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Alan Kohler

Alan Kohler has been a financial journalist for 46 years. He began as a cadet on The Australian covering the Poseidon boom and bust; has been a columnist for Chanticleer in the Australian Financial Review and editor of the AFR, and columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Alan has also served as editor of The Age and for the past 29 years he has been working for the ABC, first as business editor of the 7.30 Report and then host of Inside Business and finance presenter on ABC News. He was the founder of Eureka Report and Business Spectator, and is currently the finance presenter on ABC, columnist for The New Daily and a writer for Intelligent Investor.


Carmen Garcia AM

Carmen Garcia AM is the CEO and Founder of national award-winning diversity and inclusion certified social enterprise, Community Corporate. Operating in the niche space of corporate social responsibility, she specialises in recruitment, training and cultural inclusion strategies, maximising migration opportunities and corporate partnerships to create both economic and social impact.

She was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in the 2024 Australia Day Honours List for her significant service to the multicultural community through diversity and inclusion advocacy and programs.

Carmen has more than 20 years' experience working in refugee resettlement, community development, training and workforce strategy across the public, private and community sectors.

She has an MBA and an undergraduate in International Relations and Languages. She is also the first female appointed as the Philippine Honorary Consul in South Australia.

Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams

Ryan is the Director of the Australian Centre for Business Growth and the Playford Chair in Business Growth at UniSA.

He has held several CEO, Managing Director and Executive positions across a broad range of sectors including Group CEO of Unlimited, a private equity backed accelerator housing 16 investee companies and CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres, the largest cinema chain in Africa.

Ryan has held several Chair and Board roles since 2008, and currently serves as Non-Executive Director at Ster-Kinekor Theatres.

Ryan is also a member of the Advisory Board for MarketEase, a leading digital marketing consultancy based in Adelaide and is a Board member of Southern Angels, a South Australian member-based organization for angel investors.

Dr Sadhbh Joyce Mindarma

Dr Sadhbh Joyce

Sadhbh has more than 18 years’ experience in mental health across clinical, academic and industrial settings.

An External Fellow at the Black Dog Institute and UNSW Medicine, she has supported people struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, bereavement and workplace injury. Sadhbh is passionate about programs that take a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing.

In 2021 Sadhbh was awarded the Australian Psychological Society Significant Contribution Award in recognition of her successful translational research.

Andrew Kay

Andrew Kay

Andrew Kay joined The Chamber in July 2022 as CEO after many years’ of experience working across the financial services, FMCG and wine sectors. He has a Bachelor of Business degree, an MBA in International Business and in 2014 spent time at Harvard Business School on a scholarship proved by the South Australian Industry Leaders Fund.

Andrew sits on the Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium where he is also Chair of the Botanic Gardens Foundation.

Steven Nayda ISC

Steven Nayda

Steven has more than 25 years’ experience designing and delivering business and management development programs.

He has worked with hospitality and tourism businesses in Australia and New Zealand, combining proven management techniques with practical know-how gained from listening to leaders’ success stories – and their failures.

Steven provides valuable insights and supports his clients to apply concepts and ideas in real work situations. Clients appreciate his ability to connect with a range of audiences and bring together the shared experience and wisdom of a group.

Amanda O Brien

Amanda O’Brien

Amanda O’Brien joined IP Australia in 2016. She has worked as a Senior Trade Mark Examiner and enjoys helping businesses navigate the IP system and protect their rights. Amanda has been involved in the development of a new AI-based tool for checking and filing trade marks, TM Checker.

Samatha Saals bio image

Samantha Saals

Samantha Saals is a Senior Patent Examiner at IP Australia. She has a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physics from the Australian National University (ANU). Samantha has worked for IP Australia for the past 16 years examining patents related to various areas of Physics, Electronics, Computing, Engineering and Medical Devices.

Bettina Venner

Bettina Venner

Bettina Venner, Manager Supply Chain Developmentleads the SA Industry Capability Network (ICN) office in the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science. Bettina has worked as a chemical engineer in the oil and gas industry in South Africa, Germany and Australia before joining government. Her government roles include policy, regulation and economic development.

Eddie Ivar

Eddie Ivar

Eddie Ivar, Supply Chain Manager has been with the Industry Capability Network (ICN) South Australia for more than 15 years, working with various proponents to facilitate local industry engagement on major Australian projects. He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and began his career working in the sheet metal manufacturing industry.

Sarah Curtis Fawley

Sarah Curtis-Fawley

A founder andbusiness growth expert, Sarah has extensive knowledge on a range of business fundamentals.

