Interim Chief Executive Officer
Michelle Deshong is from Townsville, North Queensland and draws her connection to Kuku Yalanji nation. She has completed a BA with First Class Honours in Political Science and Indigenous studies and is working on her PhD (on the participation of Aboriginal women in public and political life) at James Cook University. Michelle is currently the CEO of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute.
Michelle has been a business owner for over 15 years and on the board of Supply Nation for the past five years. Michelle has extensive experience in areas of leadership, governance and politics, and holds a number of directorship roles in the Not-for-Profit sector, including Reef Restoration Adaptation Board and AIATSIS Council member. Michelle was recently profiled in the Australian Institute of Company Director magazine and recognised for her contributions for leadership and governance.
Michelle has a strong commitment to human rights and has also been an NGO representative on many occasions at the United Nations forums on the Commission on the Status of Women and Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. She has a strong background in gender equality and works to ensures that the voices of Indigenous women are represented at all levels.
In 2016 Michelle undertook research in the USA and Canada as part of her Fulbright scholarship to develop strategies for Nation building, leadership and gender equality. She was also named as the 2015 National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year.
Tetch is dedicated to making a significant contribution to the digital industry by publishing quality solutions through web development. She is creative and detail-oriented with great interest in best design practices with goals of enriching user experience and engagement.
Team Leader Customer Care
Tracy joined Supply Nation after a 30 year career in Recruitment, Business Development and Account Management across the Corporate & NFP sectors.
With a passion for social justice and equity and a drive to contribute to meaningful difference, Tracy is committed to supporting & empowering our suppliers to achieve sustainable growth across the Indigenous business sector.
Indigenous Business Audit Officer
Katya joined Supply Nation as Indigenous Business Officer in February 2020.
Katya is an expert in end to end recruitment, HR policies and projects, management and training of staff, head hunting and account management. Her experience also extends to risk management, implementation plans, advisory services and project management.
She was involved first-hand in connecting with private businesses executives and government representatives to discuss important issues, opportunities and strategies that support diversity and promote Indigenous employment policies.
Katya has a strong passion to be part of the solution that influences and promotes diversity and inclusion, to be the voice for Indigenous communities and Indigenous owned businesses and to constantly be positively contributing to Indigenous economic participation and benefiting the lives and wellbeing of Australia’s first people.
Indigenous Business Customer Care and Audit Officer
Erin joined Supply Nation in 2021 as a member of the certification and audit team, bringing with her several years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Art Theory and History from UNSW Art and Design in 2015, Erin has a background in administration, events and stakeholder management.
Erin has a keen eye for detail and is passionate about Closing the Gap and elevating the voices of Australia’s First Nation’s people.
Kelly-Ann joined Supply Nation in March 2021 bringing a wealth of knowledge in graphic design. With a Bachelor of Design from UNSW Art and Design School and industry experience, Kelly-Ann has worked across multiple creative fields including branding, packaging, event collateral and print and digital publications.
Kelly-Ann also studied subjects about Indigenous art and culture at university. Her latest collaboration with an Indigenous-owned business, solidified her passion for the sector.
Kelly-Ann hopes to support and elevate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through visual outreach and communication.
Chief Operating Officer
Costa brings to Supply Nation over 25 years of experience working across a broad range of roles and industries from accounting and business consultancy to information systems management, corporate partnerships and stakeholder engagement, fundraising and business development, operational and executive office roles in the not for profit sector. Costa has worked for charities such as The Smith Family, YWCA NSW, the Children’s Medical Research Institute and the Daystar Foundation and has significant experience in fundraising and program development.
Costa has an MBA from the Sydney Graduate School of Management and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Costa has a deep personal interest in contributing to social impact, and is highly motivated by initiatives that promote equity, strengthen communities and adopt inclusiveness and diversity in their approach.
