About Us 2018-01-22T09:41:54+00:00

ABOUT US

The definition of Sonder speaks to the powerful yet sometimes intangible connection we all have with our fellow human beings, and an honouring of the values of empathy and compassion.

Liaison Officer Network

LIAISON OFFICERS

Our local network of Liaison Officers are based in the major metropolitan areas of Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

They are typically off-duty or retired emergency services and military personnel with years of experience in safety and welfare roles.

Liaison Officers are the trusted points of contact on the ground, ready to respond to circumstances where in-person assistance is required, all coordinated via our Australia-based Support Centre.

SUPPORT CENTRE

Staffed by multilingual experts with local knowledge, the Sonder Support Centre operates 24 hours a day, responding to critical and non-critical support requests, via phone or online.

We also monitor our members locations when requested via the Walk With Me and Check-In features included in the Members app, available across all our packages.

ABOUT US

The definition of Sonder speaks to the powerful yet sometimes intangible connection we all have with our fellow human beings, and an honouring of the values of empathy and compassion.

Liaison Officer Network

LIAISON OFFICERS

Our local network of Liaison Officers are based in the major metropolitan areas of Australia – Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

They are typically off-duty or retired emergency services and military personnel with years of experience in safety and welfare roles.

Liaison Officers are the trusted points of contact on the ground, ready to respond to circumstances where in-person assistance is required, all coordinated via our Australia-based Support Centre.

SUPPORT CENTRE

Staffed by multilingual experts with local knowledge, the Sonder Support Centre operates 24 hours a day, responding to critical and non-critical support requests, via phone or online.

We also monitor our members locations when requested via the Walk With Me and Check-In features included in the Members app, available across all our packages.

FOUNDERS

Craig Cowdrey Sonder Australia

CRAIG COWDREY / Managing Director

Prior to co-founding Sonder Australia, Craig worked as a corporate lawyer and as a diplomat representing Australia’s interests overseas, including in China. Using his professional experience and the network he developed during careers in the private and public sectors, Craig co-founded Sonder Australia with Chris and Peter to ensure that international students and general travellers can access the support they need to be happy and successful.

Christopher Marr Sonder Australia

CHRISTOPHER MARR / Director – Strategy & Development

Chris is a former Australian Army officer who spent more than 18 years leading Australian soldiers on operations all over the world; during which time he developed broad experience in planning and implementation as well as building high performance teams. Chris’ alma mater is the University of New South Wales (UNSW), from which he was awarded a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering and is currently completing postgraduate studies. Chris is very proud to have co-founded Sonder and to be invested in supporting the safety and welfare needs of general traveller as well as better education outcomes and lifestyle experiences for international students.

Peter Burnheim image

PETER BURNHEIM / Director – Operations

Peter is a former Australian Army officer with nearly two decades of experience successfully leading a variety of difficult operations around the world. As a co-founder of Sonder Australia, Peter brings a wealth of experience in solving complex problems in challenging environments. He is passionate about using these skills, and the networks he has developed around Australia in government and the emergency services, to help general travellers and international students have a safe, enjoyable and productive time living in or visiting Australia.

PRODUCT & COMMUNICATIONS

KAI ZHANG / Head of Technology

Kai has spent over a decade crafting software solutions to help solve problems in the real estate, entertainment, healthcare and finance industries. His deep technical knowledge and past experience is being utilised to help Sonder create a state-of-the-art and highly scalable platform that will help more people in need of Sonder’s services.

NOEL WILSON / User Experience Lead

With a background of over 15 years in digital agency and technology company roles, Noel has been responsible for the planning and delivery of world-class digital solutions for global brands and start-ups. He recently joined Sonder to spearhead the creation of products and services which are characterised by optimal user experience.

JESSICA JONES / Marketing & Advertising Manager

Coming from an advertising agency background, Jessica brings with her a real passion for brand strategy. Her experience in London and Sydney has seen her manage marketing campaigns for a range of different brands including Westfield, Nestlé and Shell.

STRATEGY & DEVELOPMENT

LINDSAY MELVILLE / Manager – Business Intelligence

Lindsay joined the Sonder Australia team following a successful fourteen-year career in the Australian Army, during which time she developed a high degree of problem solving expertise against the backdrop of complex and diverse environments. Her experience of working with highly motivated and professional individuals, together with a desire to continue to improve the lives of others inspired her to join Sonder Australia.

MICHAEL HU / Relationship Manager – China South

Michael joined Sonder after spending two years as a product manager in one of China’s leading agencies. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, Michael committed to the role of product design in multiple industries, which elevated his view from different perspectives. At Sonder, Michael serves as a relationship manager, working relentlessly to offer the best service to international students all over China via Sonder’s partners.

TIDY LIU / Relationship Manager – China North

Tidy has over 13 years experience working in education agency roles, ranging from counselling through to recruitment management. As a relationship manager at Sonder, she now devotes her time to helping more students enjoy a better and safer stay while in Australia, ensuring that we are seen not just as a service provider, but a company that demonstrates true care towards its members.

STRATEGY & DEVELOPMENT

LINDSAY MELVILLE / Manager – Business Intelligence

Lindsay joined the Sonder Australia team following a successful fourteen-year career in the Australian Army, during which time she developed a high degree of problem solving expertise against the backdrop of complex and diverse environments. Her experience of working with highly motivated and professional individuals, together with a desire to continue to improve the lives of others inspired her to join Sonder Australia.

