Meet the amazing leaders from the Melbourne community; small business, corporates and government
SandyMcDonald.com and charity, CreateCare Global, Sandy McDonald is an author, a TEDx speaker, and a storytelling trainer, working with business and academia to improve and enhance communication through purpose-led story.
ArtWords in started out in 1992 and Twenty two years later, it had become an award-winning marketing communication solutions destination for some of Australia’s most successful enterprises. In 2008, Sandy started her first charity Knit-a-square which led to her next career. She delivered a standing ovation TEDx talk about this extraordinary adventure in 2014.
The intersection of these two experiences was to prove pivotal to the work she does now. In ArtWords, if they couldn’t get their clients clear on what they were positioning, why, and for whom, they’d failed. This became the single most important component of their work. During the formative years of Knit-a-square, they learned that online stories with a focused purpose touched lives everywhere.
They helped build a worldwide community of 20,000 people in 71 countries which is still growing. Sandy wrote the book, Get It Right Online to detail the framework for how this was achieved.
The principles that informed this govern what she did then, and still does: Clarity: getting people clear on purpose, principles, people, product, and positioning Curiosity: keeping them in pursuit of their truth Coherence: helping them articulate their purpose and brand promise truthfully and consistently. In 2012, Sandy started to coach others as a clarity guide. Soon people asked for her help to tell their stories which lead to her career today.
Throughout my career in New Zealand and Australia, my passion and focus have been working with organisations to achieve their strategic growth goals and hone their greatest competitive advantage – their people.
Leveraging off my extensive background in consulting, sales and leadership development, this has predominantly been realised through the creation of high-performance cultures, coaching and executive mentoring, and always focusing on creating the best experience and outcome for the customer.
From a business leadership perspective, many of the roles I have undertaken have come as the result of being appointed to lead organisational change – even during times of volatility and uncertainty. I have learned that to achieve significant, sustainable success and growth you must focus on the customer experience and outcome – continually delivering a better service today than yesterday.
As an executive mentor and leadership coach, I have worked with other business leaders in their personal develop as they too contend with the challenges of leadership during uncertainty and on the journey of organisational change and service excellence.
CEO of Business in Heels, daily she works to fast-track women on their journey. She has 4 1/2 years of small business experience and well understands the transition from corporate to business owner.
Her expertise includes strategic planning, marketing, expansion through digital marketing, she is a strategic connector.
Her background is 25 years of corporate buying experience with expertise in strategic planning, sourcing, online retail, negotiation and she well understands the hurley burley of a corporate career.
For the last 8 years, she has expanded her skills to running & scaling small businesses. Today she enables business owners to take charge with a clear point of difference, a business plan and a marketing plan. And she works with the team to develop Done For You marketing solutions when they need assistance.
She is passionate about making a difference for women & on a daily basis works to find solutions to level up the playing field.
Caitlin Carson began her insurance career in 2005, following completion of a business course through Martin College joining Jardine Lloyd Thomson Pty Ltd (“JLT”) as a Clerical Assistant. In early 2006, Caitlin was offered a broking role specialising in financial and professional risks where she began working as a Broking Assistant.
Over time Caitlin received promotions to more senior positions over a period of 17 years ranging in different roles in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne resulting in her current role as VIC State Practice Leader – FINPRO. Caitlin’s role involves managing a large portfolio of business, working with global and ASX-listed companies, private, not-for-profit and government bodies from a broad range of industries addressing their executive insurance risks, as well as, leading a team of specialist brokers.
Caitlin’s career progression has all been achieved without changing companies, only recently moving to Marsh as part of their acquisition of the JLT business in early 2019. In late 2019, Caitlin was awarded Young Professional Broker of the Year by insurance industry body NIBA, and as a result was fortunate to attend the Yale School of Management’s Women’s Leadership Program in early 2020. In early 2021, Caitlin was accepted by Melbourne Business School to study her Master of Business Administration (MBA) and continues these studies on a part-time basis.
A senior retail executive, I have spent the last 20+ years developing and delivering my end to end business & leadership skills in Retail/wholesale businesses. With a love for design, and a desire to make a difference in the lives of individuals, within the business, and as customers/ communities, I have had the great privilege to have worked with some great entrepreneurs, and businesses who have absolutely made a credible difference in their world of expertise.