Head of Marketing, Communications and Events
Lena joined the Supply Nation team in August 2019, with several years of marketing and communications experience. She brings a wealth of knowledge in the development and execution of marketing campaigns and has completed a Bachelor of Arts (Majoring in Marketing) at Macquarie University.
Lena has also worked with a number of local Indigenous businesses, assisting with the development and implementation of their marketing strategies.
Lena has a strong passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and brings her skills and experience to an organisation that supports the prosperous future of Indigenous Australians.
Manager, Indigenous Business Joint Ventures and Certification
Rick joined Supply Nation in January 2019 as a member of the Certification and Audit team, bringing with him extensive experience working with Aboriginal communities, managing Aboriginal controlled organisations and facilitating and supporting Aboriginal economic development and managing business operations.
After an initial career working in information technology, assisting system users to specify their requirements of new information systems, Rick was a foundation partner in a social research consultancy and for over 10 years managed and participated in evaluation, review and information systems projects, focused in the human and community services areas throughout Australia. Through this experience he developed an understanding of and deep interest in Aboriginal economic development and the positive impact business success can achieve for Aboriginal people. Rick completed a Master of Business Administration and moved into project management and senior management positions with Aboriginal organisation in Australia’s East Kimberley region.
Rick’s management, governance, compliance and business experience working with Aboriginal individuals, groups, boards and companies, in particular, experience negotiating, implementing and managing joint ventures is a solid foundation for the certification and auditing of Aboriginal businesses in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Relationship Manager VIC
Paul Exarhos brings over 20 years of experience working with corporate and government clients across Australia, New Zealand and India and a breadth of experience having worked in a variety of industries from finance, tourism, education and media. He has worked cross-culturally in Asia and Europe, and more recently with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities at SBS TV and Radio.
Paul graduated with a BCom from the University of Canberra and has a Graduate Diploma in Commercial Radio Broadcasting from AFTRS.
Throughout his career, Paul has had a personal interest in equality and diversity and is excited to be making a real difference at Supply Nation.
Helyna is an experienced project coordinator with over 14 years in supporting roles across multiple industries. From construction to event management, organisation is her strong point.
Helyna is excited to work in an organisation with meaningful purpose, which aligns with her core values and is working towards a greater goal. To assist in making a difference in creating equal opportunities and contribute towards closing the gap gives purpose and meaning to her role at Supply Nation.
Relationship Manager QLD and NT
Lucy joined Supply Nation after working with Multicultural Affairs Queensland, where she facilitated partnerships between government and corporate organisations to drive diversity and inclusion outcomes.
Lucy has extensive experience in stakeholder management and engagement, including working on industry engagement for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
She is a keen community volunteer, with a personal commitment to inclusion initiatives. She is degree qualified in Communications and is working towards an MBA in Strategic Marketing.
Lucy is fuelled by enthusiasm for economic empowerment as a conduit for social change.
Relationship Manager WA
Jodie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in building relationships and drawing out collaborative engagement toward positive change across multi-disciplinary environments, as well as a broad understanding of the dynamics of Indigenous businesses through her extensive engagement and career with Child Protection and Community Development.
Jodie has a Bachelor Degree of Social Work from Curtin University. Jodie has spent time traveling around Australia and lived in Alice Springs for a period of time where she learned about Aboriginal histories and cultures, before moving to Perth in 2001.
Jodie draws on her strengths-based approach to bring open and approachable communication skills as well as a caring nature from her social work practice that allows her to build strong and trusted relationships with people from all walks of life.
Jodie is excited to bring her skills to Supply Nation and to work as the Relationship Manager for WA which is a role that will allow her to provide social justice and support for Indigenous owned businesses.
Manager, Procurement and Indigenous Business Training
Shaun is a procurement professional with over 15 years’ experience, obtained in both functional and senior leadership positions. Shaun has managed large value procurements across a range of indirect products and service categories and is highly proficient in all facets of sourcing, category management and supplier relationship management. He has a history leading and developing procurement teams, particularly in the areas of strategic sourcing, tendering and capability building. Shaun is also experienced in developing and implementing bespoke e-procurement frameworks and technology.
