Chief Executive Officer
Laura was appointed CEO of Supply Nation in 2015 following a career that has spanned both private and public sectors. Laura has over two decades of experience in stakeholder management, risk mitigation and reputation management and since taking the reins at Supply Nation, Laura has led the organisation through a significant period of growth: doubling the size and national footprint of the organisation, tripling corporate and government membership, and overseeing an explosion in spend with Indigenous businesses of nearly 3,000%.
Laura is a founding director of the Global Supplier Diversity Alliance, and in 2018, Laura was announced as one of the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Women of Influence. Laura currently holds a number of voluntary positions including a member of Minister Birmingham’s inaugural Ministerial Advisory Council for FTA negotiations, the Australian New Zealand Leadership Forum and roles on the Telstra Indigenous Advisory Committee, and the McKinsey & Company and NRMA’s Reconciliation Action Plan Steering Committees.
In 2019, Laura represented Australia at OECD in Paris for the Indigenous Economic Development Summit and launch of the inaugural report on ‘Linking Indigenous Communities with Economic Development’.
Laura has previously held directorships of Engineering Aid Australia, Supply Nation and Indigenous Business Australia’s Cooee Traveller. Laura was also the former Chairperson of CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program.
Laura holds a Graduate Certificate in Management from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Laura proudly identifies with both her Aboriginal and Italian heritage and was born and raised in Canberra.
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.
Data Integration Specialist
Mitaanshu is a problem solver and enthusiast in Computer Science. He is fascinated with new ideas and how ideas bring revolution in society for the greater good.
Mitaanshu went on to study Computer Science at the University of Sydney and continued working as an independent consultant.
Solving many problems along the way by software solutions and completing freelancing projects, he has been part of developing many startups across Australia.
Indigenous Business 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 firsthand in connecting with private businesses executives and government representatives to discuss important issues, opportunities and strategies that support diversity and promote Indigenous employment strategies.
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.
Manager of Programs and Partnerships
Samuel is a proud Anaiwan man from the New England Area of NSW. Samuel joined Supply Nation in November 2019, as our Manager of Programs and Partnerships.
Prior to his new role at Supply Nation, Samuel worked as Senior Consultant at PwC’s Indigenous Consulting, where he worked closely with Indigenous communities and the public and private sector.
He has also completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics from the University of Sydney.
Samuel has a passion for Indigenous Business advancement and fostering self-determining economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
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 a few subjects in Aboriginal art culture, sparking her interest in Indigenous design. 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.
Marketing and Communications Manager
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. Lena is currently completing a Bachelor Degree, in Arts and 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 is excited to bring her skills and experience to an organisation that supports the prosperous future of Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous Business Officer
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.
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 fueled 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.
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 Certification and Audit
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.
Relationship Manager NSW
Tom’s passion for social justice and experience in stakeholder management led him to join Supply Nation in May 2019. Tom brings a wealth of experience from across a broad range of industries including not for profit, tourism and hospitality, as well as a talent for communication and stakeholder engagement.
Most recently, Tom has been working in sales and relationship management for an American tour operator where he developed relationships with suppliers and operators throughout Latin America, as well as clients with from across the world. In this role, he lived in and worked directly with teams in Argentina, Brazil and the United States. Tom thrived on the challenge of establishing relationships across cultures and languages.
Tom has also worked in campaigns and events for Oxfam Australia and collaborated on communication campaigns for international organisations in Lebanon and The Philippines. He has a Bachelor of Arts in International Communication and Anthropology from Macquarie University.
Tom is excited to be a part of an organisation which is a real vehicle for change and empowerment in the lives in Indigenous peoples, and one that is shaping the landscape of corporate social responsibility in Australia.
Pauline is an Event Coordinator at Supply Nation, striving for excellence with 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.
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
Peterson is a proud Ugandan Australian, an experienced senior executive leader, and passionate social advocate who has been dedicated to working across the not-for-profit, government, and corporate sector. Primarily Peterson’s work has focused on specialising in stakeholder relationship management, program development, corporate and public affairs, and board governance.
Prior to starting at Supply Nation in 2019, Peterson had previously been the Executive Manager of the Ambassadors & Advocates Program at White Ribbon Australia, as well as the Chief Executive Officer of Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku Inc. a not-for-profit association that represented the cultural, social, and economic aspirations of the Mossman Gorge Aboriginal community, the Kuku Yalanji Rainforest People of Mossman Gorge in Far North Queensland.
Peterson has a Bachelor of International Relations, Politics, and Criminology, and in 2016 was named as the Outstanding Early Career Alumnus Award Winner, for College of Arts, Society and Education for James Cook University.
Peterson is excited about joining Supply Nation as a Relationship Manager and looks forward to working alongside Indigenous businesses for economic, and social empowerment through increasing supplier diversity and procurement opportunities.
