Chief Executive Officer
Kate Russell is a proud Awabakal woman from Lake Macquarie and is committed to empowering her community. Kate draws on her extensive experience working across public and community sectors and is driven by a desire to promote opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – making sure to approach all programs, policies and initiatives through an intersectional lens. Kate is passionate about engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to co-design programs and services using international best practices to make tangible changes in policy.
As a consultant, Kate has worked across multiple policy areas to support the delivery of outcomes and community benefits, with a focus on people and culture programs. Prior to this, she held senior roles at the Department of Planning and Environment, where she oversaw the design and delivery of programs across a portfolio of agencies and over 15,000 staff.
Additionally, Kate has spent time working at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney and Canberra and for the Catalan Department of Education in Spain. Kate returned to Australia to work in the community sector to focus on Aboriginal employment and leadership development, and eventually joined the NSW State Government in 2016. Kate’s broad expertise and experience in diversity and inclusion, organisational culture, leadership, human resources and knowledge, and project management enables her to develop programs that recognise the intersectionality of diverse experiences.
Currently, Kate is a Board Director at the Diversity Council Australia and has previously served as a Director for Yilabara Solutions and Interrelate. In July 2023, she commenced her role as Chief Executive Officer at Supply Nation, the Australian leader in supplier diversity. Kate holds a Bachelor of International Studies (Distinction), an MBA and an Executive Masters of Public Administration.
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 was previously 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.
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.
Senior Communications Coordinator
Tim is a writer and communications specialist with over seven years’ experience developing and executing multi-channel media and communications campaigns for a vast array of organisations, brands and companies.
Prior to joining Supply Nation, Tim was with Reconciliation Australia – working on the organisation’s communications, media, social and advertising strategies.
Alongside their work experience, Tim recently graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in Gender and Cultural Studies after completing a thesis examining the pedagogical potential of popular culture and its role in shaping our understanding of intimacy, identity, queerness and the self.
Kathleen (Sarah) Bolt
Executive Assistant to CEO
Sarah is a proud Nyangbal (Ballina), Githabal (Muli Muli), Bandjalang (Evans Head), Widjabal (Lismore) woman of the Bundjalung Nation, Far North NSW. Sarah has worked in various Government, non-for-profit organisations and Visual and Performing Arts Associations. Sarah has a broad knowledge, experience and skills in Governance, Leadership, Employment, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Event coordination, Project Management and Community Engagement.
Sarah has various qualifications and certifications in Indigenous Leadership, Training and Assessment and Suicide Intervention and awareness and her interests include choreography, dancing, weaving and sewing.
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.
Senior Graphic Designer
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.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Zoë is a thoughtful and engaging communications professional with experience in the non-profit and higher education sectors. She joined Supply Nation in 2023, having worked for several organisations that foster education and employment excellence.
With a Bachelor of Communications in Media Arts and Production from the University of Technology Sydney, Zoë is focused on innovating new ways to connect people and tell their stories. She has worked closely with community, government, media, and corporate stakeholders to execute dynamic communications pieces and promote the success stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2021, Zoë joined UNSW Global and used her flair for visual communication to enhance the engagement and academic progression of international students.
Zoë is passionate about elevating First Nations voices and is proud to work for an organisation making a positive impact for future generations.
Certification and Joint Venture Assessor, Indigenous Business
Ash joined Supply in August 2022 as a member of the Certification team with an extensive background in Information Technology Management. Ash also has a background in Client Services including working with Australian Government Departments giving him experience investigating organisations and organisational structures.
Ash has an eye for detail and respects the process and procedures required to ensure Supply Nations Certification Program meets the high standards and integrity the community expects.
Ash spent several years working in Central Australia and assisted remote Indigenous communities with technology and infrastructure to support education and inclusion. Ash has a deep interest in progressing Indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses within the wider business community.
Head of Marketing and Communications
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.
Head of Supplier Services
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 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.
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.
Tarran is a proud Birrbay, Warrimay and Dhanggati man, who expresses himself through his artistry, culture and design – which are intrinsically part of his identity. Tarran completed a Diploma of Graphic Design at Billy Blue College of Design in 2022 and has since been freelancing within the design industry, specifically cultural design, focused on contemporary story and truth-telling. Tarran has also recently established his own contemporary design agency, Malu Industries.
Tarran also previously worked as an Indigenous Educational Worker in primary education, to develop and deliver cultural programs and establish invaluable connections with community.
Driven by creative and cultural connectivity and expression, Tarran aims to bring his diverse skills and knowledge to Supply Nation to advocate for the now and future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
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.
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
David has a background in renewable energy and a diverse skillset that allows him to work across a wide range of sectors. As a Relationship Manager at Supply Nation and a proud First Nation’s man, David is a supporter of supplier diversity and community empowerment. David is dedicated to promoting inclusion and diversity across all business aspects and believes in helping traditionally underrepresented businesses gain access to valuable resources and opportunities.