Shaun has also been recognised as a supplier diversity specialist through multiple Supply Nation industry awards, both individually and at the corporate level. More recently, he has applied his procurement skills in training and facilitation as well as providing specialist procurement services to private and public sector clients.
Indigenous Business Officer
Kezia is a proud Noongar woman, born on Whadjuk Noongar country in Boorloo (Perth). She grew up between Perth and Manjoogoordap (Mandurah) in Binjareb Noongar country. She is an active and contributing member of the Noongar community and utilises her knowledge and voice to represent her community and protect country.
Kezia has first-hand experience working in an Aboriginal owned, managed and controlled Supply Nation Certified business and a number of industries including local and federal government and mining.
She’s passionate about building capacity and independence through economic growth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and looks forward to contributing to this growth through her role as an Indigenous Business Officer with Supply Nation.
Relationship Manager VIC and SA
Damian has over 30 years’ experience in a broad range of industries, including insurance and risk management, financial services, energy consumption sustainability and renewables, not-for-profit procurement and aggregated buying, and more recently leisure and entertainment venue management.
Damian joins the Supply Nation team as a Relationship Manager in VIC and is excited to continue his work in the not-for-profit sector. Prior to his role at Supply Nation, Damian worked for Church Resources, a not-for-profit procurement organisation that provided other organisations with access to better buying and supply chain efficiencies through aggregated procurement.
He has also served on several boards of governance and management in not-for-profit welfare, focusing on homelessness, women’s support services and children’s education.
Damian is excited to work with a social purpose outcome focused organisation and contribute to the work of creating genuine and sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.
Head of Compliance, Indigenous Business
Ray joined Supply Nation in August 2012 as an Indigenous Business Specialist, responsible for engaging with Indigenous businesses to promote and process applications for Supply Nation’s certification program.
Ray brings with him over 15 years of experience in the security, risk management and the audit/compliance industries. He has assessed, developed and implemented internal enterprise risk management systems and frameworks, quality assurance and protective security risk for numerous national blue chip businesses across varying industries including retail, hospitality, logistics, manufacturing and construction.
Ray’s experience in assessment and auditing and his keen eye for detail serves him well in ensuring that Supply Nation’s certification program maintains its high standard of integrity and authenticity.
Reception and Administration Coordinator
It took Colleen all of two seconds to decide to take on her role as Reception and Administration Coordinator for Supply Nation. Colleen is committed to being as useful as possible and is toe-curlingly excited about the opportunity to support the Supply Nation enterprise to grow and flourish.
Colleen has highly developed coaching and listening skills, and a wealth of experience in business, leadership and social justice, in Australia and Cambodia. Colleen likes to participate in thought – provoking conversations, that lead to innovation, fresh ideas and clarity and is here to make a difference.
Events and Communications Coordinator
Jay joined Supply Nation in January 2022 and brings 10 years of knowledge working in events and communications. With a Bachelor of Communications from Western Sydney University and a varied background in hospitality, not-for-profit, health and politics, Jay understands the importance of connection and conversation.
Since 2012, Jay has helped organise and host the annual Made in the West Film Festival for Western Sydney filmmakers, elevating stories and practitioners from the region.
Possessing a keen interest in Indigenous affairs and culture, Jay is passionate about social justice and helping contribute to the growing sense of agency and determination for First Nations Australians.
Indigenous Business Customer Care Officer
Geetha joined Supply Nation in 2022 as an Indigenous Business Customer Care Officer and possesses prior experience in strategic sourcing and supply chain.
An active participant in various social welfare activities as part of her corporate social responsibility, Geetha is deeply committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, encouraging suppliers to achieve sustainable growth within the Indigenous business sector and being a part of solutions that promote social justice and equity.