I am now in a privileged position to take what I love most, and provide support to individuals, business owners, entrepreneurs through mentoring, coaching and education tools that enable them to design their best lives, their best businesses, and their best pathways to success.
I have demonstrated expertise in:
General Management of a Retail/Wholesale business.
Leadership of large teams 30+
Optimising operating costs through re-evalution and implementation of systems, processes and structures
Management of Merchandise Planning, Replenishment and Supply Chain functions
Category/ Brand Portolio management
Management of store & DC operations
Product Design and Development
Commercial Business Management
Ecommerce Management including site design, content management, marketing
Wholesale Sales Operations
Sourcing/ Importing/ Freight Management
Sector experience: Big Box Discount Retailing, Stationery and Office Supplies, Fashion Apparel, Homewares, Beauty & Cosmetics.
Having started my career in retail stores as a “fill in time” role post High School, I quickly realised the retail sector was one I wanted to explore.
Working my way from the shop floor to management roles within the store portfolio, and then into a trainee buyer ship in HQ at Coles Myer. I learnt very quickly that the customer is at the forefront of everything we do. NO MATTER WHAT!
18 years of Womenswear buying within Kmart- across Lingerie, Sleepwear, Active wear, Denim, Dresses and Knits/ Jersey followed- ensuring a variety of departmental variances keeping me challenged and interested. To add to that I finished my career at Kmart as a Senior Buyer myself, mentoring up and coming buyers in training.
From Kmart I had an amazing opportunity at Sussan Corporation- with an incredible mentor in Felicity McGahan- leading the way in leadership for Women!
10 years at Witchery gave me incredible design and sourcing opportunities- a role I relished with the support of Iain Nairn- MD Witchery at the time.
I finished my “rag trade” career at Just Jeans- a volume driver in the Australian marketplace.
My current role at T2 as Head of Product- 5 years has been an exceptional learning experience and change of pace and process from the clothing industry I was immersed in. One which I absolutely adore and am supported across the board by the leadership team at T2.
Lyly Greca, a Vietnamese immigrant lucky enough to arrive in Australia with my mother and older brothers at the tender age of 6. Today, I’m married to a beautiful Italian man whom I met at University whilst studying my Bachelor of Economics and Finance degree and together we’re blessed with 2 amazing children living in Australia’s most livable city Melbourne.
I am the 3rd child in our family of 2 older boys and a younger half-sister. My brothers and I were raised by an incredibly strong and traditional woman with amazing smarts, fantastic work ethics and greatest generosity. From a very young age, I knew what I wanted and often map out how I’d achieve those goals. Today I operate a premium flower and gift social enterprise called “Miei Fiori”. With more than 10% of Australian population living below the poverty line and just half of those are Children, Miei Fiori was created as a vehicle to combat poverty, serve our people, support our community and protect our planet.
We do that by that by:
Donating 100% profit to children’s charities within Australia
Commit to sustainable options
My entrepreneurship started at about 15 years of age when I was able to make my very own first dollar at McDonald’s. I mapped my path to owning my first property by 18, how I’d earn 6 figures by 25 and operating a Company that is dedicated to solving some world challenges by 40. Today I’m 37 years old and couldn’t feel luckier and more grateful for everything I’ve achieved thus far with my best-friend and soul mate.
Before taking the bold step to start my own company, I had an incredible Corporate career in varying roles across many industries practicing the lessons learnt from mentors, making many mistakes along the way, solving problems and pivoted through challenges whilst having a lot of fun along the way.
Melissa Ellul is an experienced senior IT leader with 20 year’s industry experience across Australia and Asia, including IT consulting, with a passion for leading Digital IT transformations and fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. She is a strong values, team and results focused leader, earning a reputation for successfully leading transformational changes and being a leading authority in Agile, Lean and Design Thinking delivery approaches and practices.
Melissa led the Retail IT function at Telstra from 2012-2016. During this time she successfully delivered a number of challenging programs end to end, including an inspiring world-class future retail environment as showcased in Telstra’s Melbourne and Sydney Discovery Stores.
