Meet the Team

Jon Soong

Co-CEO  |  Co-Founder

Anthony Chhoy

Co-CEO |  Co-Founder

Roland Peddie

CTO  |  Co-Founder

Lap Leung

Director of Inside Sales | Co-Founder

Mandi Dimitriadis director of learning at Makers Empire

Mandi Dimitriadis

Director of Learning

Andrew Barter

Director of IT Operations

Christina Soong

Director of Marketing

Dr Penny De Byl

Senior Unity Developer

Rayan Nathan

VP: US Sales

Puzhi Yao

Software Engineer

Luke Tansell

Hardware Specialist

Jennifer Auten

Customer Success Manager

Miki Liu

Business Administrator

me

Tanya Giobbi

Enterprise Schools Program Coordinator

Sandra Benlota

Online Team Lead

Elle Noval

Sales Representative

Guilbert Baylon

Sales Representative

Mae E. Noval

Sales Representative

Daphne Celis

Sales Representative

Advisory Board

Tim Stollznow

Non Executive Director & Chairman

Jana Matthews

Advisory Board Member

Kevin Richardson

Advisory Board Member

Andrey Shirben

Advisory Board Member

2021 & 2020 Interns

Siamak Mirzaei

Education Research

Holly Inglis

Marketing – Outreach & SocMedia 

Zoe Gomez

UX – Customer Research

Ella Kain

Marketing – Outreach and Comms.

Thomas Lee

Marketing – Chinese JV

Michael Zaccardo

Marketing – Video

Jess Van Pelt

Marketing – Outreach

Jon Soong, Co-CEO & Co-Founder

Favourite food: Char Kuay Teow (Malaysian Fried Rice Noodles)

Favourite drink: beer – Coopers, Little Creatures Rogers, Epic, Belhaven Twisted Thistle

Place I want to visit next: Malaysia!

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: David Brent, Michael Scott, Omar

Favourite way to unwind: boxing with Rhys

I like working at Makers Empire because: we get to make stuff!

Official bio: After completing a Bachelor in Computers Science (Hons) and a Bachelor of Law (Hons) at Adelaide University, Jon studied a Master of Science (IT) at Carnegie Mellon University on a full scholarship. He then worked in software development at IBM, Internode and the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Jon also founded a profitable web startup profitable with 60,000 users and was responsible for the IT systems and trading platform of a quantitative hedge fund.

Anthony Chhoy, Co-CEO & Co-Founder

Favourite food: Bun Cha (Vietnamese grilled pork)

Favourite drink: Red wine

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Morgan Housel, Christopher Mayer and Clayton Christensen

Place to visit next: Blue Hole (Red Sea) in Dahab

Favourite way to unwind: Reading investment and business books

Likes working at Makers Empire because: of the company’s ability to make a difference to young students, developing their spatial reasoning and design thinking skills, increasing their chances for future STEM career success.

Career highlights: Directed operations of a Nasdaq-listed, leading media and entertainment company in Central and Eastern Europe during the great recession and European sovereign debt crisis, and running into former employees and discovering that they have become accomplished leaders and thriving with their career and personal goals.

Official bio: Operating executive with 20 years of diverse experience, building a technology startup to 3+ million users, overseeing operations of a Nasdaq-listed, media and entertainment company with US$750+ million revenue (acquired by Time Warner), and managing audits of private and public companies at a Big 4 Accounting firm (EY). Track record building high-performance teams, leading cross-functional teams to success, and nurturing strong and effective relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Awarded Industry Leaders Fund Scholarship in 2022. Attained Chartered Accountant (CA) qualification at Arthur Andersen.

Roland Peddie, CTO & Co-Founder 

Favourite food: Moussaka

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Dave Grohl, Shigeru Miyamoto, Randy Thom (sound designer)

Place to visit next: a snow resort in Japan… or the Mentawai islands

Favourite way to unwind: hanging out with my kids, doing board sports (surfing, skating, snowboarding), and playing music

Likes working at Makers Empire because: it’s fun to make things, and to help other people make things…

Career highlights: Creating Makers Empire. Winning a BAFTA award for Use of Audio in Crackdown on the Xbox 360. Recording voice actors in 3 different languages on 3 different continents and licensing 150+ music tracks for All Points Bulletin (APB).

