We hear from Old Sydneians making their mark at home and abroad.


Brett Wayn (OS 1982)

CEO of Catalina, Tokyo, Japan

I write this from Tokyo, where I am the CEO of an American company that provides marketing services in supermarkets. It’s not where I began, nor where I will end.

There’s a famous line from a ’70s band called Talking Heads (paraphrasing) – you might find yourself somewhere unexpected and end up asking how you got there! – and the short version of my longer story is that… I became a medical doctor, then a TV producer, then an early adopter of the internet and digital media. I have lived and worked in six different countries. I’m a US and Australian citizen, living in San Francisco and Tokyo. When people ask me what I do, I tell them I repair companies.

So how did I get here? Firstly, I stopped caring what other people thought was the right thing for me and listened instead to my inner voice. Coming out as a gay man was a big part of that journey. Secondly, I resolved never to work with or for people I didn’t like or respect. Thirdly, I let curiosity and instinct lead the way, and understood that there was much more to the world than just one country.

In retrospect, I give a lot of credit to the culture of Sydney Grammar School under Alastair Mackerras, and to my loving family. Be brave, be humble, be kind and stay curious! It is an amazing world and, at Grammar, you’re off to a great start!

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Daniel Emmerig (OS 2012)

Allens law firm and artist, Sydney, Australia

After school I jumped straight into a combined law and fine arts degree at the University of New South Wales. It was a new degree which was offered for the first time that year. Two people chose to do it. After a year, the other person transferred into commerce.

University was a constant bouncing between two extremes – the legal, where clarity and reason are king, and the creative, where a constant demand for justification can kill a spark.

In my fine arts practice, I majored in painting and printmaking. I first got into printmaking thinking it was great economics to be able to make one artwork, which you could sell over and over again. I later realised that the great opportunity of printing was in the markmaking power of the media – nothing looks as harsh in black-and-white as a woodcut.

My best memories of university are of spending endless afternoons in the printmaking studios working on etchings, woodcuts and lithographs, trying to get the details perfect on every edition in every series. Often, great Australian artists like Elisabeth Cummings and Reg Mombassa would wander in to use the university studios. Even apart from the creative element, the craft of printmaking is a joy in itself to learn.

I also spent some time on exchange at Sciences Po in Paris, studying law, and in Japan, for art. I’m currently studying a Master of Laws at King’s College London.

At the moment, I’m a solicitor at the law firm Allens in Sydney. I still use art as a rest, a pursuit, and as chicken noodle soup for the soul. At the core, art teaches awareness, the skill of approaching something new with a ready and open mind, and this can be transferred into situations in every walk of life.

Adrian Banner (OS 1992)

Chief Investment Officer Intech and Musician, Princeton, USA and Melbourne, Australia

My post-Grammar journey has taken both predictable and surprising pathways. I continued my mathematics studies at UNSW and then in the PhD program at Princeton University. There I developed a popular program of optional evening extra-help sessions in first-year calculus, and continued teaching for ten years after graduating. During this period, I started typing up my lecture notes for the students, which eventually became The Calculus Lifesaver, a best-selling calculus study guide published by Princeton University Press in 2007.

My Form VI younger self would have been shocked to learn that I didn’t go into academia. After an internship at Intech, a quantitative equity manager, it took a chance meeting in a Princeton deli two years later to learn about an open research position. Fast forward two decades, and I’m now the Chief Investment Officer. I also led the firm as CEO for nearly ten years. In another unexpected development, I’m splitting my time between the US and Melbourne, the last few years having proven that working remotely is feasible in the long term.

Not so surprising is the fact that I have continued playing piano and composing music. Following on from Vlad Khusid’s inspirational SGS Big Band, I joined the Princeton University Jazz Ensemble, which in turn led me to start a jazz/folk band called The Klez Dispensers. We’ve played hundreds of functions and concerts over the past twenty years, including the Montreal Jazz Festival. Best of all, I got to play most of these gigs with my violinist wife Amy, with whom I share two wonderful children, aged 13 and 10.

I’m glad I embraced both the expected and the unexpected!

