 30 years in the construction, development, real estate investment and funds management industries during his time at Lend Lease, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, Challenger Limited and most recently as a Non-Executive Director at ASX listed Abacus Property Group.

Trent also has over 15 years’ experience with Japanese inbound and outbound investment including joint ventures with MUFG, MS&AD and Kenedix as well as the establishment of Challenger’s fully licenced real estate platform in Japan. This included development of strategy, business relationships, investment and funds management together with full operational responsibilities.

Trent’s experience covers logistics, office, retail, residential and mixed-use assets plus real estate lending and involved establishing capital partnerships with leading sovereign funds and global institutions. This included delivery of complex projects with $1B+ budgets and responsibility for the investment and business strategy +$10bn real estate business platforms across Australia and Japan.

Trent’s areas of expertise include:

  • Strategy design and implementation
  • Complex negotiations & projects
  • Business & investment management
  • Capital markets and M&A
  • Cross border/cultural joint ventures
  • Establishing and managing global business partnerships
  • People leadership
  • Regulated management companies and subsidiary boards & investment committees

Professor Jenny Corbett; BA (ANU, Hons); MA (Oxon); PhD (Michigan); FASSA

For over 30 years Jenny Corbett has been a professor and researcher of the Japanese economy. She has consulted for the Asian Development Bank, the OECD, the World Bank and the European Commission on a range of macro-economic and financial issues relating to Japan.

Jenny has held executive leadership and educational positions including Distinguished Professor of Economics, Director of the Japan Institute and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training) at the Australian National University. She has also been a Board director in the not-for-profit sector. In 2014 Jenny was awarded the “Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon” for services to the Australia-Japan relationship.

Jenny’s areas of expertise include:

  • Current macro-economic and financial policy issues in Japan
  • Regional financial integration
  • Trade in financial services
  • Policy responses to financial crisis
  • Financial system design.

Currently Jenny is:

  • Rio Tinto Fellow for the Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies, Tokyo University
  • Executive of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee
  • Fellowship holder at research centres in the UK and the USA
  • Executive Director of the Australia-Japan Research Centre
  • Oxford Reader in the Economy of Japan
  • Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

Debra Hazelton; BA (Hons, Sydney U); MCom (UNSW); GAICD

Debra Hazelton has over 30 years experience in global banking and financial services, including 16 years living and working in Japan. She has held national CEO positions for banks in Australia and Japan, namely Mizuho Bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia as well as Board and Committee positions with the Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA), Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee, Asia Society Australia and Women in Banking and Finance. Debra speaks, reads and writes Japanese.

Debra was the first foreign general manager to be based at Mizuho Financial Group’s Tokyo headquarters, charged with development of the company’s global talent acquisition, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, and globalisation across a workforce of ~60,000 employees in Japan and 38 other countries. After retiring from her executive role in late 2017 she continued as Senior Advisor for Global Talent Development for the Mizuho Financial Group.

Prior to this Debra was General Manager of Mizuho Bank (Australia) where she oversaw the growth of the business to increase profitability by more than 500% and significantly improved global business connectivity, staff engagement, corporate reputation and depth of product capability and capacity.

Debra’s areas of expertise include:

  • Australia-Japan business relationships
  • Corporate finance
  • Project finance
  • Debt Capital Markets
  • Global financial markets and treasury operations
  • Strategy
  • Risk management
  • Bank Compliance
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Human resources management.

Currently Debra is a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of:

  • AMP Ltd
  • AMP Bank
  • AMP Capital Holdings
  • PERSOL Australia (the holding company of Programmed)
  • Australia-Japan Foundation (Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/ DFAT)
  • Treasury Corporation of Victoria (TCV); and
  • a member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) Japan Advisory Committee

Manuel Panagiotopoulos, MBA, BA

Since the 1980s Manual Panagiotopoulos has been an authority, academic, consultant and advisor on the Australia-Japan economic relationship. He is the owner and Managing Director of Australian and Japanese Economic Intelligence - a think tank specialising in Australia-Japan relations.

In 2015 Manuel was awarded the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation in recognition of his contribution to the Australia-Japan relationship.

Manuel’s areas of expertise include:

  • Bilateral and international relations
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Macroeconomics
  • Trade
  • Geopolitics
  • Cross cultural communications and facilitation
  • Australian-Japan relations
  • Political analysis.

A well-known and respected economist, Manuel facilitates opportunities between prominent Australian and Japanese government officials, industry representatives and research institutions. Each year he hosts the annual Australia-Japan Business Outlook Conference and the Australia-Japan Roundtable. He has been involved in policy development and written influential reports on trade, investment and geopolitics for Austrade and the Australia-Japan Foundation.

Manuel is currently a:

  • Fellow of the Institute for Regional Security
  • Consultant to the Consulate General of Japan in Sydney
  • Consultant to the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO)
  • Guest lecturer the University of Sydney, University of NSW and University of Technology, Sydney.

Bob Seidler, AM

Bob Seidler’s 40-year career has been focused on strengthening the Japanese-Australian business relationship. He was the first Australian licensed to practice law in Japan and while living in Tokyo was appointed to represent Australia and New Zealand on the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry Import Board.

In 2016 Bob was honoured to receive the “Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon” presented by the Emperor of Japan in recognition of his contribution to strengthening economic relations between Japan and Australia.

A lawyer by profession, Bob has served on the boards of many companies owned by Australians, Japanese and other nationalities operating in a wide variety of industries, including banking and other financial services, funds management, property, property development, hotels etc.

Bob is a former Chairman of Leighton Asia and Leighton Properties, and former member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Japan Executive Committee and the Federal Government’s Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee.

Currently Bob acts as a:

  • Member of Board for CIMIC Group Limited (formerly Leighton Holdings Limited
  • Vice-President of the Australia-Japan Business Co-Operation Committee
  • New South Wales Government’s Special Envoy-Japan
  • Chairman of Hunter Phillip Japan Ltd.

Bob was awarded the Order of Australia in 2011 for services to the international business community and development of Australia-Japan bilateral commercial relations.

Arlene Tansey

Arlene Tansey is currently a Non-Executive Director of five Proprietary Limited companies. She has over 30 years experience in business operations management, commercial banking, investment banking and law.

Originally from New York, Arlene holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Law Centre and an MBA from New York University.

Arlene’s areas of expertise include:

  • Banking - Commercial banking, investment banking and restructuring
  • Finance and transactions law
  • Infrastructure – Energy, toll roads, technology, property, construction and healthcare
  • Manufacturing, apparel, materials and services
  • Aerospace and aviation.

Currently Arlene is a:

  • Non-executive Director of Aristocrat Leisure Limited, Chair of the Board Audit Committee and a Member of the Strategic Risk Committee
  • Non-executive Director of Adelaide Brighton Limited, Chair of the Nomination, Remuneration and Governance Committee
  • Non-executive Director of Primary Health Care, and a Member of the Audit Committee and the Nomination and Remuneration Committee
  • Non-executive Director of Infrastructure NSW and a member of the Audit Committee
  • Non-executive Director of Lend Lease Investment Management
  • Non-executive Director of The Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Member of Chief Executive Women
  • Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.