Official bio: Roland is the creative brain behind the Makers Empire product. After studying computer science at Adelaide University, he worked firstly at Ratbag Games in Adelaide, and then in Scotland with Realtime Worlds where he won a BAFTA for his work on Xbox 360 title, Crackdown. His experience in gaming technology and development coupled with his fascination with learning makes him the ideal person to lead the Makers Empire engineering team.

Lap Leung, Director of Inside Sales & Co-founder

Favourite food: Ferrero Rocher

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Batman, Richard Branson and Julia Roberts

Place to visit next: Brazilian F1 Grand Prix

Favourite way to unwind: the beach

Likes working at Makers Empire because: they are like family

Career highlights: world’s first successful scramjet experiment at Woomera Rocket Range, Guinness World Record with about 1000 students designing in HK. Launching Makers Empire.

Official bio: along with Jon, Anthony and Roland, Lap was a co-founder of Makers Empire. After completing his studies, Lap worked as a management consultant at SMS Management and Technology in Sydney and Hong Kong. He also founded consumer application, nepchin.com and men’s fashion label, lapmen.com. 

Mandi Dimitriadis, Director of Learning

Favourite food: vanilla slices

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Carol Dweck, Sir Ken Robinson and Santa Claus

Place to visit next: Russia because I love Babushka dolls

Favourite way to unwind: long drives in the country with my family to find a bakery with vanilla slices.

Likes working at Makers Empire because: I like building something for young people that matters with people who care.

Career highlights: Working with teachers all over the world to help their students develop design thinking skills and solve real-world problems. Running into former students and discovering that they have now become awesome young adults.

Official bio: Mandi is an experienced and qualified classroom teacher who recognises the power of technology to enhance teaching and improve educational outcomes. She was the social impact winner of the 2019 Winnovation Award celebrating innovative South Australian women. Mandi has extensive experience with curriculum development and learning, having previously developed programs for the Australian Government’s Department of Education. She is passionate about Design Thinking and how best to prepare today’s students for the future.

Andrew Barter, Director of IT

Food: pizza

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Jack Ma, Bill Murray, Tim Cahill

Place to visit next: New York

Favourite way to unwind: sleep

Likes working for Makers Empire because: technically diverse, great people to work with, company with HUGE potential.

Career highlights: managed the IT for a film/media company in Adelaide for 7 years. Built a successful website from scratch to manage and measure the performance of University supervisors and students.

Official bio: Andrew has over 18 years commercial experience in the IT industry across a broad range of projects and technologies. He has extensive experience in IT management, web/mobile development, systems administration, hosting, scaling and support

Christina Soong, Director of Marketing

Favourite food: Penang Assam Laksa

Favourite drink: Gin and Tonic. Soy Latte.

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Tina Fey, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mindy Kaling.

Place I want to visit next: Japan (again)

Favourite way to unwind: writing, reading, cooking, visiting markets, weekend getaway, Netflix

Likes working at Makers Empire because: I get to do new things every day. The people are nice. I like working with my brother.

Career highlights: running the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. My food and travel blog, The Hungry Australian, winning the Australian Writers’ Centre’s national Best Australian Blogs 2014 competition. Being commissioned to shoot restaurants and wineries for the 500+ page coffee table book, Flavours of South Australia.

Official bio: Christina has worked for over twenty years in senior management and marketing roles for leading arts, culture and education organisations in Australia, Asia and England. She is also a multi-award-winning writer, photographer, recipe developer, consultant and blogger. Her creative work has appeared in numerous international magazines and publications. See www.christinasoong.com

Dr Penny De Byl, Senior Unity Developer

Favourite Food: My (late) Grandmother’s chicken soup.

Three People:  John Carmack (creator of Doom, id Software), Wil Wright (designer of Simcity) and Claude Monet.

Place to visit next: Barcelona

Favourite way to unwind: Something creative and artsy.

Likes working at Makers Empire because: The creative atmosphere and vision for developing engaging, gamified, educational products.

Career highlights:  Finishing my PhD, winning an Australian Teaching & Learning Award, and reaching 100K+ students taught from my online courses.