Geetha holds a Bachelor of Science and is currently working towards a Master of Enterprise Resource Planning at Victoria University, Sydney.
Relationship Manager VIC
Jessica joined Supply Nation in July 2022 and brings over six years of experience in membership and relationship management roles within museums and NGO’s. She had exposure to Supply Nation in her past role at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), which is what first sparked her interest and desire to work for the organisation.
She had the privilege of studying a variety of Indigenous subjects through her arts degree at university, focusing specifically on archaeological and historical sites.
Jessica is excited to work with an organisation whose values and purpose align so closely with her own, and she looks forward to supporting Supply Nation members on their supplier diversity journeys.
Pauline is the Event Manager at Supply Nation, striving for excellence within the events and marketing team to put in place a series of upstanding events for the best development and growth of the Indigenous business sector.
Pauline has several years of experience in the translation and language industry, working in different countries over several continents, relentlessly on the look-out for new challenges which could further develop her competences. Pauline has considerable adaptation and learning skills. When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Positive, open minded and curious, Pauline is an animal lover and enjoys outdoor activities, trying new sports (climbing, anyone?) and practicing her (not so fully developed) photography tricks.
Training and Business Process Manager
Candace is a best practice engaging, opportunity making, kayak racing, barra chasing, cowboy boot wearing, knit and crochet daring, home renovation exploring, music adoring, straight shooting kind of woman.
Candace joined the Supply Nation team in June 2018 after four years living and working across the Kimberley region of WA. Candace brings an eclectic mix of experience in strategic supply chain and change management, supporting Aboriginal economic development, managing business operations and training from her roles in the corporate, government, not-for-profit and tertiary educational sectors across urban, regional and remote communities.
Candace has an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business and is a life-long learner, currently undertaking a master leadership program with Woman and Leadership Australia in conjunction with Monash University.
With a strong community focus and passion for instigating educational and organisational change that empowers people to take decisions that positively improve their lives and the lives of others, Candace is proud to be surrounded by a talented team of thought leaders for Indigenous business growth and and seeks to empower diversification of supply chains which drive social good.
Indigenous Business Officer
Melynda joined Supply Nation as an Indigenous Business Officer in May 2021.
Melynda has diverse working experience in researching, development of policies and procedures and projects within both private and government sectors.
Melynda has led and developed critical projects involving community stakeholders and businesses, with skills in strategic leadership, corporate governance and organisational capabilities.
Melynda has a passion to contributing to promoting economic Indigenous and Torres Strait owned businesses in resolutions and diversity.
Relationship Manager ACT
Vanessa brings an informed public sector perspective to the Supply Nation team from her wide experience in the Commonwealth Government. She has worked on governance, policy, risk management and ICT projects contributing to the Australian innovation system, with a focus on stakeholder consultation to deliver new tools and improvements.
Engaging with domestic and international stakeholders and building positive relationships motivates Vanessa to achieve results for her customers. Vanessa has a Bachelor Degree and Graduate Diploma in Asia and Pacific Studies from the Australian National University. Vanessa speaks Mandarin and Spanish and is passionate about effective communication between cultures, having lived overseas for several years.
Vanessa looks forward to contributing to positive outcomes for Indigenous businesses and communities across Australia.
Relationship Manager NSW
Emma joined the Supply Nation team in May 2022 and brings a diverse set of skills attained from her varied professional experiences. Most recently, Emma worked as the Senior Agent at RMK Management. Here she managed over one hundred voice actors and assisted a range of corporate, government and creative agency clients with various projects.
Emma is incredibly passionate about inclusivity and equality and is excited to be working with a team who are making positive change.
Dr Gautam Pingali
Program and Evaluation Manager
Gautam is a social impact evaluator with extensive experience in planning and executing large-scale projects in a variety of settings, ranging from large multinational corporations to small organisations. He previously worked as an Evaluation Officer at the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) where he was responsible for managing and reporting on the UTS Social Impact Framework. He was also the primary evaluator for UTS’s Athena Swan accreditation which recognises the advancement of gender equality in higher education.
