Meet our team

The Cicada team has a wide ranging experience across technology, business, and innovation, and is genuinely passionate about supporting deep tech in Australia and creating authentic connections. 

Sally-Ann Williams

Chief Executive Officer

Our team is headed up by our CEO, Sally-Ann Williams who previously spent 12 years with Google Australia’s R&D team where she was responsible for leading Google’s efforts in startup engagement and research collaborations.

Sally-Ann is an experienced Non Executive Board member currently serving on the boards of Cicada Innovations, Qudos Bank, Data61, NSSN, and AusOcean, Chair of the Computing Advisory Board at ANU, as well as the advisory board member of the Heavy Ion Accelerator NCRIS Facility, a member of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri-Technology governance committee, and a member of the NSW Government Tech Central Advisory Board. 

Alan Wylie

Chief Operating Officer

Alan is fortunate enough to have a role that crosses all aspects of the incubator and is involved in both the day-to-day running of the building and supporting the Cicada team in making Cicada the home of deep tech in Australia.

Alan has a finance background and has worked for global companies in senior roles located in Australia, Germany, Luxembourg and the UK.

Ingrid Marsh

Director Partnerships & Business Development

Ingrid leads Cicada’s commercial and strategic partnerships, developing new business opportunities with government and industry partners that will benefit Cicada and the deep tech ecosystem we support. Ingrid is an economic development professional with twenty years experience working within state and federal government at a strategic level, developing sector strategies and at the coal face delivering practical support to assist business growth.

Ingrid vast experience spans industry development, innovation programmes and international trade and investment. 

Sian Priest

General Manager – Community & Communications

Sian leads our community and comms efforts, supporting deep tech startups, connecting the broader ecosystem, and celebrating and spotlighting deep tech innovation and achievements. 

Sian has 13 years experience building and working technology startups; as a founder, operator, coach, and community builder in Australia and the UK. Day to day you’ll find her meeting with founders, making introductions, designing community experiences, and writing articles and content to help educate founders and the broader ecosystem.

Hebbat Manhy

Head of Technology

Leading Cicada’s Climate & Industry Tech, Hebbat has worked within areas of Heavy Industry, FMCG, MedTech and Life Sciences from product inception to launch.

Hebbat has over 20 years experience in innovation and business transformation with a proven track record in successfully implementing large-scale complex engineering, marketing, commercial and digital strategies to deliver value and growth with strength in stakeholder alignment.

Katja Beitat

Head of HealthTech

Katja oversees all our activities across the health sector, which covers new innovations and companies in therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and software as a medical device. As a researcher and founder herself, Katja understands the challenges of marrying science with entrepreneurship and shares her lived experience to help other healthtech innovators succeed.

A collaborator at heart, she enjoys opening the right doors for people to step through to make a real impact with their ideas and projects. Katja believes that knowledge should be accessible for people to be able to continuously innovate and grow.

Britt Hartnett

Director External Engagement

With over 15 years at Cicada Innovations, Britt understands all facets of incubator management. She is responsible for curating relationships with key stakeholders to ensure valuable connections are made across the ecosystem to support our residents and the development of the Australian deep technology sector

Prior to Cicada, Britt held management positions spanning media, technology and government, gaining significant experience in the implementation of greenfield support centres, business process re-engineering, event, contract, operations and project management.

Alex Shapilsky

Head of Space

Alex is the Head of Space and leading the National Space Industry Hub (NSIH).

With a rich background in mechatronics and a diverse commercial career that spans from vibrant tech startups to esteemed corporates like Jacobs and Macquarie Group, Alex 
brings a wealth of experience across manufacturing, ICT, infrastructure, IoT, drones, prop tech, and, notably, space. His recent role at Macquarie Group, advising on emerging technologies in the space industry and infrastructure, and his contributions to prop tech in a multi-billion dollar development, have positioned him uniquely to lead our space sector initiatives.