Melissa is currently the Global IT Leader Enterprise at Aurecon, a global consulting, engineering design, management and specialist technical services firm that works across a broad range of markets and sectors fostering innovation, harnessing disruption and bringing ideas to life. Reporting to the CIO, she is the trusted IT partner for the business across the enterprise. She is responsible for executive/business engagement, shaping and co-creating business strategies, strategic roadmaps and is accountable for the delivery that drives strategic value for Aurecon and delivers a foundation for continuing and sustainable innovation.
Melissa is accountable for the Workday platform and building upon our established HCM capability and embarking on the delivery of a fully integrated Workday Finance, Projects, Procurement and People Platform…taking the opportunity to truly innovate how we work at Aurecon.
Sharenya is an exceptional People & Culture Executive, renowned for her expertise in driving outstanding business results and fostering positive cultural transformations. With a profound commitment to reshaping the future of work, she is dedicated to revolutionising the employee experience and cultivating more inclusive and equitable workplaces.
With over 20 years of broad experience in people and culture, Sharenya has honed her skills in implementing impactful culture and transformation programs. Her career began in learning and development, where she cultivated a passion for creating enriching experiences that enable individuals to unlock their full potential. Driven by curiosity and a desire for personal growth, Sharenya fearlessly embraced new opportunities and challenges, propelling her career forward and allowing her to evolve into her most recent role as General Manager of Employee Experience.
With an impressive breadth of experience across multiple regions, including EMEA and ASIAPAC, Sharenya has gained invaluable insights into the nuances of different cultural contexts and organisational dynamics. This global perspective has equipped her with a keen understanding of the diverse needs and aspirations of individuals within the workforce.
Sharenya is now embarking on an exciting new chapter in her career, embracing the opportunity to explore her passions and expand her horizons. After recently tying the knot, she is currently taking time to travel and immerse herself in new experiences. Simultaneously, she has ventured into the realm of entrepreneurship by establishing her own business in human experience consulting.
Driven by a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of personal growth, Sharenya is dedicated to helping individuals unlock their true potential and lead more fulfilling lives. She possesses a profound understanding of the intricate connection between values, work, and personal fulfillment, and she guides others to align their aspirations and passions with meaningful and purposeful careers.
Cassandra Goodman whole-heartedly believes that it’s not enough to love what we do – unless we also love who we’re being while we do it. Through her coaching, training, speaking, and writing. Cassandra empowers leaders to be true to themselves at work as the catalyst for the co-creation of workplaces where people can thrive, perform, play and belong.
Cassandra has three decades of business experience having held many different senior leadership roles, including being appointed as Bupa’s first Global Director of Employee Experience. In this role she was focussed on the activation of the organisations’ purpose ‘Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives’ for their 86,000 employees around the world.
Today, Cassandra enjoys a portfolio career. She is the founder of The Centre for Self-Fidelity, the Chief Talent Activator at Think Talent, and a facilitator and executive coach for Thrive Global. Following the success of her first self-published book Self-Fidelity in 2020, her second book Being True was published by Hardie Grant in 2023.Cassandra was born in Sydney, but currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two young sons.
Kathryn Harper brings over 20 years’ experience in executive search and consulting, building her career with boutique agencies and large international Executive Search firms. She joined Amrop Carmichael Fisher as Partner in 2019.
Specialising in the Government sector, Kathryn has provided Executive Search services for senior level appointments including CEO, Deputy Secretary, Executive Officer, General Manager and Director mandates for various State Government departments and agencies. Additionally, she has also managed Chair and Board appointments for several Statutory Authorities. As a result, she brings a strong understanding of the sector and its specific requirements, including diversity, to the search and engagement of executives and non-executive directors.
Relationship management has been a major focus for Kathryn and she is passionately committed to understanding the ever-changing needs of clients and candidates, carefully assessing the capabilities of candidates to ensure a good cultural match between the two. She has a strong understanding of the importance of building lasting relationships with clients and candidates alike. Providing career advice and mentoring is an aspect of her role which she finds particularly enjoyable and rewarding.
