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Guest Speaker Profiles

On this page shows this year's esteemed guest speaker profiles.


Dr Stephen TOMMIS

Guest Speaker Dr Stephen TOMMISDr Stephen Tommis is the founding Executive Director of the Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE), a post he took up in February 2008. The HKAGE is an initiative to ensure that appropriate provision is made for teachers, parents as well as all gifted students across Hong Kong.

Stephen is a graduate of the University of Dundee (MA First Class Honours), Jesus College, Oxford where he was awarded the D Phil degree and the Institute of Education, London University where he took a PGCE.

After a spell in business working as an antique map dealer, he decided that education was his true vocation and so moved to the south west of England to be a teacher at Sherborne School, an independent secondary school. After one year he was promoted to Head of Department and subsequently to Undermaster. From there he went to The King’s School, Gloucester, as Deputy Head and after three years learning the job, was appointed to be Headmaster of Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, completing a 23 year stint of direct involvement with education.

Between 2003-8 he was the Director of The National Association for Gifted Education (NAGC) in the UK where he led campaigns to get parents’ needs heard in government and schools.


Mrs Jacqui SHURR

Guest Speaker Mrs Jacqui SHURRIn 1997 Jacqui Shurr founded The Good Rock Foundation which is a Hong Kong and UK registered charity that serves orphaned and abandoned children in Xinjiang, NW China. Previously Jacqui had a management career in the health industry both in the USA and the UK.

Since the inception of Good Rock Jacqui has headed up the creation of projects which address the needs of children and young adults in institutionalized care, 80% of those helped have disability. In 1999 she introduced one of the first government recognized foster care programs on the Mainland as well as co-writing a sex education and awareness training manual that has been shared across China. This was followed by the opening of special education and therapy centers, education grants for minority students and medical assistance. Jacqui pioneers for the welfare of the disadvantaged and marginalized. Her recent work champions the rights of those with disability to be connected, contributing members of society in China.

In recognition of her work, Jacqui was runner up in Clarins Woman of the Year 2003 and won the Asia XPat of the Year award in 2009. She lives in Hong Kong with her husband and 3 children.



Guest Speaker Mr Joel NAINIEJoel Nainie trained as an English Literature Teacher in Melbourne, Australia where he completed a masters in Asian Studies at Monash University. He taught in Australia and Brunei and then spent a decade in Hong Kong teaching at King George V School, much of that time as the Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator. He completed the Train the Trainer Program in Gifted Education, Government of South Australia, December 2007 and subsequently established Gifted Leadership Services Limited, a private company with an office in Hong Kong, the business of which is delivering Leadership conferences to gifted secondary students from around the world. He has delivered several academic papers on his leadership model at various gifted conferences around the world and regularly runs training programs for staff, particularly on teaching strategy for the gifted. In 2009, he moved to Muscat, Oman where he is currently Head of Year 12 and a Teacher of English and Theory of Knowledge at The Sultan’s School. He has also been contracted by British Schools Middle East to provide professional development in Gifted Education for staff in the Middle East Region.


Ms Vandana GUPTA

Guest Speaker Ms Vandana GUPTAVandana Gupta trained as an Architect in New Delhi, India where she completed a masters in Landscape Architecture at School of Planning and Architecture. She practiced for 6 years in Delhi where she did a variety of projects of national and international significance and then spent the next six years in Hong Kong. Much of that time was spent working for a large International architectural firm, Aedas Limited. During this time she worked on the largest integrated resort development in the world, The Venetian, Macau in the capacity of a team leader. She left the firm in 2008 as a Senior Associate with a number of significant projects under her belt. She was also involved considerably in business development for the firm in India and the Middle East. She considers design skill as her forte. In 2009 she moved to Muscat, Oman where she is currently working as a visiting professor at a German University of Technology and is teaching Landscape architecture.



Guest Speaker Mr Andrew PARKINSONAndrew Parkinson is a Counsellor, Coach, and Teacher.
He has studied Psychology, Education, NLP, Hypnotherapy, Experiential approaches to Psychotherapy, and has a Masters in Counselling.

As both counsellor and coach, Andrew collaborates with clients on defining and moving toward their personal, therapeutic, and/or professional development goals.

Andrew has worked with various populations including; adults and children with intellectual disabilities, people recovering from mental illness, and professionals from diverse industries. He has coached and counselled individuals and couples from over 15 countries on issues such as; grief, loss, trauma, depression, anxiety, phobias, relationships, relaxation, personal/ professional development and growth.

As part of his commitment to promoting and providing mental health and well-being services for all, regardless of economic or social status, Andrew provides pro bono psychotherapy and counselling to asylum seekers and refugees, who have often arrived after fleeing war and torture in their home countries.

Andrew is the Vice President of Professional Development for the HKICC and is an invited speaker on topics relating to mental health, therapy, personal development, education, dreams, relationships, conflict resolution and negotiation.



Guest Speaker Mr Andrew PARKINSONDr C W Tso is a chartered and registered professional engineer, fellow of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers and fellow of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

He received his education at Lancaster University, UK where he attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering (1st Class Honors), following a DIC in Thermal Power from the Imperial College of Science & Technology, London, a MSc degree in Thermal Engineering at the University of London and Doctorate of Business Administration from the University of South Australia.

Prior to pursuing further studies in England under the Swire United Kingdom Scholarship Scheme in 1971, he completed a 4-year apprenticeship at Taikoo thereafter working as a marine engineer on the Blue Funnel cargo vessel, before joining Foster Wheeler in 1976 to embark on a professional career on numerous power generation projects.

Returning to Hong Kong in April 1980, he joined the Hongkong Electric Group and served for 26 years in leading roles as a Mechanical Engineer pending his appointment as General Manager (Projects) of Hongkong Electric, responsible for aspects such as budgeting, cost control and project management. During this time he also chaired the company’s Environment Committee and acted as spokesperson for environmental-related matters.  

He has made many contributions to educational, community and other professional services including being member of the Executive Committee, the Gas and Safety Appeal Board Panel and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Hong Kong.


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