Gautam holds a PhD in Social Sciences from UTS, focusing on Indigenous identities and right to self-determination. He presented his research at international conferences, published articles in peer reviewed journals, and is the author of the forthcoming book “Indigenous Question, Land Appropriation, and Development: Understanding the Conflict in Jharkhand, India”. He currently serves as a member of Huber Social Ethical Review Board and previously served as a member on UTS’s Academic, Faculty and Research Boards.
Prior to his PhD, Gautam worked at IBM for six-years as a cybersecurity consultant and managed the overall security compliance of major financial institutions and large multinational corporations, bringing a wealth of experience in managing complex projects and delivering fit for purpose solutions with a broad range of stakeholders.
Manager, Indigenous Business Export Program Development
Chris joined Supply Nation with an extensive background in international business including almost 20 years experience living and working in Asia. After over a decade in international business development in Australia and Japan, he became a trade diplomat, working as a trade commissioner in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, helping Australian companies enter overseas markets, attracting productive foreign direct investment into Australia and promoting Australian education worldwide. He has helped Australian’s achieve success in a range of industries including housing, marine, agribusiness, aerospace, consumer products, professional services and the arts. Chris has developed Austrade’s Indigenous International Business Strategy and was responsible for Austrade’s Northern Australia investment program as well as their partnerships program.
Chris is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a graduate of Griffith University and the University of New South Wales.
Chris is passionate about helping Indigenous companies succeed internationally.
Ana joined Supply Nation in Februrary 2018 and brings more than 20 years’ of experience in various financial roles. Ana was born in Montevideo, Uruguay where she completed her accounting studies, and then migrated to Australia in 1991.
Since then, Ana has worked mainly for non-for-profit community organisations in the all-rounder role of Finance Officer. She worked for the CRC Justice Support for 8 years until May 2000, for the Dusseldorp Skills Forum for a period of 9 years until October 2009, when she joined the National Association of Community Legal Centres until January 2018.
Relationship Manager, NSW
Claire joined Supply Nation in July 2022 and brings over 15 years of corporate experience to her role. She has held positions in relationship management, project and change management and information design; across the property, finance, human resources and procurement sectors.
Claire has a strong passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs. She completed Indigenous studies as part of her Arts degree at the University of Sydney and has also had the privilege of working in Indigenous communities while volunteering in Arnhem Land.
She is passionate about diversity and inclusion and is excited to bring her skills and experience to an organisation that supports a prosperous future for Indigenous Australians.
Executive Assistant to CEO and COO
Willow Saige joined Supply Nation in January 2018 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and Deputy CEO. Willow’s deep interest in and contribution towards bringing community diversity and inclusion onto an even playing field, is the main reason for joining Supply Nation.
Willow has over 27 years experience in the support services space, in the not-for-profit, corporate and government sectors, at senior management level in the capacity of EA, research analyst in government energy and environmental policy in Australia and Asia, project manager and events manager.
Willow has a Diploma in Clinical Aromatherapy and a Diploma in Doula Services and was previously a specialist doula in both the birth and end of life spaces. Willow is a poet and writer and is in the process of publishing books to assist with transitional experience.
Relationship Manager NSW
Ally is a passionate social impact professional with a particular interest in the structural factors surrounding human rights violations and the intersecting roles of corporate, government and civil society action. Ally graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies and Culture Change and is currently working towards a Master of Human Rights at the University of Sydney.
Ally joins Supply Nation having most recently worked with some of Australia’s and the world’s largest fashion companies to consult on ethical supply chain practices including corporate policymaking, procurement strategies, risk mitigation and auditing. Ally believes strongly in the opportunity and responsibility of businesses to contribute to socially just outcomes for all people, and as such is thrilled to contribute to the invaluable work of Supply Nation in uplifting Indigenous businesses and communities.