Ghislaine Entwisle is a Managing Director at Protiviti, a global consulting firm, and co-leads the IT Advisory practice primarily focussing on Digital Transformation, Managed Business Services, Business Transformation and Data Governance. She has over 16 years’ experience consulting across APAC, UK and Australia – applying a unique mix of strategic, operational, risk and IT skills using technology to drive optimal customer experiences.
Ghislaine is interested in connecting with people who are passionate about technology and how it can enable better outcomes for clients and society at large.
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Malaysian-born Jocelyn Chong is an award-winning, #1 International Best-Selling Author, CEO and Founder of Seed to Sequoia. After a successful twenty-year career at Australia’s leading banks (where she generated over $200 million in revenue), she changed paths to pursue her true passion as a Certified Life and Business Coach.
Utilising her MBA and background in high-level sales, leadership and management, she has worked with over 500 entrepreneurs to date, teaching them how to earn with ease, attract dream clients, and create a life by design. Her mission is to help business leaders tap into their true purpose while scaling their business with feel-good strategies and intuitive guidance.
Her clients love her instinctive ability to uncover the core problems stifling their growth — and the practical tools she provides to unlock their full potential. She’s known for her fun, bubbly attitude and unapologetically ambitious dogma.
Jocelyn has been featured in Thrive Global, Digital Journal, FOX, Ask.com, The Times and Finance News World. When she’s not empowering her clients, you can find her working on her own self-development, enjoying nature and planning her next getaway.
Nicole Tumiati is a corporate / commercial lawyer with nearly 20 years’ experience in private practice, both in Australia and in the United Kingdom. She started her career as an articled clerk with Hall & Wilcox (Melbourne) in 2002, after which she went to London to work with Nabarro (now CMS). After coming back to Melbourne, Nicole worked with Mills Oakley (Melbourne) for 8 years and has recently re-joined Hall and Wilcox (Melbourne) as a special counsel.
Nicole is highly motivated by the challenges of transactional work (including mergers & acquisitions, equity capital markets and projects), and enjoys working with businesses at all stages of their lifecycle (from start-up to exit and everything in between). Nicole has worked with clients from a wide range of industries, including professional services, manufacturing, property development, energy (including renewables), agribusiness and food and beverage. Nicole especially enjoys working with large and diverse teams, including clients, lawyers and other advisors from different areas and jurisdictions.
She found her performing anxiety solution: learning how to speak in public. She then became passionate about helping others to communicate well in front of groups or in social situations, and founded Improve Your Public Speaking in 2009. Now, she has worked with over a 1000 clients, often in tech, law, engineering, healthcare and architecture.
She now helps others through a combination of techniques learned as a keen researcher into effective communication skills, psychology, neuroscience, performing arts and speaker.
Patricia Stewart has over 40 years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry with the past 21 years at CSL. She has extensive experience in Operations, Quality, and all facets of Product Development.
Until recently, Tricia was Senior Vice President and General Manager (SVP&GM) at Broadmeadows. She has led the site during the COVID-19 Pandemic ensuring that there was no impact to Operations, ensuring the supply of lifesaving products plus supporting manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines.
Prior to Broadmeadows, Tricia was SVP&GM at CSL’s Kankakee site in Illinois (USA). Under her leadership, the facility significantly grew its manufacturing capacity and became the largest fractionation facility in the CSL network. She drove the development of the site culture and strategy.
Previously, Tricia has taken on roles of increasing responsibility, including an assignment in Copenhagen, Denmark, working with our Contract Manufacturer on AFSTYLA®, improving the quality approach at the manufacturer, leading to successful FDA licensure. Before that, she was the Senior Director of Quality for CSL’s vaccine division, bioCSL, Parkville. She has also held senior roles within CSL’s, Research & Development group.
Cassandra Ashworth Senior Director – Strategic Partnerships, Services and Sales Development APJ
Cassandra is a dynamic executive with more than 25 years of experience in Global, APJ, ANZ leadership across Sales, Marketing, Channel, GM and HR, primarily in the Technology and Education sectors.
Known for her agile transformational methods, entrepreneurial, strategic, collaborative, solution-oriented leadership along with her strong coaching, networking abilities, data-driven passion and results, Cassandra doesn’t shy away from a challenge of growth and build executive roles
She is passionate about mentoring diversity & inclusion and serves on the Business in Heels International Advisory Board.