Official Bio: Dr Penny de Byl is the founder and CEO of Holistic3D.com an online education provider of courses in computer game development and related subjects. Throughout her career, in universities both nationally and abroad, she has been driven by her love of visual art and computer programming. Her passion lies in developing algorithms to generate 3d game environments and revealing the beauty of mathematics through her work to students. She’s written many research papers focusing on games-based learning in addition to books on the Unity Game Engine, OpenGL and Python. Penny is also the proud mother of Tabytha, who is currently undertaking studies in mathematics and computer science at the University of Queensland.

Rayan Nathan, VP: US Sales

Favourite Food: Chicken Rice

Favourite Drink: Mango Lassi

Place I want to visit next: Galapagos

Three people I would like to have dinner with: Gordon Ramsay, President Obama and Mr Lego

Favourite way to unwind: beach

I like working at Makers Empire because: we help get kids excited about learning!

Puzhi Yao, Software Engineer

Favorite food: Schnitzel.

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Einstein, Arthas Menethil and Illidan Stormrage.

Place to visit next: Antarctica.

Favorite way to unwind: Sleep.

Likes working at Makers Empire because: it’s fun and challenging.

Career highlights: Making an mobile online RPG from scratch.

Official bio: Puzhi is a Unity Developer of Makers Empire. After completing his software engineering studies at Adelaide University, Puzhi worked as a developer at FoxieGames in Adelaide and participated in the development of mobile game, Horse Riding Tales.

Luke Tansell, Hardware Specialist

Favourite drink: vodka!

Favourite food: definitely Gnocchi Carbonara!

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Simone Giertz, Elon Musk, Richard Branson

Place to visit next: North Korea. Their culture is so very different to ours, and I’d love to experience it.

My favourite way to unwind: playing online games, or getting out into nature and getting adventurous!

I like working at Makers Empire because: it’s a great group of people to work with, and I always like being at the front line of new technology!

Career highlight: I’m 21, so the career highlight is working at Makers Empire!

Official bio: Luke is currently studying a Bachelor’s of Industrial Design whilst also volunteering at Fab Lab Adelaide. He has been using 3D printing as an industrial design tool for many years. He enjoys sharing his 3D printing journey via the videos he makes for Makers Empire and his own Youtube channel. He believes 3D printing is a technology that will go far and unlock doors we never knew were there, and he is stoked to be at the forefront, doing what he loves.

Jennifer Auten, Customer Success Manager

Favourite food: pizza and dark chocolate

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Michelle Obama, Katalin Karikó, and  Philippa Gregory

Place to visit next: The Balkans because my scheduled trip there with my mom has been cancelled 3 time

Favourite way to unwind: read, visit a museum, take a walk

Likes working at Makers Empire because: It’s an amazing product and I want to bring the joy of learning, discovery, and design thinking to more students.

Official bio: Jennifer is an experienced and award-winning classroom teacher who embraces the opportunities technology provides for all students to be successful. She has led webinars and professional development to help other educators and beta-tested several edtech products. After leaving the classroom she designed and aligned curriculum at Osmo.

Miki Liu, Business Administrator

Favourite food: Sichuan food (hot and spicy)

Favourite drink: green tea

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Xi Jinping, Barack Obama, Bob Iger

Place I want to visit next: Hokkaido, Japan

Favourite way to unwind: reading a book in a cosy place or spa

Likes working for Makers Empire because: it’s nice to be part of a family company. Opportunity to learn lots of new tech from amazing professionals.

Career highlights: becoming part of the team at Makers Empire. Previously, I worked for the China Leather Association, exported South Australian wine to China, and provided admin support for KESAB for our beautiful Australian Environment.

Tanya Giobbi, Enterprise Schools Program Coordinator

Favourite Food: Any type of carb shell thing filled with something i.e. dumplings, pierogi, ravioli

Favourite Drink:  Pina colada  (tropical drink)

Place I want to visit next:  Take my kids and partner to Italy to meet the rellies and see the sites

Three people I would like to have dinner with: 3 close friends. I don’t get to see them much these days and I don’t know how to talk to famous people.

