Meet Our Team
Founder and Director
Steve Michelson is Founder and Director of Michelson Alexander. He is a highly respected corporate advisor and political and national campaigning strategist.
Steve has a diverse background in the private sector, politics and the law and was a key architect in the fight for marriage equality in Australia.
After growing up in north-east Victoria, Steve studied at the Australian National University in Canberra before moving to Melbourne. Steve has worked for the Victorian Department of Health as a Senior Industrial Relations Consultant and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers as a Senior Lawyer giving him an intimate understanding of employer, employee, private and public-sector issues.
Prior to founding Michelson Alexander, Steve spent six years as a trusted advisor to the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, then Leader of the Opposition. As Director of Caucus and Stakeholder Relations, he provided advice regarding highly complex policy, political and communications issues, often in sensitive media environments, and built networks with business, unions and the community.
Steve thrives in complex stakeholder and issues rich environments and is committed to achieving practical outcomes for clients. Most recently he established the historic National Compact on Permanent Migration and is advising Australians for Mental Health along with a number of government agencies and ASX companies.
Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the Australian National University where he was awarded a full CAS Hawker Scholarship and a Master of Laws at Melbourne Law School where he was awarded the Frank Pinkerton Scholarship. He is currently on the committee of Wallara Disability Australia and Bayside Community Health Services and is a member and avid supporter of the Geelong Football Club.
James joined Michelson Alexander as a Senior Associate during the COVID-19 pandemic after leading strategic communications campaigns in London and New York for industrial leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.
James’ experience is steeped in crisis management, having worked on high-profile crisis response projects during royal commissions, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and media scandals. Along with on-call response, James has co-facilitated media training and crisis simulations for organisations ranging from theme parks and tourism attractions to critical infrastructure and hospitals.
In 2019, James led an Australian communication firm’s expansion to the European and North American markets and the establishment of the firm’s London office. He has an array of strategic communications skills and prides himself on providing leaders with practical advice that helps organisations to deliver commercial outcomes and strategic objectives.
Outside of the corporate sphere, James co-founded an online sports magazine in 2016 that publishes long-form analytical journalism, podcasts, and feature documentaries on the emotive stories behind professional and amateur sport.
Formally trained as a company director, James holds a Master of Communications from RMIT University (where he is now a sessional lecturer) and a Bachelor of Arts (politics and international relations) from Monash University. He also has professional training in the Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS) coupled by skills in business development, writing, and marketing.
Andrew Stewart is an Associate at Michelson Alexander with a diverse background in technology and communications.
He is the firm’s principal data analyst, ensuring Michelson Alexander stays at the cutting edge of the data-driven strategies that are transforming organisational culture. He helps large corporates and not-for-profits identify, extract and manage multiple sources of data, build the capability for advanced-analytics models to predict and optimise outcomes, and helps them transform their organisations so that data and models inspire better decision making.
Andrew is a graduate of Monash University where he studied Aerospace Engineering (Hons), Australian Politics and Japanese Translation. Owing to this distinctive academic background, Andrew is able to provide a wide range of technical research and support to the firm’s clients – and to communicate insights simply and effectively.
Andrew’s former role in data analysis and systems automation for a large telecommunications company affords him a unique and valuable data-based perspective to complex problem solving.
His passion is using technology to solve complex social problems that improve the lives of Australians. In his spare time he enjoys volunteering on tech-based projects for local community groups.
Megan Berry is an associate at Michelson Alexander who brings political, community and corporate experience to complex issues.
She has led national teams to influence government policy via strategic campaigns and has engaged with high-level corporate stakeholders both in Australia and overseas. As a former Chief of Staff to the Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development from 2014 to 2017, Megan managed the Government’s response to the droughts beginning in 2015 and the dairy crises in 2016.
Her previous careers in Early Childhood Education and Care, community engagement and political campaign management give Megan a unique insight into managing competing agendas and ensure she can view a problem from every perspective.
Megan brings empathy and a talent for team building to every working environment.
Abul is an economics, accounting and public policy graduate from ANU. He was a leader in reforming Australia’s budget processes in the 1980s and a consultant to the Malaysian Treasury Department on budget reform.
From 1991 to 1995, he was the Immigration Department’s Chief Financial Officer before managing Australia’s migration program from 1995 to 2007.
Between 1996 and 2006, he was Chair of the Commonwealth/State Working Party on State-Specific and Regional Migration that gave state/territory governments a greater role in migrant selection.
He commissioned research on the demographic, economic and budgetary impact of immigration that was extensively used in policy development, including the 2002 and 2007 Intergenerational Reports.
This research led to major policy changes to expand Australia’s international education industry, skilled temporary migration and working holiday makers as a pathway to an expanded permanent migration program. This ultimately slowed population ageing in Australia and made it a demographic outlier amongst developed nations (ie younger, more diverse and growing faster) over the past 20 years.
Abul was awarded the Public Service Medal and the Centenary Medal for services to the development and implementation of Australian immigration policy.
From 2007 to 2015, Abul was Deputy Secretary in the Department of Communications responsible for broadcasting policy, internet regulation, radio-frequency spectrum policy, the digital economy, cyber-safety and regional telecommunications including mobile blackspots.
He has recently completed a Phd at Melbourne University on Australia’s immigration policies.
Abul is a frequent media commentator on population, immigration and its impact on Australia’s economic directions. He recently featured in the SBS Documentary Who Gets to Stay in Australia.
