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Grok Academy appoints first Chief Strategy Officer

Grok Academy, producers of the most widely used digital skills e-learning platform in Australian schools, has appointed former Commonwealth Bank executive Martha McKeen to Chief Strategy Officer.

In this newly created position, Ms McKeen is responsible for working closely with the executive and senior leadership teams to enhance and scale Grok’s business operations, and achieve its vision of enabling teachers to confidently deliver the digital technologies curriculum to all students around Australia with free, classroom-ready resources and ongoing teacher professional development.

Dr James Curran, CEO and Director of Grok Academy, said Ms McKeen was selected for the role due to her breadth of experience working across education, technology, and cyber security portfolios at the Commonwealth Bank (CBA).

During this tenure, Ms McKeen worked closely with Grok Academy as an industry partner for the launch and delivery of the successful Schools Cyber Security Challenges initiative, among others.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Martha to the role of Chief Strategy Officer where she will be instrumental in supporting Grok through its current growth phase and scale our business to address the nation’s ongoing digital technology skills shortage,” Dr Curran said.

“Her experience at CBA gives her a first-hand industry perspective and that is invaluable as we seek to build more partnerships with Australia’s biggest tech and business brands,” he said.

Ms McKeen said she wants to see more kids choosing careers in computer science and adjacent fields because of the bright future that awaits them in those industries.

“I’m passionate about supporting Australia’s next generation of students to pursue their dreams and recognise technology is an increasingly important part of their lives and future careers. I’ve been warmly welcomed by the team at Grok and am inspired by the difference we’re making in the lives of young people,” she said.

“This role at Grok Academy allows me to amplify the impact I had at CBA in terms of addressing the digital technologies skills shortages. As a former industry partner, I was involved in helping to increase access to Grok’s e-learning platform, co-create relevant and engaging content, and showcase the exciting and lucrative roles available in tech.”

Ms McKeen outlined a three-pronged strategy to realise Grok Academy’s vision:

  1. Strengthen Grok Academy’s partnership with industry to enable the co-creation of learning content that meets Australia’s technology skills needs now and in the future.
  2. Increase the footprint and impact of important programmes such as the Schools Cyber Security Challenges.
  3. Enhance product innovation at Grok to provide tailored, interactive learning experiences that inspire teachers and students.

A report commissioned by the Tech Council of Australia and Accenture in 2022 forecast a shortfall of 186,000 Australian tech workers by 2030. It also found that addressing this shortfall in the same timeframe will contribute around $A36 billion annually to Australia’s GDP.

In 2023, 209,000 Australian students and 6,000 teachers in 3,400 schools used Grok Academy’s classroom-ready online resources.

“We want educators to be armed with the best tools and resources so that they can equip the workforce of the future to be part of a thriving digital economy. Martha will be pivotal to helping us scale and achieve our ambitious goals,” Dr Curran said.

Ms McKeen commenced in the position in November 2023 and is based in Sydney.

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