Melissa is a Northern California native who grew up on the beaches of Santa Cruz and the romantic streets of San Francisco.
Currently she is the CEO of Melissa David Enterprises, Co-Artistic Director at Brooklyn Runaways, former Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad in Victoria, founder at Expat Women at Work, and on the board of Antipodes Theatre Company. She is a Advisor for She’s the Boss, Mentor at Business in Heels, Member at one roof, and for We Aspire.
She is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Tennessee, which is currently in the top 10 programs of the world. She received her BA from California State University, Fullerton and went to San Francisco School of the Arts. She moved from New York City to Melbourne four years ago .
Becky Hyde is Senior Executive Overseas and Corporate Business at Medibank, one of Australia’s leading Health Insurance companies. She has over 25 years international experience as a Portfolio Director spanning fast moving consumer goods and the health sector and more recently working with the universities to mentor and support students on their career pathway.
With a passion for marketing and communications Becky’s career started in communications when she graduated from her BA Management and Marketing. Progressing quickly with JWT Becky moved to Singapore at 27 to manage the Kraft Foods account for Asia Pacific. With 11 countries reporting in to her she developed a deep understanding of how to mine insights across a broad range Asian cultures. She formed part of Kraft Regional Growth team developing strategies for entry in to developing markets such as China, India and Vietnam.
Becky then took up the position as Chief Marketing Officer for an Australian Biotechnology company that owns IP with applications in food, nutraceutical and pharmaceuticals aimed at curbing the onset of diabetes and obesity in the global population. She took responsibility for brand and product development, marketing and PR, IP management and business development, working internationally with companies such as Coca Cola, Tate and Lyle, Domino Foods, Cargill to commercialise the IP.
Becky has a passion for health and in her current role as Senior Executive Overseas and Corporate Business is working closely with major Corporations to develop strategies to improve the health & wellbeing of Australians and non -residents in Australia.
Becky is currently a non-executive Board member of St Catherine’s School (a leading private girls school in Victoria) and a non-executive board member of Basketball Victoria
Success BOX https://successbox.solutions has become more than an aspiration for founder Debbie Key; extensive academic effort, diverse industry experience, and a keen sense of commerce have provided a foothold in the business world that she is determined to leverage.
Debbie is a sought-after resource, and engaging management consultant who has driven and implemented P&C strategies within the corporate, not-for-profit and franchise sectors working with industry-leading companies Metcash, Visy, SIXT, Assa Abloy, Civil Edge, Downer, Woolworths, Altus Traffic, Forty Winks, Findex and Blanchard International, along with many government departments and agencies.
She works with stakeholders at all levels to identify the gaps in their processes and then designs result-driven solutions to meet the organisation’s needs, whether it be an individual strategy or an overall business change. At Success BOX, they are known as ‘Excellence Solutions’, and they span Leadership, Learning and Change Management to provide outcomes that consistently satisfy even the most discerning executive teams.
The strive to build organisational excellence has seen Debbie presented with 16 international awards while attaining a double Master’s qualification in Adult Education and Human Resource Management. With a curiosity to learn, Debbie is an active member of Monash University Alumni and Golden Key International Honour Society and an advisory board member for the Institute for Learning and Performance (ILP) Asia-Pacific.
Debbie is well positioned to continue the development of knowledge as it applies to the business world and looks forward to meeting with like-minded people across the globe.
Nabila is a digital marketing communications expert, with over 15 years’ experience in the field, both across consulting and client in paid, owned and earned communications. She has driven and implemented digital strategies for leading global and Australian companies such as the ASX listed BHP, Telstra Enterprise, Intel, LVMH, Mastercard and NYSE listed, Cushman & Wakefield.
Nabila earned her Communications degree from Richmond, the American International University in London. She is regarded as someone that is dynamic, agile and highly motivated, and has a deep and extensive experience in integrated marketing and communications for industries such as mining, technology, finance, consumer and government.
To expand her skills recently Nabila took up the opportunity to do a Certificate in Cybersecurity, where she now adds python coding and cyber attack management to her expertise. In her spare time, Nabila enjoys mentoring others in the marketing communications field and consulting start-ups on best practice in digital marketing.