Sarah Curtis-Fawley managed a large national research project on juvenile justice for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in the United States before a Fulbright Fellowship brought her to Australia. She worked at Griffith University’s Department of Criminology and South Australia’s Social Inclusion Unit.

In 2008 Sarah moved back to the States and launched a specialty wholesale bakery and hospitality company in Portland, Oregon, which grew rapidly and led to her recognition as a ‘Woman of Influence’ by the Portland Business Journal.

Now back in Adelaide, Sarah lectures at the University of South Australia Business School, serves as a Non-Executive Director for several startup and scaleup businesses, and is the Managing Director of R&D Pumps and Power and Thinkwater Fleurieu.

Fiona Homan Aus Competition and Consumer Commission

Fiona Homan

Fiona has more than seven years’ experience designing and delivering cyber and scam awareness strategies.

Fiona joined the ACCC as the Director of Scam Prevention and Outreach ahead of the launch of the National Anti-Scam Centre in July 2023.

Prior to this she was the Director of Human Based Cyber Defence at the Australian Taxation Office.

Fiona’s public service career spans 20 years of leadership in frontline, project and strategy delivery, delivering to both internal and external audiences.

Wilton Ryan highres

Ryan Wilton

Ryan provides accounting, tax and business advice to businesses across a broad range of industry sectors.

A Director in the Business Services division of BDO in South Australia, Ryan provides personal service to small businesses, tailoring his advice to suit each client’s unique business, family and personal needs.

Ryan works with his clients to assist them with their compliance, daily and monthly reporting requirements, cash flow and group structuring needs, and ensures that businesses have a workable framework to grow their business into the future.

Anthony Grundel

Anthony Grundel

Anthony has more than 30 years of business and export experience, including in senior wine executive roles.

Now part of the South Australian Department for Trade and Investment’s export advisory team, Anthony delivers the Austrade TradeStart program in South Australia.

Anthony specialises in a diverse range of areas, including wine, food and beverage export pathways; market research and selection strategies; importer and distribution partner selection; and intellectual property and trademarks.

Rachel Brdanovic

Rachel Brdanovic

Rachel specialises in identifying opportunities for energy and emissions reduction for business and government clients.

Rachel founded Tandem Energy, an energy and environmental consultancy, in 2010, where she helps her clients to implement opportunities to reduce business operating costs and create long-lasting sustainable change.

Her Master of Sustainability degree provides a broad understanding of sustainability-based issues, and as a Climate Active registered consultant she supports clients through the process of becoming certified carbon neutral, and making informed decisions relating to optimal emissions reduction practice.

Rob Chisholm Polaris

Rob Chisholm OAM

Rob has over 40 years of business experience and knowledge and started his first company at 27, the first of several businesses that went on to win awards locally and nationally.

His talent for leading companies and keen eye for holistic business operations gained him several appointments on company boards over the years both public and private. He also became a certified business coach and for 8 years worked with the government’s ‘The Business Owners Coaching Program.’ In recognition of his outstanding contributions and service to small business in SA, Rob received The Order of Australia Medal in 1985.

Rob’s perspective has been indispensable to the shaping of Polaris’s programs for business owners and operators, including our Mentoring for Success and Business Fundamentals programs, which he continues to manage and facilitate.

Clients attribute his effectiveness as a mentor to his genuine empathy and loyalty to them. Understanding that trust is key, Rob takes his clients’ businesses seriously and treats their matters with confidentiality and compassion.

Nick Limberis Polaris

Nick Limberis

Nick has a wealth of experience, pragmatism and qualifications as a Business Mentor. Nick has 11 years+ experience as a business owner, beginning as a Business Consultant within his own business, while delivering accredited business training for TAFE NSW.

In his second business, Green Aid Australia, Nick provides property maintenance services to the Community Housing Sector. In 2017, Nick commenced working as a Business Coach with Good Shepherd Australia and New Zealand in the LaunchMe program, assisting 100+ people starting businesses in Northern Adelaide.

Recently, Nick has launched his third business breeding German Shepherds for Police and Military operations. Nick has a Business Degree in Marketing, a Degree in Multimedia and Certifications in Frontline Management and Training and Assessment.

Sasha Dragovelic Polaris

Sasha Dragovelic

Sasha is a leading career advice professional, experienced educator, and a pro at brokering partnerships with a wealth of knowledge drawn from a long career of entrepreneurial and mentoring experience. He is committed to empowering people and creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and connection.

He worked for many years for the Coober Pedy Council, has served as a local and national career specialist with the Australian Industry Group, and initiated youth entrepreneurial programs for HYPA Works and mentored at Techstars Startup Weekends in Adelaide.