Head of Membership
Sandra is a proud first generation Australian with Assyrian and Iraqi heritage. She joined the Supply Nation team in April 2017. Sandra graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of International Studies and Bachelor of Business and Commerce majoring in International Relations and Global Business Strategy.
In 2015, she went on to the business development team at CEB, a best practice and management consulting company working with corporate and government organisations. There, she engaged with Finance, Procurement, Risk and Audit Executives in strategic partnerships and now aims to transfer her skills and experience in the not for profit sector.
She is passionate about all social and equality causes and strives to empower Indigenous people and communities through the work accomplished at Supply Nation.
National Manager, Indigenous Business and Engagement
Jenny is a Wiradjuri woman from Central West NSW. Jenny joined the Supply Nation team in October 2013. She brings with her extensive experience from working within Government Departments such as the Department of Education Employment and Work Place Relations (DEEWR). Most recently she worked with the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Prior to working within Government she worked for the Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council for approximately 12 years. Jenny has also sat on the Board of Darkinjung Land Council and was also elected as Chairperson. Jenny holds a BA in Adult Education and Community Management, obtained from the University of Technology Sydney, she graduated in May 2013 and was the first member of her family to attend university.
Jenny is extremely passionate about creating genuine opportunities for Aboriginal people, and is aware of the barriers Aboriginal people face on a day to day basis, she is very excited about where this journey will lead with Supply Nation.
Head of Digital Programs
Andrew is an innovative and enthusiastic digital strategist with over 10 years of experience building and optimising digital programs through the development of data-focused, scalable processes. He has strong project management skills with a proven track record of strategically guiding organisations to reach improvements and goals through digital focused initiatives. A design thinker with in-depth knowledge and experience with human centred design, UX, web development and Salesforce.
Andrew has worked in multiple industries including media, education, government, and not-for-profit. He is trained in PRINCE 2 and Agile Project Management methodologies and is also a Certified Salesforce Administrator.
Dr Gianni Zappalà
Head of Research
Gianni is an educator, facilitator and social impact expert with over three decades experience in the university, commercial, government and for-purpose sectors. In addition to his role as part time Head of Research for Supply Nation, Gianni is Professional Fellow at the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion at the University of Technology Sydney, where he leads research and evaluation on a range of projects and facilitates a community of practice on Meaningful Evaluation. Gianni is also Principal of Orfeus SQ, a niche advisory service that applies Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) based frameworks to program design, evaluation, workshop facilitation and training, and has assisted hundreds of organisations to better understand their Theory of Change and demonstrate their social impact, including co-leading The Westpac Foundation and introducing its focus on Social Enterprise between 2005 and 2013. As a Certified Practitioner of the Map of Meaning, he developed Meaningful Evaluation, a holistic and systemic approach to understanding and assessing outcomes, a mode of social impact assessment consistent with participatory rather than mechanistic worldviews.
His previous roles also include academic appointments at the University of Sydney and at the Centre for Social Impact, University of NSW, where he developed and taught graduate courses in Corporate Responsibility, Demonstrating Social Impact, and Spiritual-based Leadership at the universities of Cambridge, Wollongong, the Australian National University, and Parliament House Canberra.
Gianni has degrees in Economics and Politics from the universities of Sydney, London, and Cambridge, and taught and published on a wide range of social and economic policy issues including Corporate Responsibility, Spirituality and Business, Social Impact assessment and Education. He has also undertaken accredited training in a range of social impact and personal development frameworks, including Rites of Passage and studies in Transpersonal and Depth Psychology through the Alef Trust in London and the Pacifica Graduate Institute in California.
Scott Wharton is Group Executive, Program Delivery at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).
Scott is responsible for overseeing the implementation of major Group-wide programs. These include the bank’s Prudential Inquiry Remedial Action Plan and other programs helping CBA to become a simpler, better bank.