Inclusion and diversity is important to her, and she advocates for this as a committee member for the women’s group at BHP in Melbourne, providing a platform for women in the business to advocate for each other. Other than this, she is also a strong LGBT+ ally and is the Global committee member for the LGBT+ global employee led resource group, Jasper.
Ana Marinkovic: Executive General Manager, Small Business, NAB
Ana leads Australia’s biggest Small Business bank, where her team look after the business needs of more than one million business owners across Australia through innovative solutions to support every stage of their journey.
Ana’s career spans more than 15 years in financial services and her previous roles have seen her lead the delivery of enterprise-wide transformations, complex technology programs and manage large-scale businesses. In her current role, Ana regularly spends time with small business owners and has deep understanding of the impact of the economic environment on Australian small businesses.
Charlotta Adolfsson is a Supply Chain professional in Retail, Planning & Operations.
She is driven by learning and teaching by empowering others, with the view that if you are continuously learning and acquiring new skills, you will constantly drive yourself to be a better version than you were yesterday.
Born and raised in Sweden, lived and worked in Denmark, now proud to call herself Australian.
With over 20 years in leadership positions, within management and expansion of multiple segments and multi-channel retailing in several different countries, she brings a holistic view and pragmatic approach to her work and life.
As a straightforward and inspirational leader, each day is active and energized, and always honest.
In her free time, she wishes she would exercise more and eat healthier.
A born philanthropist, at age 19 Jessica Jenkins became the youngest elected representative and Deputy Mayor in 2003. Committed to dedicating her term to the youth of her municipality also Jessica was also named as Young Citizen of the year that same year.
Continuing her award-winning track record in her 21st year in the Insurance Industry, Jessica was named as Insurance Business Magazine’s Elite Women, Underwriting Agency BDM of the year in 2022 and 5 star BDM year of the year in 2021.
Holding several leadership and National relationship roles specialising in the development of go to market and growth strategies & marketing Mrs Jenkins holds an extensive track record of insurance industry and relationship management experience. In her role as relationship manager, she is responsible for developing healthy, productive partnerships as well as nurturing and building the company’s existing key relationships with brokers.
Proactive, highly informed and committed to outstanding communication, Jenkins takes an authentic approach to fostering lasting relationships and is focused on genuinely reflecting Brooklyn Underwriting’s commitment to their core value of “customer first, always”.
She is motivated to share her extensive professional knowledge with her team and industry peers and volunteers as a mentor.
With her passion to support and mentoring her colleagues, particularly those just starting out their careers in insurance clients and partners who come into contact with Jenkins benefit from her depth of knowledge, her strategic capabilities, and her ability to identify and develop new market channels.
“My goal is to encourage the wonderful women in our industry to lean in, believe in ourselves, and empower each other to be and do the best we can,” says Jenkins.
“It is OK to make mistakes and fail. Through failure, life’s greatest lessons are learnt. It’s through failure that we build a platform for great success.”
Outside of the office, she is a self-confessed coffee and chocolate addict. In addition to her day-to-day , she is a mother to six-year-old Mia and Co Founder of the the Women’s Wellness Hour of Power (WWHOP), a supportive event for women in the insurance industry who are juggling many roles and responsibilities on a daily basis.
“The WWHOP is an idea borne out of a collective of women in the insurance and finance industry who are juggling their many roles and responsibilities daily, in particular, working mums,” says Jenkins. “As mothers of young daughters, our co-founder and I recognised the need for an independent safe haven for women in the industry to come together, empower, mentor and support one another and remember that it’s OK not to be OK.”
Jo is an entrepreneurial thought leader and business builder with 25+ years in corporate sales, marketing, operations, management, human resources, cybersecurity, cloud, digital transformation; and running her own small business in technology/cloud/cyber/business for small businesses.
Jo is currently a mentor at Wipro, and has mentored through her own small business & the Australian Small Business Advisory Services helping small start ups with GTM, digital, technology & business solutions; completed an MBA, and won a scholarship for the Women’s Entrepreneurs program through AICD.
Areas where Jo adds great value:
- Small Business start up
- Cloud Hosting & Cybersecurity
- Technology & Digital Transformation
- GTM strategies
- Sales & Marketing
- Business Coach