In 2016, he was celebrated in the Business Startup Adelaide Community as ‘Mentor of the Year’ for his mentorship of entrepreneurs. His motto, "people make the world go round!" encapsulates his belief in the power of human connections. Sasha remains actively involved in community roles assisting others realise their ideas, grow businesses and become effective leaders.

“Small businesses are the people behind them. Polaris clients learn by doing and they come to realise how their humanity is the essence of business. Like swimming, you can’t learn in the library, you've got to get in the pool!”

Janet Wootton Polaris

Janet Wootton

Janet Wootton is the beating heart of the Polaris Centre. With over 20 years’ experience in project work, organising events and networking experience, Janet is key to the Polaris Centre’s operations and keeps the schedule of services, events and team members all working smoothly together. She spent many years working on projects in the finance, insurance, and defence industries but working with the community and enabling people to participate and grow is undoubtedly her calling and superpower.

Realising the value, she could contribute to the small business community; Janet embraced her role with the Polaris team and studied various business courses of her own initiative to get up to speed. She is a true professional within the business operations of Polaris and serves as a firm network link between businesses in the greater Adelaide region, and an integral support for women in business.

With a long history of aiding busy professionals, Janet’s passion for the SA business community is demonstrated through her excellence in service and care for Polaris clients. Bringing people together at Polaris events and workshops, Janet welcomes and delights everyone, whether they are already in business or just starting out.

“I love my job! Connecting people and seeing their businesses come to life is so rewarding. Having worked at Polaris for almost 20 years, I have seen hundreds of business success stories.”

David Martin

David Martin

David is Australian Industry Group's Director of Emerging Industries and Innovation. David has been part of Australia’s Innovation Ecosystem for over fifteen years and has worked at the executive level across multiple industries including large and small organisations to facilitate innovative solutions to complex and wicked problems.

Phillip Dowsett

Phillip Dowsett

Phillip’s role is to increase the number and diversity of SA businesses winning government contracts.

As the Deputy Industry Advocate, he is responsible for the strategic application of the South Australian Industry Participation Policy (SAIPP) to maximise the economic benefit to the state from government expenditure.

Over the last 17 years, Phillip has considerable experience in leading, managing and developing highly successful multidisciplinary teams across international divisions incorporating sales and marketing, service, operations, production and warehousing.

From operating his own business through to various managing director roles, his primary responsibility was generating growth, developing submissions for government tenders, and managing new and existing government and private sector contracts across the Asia Pacific region.

Amanda Bubner

Amanda Bubner

Founder and proven entrepreneur, Amanda has a successful track record in both surfing and marketing.

Amanda bootstrapped her eCommerce business, mastering organic content and social media strategies that garnered millions of views. This experience led her to found KOA Digital, specialising in leading service businesses nationwide to achieve results through paid advertising, email marketing, and website development.

In her presentation, How to amplify your business and attract government contracts, Amanda shares insights on:

  • crafting compelling narratives that resonate with government decision-makers
  • developing effective lead acquisition and nurturing strategies to build strong relationships with potential government partners
  • leveraging digital marketing to maximise your impact and secure coveted contracts.
David Andrews

David Andrews

David is a procurement and supply chain professional, adept in navigating the complexities of supply chain management.

With a rich career spanning the UK, Australia, and international markets, David has experience within the B2B, B2C, FMCG, IT manufacturing, engineering, and commercial sectors. Renowned for a results-driven approach, David possesses a wide range of expertise in strategic sourcing, purchasing, and business development, all anchored by a commercial mindset and exceptional leadership qualities. This unique combination of skills has solidified David's reputation as a key figure in transforming supply chain operations and driving organisational success.

David's leadership philosophy emphasises mentoring and team development, leading to significant advancements in supply chain efficiency and operational effectiveness. As an experienced procurement professional, David brings a wealth of knowledge from comprehensive training in strategic purchasing, supply chain development, and negotiation, setting him apart as a leader in the field.

Jason Dreimanis

Jason Dreimanis

Jason leads a growing business focused on enterprise-software that accelerates businesses’ sustainability transition.

With more than 20 years in the information technology industry, Jason has a deep understanding of what successful supply to government looks like, and of the government procurement processes that are a necessity for the public sector. He has gained this knowledge while developing new market solutions and leading go-to-market strategies.

Before joining The Big Zero he worked directly for Salesforce and led the joint Net Zero commitment with the Government of South Australia. Jason is also the Chair of the local Council for the Australian Information Industry Association, Australia’s peak body for the information technology industry, and is involved in various committees, boards and representative groups.