AJ Miller

Facilities Operations Manager

AJ is responsible for all aspects of facilities management here at Cicada. For over 18 years AJ has overseen the daily operations of building maintenance, suite refurbishments, major infrastructure projects and managing the various trades and services to ensure compliance is met across this awesome heritage building.

AJ collaborates with the Cicada team to ensure our residents needs are met and that Cicada is the place to be if you're a deep tech startup.

Moksha Patel

Partnerships and Business Development Manager

Moksha is a former scientist, transitioned to commercialisation due to her passion for bringing problem solving ideas to real-life. Now she blends scientific knowledge with commercial acumen to support and grow our deeptech community. With Ingrid she helps to drive growth of not only Cicada but also the deeptech ecosystem in Australia. 

Prior to working with Cicada she has worked in scientific and business development roles in startups across Australia and New Zealand. 

Cristina Casaprima Ferrer

Marketing Specialist & Community Manager

As part of the community team, Cristina writes about the magic that happens within the four walls of Cicada and beyond. Her goal is to support residents and community in every step of their journey by creating meaningful experiences and events for them to connect and learn.

Communication has been at the heart of her career, working first as a journalist and later discovering her true passion of communications and startups. Back home in Spain, she helped build Europe's first industrial startup accelerator.

Sebastian Parker

Digital Marketing

Sebastian is our marketing maverick creating digital marketing campaigns to promote Cicada's events and opportunities, champion our community of startups and innovators, and to shine a spotlight on the wonderful world of deep tech.

Sebastian started his career in travel marketing, before moving to the UK's top creative industries recruitment company where he grew creative events communities and launched inclusive campaigns.

Mathew Muratore

Reception & Office Coordinator

Mat is your first point of contact when you arrive at Cicada Innovations. He provides concierge support for all our residents needs, as well as looking after the day to day running of the incubator and supporting the entire Cicada.

Previously Mat has worked in sales and supporting roles across film, television, and entertainment and for NBC Universal, Fox, AFTRS.

Hela Zargouni

Program Coordinator: Space & Deep Tech

Hela supports our Space and Deep Tech programs and startups. With an engineering background, a master’s in communication, and a passion for design, Hela curates the programs to the needs of innovators, combining both technical and commercial knowledge.

With experience in international development, Hela has worked with government agencies and entrepreneurship ecosystems in the United States, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, Senegal, Dubai & Angola to drive entrepreneurship and innovation.

James Kumar

Finance Officer

James is the number guy. Responsible for the accounting operations of the Cicada, ensuring efficient finance resource allocation towards the necessities of our highly valued deep tech resident companies. From preparing monthly management financial reports to ensuring financial controls and compliance are always adhered to. James manages the company’s tax affairs, performs and manage accounts payables and receivables functions effectively, and last but not least, makes sure we all get paid on time.

Muhammad Abbas

Finance Manager

Muhammad is the go-to person when it comes to numbers and making sense of financial jargon. With his expertise in finance and a passion for helping businesses grow, he ensures that our financial decisions are on point. Whether it's budgeting, forecasting, or analysing data, he's here to break it down in plain English and collaborate with teams across the company to achieve our goals

Alexandra Vellere

Program Manager: HealthTech

Alex collaborates with passionate leaders to design and deliver world class HealthTech programs supporting ventures from concept and commercialisation, through to growth and scale. She thrives on connecting the needs of medtech and biotech ventures with the right support to enable them to grow and help them on their journey. Alex has nearly 20 years experience working in the Pharmaceutical industry across Sales, Marketing and Commercial roles.

Tegan Thorpe

Digital Marketing Specialist

Tegan spearheads our digital marketing campaigns that not only promote our events and programs but also build a vibrant community of startups and innovators, showcasing the cutting-edge world of deep tech.

With a rich tapestry of experience that includes artistic and commercial photography, publishing, radio, business development, and relationship management, Tegan’s innovative approach breathes life into every campaign. She holds a degree in Graphic Design and Advertising, a Diploma in Social Sciences, and is currently advancing her expertise with a Masters.

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