Favourite way to unwind: go to a good gig

I like working at Makers Empire because: Great team to work alongside who only sweat the important things

Career highlights:  Being pretty multi-disciplinary! Regarded as useful at 2 companies (I think!); Coordinating events for Makers Empire (I like parties!) and working for SA Pathology – I’m also a Medical Scientist at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Haematology, Biochemistry and Transfusion.

Sandra Benlota, Sales Representative

Favourite food: Carbonara

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Liza Soberano, Jenelyn Mercado, Julia Montes. They’re all Filipina Actresses.

The place I want to visit next: Hong Kong Disney Land

Favourite way to unwind: pig out, eat any food on my way.

Likes working at Makers Empire because: our support system is as awesome as our founders. Makers Empire is able to change the way students view education. Who knows, in the next few years, we might be able to change the world with the help of 3D printing.

Official bio: a graduate of BS Nursing at Silliman University and a mother of one. Landed a job as a Bank Teller at Bank of the Philippine Islands after working a few years as an article writer under Daniel Salazar.

Elle Noval, Sales Representative

Favourite food: ice cream

Three people you’d like to have dinner with: Sarah Geronimo, Angel Locsin, Catriona Gray

The place I want to visit next: Hongkong Disneyland

Favourite way to unwind: beach

Likes working at Makers Empire because: Great people to work with and I love to learn and experience new things from wonderful professionals.

Official bio: After graduating from my degree in college, I landed a job in outsourcing companies and worked for seven years as a data support, analyst and research specialist. The world of tech and my work experiences led me to online work, which I appreciate and want to explore more.

Guilbert Baylon, Sales Representative

Three people you’d like to have dinner with: Charlie Chaplin, Rodrigo Duterte, Elon Musk

Favourite food: grilled tuna belly

The place I want to visit next: Japan

Favorite way to unwind: Watching movies and hanging out on the beach or camping in the mountains with friends.

Likes working at Makers Empire because: Exceptional team and a great company helping teachers and students nurture the power of creativity.

Official bio: Studied BS Computer Engineering at the University of Mindanao. For 6 years I worked as Sales and Tech Support for a VoIP company and Document Reviewer for a ride-sharing company based in San Francisco, California. 

Mae E. Noval, Sales Representative

 

Favourite food: fried foods

Favourite drink: mango shake

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: My friends from college: Marivic, Mau Wee, Dominique

Place I want to visit next: Baguio

Favourite way to unwind: watching a movie or series, reading a good book

Likes to work at Makers Empire because: People are here so passionate about making things better. I liked how the company makes sure that they are of help to students to learn creatively.

Official Bio: a graduate of Secondary Education and a licensed professional teacher. Her  first job was an online English teacher to Chinese learners.

Daphne Celis, Sales Representative

Favourite food: Buttered Shrimp

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Gigi Hadid, Ellen DeGeneres, Catriona Gray

The place I want to visit next: Cedar Point Amusement Park

Favourite way to unwind: Eat and Travel

Likes working at Makers Empire because: Awesome teammates and work-life balance. I love to learn a lot of things while working with amazing people.

Official bio: A graduate of BSBA Management Accounting and landed a job in the private and public sectors. I recently worked as an Administrative Assistant and Trainer in one of the agencies of the government and as an HR in one of the BPO companies in the Philippines.

Siamak Mirzaei, Research Intern

Favourite Food: Spiced braised lamb with lemon and smoky eggplant

Favourite Drink: Grenache red wine

Place I want to visit next: Europe, specially Spain and Italy

Three people I would like to have dinner with: Alan Turing, Tim Berners-Lee, my dad

Favourite way to unwind: Gymming, hiking, playing computer games

I like working at Makers Empire because: I believe Makers Empire encourages fun and innovative learning for both educators and learners.

Official Bio: Siamak received his BSc degree in Computer Software Engineering from Karaj Azad University in 2011 in Iran. He completed his Master in Information Technology at the Flinders University of South Australia in 2016. Then, he completed a Graduate Diploma in Research Methods at Flinders University in 2017. He is currently a PhD candidate of the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University and an Online lecturer at University of South Australia . His research interests include mobile application development, serious games, technology use in education and vocabulary learning/teaching.

Holly Inglis, Marketing Intern

Favourite food: chocolate, donuts, anything sweet!

Favourite drink: Moscato, Gin

Place I want to visit next: Europe!