Prior to joining the CBA in 2016, Scott was Managing Director and Global Head of Enterprise Supply Chain for Citigroup in New York. Scott started his corporate career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sydney.
With broad experience across risk, operations, technology, finance and shared services, Scott has a reputation for successfully leading innovative and complex change programs and performance improvement initiatives.
Scott has served on the Board of The W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity, and Competitiveness at Columbia Business School and the Business Council of the American Australian Association while in New York City.
Scott is the Chair of the Business School Advisory Board at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Science from The University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Technology, Sydney, an Executive MBA from INSEAD and an Executive MBA from Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Glenn Johnston has over 25 years’ experience in procurement and logistics management across different industries, market leading companies and government. He is currently Director of Procurement Sustainability at Transport for NSW, Group Rail.
Glenn is a nationally recognised procurement expert and thought leader with a deep and proud passion for Indigenous business engagement. By helping Indigenous businesses grow and develop, Glenn firmly believes that this will lead to greater opportunities for Indigenous employment and a more inclusive economy.
Glenn was the recipient of the 2016 Supply Nation Procurement Professional of the Year Award in recognition of his work developing and engaging Indigenous businesses. He is a Fellow (Chartered status) of CIPS and Chair of the NSW Chapter of CIPS, the globally recognised peak procurement and supply professional body with over 120,000 members. Glenn is also a Board Member of the AIATSIS Foundation and, Director and Chair of NSW Aboriginal Land Council Employment & Training Ltd.
In August-September 2016, Glenn became a Jawun program secondee and spent 6 weeks living with the Aboriginal Community of Lockhart River (Far North Qld), considered to be the most remote Aboriginal Community in Australia. During this time he helped the Mayor, CEO, Councillors, Elders and motivated locals develop a framework to enable less reliance on welfare and employment by the Council, through building small businesses with a goal of achieving self-determination though economic opportunities. Living with the Aboriginal Community also highlighted the importance of preserving the Indigenous culture through language, songlines, music, dance and art.
Glenn is a Burramatta (Parramatta) man of the Dharug Nation of Western Sydney and still lives on traditional Dharug land in Glenhaven.
Michael McLeod has been described by a senior Federal politician as one of Australia’s most valuable sons. Michael and his family are part of Australia’s stolen generations. At the age of two, Michael and his siblings were taken from their parents – never to be reunited as a family. Michael grew up on his own in state ward homes and foster homes. He first met his mother at his father’s funeral. By his mid-twenties, he struggled with addiction and by his early thirties Michael was homeless and living on the streets of Sydney. A successful rehabilitation program has seen Michael clean and sober for fifteen years. He then started his own niche telecommunications business and today Message Stick is a growing multimillion dollar business that has no debt. The business paid back the initial start-up capital in its third year.
Message Stick Group
Message Stick is owned by Aboriginal Australians and was started in 2003 to show that Indigenous Australians can own and manage a services business that engages with large corporations and government agencies. The business does not seek any sponsorship, donations or social grants whatsoever. The principals of Message Stick are business ownership, asset ownership, wealth creation and personal accountability are the key features for ending poverty of Indigenous Australians.
Message Stick has two core competencies; Unified Communications (comprising of Audio, Video and Web Conferencing services), and Professional Services (including SAP Consultants and services).
Message Stick’s customers include Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Leighton, KPMG, Goldman Sachs, Gilbert + Tobin, Lend Lease, BUPA, Allens Linklaters, Qantas, Accor Hotels, Clayton Utz, Salmat, Compass Group, Staples and Johnson & Johnson. Michael is particularly proud of his numerous New South Wales state and federal government customers who include Prime Ministers and Cabinet, AusAID, and Reconciliation Australia.
Message Stick is also working closely with the federal government, the Chamber and the Business Council of Australia to change government policy approach to Indigenous Australians – with significant success. The government is now shifting from a complete welfare and subsidy based focus to developing policies around supporting real economic development, including business ownership and entrepreneurialism.