He specialises in work on all aspects of immigration policy, including international students, temporary migration, tourists and working holiday makers, and its implications for Australia’s population and economic directions at the national and sub-national level.
Simone brings more than 25 years’ experience in public affairs and communications to her advisory role at Michelson Alexander.
She has led the communications functions for many large complex organisations, often during times of significant cultural or structural change. Her career has included key roles at: Telstra, Burson-Marsteller, Turnbull Porter Novelli, National Express Group Pty Ltd, the Department of Infrastructure, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).
As Communications Director at DSE, Simone led some of Victoria’s most successful social change campaigns including Black Balloons, empowering the community to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the Our Water Our Future behaviour change program during the worst years of Victoria’s drought. This included the Target 155 campaign, which asked Melburnians to use 155 litres of water per person per day.
Simone has designed and implemented crisis communications plans for highly complex organisations in highly regulated environments. In the private sector, Simone was the Director of Communications for three of Victoria’s transport businesses post-privatisation. In this role Simone managed multiple crises including train fatalities, train derailments, tram and bus accidents and a runaway train that captured international headlines and bought most of Melbourne’s transport to a stand-still.
Simone has also managed the communications for oil spills and was the Director of Communications for seven bushfire seasons including the devastating Black Saturday fires of 2009. As Director of Communications for the Department of Human Services she led the communications response and recovery to the Victorian floods of 2011.
Al has a wealth of experience in strategic communications and has worked with a range of blue chip clients in higher education, energy, resources, sport and entertainment across private and public sectors. These experiences have assured his deep understanding of the sensitivities of political and public stakeholder engagement.
Prior to joining Michelson Alexander, Al was a Policy Researcher at Australian Parliament, and held roles in reputation management and communications consulting. At university Al was a volunteer consultant working with NFPs and social enterprises in regional Queensland. Al was responsible for drafting grant applications and tender proposals for organisations across the state. In this role he also worked closely with employment support and skills training providers to critically evaluate and improve services for communities affected by drought and job loss.
In his downtime Al leads the renowned Melbourne choir The Tiger Tones, which he tours with internationally and regionally each year. As Operations Manager Al oversees sponsorships, charitable donations, media and tour management.
Hayden is the Practice Manager of Michelson Alexander. His commercial and legal background helps achieve maximum productivity across task allocation, time management, costs and processes.
He studied Law and Japanese at the Australian National University in Canberra and has spent most of his career in the private sector.
Before starting at Michelson Alexander, Hayden worked as Global Training Manager at a luxury consumer product brand where he oversaw the sales and training programs for the company across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the United States.
He helps the firm deliver outstanding client service through seamless billing and invoicing and by ensuring all projects and tasks are completed on time and budget. He manages the business, inducts and supervises staff and oversees the firm’s people and culture.
Hayden is passionate about ensuring that the firm’s core mission, values, beliefs and behaviours best reflect the company culture and serve client best interests.
Jack Banister is Michelson Alexander’s copywriter and has an extensive background in journalism and content creation. He is also a skilled photographer and a regular podcast host.
He worked for more than two years as a copywriter and content editor at The Township, a digital and social agency, while completing a Master of Journalism at the University of Melbourne.
During the final year of his degree, Jack was a part of the Guardian Australia team that won a Walkley award, and a Quill award from the Melbourne Press Club, for Deaths Inside, an interactive database tracking every Indigenous death in custody since 2008.
In 2019, Jack was the recipient of the Schiavon Cadetship, and in that position, he worked for a year on The Citizen, a publication of Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism.
He has twice received a Michael Gordon Fellowship from the Melbourne Press Club, and has covered a host of issues, including Indigenous suicide, climate change, politics and sport.
His writing has been published by The Age, Guardian Australia, Wisden, AFL Record, The Walkley Magazine and The Footy Almanac.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Politics from the University of Exeter, and also has extensive experience playing and coaching field hockey in high-performance environments.
Media Research Intern
Media Research Intern
Kate has a diverse range of experience in content creation and professional communications. Prior to joining Michelson Alexander, Kate was a Lecturer and Content Creator for Connect Education. She was responsible for delivering engaging and interactive lectures to schools across Metropolitan Melbourne, as well as putting together learning materials for VCE students.
Kate is currently Vice President of a student-run organisation, Banking on Women, which strives to empower young women interested in pursuing a career in financial services. As part of her role she hosts and produces a podcast that aims to provide students with career guidance through interviews with industry professionals.
Kate is completing her final year of a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Finance and Management. Since beginning her studies, she has participated in a Management Consulting capstone unit at EY, gaining valuable insight into consulting frameworks and their real-world applications.
In addition to her studies in Commerce, Kate is completing a short course in Content and Social Media Marketing through RMIT. She is passionate about social media and the role that it plays in strategic communications and stakeholder engagement.
Nick brings 24 years of international experience in the advertising industry to his design and content creation work for Michelson Alexander.
He started his graphics career in 1995 where he was the first employee of one of the most revolutionary design companies in South Africa’s history – Orange Juice Design.
Nick then joined the newly formed interactive team at OgilvyInteractive South Africa. Starting off as a senior designer he soon became the Group Head and was promoted to Creative Director managing a small studio of 10 designers and developers.
Moving to Sydney in 2005 he joined OgilvyInteractive Sydney as Creative Director for three years, creating campaigns for large companies and multinationals including Nestle, Coca-Cola, IBM, Nokia, Lenovo, Purina, America Express, Audi, Volkswagen, and Qantas.