Head of Events
With a background in event management, logistics, cross-cultural education and performing arts programs, Katie brings broad experience to the Supply Nation team. She came on board in September 2015 to assist with the Connect conference and tradeshow in Perth, and has helped grow our national Connect events by more than 20% year on year.
With a BA in Organisational Communication, Katie has worked in not-for-profit, government and private sectors over two decades in more than 10 countries. A career highlight includes two years working on the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch relay, managing the event in 6 countries in the South Pacific followed by 100 days straight travelling the nation ensuring 11,000 super excited Torchbearers were in place and on time!
Katie is passionate about making a difference, and contributing to increased understanding between people of all backgrounds.
Relationship Manager NSW | Member Training Lead
Ben Price joined Supply Nation in April 2018 and brings over 10 years’ of experience in working with corporate and government customers across Australia and New Zealand. Ben has a background in relationship management and has a good understanding of procurement processes, having worked closely with procurement teams over the years.
Most recently, Ben has worked in the office supplies industry where he was a Client Business Consultant for Winc. Ben managed a portfolio of large corporate and government clients, including the largest state contract in the organisation. In this role he worked with senior managers and procurement teams to reach their strategic CSR objectives, including diversity targets.
He is passionate about diversity and inclusion and is excited to be working with organisations who aim to make a difference in the Indigenous space.
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.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Daria is an experienced marketing and communications professional within the not-for-profit sector.
Since graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies, Daria has volunteered overseas twice in Vanuatu. In 2014, Daria taught English Literacy at the Northern Care Youth Centre and in 2018, worked at the Vanuatu Tourism Office as Design and Communications Officer. Daria’s experience includes working for purpose-driven initiatives such as the environmental organisation TerraCycle, which specialises in recycling complex waste streams and reducing landfill. Daria is also currently working part-time as a Content Officer at the NSW division of the United Nations Association of Australia.
Throughout her degree and relevant work experience, Daria has found a passion for mentoring and empowerment and is thrilled to be working at an organisation that aligns with her values. Originally from Aotearoa, with affiliation to Waikato Tainui iwi, Daria hopes to bring a shared commitment to strengthening the Indigenous business sector.
Executive Assistant to CEO and COO
Willow Saige joined Supply Nation in January 2018 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO & 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 the 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 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.
Jeremy is a proud Wiradjuri man from Central West NSW, born and raised on the Central Coast of Australia.
Jeremy joined Supply Nation as a CareerTrackers intern in November 2019. He gained a deep understanding of Supply Nation through first-hand experience, working among various teams within the organisation, developing a range of skills to further support his studies and career.
Jeremy has now completed a Bachelor of Business, with a major in Marketing at the University of Newcastle. He is excited to begin his professional career within an organisation that aligns with his values, where he can help create and promote equal opportunities for every Australian to achieve and succeed.
General Manager, Corporate Affairs
Jodie is a former ABC radio and television news journalist turned reputation management and corporate affairs specialist, with a particular passion for progressing Indigenous engagement and social change.
Over the past two decades, Jodie has been a trusted adviser to some of Australia’s most high profile brands including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Lendlease, Gilbert + Tobin, International Towers Barangaroo, JLL, Transport for NSW, Sydney Water, and The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.
As an Indigenous woman, Jodie is passionate about utilising her broadcast media and stakeholder engagement skills to drive diversity and inclusion across diverse landscapes, creating exceptional customer and employee experiences – and taking a strategic approach to marketing and reputation management.
Jodie has been involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentoring and engagement initiatives throughout her career. She proactively pitched the concept for Qantas’ now successful Indigenous Cadet Pilot scholarship and worked directly with the airline’s Chief Pilot to fast track the initiative. Jodie also coordinated the ABC’s NAIDOC Week activities in Canberra for three years.
Jodie Chaired Lendlease’s Indigenous Engagement and Diversity and Inclusion Committees across Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct – Australia’s largest urban regeneration development from 2018 – January 2020.
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 of this organisation. 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 experienced digital project manager focused on optimising customer experience to drive sustainable growth and solve complex problems. A design and digital thinker, Andrew has experience across multiple industries including government (both state and federal), media, education and technology. Previously he has worked for the NSW State Government where he helped to redesign services with citizens and for citizens.
Corporate Services Manager
Stephanie is an experienced administrator and manager, with highly developed organisational skills.
Stephanie has over ten years of experience in various roles across administration, human resources, office management, quality improvement and project management primarily in not-for-profit organisations. Most recently Stephanie was employed at Domestic Violence Services Australia where she led a team of up to 8 administrators supporting the organisation’s executive, governance, finance, HR, clinical, training, research and operational teams.
Stephanie is passionate about social equity and social justice, and is proud to contribute to Supply Nation and the Indigenous business sector’s success.
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 was a chronic alcoholic and heroin addict. 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. Michael didn’t want to be the typical Aboriginal man, dependent on Government social handouts or welfare. He refused employment benefits and Aboriginal housing benefits and chose to do it the hard way – he started his own niche telecommunications business. Today Message Stick is a growing multimillion dollar business and has no debt. The business paid back the initial start-up capital in its third year.