Jason Mavrikis Safe Work SA

Jason Mavrikis

Jason is an Education and Engagement Advisor for the Education Team at SafeWork SA. With over 13 years’ experience working in various WHS roles such as Senior WHS inspector, Mine Safety Investigator, Psychosocial Inspector and WHS Advisor, he has worked across a variety of safety critical industries.

Jason forms part of the team that delivers the free WHS advisory service available to South Australian business. He is a passionate advocate for the addressment of workplace psychosocial risk and has played a key role in the roll out of the new psychosocial regulations.

Mardi Webber Return To Work SA

Mardi Webber

Mardi commenced her career in the hospital sector as a nurse and midwife. From the clinical perspective of health care, she pursued her interest in the prevention of injury and disease, and has worked in the work health safety and injury management field for the last 30 years.

Her passion is in the area of workplace mental health, and as a Registered Psychologist, Mardi’s current role at ReturnToWorkSA is called Mentally Healthy Workplaces Consultant. In this role, Mardi provides free assistance and support to workplaces and industries in South Australia to help them to take action to establish thriving workplaces.

Kylie Cocks Preventive Health SA

Kylie Cocks

Kylie Cocks is the Acting Program Manager for Healthy Workplaces at Preventive Health SA. With a rich and diverse career spanning two decades, she has become one of the leading authorities in workplace health and wellbeing, demonstrating her passion for fostering healthier work environments.

Before focusing on workplace health, she spent years as a skilled registered nurse. This background provides her with a unique perspective on promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace. For the past nine years, she has specialised in the dynamic field of workplace health, with a total of 20+ years of experience in health promotion. One of Kylie's proudest achievements is her pivotal role in driving positive, system-wide change through her involvement in the South Australian Collaborative Partnership for Workplace Health and Wellbeing. Her relentless dedication has resulted in the development of a comprehensive suite of resources designed to empower South Australian workplaces to become healthier, safer, and create thriving environments for their employees.

Paulette Kolarz Bespoke HR

Paulette Kolarz

Paulette Kolarz is recognised as one of Australia’s leading authorities in Human Resource Management and Leadership Development.

Paulette believes “you cannot have good HR without great leaders” and that these areas both go hand and hand.

Paulette helps business owners, boards and CEO’s attract, retain and grow their leaders and build high achieving, engaged teams.

With more than 20 years working in HR, she has significant experience in providing end to end people solutions.

Having been awarded the Telstra Business Women of the Year, The PricewaterhouseCoopers Young Business Women of the Year and the Hudson Private and Corporate Business Women of the Year in South Australia, she has spoken to thousands of people on the topics of effective leadership, building strong cultures, team effectiveness and HR trends to name a few.

Today, Paulette leads the BespokeHR team in the areas of HR Consulting, Recruitment and Training and Development, with a mission of continuing to shape Australia’s greatest places to work.

Jane Johnston

Jane Johnston

Following a career in international education and marketing that includes senior roles with the University of Adelaide and StudyAdelaide, Jane Johnston commenced as the Chief Executive of StudyAdelaide in 2022. StudyAdelaide’s role is to increase awareness of Adelaide as a study destination, and deliver programs to support international students in Adelaide.

Jane has led nationally award-winning destination marketing campaigns and worked with federal, state and territory governments to deliver support programs of scale to international students during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022 Jane was appointed to the National Council for International Education, to help lead the sector through the next phase of recovery and growth, working with education providers, industry and government.

Jane was educated at the University of South Australia, gaining a Bachelor of Management (Marketing) and Bachelor of Business (International Business). During her studies Jane spent a semester abroad in Toronto, Canada.

Possible M Diessa

Possible M Diessa

As the Founder and Managing Director of Possible Consulting, and the Multicultural Business and Entrepreneur Network (MBEN), Possible is passionate about economic development for individuals from multicultural backgrounds through employment opportunities and entrepreneurial ventures. Possible’s leadership focus is to support employers with their cultural diversity and inclusion strategic plan to promote inclusive organisational culture.

With over a decade of experience in employment industry, Possible currently holds Board positions such as Deputy Chair at the South Australian Social Enterprise Council (SASEC), and Taskforce Member with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Adelaide North Local Jobs Program. Possible is a fervent leader shaping positive mindsets with a shared commitment to overcome organisational challenges.

Nick Palousis

Nick Palousis

Nick is an engineer, CEO, entrepreneur and proud father of three daughters. As the Founder and CEO for 2XE, Nick has spent 20 years working with over 1000 businesses and governments to help them pursue ESG and net zero emissions with the best possible holistic return on investment. He has worked with clients across almost every major industry and government sector, and currently works with some of Australia's most recognised brands. Nick has spearheaded 2XE's rapid growth as a highly-regarded Australian ESG and net zero consulting firm, with an expanding footprint in New Zealand, Canada, US and Switzerland.