David firmly believes that supplier diversity is a vital factor in driving innovation and economic growth, and his efforts are focused on linking a diverse range of corporate and government organisations with Indigenous suppliers. David is highly skilled in identifying and nurturing emerging business relationships.
David is also actively involved in uplifting his local community and is a passionate community volunteer. Combined with his commitment to community upliftment, David is an asset to the Supply Nation team and is well-positioned to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the Indigenous business sector.
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.
Chief Operating Officer
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.
Relationship Manager ACT
Neil is an enthusiastic and resourceful professional with a background in salary packaging/financial services and a combined 20 years’ experience in business development, client relationship management, project management, customer service and stakeholder engagement across the public, private, and NPF sectors. As a strategic and creative thinker, Neil thrives on improving processes, driving growth, achieving positive results and ensuring exceptional customer experiences.
Indigenous Business Officer
Fay joined Supply Nation in April 2023 as a member of the Audit, Certification and Registration team after 10 years with a major telecommunications company here in Australia and brings with her extensive experience in Stakeholder Management, Process, Auditing, and Project Management.
Originating from New Zealand, she has lived and worked in various countries these past 20+ years, before moving to and calling Australia home. She loves meeting new people and hearing their stories.
Fay is inspired by the talented team at Supply Nation and their obvious love of supporting Indigenous business growth and economic empowerment. She is passionate about inclusivity and equality and is excited to be working in an organisation that is making positive change.
Shikierra Thorne is a Kuku-Yalanji and Gamilaroi Woman, currently living in Townsville. She has worked in both government and community sector roles. Shikierra has had several roles within these spaces ranging from Executive assistant, operations manager, events coordinator and project officer. Her strengths are her attention to detail, technological capability and project / event management. recently was the logistics lead for the Wiyi Yani U Thangani Summit in Canberra, bringing together over 800 First Nations women.
Shikierra also continues to focus on her professional development by completing courses and certificates; Certificate III in Business with the Townsville City Council City Libraries department in 2015, and a Certificate IV in Indigenous leadership with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. Additionally, Shikierra is currently running her own consultancy business.
Head of Member Services
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.
Scott Wharton is a globally-recognised senior executive with a strong track record leading and transforming organisations across Australia, Asia, and the United States. With more than 20 years of experience in financial services, Mr Wharton specialises in Business Transformation, Strategy, Global Leadership, Operations & Outsourcing. He has a reputation for successfully driving innovative and complex change programs and performance improvement initiatives.
As Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Smartgroup Corporation Ltd, an ASX- listed specialist provider of employee management services, Mr Wharton is committed to leading the acceleration of growth, digitisation and innovation.
Prior to Smartgroup Mr Wharton was CEO of The Star Sydney, focussed on stabilising the business. Previously he was a member of the Commonwealth Bank’s Executive Leadership team. In this role he led efforts critical to making CBA a Simpler, Better Bank. This included the successful delivery of the Remedial Action Plan, in response to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s Inquiry into governance, culture, and accountability in 2018, delivering the CBA’s multi-year productivity effort, and the establishment of the CBA talent centre in India. Mr Wharton has also held senior management positions with Citigroup in Hong Kong and New York, where he was a Managing Director and a member of the Operations & Technology Global Operating Committee.
Mr Wharton is a Fellow and Adjunct Professor (Industry) at the University of Technology Sydney and a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Industry Advisory Board. He is Co-Chair of Supply Nation and is an Ambassador of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.
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 and Business Support at Infrastructure NSW.
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.
Mr Barnes is the founder and Managing Director of YIMBA Legal & Consulting. He is the Chair of Westpac’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Member of Westpac’s Stakeholder Advisory Council, Chair of Nguluway DesignInc Pty Ltd, a Director of The Aboriginal Housing Office NSW and a Member of UTS’ Indigenous Industry Advisory Group, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building. He has been a Director of The National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, Bangarra Dance Theatre, the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, a Member of the NSW Law Society Indigenous Issues Committee and a founding member of Ngalaya Indigenous Lawyers Association. Damien has an extensive background in law, commercial management and engineering, providing advice on a range of areas including: infrastructure; construction; transport; resources; renewables; environment; Indigenous Business; native title; cultural heritage; RAPs and ESG. His employment experience includes; King & Wood Mallesons, DLA Piper, UGL, Power Minerals, NTSCorp and government. Damien is a Bidjara man from central QLD with family connection to Woorabinda and he provides extensive pro bono assistance to Indigenous communities and organisations. He holds an Executive MBA, Law Degree, a Civil Engineering Degree and a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Leadership.
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.