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Freddie Mercury, Ellen DeGeneres and Phoebe Buffay

Favourite way to unwind: taking my dogs out to cafes.

I like working at Makers Empire because: it’s a creative and happy environment where I am always learning!

Official bio: Holly is in her third and final year studying a Bachelor of Marketing at the University of Adelaide. Holly joined Makers Empire in 2020 on a marketing internship working with Christina Soong, the director of marketing. Holly has been managing the marketing activities for a local legal firm where she created the firm’s business site from scratch.

Ella Kain, Intern, Marketing Intern

Career Highlight: My internship at Makers Empire, particularly receiving the opportunity during the midst of COVID-19!

3 people I’d have dinner with: Michelle Battersby (previous Bumble Aus CEO & KIC CMO), Michelle Obama, Serena Williams

Favourite Drink: Mocha (not quite converted to coffee yet!

Favourite Food: Chocolate!

Place to Visit Next: There are many, but New Zealand is on the list!

My Favourite way to unwind: Getting outside! Or listening to podcasts

I like working at Makers Empire because: I am able to put the theory I am learning at Uni straight into practice and develop on the job skills!

Official biography: Ella is in her second year of studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) and is also a part-time nanny. She took a gap year prior to studying, and completed her Certificate 3 in Business while working at a school as the Administration Officer. Ella enjoys numbers and analytics associated with marketing, and believes marketing and communications lies at the heart of any business.

Thomas Lee, Marketing Intern

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Michael Pompeo, Ka-Shing Li and Steve Jobs (too late for this one…)

Favourite drink: Honey Green tea

Favourite food: I love fine dining from all over the world.

A place to visit next: Antarctica. I must go there while I’m young enough to cope with the extreme temperature.

My favourite way to unwind: reading books and chilling in the natural environment.

I like working at Makers Empire because: For a marketer, working across multiple countries is more fun and challenging. Also, the culture and working environment at Makers Empire make me feel very welcome.

Career highlight: I have been working in the advertising and marketing industry for more than ten years. I am an all-rounder and can handle anything from project planning to advertising design and procurement. I like working on new projects that haven’t been done before. One of my previous projects was the first project that combined VR technology into an outdoor advertisement in Hong Kong.

Official bio: Thomas has recently graduated from a Master of Marketing at Adelaide University. He believes that the fusion of 3D printing and child learning experience is going to make our future better and that 3D printing is set to be the next industrial revolution.

Michael Zaccardo, Marketing Intern 

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Larry David, Garry Shandling & George Miller.

Favourite drink: Iced Coffee.

Favourite food: Anything my mum cooks.

Place to visit next: My fridge.

My favourite way to unwind: Video chat with my friends from Congo and playing soccer.

I like working at Makers Empire because: They understand where my strengths and interests lie and are able to match me with work I enjoy doing!

Official bio: I am currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) at The University of Adelaide whilst simultaneously volunteering my time with E-Raced Mount Gambier in a marketing and communications based capacity. 

Jessica Van Pelt, Marketing Intern

Three people I’d like to have dinner with: Emma Watson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Carrie Bradshaw

Favourite drink: East End Hold Ups at 2KW

Favourite food: Thai would have to be my favourite!

Place to visit next: Europe, but Italy in particular, I was meant to visit there during the Australian winter, but unfortunately had to cancel.

My favourite way to unwind: I love practicing piano. I’m not that great, but hopefully getting better.

I liked working at Makers Empire because: I was given the opportunity to do real work for Makers Empire which contributed to the business. Even though I worked remotely I felt like I was a valued member of the workplace because everyone is so welcoming.

Career highlight: Getting to use the skills I have learnt at Makers Empire to help my boss implement new marketing strategies and tactics at my work. It has been so amazing to actually be able to use the skills to make a difference at my own workplace.

Official bio: Jessica worked as a Marketing Intern during her final year of university. She is studying a Bachelor of Media (Marketing) at the University of Adelaide and hopes to have a career in Marketing Communications and Public Relations. During her time at Makers Empire, Jessica worked under Christina Soong to promote Makers Empire through various social media channels. Currently, Jessica is in her final semester of study and is helping her workplace with their current marketing activities.