Taliessin Reaburn

Taliessin Reaburn

Taliessin is responsible for looking after South Australia’s global network of overseas offices.

He has held several roles, including at Austrade as the Trade Commissioner to Singapore, the Victorian Government as the Trade Commissioner to Hong Kong and Macau, as well as roles in the financial services sector, higher education sector and tourism industry.

Zygmunt Szpak 2

Dr Zygmunt Szpak

Dr Zygmunt Szpak received his PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of Adelaide in 2013. His research focused on the development of novel mathematical techniques for constructing 3D models from images. He is the co-founder and Director of Insight Via Artificial Intelligence (IVAI) Pty Ltd, an Australian technology company conducting research and product development in diverse fields. The company specializes in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and associated technologies such as Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing and Augmented Reality. IVAI has a strong focus on advancing human-machine teaming with trusted and explainable AI.

John Cirocco 1

John Cirocco

John Cirocco is Escapenet VP of Business Services, a communications expert building high-performance networks across a range of industries including advanced manufacturing, space, defence, education, and government. John’s expertise in relationships, business and technology is a unique combination that has delivered amazing outcomes for clients.

As a senior consultant, you will often find John engaged with our start-up community and entrepreneurs, while supporting various government initiatives, including the GigCity Adelaide project.

John is an (ISC)2 certified cyber professional, a SOPHOS Certified engineer, and is almost always wearing a New York baseball cap.

Kelly Baker Jamieson

Kelly Jamieson

Kelly Jamieson founded Edible Blooms with her sister Abbey, which began as a small business start-up in 2005 and has grown to be the winner of Canstar’s 2022 Australian Online Gift Delivery Company award and has recently been shortlisted for the AFR Boss Innovation Awards for 2023 for their InstantGift-it technology.

Kelly and her team are also previous National Telstra Business Award winners. An advocate for women leading in business, Kelly is an SA Telstra Business Woman of the Year recipient, a member of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Winning Women program and co-founder of the Fearless Female movement.

In her spare time, Kelly can be found jumping off the Port Elliot jetty fully clothed, challenging her team to how many chocolates they can eat in a day or busting embarrassing disco moves with her husband and two children.

Summer Petrosius

Summer Petrosius

Summer Petrosius is a passionate social entrepreneur and qualified speech pathologist with over ten years of experience in the health and disability sector. Summer is motivated by community-led systems change, peer support, and empowered parental advocacy. Summer is CEO and co-founder of Kindship and Barb, an AI-powered NDIS Navigator designed to add support and reduce stress for families with disabilities.

Ben Jamieson

Ben Jamieson

Ben Jamieson, Co-Founder of Foil Drive, an Adelaide-based electric hydrofoil company, manufacturing the world's first retrofit electric motor system for hydrofoil surfboards.

Foil Drive is pioneering the concept of electric assisted riding and has been distributing globally throughout its authorised dealer network and online retail website since 2020.

Ben was previously a commercial UAV Pilot, suppling the industrial inspection and engineering sector and end to end data capturing engineering and reporting service.

Anthony Skeats

Anthony Skeats

Anthony is the COO of Micro-X Limited and is responsible for leading all R&D, engineering, manufacturing, and product support operations globally.

From initial foundation he helped secure funding, develop the company’s core technology platform, build a highly talented cross functional team and continues to guide the delivery of innovative and disruptive X-Ray products into commercial success.

A mechanical engineer with over 28 years’ experience in a broad range of industry and consumer product sectors, Anthony’s strong focus on customer led design has led to a number of award-winning products, as well as fostering a culture of innovation and learning amongst his team. He is passionate about pursuing novel engineering solutions that provide positive outcomes and benefits to all those who use them.

Victoria Halliday 007 A7309 Edit 4

Victoria Halliday

Victoria Halliday is the Head of Legal & Consulting at Ai Group Workplace Lawyers, a leading provider of workplace relations legal and consulting services.  A commercial service within the Australian Industry Group, a peak national employer organisation, Victoria leads a national team of workplace relations lawyers and consultants working with employers to solve complex problems arising in the workplace.

Victoria commenced her career as an employment lawyer at Mallesons in Melbourne before moving to Freehills and then overseas to London.  She has significant experience in providing employment legal advice across industry, having worked at Telstra, Credit Suisse, Apple and BAE Systems.

After 13 years in London, including time spent leading BAE Systems’ global employment legal team, Victoria returned to Australia with BAE Systems where she performed a mix of HR, ER and employment legal roles, including a period as the Acting Chief People Officer.

She commenced in her role at Ai Group Workplace Lawyers in early 2022.

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