Message Stick Group
Message Stick is a unique business in that it is owned by Aboriginal Australians. The company was started in 2003 to show that Aboriginal 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. They seek only the opportunity to prove themselves and to be treated as worthy business partners.
The principals of Message Stick believe that business ownership, asset ownership, wealth creation and personal accountability are the key features for ending poverty and welfare dependency of Indigenous Australians. Most Indigenous Australians who have a dream to own their own business would not have the confidence to approach corporate Australia and ask for business opportunities. Michael McLeod and his Message Stick business model are trying to show that corporate Australia will give Aboriginal business a fair hearing.
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 NSW state and Federal Government customers who include Prime Ministers and Cabinet, FaHCSIA, AusAID, IBA, DRALGAS 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.
Supply Nation (formerly AIMSC)
Supply Nation has over 450 corporate and government members and over 2,500 certified or registered Indigenous suppliers, covering all industries and states/territories. Between them, they have facilitated over $3bn of contracts. These contracts provide wealth creation to the Indigenous business owners and therefore intergenerational wealth, which in turn will facilitate ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australian’s.
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?” Michael and Message Stick’s firm conviction has always been to reject handouts, as this simply serves to perpetuate the welfare cycle. Instead, Message Stick 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 governments 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.
Jenny Boddington has over 23 years’ experience in strategy, investment banking and private equity. She is currently Chairman of Latitude Insurance and ANZ Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance and a non-executive director of NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp), Chief Executive Women and Munich Re Australasia, as well as an executive mentor with Merryck and Co.
Until 2016, Jenny was Global Head, Bancassurance for QBE Group responsible for driving QBE’s insurance business with financial institutions. Prior to that, Jenny was CEO and a Director of QBE Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance Limited. She was also a Director of QBE Mortgage Insurance (Asia) Limited based in Hong Kong and Executive General Manager of Financial Institutions at QBE, responsible for bancassurance in the region, as well as marketing, organisational excellence, change and communications.
Before joining QBE, Jenny was Director of Private Equity for Deutsche Asset Management and a Director of Deutsche Bank investment banking in both Sydney and London.
Jenny has a Masters Honours degree in Metallurgy, Economics and Industrial Management from Oxford University.
Michelle Deshong is from Townsville, North Queensland and draws here connection to Kuku Yulanji 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 worked in both the Government and NGO sectors, and has held many senior leadership roles and she currently holds a number of directorship roles in the Not for Profit sector, including the Supply Nation Board, Thirrili and the OXFAM Indigenous Advisory Council. In 2013 Michelle was named in the Australian Financial Review/Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.
Michelle has extensive experience in areas of leadership, governance and politics. She 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.
Dr Dean Jarrett
Dr Dean Jarrett is an academic practitioner based at the University of Technology Sydney, (UTS) Business School and is a proud Aboriginal man born for the Gumbaynggirr/Gurreng Gurreng/Boonthamurra peoples. His PhD research considered relational trends, like the importance of Indigenous cultural values in supplier diversity, for Indigenous Australian and Native American businesses. Dr Jarrett has presented & lectured at the University of Technology Sydney, Western Sydney University, Swinburne University of Technology, University of Melbourne Business School, Macquarie University (Sydney), Central Qld University & the University of Arizona (USA) on a range of business, management and other Indigenous topics. He also has around fifteen years’ experience working within third sector organisations in middle and senior management roles. These roles included numerous governance positions across areas such as Indigenous health, employment and Aboriginal land councils.
As a business owner, Dr Jarrett was a Director with two consulting firms working frequently with various corporate and government clients. He is currently a Director at Wurindaga Management and Procurement Services. He has a strong interest in Indigenous public policy and legislation, particularly those concerning Indigenous social enterprise and economic development. He believes that inclusive procurement is about Indigenous socio-economic independence and empowerment and tapping into diverse ideas that could bring transformational cultural change within large purchasing organisations for the better.
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.
Justin Mohamed is the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People and a proud Aboriginal man of the Gooreng Gooreng nation, near Bundaberg in Queensland. Justin has dedicated the past 28 years to working towards building a strong and healthier nation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Justin believes that better health is clearly linked to the positive outcomes of reconciliation and that better health for his people will build stronger education and employment outcomes, financial security, social participation and respect.
Prior to his role with the Victorian Government Justin was CEO of Equity Health Solutions, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, Justin chaired the, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, and was Co-Chair of the National Health Leadership Forum. He has also been the director of the Academy of Sport, Health and Education, based at the University of Melbourne’s Shepparton campus, and CEO of Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-Operative.
Justin has also held positions on multiple community, state and national working groups, committees and boards. Justin continues to be a director of Kaiela Institute, Co Chair of Culture is Life and Cricket Australia’s National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council.
Professor Robynne Quiggin is a Wiradjuri lawyer and business woman who has worked across business, legal and policy areas f 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.
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.