MICHAEL HU / Relationship Manager – China South

Michael joined Sonder after spending two years as a product manager in one of China’s leading agencies. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh, Michael committed to the role of product design in multiple industries, which elevated his view from different perspectives. At Sonder, Michael serves as a relationship manager, working relentlessly to offer the best service to international students all over China via Sonder’s partners.

TIDY LIU / Relationship Manager – China North

Tidy has over 13 years experience working in education agency roles, ranging from counselling through to recruitment management. As a relationship manager at Sonder, she now devotes her time to helping more students enjoy a better and safer stay while in Australia, ensuring that we are seen not just as a service provider, but a company that demonstrates true care towards its members.

OPERATIONS

OWEN PAULSON / Manager – Special Projects

Owen previously worked as an Officer in the Australian Defence Force for over 25 years. Owen has had the privilege of mobilising, training and leading service men and women domestically and abroad. This has seen him manage complex situations with diverse stakeholders in unforgiving environments. Owen is passionate about utilising his skills and experience in operational planning, emergency management, project mobilisation, team management and training.

ROBERT TOWN / Manager – Medical Operations

Robert comes to Sonder Australia with two decades of international experience in Emergency Medical Services. Robert started his career as a Paramedic in the USA and progressed into education training and management roles. He has provided leadership in Australian Aeromedical Operations and frontline Emergency Management. His expertise includes disaster preparedness, command, control, and crisis management. As the Manager of Medical Operations, Robert leads operational response readiness and the Sonder Support Centre.

CLINT ARIZMENDI / Manager – Operational Intelligence

Dr Clint Arizmendi joined the Sonder Australia team after spending fifteen years specialising in research and analysis in both the public and the private sectors. Originally an international student from the USA, Clint understands the importance of balancing the desire to explore and experience all that Australia has to offer with personal safety and wellbeing. As the Manager of Operational Intelligence, he is responsible for predictive systems and proactive methods that ensure Sonder customers are aware of incidents that may affect their journey.

HARRY FENG / Manager – Guardian & Premier Services

Harry came to Australia at age 16 from Gansu Province, China, to study at high school in Sydney. While studying in Australia provided a great opportunity for an eye-opening experience, Harry found the difficulty of adapting to the new environment to be extremely challenging. Although Australia is a very multicultural country, he found the lack of support tailored to meet the particular needs of international students caused many troubles for him and some of his friends.
At Sonder Australia, Harry helps provide 24/7 professional and personalised assistance to international students, not only to help them achieve their academic goals, but also to have a great time while in Australia.

CHARLENE XU / Guardian & Premier Specialist

Charlene joined Sonder Australia after gaining two Master degrees from the University of Sydney. She has outstanding academic skills, rich volunteer experience as well as an enthusiastic and caring personality. Many eye-opening travel experiences have also equipped her with the ability to better understand international students needs. At Sonder she applies her passion, skills and experience to assist International Students with making the most of their time while studying in Australia.

OPERATIONS

OWEN PAULSON / Operations Manager

Owen previously worked as an Officer in the Australian Defence Force for over 25 years. Owen has had the privilege of mobilising, training and leading service men and women domestically and abroad. This has seen him manage complex situations with diverse stakeholders in unforgiving environments. Owen is passionate about utilising his skills and experience in operational planning, emergency management, project mobilisation, team management and training.

ROBERT TOWN / Manager – Medical Operations

Robert comes to Sonder Australia with two decades of international experience in Emergency Medical Services. Robert started his career as a Paramedic in the USA and progressed into education training and management roles. He has provided leadership in Australian Aeromedical Operations and frontline Emergency Management. His expertise includes disaster preparedness, command, control, and crisis management. As the Manager of Medical Operations, Robert leads operational response readiness and the Sonder Support Centre.

CLINT ARIZMENDI / Manager – Operational Intelligence

Dr Clint Arizmendi joined the Sonder Australia team after spending fifteen years specialising in research and analysis in both the public and the private sectors. Originally an international student from the USA, Clint understands the importance of balancing the desire to explore and experience all that Australia has to offer with personal safety and wellbeing. As the Manager of Operational Intelligence, he is responsible for predictive systems and proactive methods that ensure Sonder customers are aware of incidents that may affect their journey.

HARRY FENG / Manager – Guardian & Premier Services

Harry came to Australia at age 16 from Ganshu Province, China, to study at high school in Sydney. While studying in Australia provided a great opportunity for an eye-opening experience, Harry found the difficulty of adapting to the new environment to be extremely challenging. Although Australia is a very multicultural country, he found the lack of support tailored to meet the particular needs of international students caused many troubles for him and some of his friends.
At Sonder Australia, Harry helps provide 24/7 professional and personalised assistance to international students, not only to help them achieve their academic goals, but also to have a great time while in Australia.

CHARLENE XU / Guardian & Premier Specialist

Charlene joined Sonder Australia after gaining two Master degrees from the University of Sydney. She has outstanding academic skills, rich volunteer experience as well as an enthusiastic and caring personality. Many eye-opening travel experiences have also equipped her with the ability to better understand international students needs. At Sonder she applies her passion, skills and experience to assist International Students with making the most of their time while studying in Australia.