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Matthew Rossleigh (OS 2009)

Sports video producer, rugby league referee London, UK

I loved cricket, rugby and football at Grammar, and I relished being the Captain of Football Referees in 2009. It’s probably no great surprise that my career has been sports-based.

While studying in London in 2013, as part of my undergraduate degree at the University of Technology Sydney, I knew it was a city to which I was destined to return. So after I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Journalism) degree later that year, and spent a few months freelancing at a radio station in Sydney, I made the move back to London.

I began working as a video producer for Omnisport (now Stats Perform News) and I am part of a team who edits and produces sports video news content for digital platforms and television. I have covered big events like the FIFA World Cup, English Premier League and Cricket World Cup and now we are covering the UEFA Women’s Euros as we build up to the Men’s World Cup in Qatar later this year.

If sport has been my passion, then rugby league refereeing has been my love, since taking up the whistle as a youngster in 2005. Part of my deal with myself when I moved to London in 2014 was that I wouldn’t give up my hopes of being a professional referee so I chose to join the pathway of officials in the United Kingdom. I’ve been a member of the part-time match officials’ squad since 2017, where I spend my weekends refereeing in the second tier of rugby league, the Championship. However, I’ve also officiated on Super League matches.

While becoming a full-time referee was my dream as a youngster, I get the best of both worlds now, as a sports producer in the media, but also officiating in professional rugby league.

Omar Malik (OS 1998)

Entrepreneur and Founder of Mercurial Phoenix, London, UK

I see privilege as the ability to have access to and engage with choice, and one of the great privileges I’ve experienced has been attending Grammar. The choices it indirectly engendered by way of a learning mindset, ambition, and confidence has been a boon when navigating entrepreneurial pursuits, as I have largely done since moving to London fifteen years ago.

Corporate venture incubation – specifically assisting companies to build new and often separate businesses by leveraging their capitalisation/data/brand/etc, whilst de-risking the potential inertia of having an established market position – was a nascent idea at the time I started Mercurial Phoenix, my venture studio-cum-consultancy in 2011. Now, however, it has become more popular than ever.

Via MP, I’ve had the opportunity to personally co-found two VC-backed businesses across New York and London, to take dozens of ideas from ‘concept to reality’, and to resolve our own pain points and those of our equally entrepreneurial clients in an incubation capacity, as above. Whether plucky sole founders or large multinationals, building new tech-enabled businesses to incrementally improve a corner of the world is the simple ambition shared, and I optimistically observe the accompanying pursuit of profit is taking shape in increasingly sustainable ways.

Advising and mentoring would-be entrepreneurs has also been a pleasure for me over the past ten-plus years, with ‘paying it forward’ being one legacy of Silicon Valley I can certainly get behind. With this in mind, if you can’t help but notice problems everywhere and obsess over solutions, or perhaps are stuck at zero and don’t know how to get to one – whether a pupil or ex-pupil – wherever you are in the world I would be happy to connect to provide advice (

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Peter Manettas (OS 2000)

Founder and CEO of Manettas | ShoreTrade, Sydney, Australia

Having left Grammar and moved onto the next stage, it seems to me that no one clearly knows where their journey is going to take them. What I have learnt over the years, however, is that enjoying the ride and not limiting your potential is crucial to enjoying a highly successful and rewarding career.

When I left school, I went on the path of university, where I studied Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney. Whilst studying, I was also working in my family’s hospitality business and helping to grow it. Around five years ago, I decided to venture on my own into the e-commerce world – offering a business-to-consumer model for seafood across the east coast of Australia, and a business-to-business marketplace for the trade of seafood across twelve different countries with integrated cold chain.

Whilst the technology world was different to what I knew or had been taught, I relied on the experience I gained in each sector to make educated decisions along the way. Our company has now been through four venture funding rounds, raised over $65 million for our company across three countries, and is in a growth phase expanding across multiple geographies.

Business can be a rough ride and finding people who believe in your ideas is not always easy. However, to stay the course, grow the business and yourself, and enjoy the journey along the way, is what is most important.