Mr Fa’Aoso is a director of SBS, Screen Queensland, Interim Truth & Treaty Body (QLD), and the Indigenous Connections Committee of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. He is a film producer, director, screenwriter, and actor. Since 2013 he has been the Managing Director of his own production company, Lone Star. Aaron is the producer and presenter of Strait to the Plate, an NITV SBS Food series featuring the culture and culinary traditions of the Torres Strait. Aaron has also starred in many films and TV series. Aaron actively supports and mentors other film practitioners and was previously a board member of Media RING—an industry group that developed and enhanced career opportunities for First Nations Australians in the media. He is also the ambassador of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. Aaron is a proud Torres Strait Islander committed to working with, and for the benefit of, driving positive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He holds a Masters Degree of Film Business from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.
Anita Lee Hong
Anita Lee Hong M HumRights, BSc (ACMD), Grad Cert Tchng is a Butchulla and Darrba woman. Ms Lee Hong’s work has provided considerable leadership, expertise and advice in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters. She is currently the General Manager of the Gurriny Yealamucka Health Service at Yarrabah, Far North Queensland.
Ms Lee Hong’s academic career was as Lecturer and Program Coordinator at the Curtin Centre for Aboriginal Studies before becoming Associate Professor Director of the Centre 2002–2010. She later served as Professorial Director of the Oodgeroo Unit at the University of Queensland 2010–2019. She received many honours and awards for her outstanding contributions to academic excellence, corporate excellence, leadership, teaching and learning and teaching innovations. She has an impressive list of publications in respected academic journals and has made numerous presentations at academic and professional conferences.
Matthew (Matty) commenced with Price Waterhouse in Perth as a graduate in the Audit division in 1989. His first 11 years with the Firm were spent working on the audits of listed and unlisted companies across a diverse range of industries, including mining, transport, manufacturing and financial services.
During his time in Perth, Matty became one of the financial services experts for the office, and prior to making partner was responsible for coordinating the audits of all of the office’s financial services clients, including banks, superannuation funds, asset managers and financial services licensees. His financial services experience also led to overseas secondments to Singapore, Poland and Russia, in each case to provide specialist support on the audit of banking clients in those jurisdictions.
Matty was admitted to the partnership in 2000 in the Sydney office of PricewaterhouseCoopers. His first two years as a partner were as one of the Firm’s National Accounting Technical Partners, and at the same time he was also appointed to the Urgent Issues Group, the accounting interpretations committee of the Australian Accounting Standards Board, a position he held for 3 years.
Matty’s career since becoming a partner has been focused on the audits of large listed companies, primarily in the financial services sector. Matty has been the signing partner on many of PwC Australia’s largest audit clients and is recognised as one of the Firm’s most senior and experienced audit partners. Matty’s broad sector expertise includes working with clients in the Construction, Resources, Banking, Manufacturing and other capital intensive industries. He has experience advising clients, in both his audit and special advisory roles, in relation to a diverse range of accounting, auditing and structuring issues.
During his 32 years with PwC he has worked in Sydney, Perth, Singapore, Poland, Russia and Papua New Guinea. Matty has previously held firm leadership roles as the Financial Services Assurance National Business Unit Leader, the Risk Assurance Leader and the Resources Services and Government Sector Leader. Matty incorporates the extensive use of contemporary digital and analytical audit tools and techniques into his practice for the delivery of high quality audit outcomes and insight, and is passionate about helping his clients improve their environmental and social sustainability.
From 2006 through to 2015, Matty was a member of the Assurance Leadership Team responsible for leading the PwC Assurance practice in Australia. Matty held a number of different leadership roles, including leading the Resources, Services and Government practice, and the Financial Services practice.
In addition to his audit roles, during his career Matty has also been involved in a significant number of transaction services assignments including acquisition due diligence, debt and capital raisings, and initial public offerings
Matty has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia and is a Fellow of CA Australia and New Zealand.
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.
Ms Templeman-Jones is a director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Worley Limited, New South Wales Treasury Corporation, the Cyber Security Research Centre Ltd and Trifork AG, and an Ambassador for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation. Anne brings a wealth of experience as an executive and non-executive director in strategy, risk and governance, financial management, customer service, cyber security, AI and complex supply chains. Anne is a Chartered Accountant with a Masters in Risk Management having served companies in Australia, the USA, Switzerland, Belgium and in diverse sectors including banking and insurance, health and education, engineering services in the energy sector, consumer and manufacturing, agribusiness and next-generation IT services and solutions. During her 30-year executive career, Anne held a number of leadership positions in corporate and private banking with domestic and offshore banks including Westpac Banking Corporation, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd and Bank of Singapore. Anne is the former Chairman of Commonwealth Bank’s financial advice companies and has also served on the boards of Blackmores Ltd as Chair, and is a former Director of GUD Holdings Limited, the Citadel Group Ltd, Cuscal Ltd, HT&E Limited, Pioneer Credit Ltd, Notre Dame University, TAL Superannuation Fund and HBF’s private and general insurance companies.