Building Supply Nation
After building Message Stick into a shining example of how an Indigenous business can engage with large corporates and government, Message Stick were being regularly asked “What do you give back to the community?” It decided to give back the most valuable commodity it had – it’s intellectual property.
Message Stick had proven that the idea of Indigenous businesses engaging with corporates and government would work, now it just needed to share that knowledge with other Indigenous businesses. Message Stick researched what other western nations (with socially and economically marginalised Indigenous minorities) had done in the area of Indigenous economic development. Whilst researching, they came across the USA experience of supplier diversity. They then contacted the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) in New York and asked if they would be willing to support their efforts to learn about the USA experience. These discussions started in 2006 and only in 2008 did things start to take form.
The timing of Kevin Rudd’s 2008 ‘Apology’ speech raised awareness and acknowledged that the federal government were serious about ‘Closing the Gap’.
Message Stick took on the project of formalising business plans and funding submissions and on the 18th of September 2008 were joined by their American supporters who flew into Canberra to assist. These supporters included Ms Harriet Michel (then President of NMSDC) and Mr Ronald Langton (National Director of Minority Business Development Agency, US Department of Commerce). This influential group attended various meetings with key government agencies with the goal of obtaining government funding and support for the set up of an AIMSC pilot.
One year later on the 1st of September 2009, the Minister for Employment Participation, Senator the Hon Mark Arbib and the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Jenny Macklin MP announced that the government would invest $3 million to pilot AIMSC over 3 years.
Message Stick along with their many other supporters had finally achieved their goal of acquiring the government’s support in creating Australia’s first ever minority supplier development council. The next year saw the development and planning phase of AIMSC and on the 15th of September 2009 at Mural Hall in the Australian Parliament House in Canberra the official launch of AIMSC was held.
Penny Bingham-Hall is a non-executive director of Fortescue Metals Group, BlueScope Steel, Dexus Property Group, Macquarie Specialised Asset Management, Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the Crescent Foundation. She is also Chair of the NSW Ministerial Freight and Logistics Advisory Council.
With over 30 years’ experience in senior executive and non-executive roles in large ASX listed companies, Penny has worked in the construction, infrastructure, mining and property industries across Australia and the Asian region. She has a particular interest in environmental sustainability, workplace safety and Indigenous employment. Penny currently chairs two People & Remuneration Committees and is a member of numerous audit, risk, sustainability, safety and nominations committees.
Prior to becoming a company director, Penny was Executive General Manager, Strategy at Leighton Holdings (now CIMIC) – Australia’s largest construction, mining services and property group. As part of the leadership team at Leighton she had responsibilities across the group’s Australian and Asian operations.
She has been Chairman of Advocacy Services Australia, Deputy Chairman of the Tourism and Transport Forum, and a Director of Australia Post, Port Authority of NSW, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, The Global Foundation and SCEGGS Darlinghurst school.
Penny has a BA degree in Industrial Design, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia and a member of Chief Executive Women and Corporate Women Directors.
Professor Robynne Quiggin is a Wiradjuri lawyer and business woman who has worked across business, legal and policy areas of relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians including consumer issues, financial services, human rights, governance, rights to culture, heritage and the arts.
Robynne has practised as a solicitor, running her own legal consulting business for 10 years, was the inaugural CEO of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute and managed ASIC’s Indigenous program. She has served on a number of boards including the Arts Law Centre of Australia, our national cultural institution the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the Australian Museum, social enterprise First Hand Solutions and independent Indigenous media organisation and radio station Gadigal Information Services. She is currently chair of the Board of the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office, chair of Westpac’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, a member of Westpac’s Stakeholder Advisory group, a member of IAG’s Consumer Advisory Board and member of the Steering Committee of the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative.
Prior to her appointment at UTS, Robynne was Deputy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.