EXPERT DIRECTORY

The Big Black Orange Book

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Arts & Culture

Travel

John Guise

Noosa Eat & Drink Festival

Festival Director

John knows the winning formula for a successful event; combining must-see guests, big-name brands and breathtaking destinations with sharp business acumen and savvy marketing. As Festival Director of Noosa Eat & Drink Festival, John’s expertise across strategic marketing, event conceptualisation and project management is on full display. He is also Managing Director of Global 360 Group, a project management consultancy.

Business

Community

Property

Deborah Pescott

RSL Art Union

General Manager, Lotteries

Deborah brings her extensive background in community engagement, business acumen and property management to RSL Art Union. As General Manager of Lotteries, she deftly navigates the intricacies of charity and lottery operations and funding tangible impact, showcasing her expertise in both business and community-driven initiatives.

Travel

What's On

Alessandro Pizzolato

The Westin

Head Chef, Settimo by Guy Grossi

Alessandro’s impressive culinary background includes experience in Michelin-starred kitchens and training under renowned chefs. Hailing from Rome, Alessandro moved to Brisbane in 2016 with lauded tenures at Hellenika and Mercure Clear Mountain Lodge. In 2023, Guy Grossi appointed him to lead Settimo where Alessandro combines his fervent passion for Italian food, local produce and fostering connections through culinary experiences.

Arts & Culture

Umberto Clerici

Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Chief Conductor

Umberto Clerici is an expert in classical music and arts leadership, widely regarded for his seamless transition from orchestral musician to acclaimed conductor. He began his career as a virtuoso cellist, taking up prominent positions in esteemed orchestras such as the Teatro Regio di Torino and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Umberto is Chief Conductor of the QSO and is regularly engaged as a guest conductor with leading orchestras globally.

Arts & Culture

Travel

Andrew Stafford

Noosa alive! Festival

President

Andrew is a passionate advocate for the creative sector and growing the value of arts and culture in smaller communities. The Noosa-based financial planner and founder of Morgans has been at the helm of the legendary NOOSA alive! Festival since 2021. Andrew leverages his financial prowess to strengthen the regional Festival and bring ongoing economic and social benefits to the community.

Arts & Culture

Travel

Susan Ewington

Tourism Noosa

Communications Manager

Susan sets the standard for branding, media relations, event management and publicity solutions. As Tourism Noosa’s Communications Manager, Susan drums up destination awareness, hosts visiting journalists and leads events sponsorship strategy. Her diverse portfolio of experience – racked up over two decades – spans marketing projects for renowned festivals, hotels and businesses including Noosa Jazz Festival, Noosa Eat & Drink Festival, ATEC Symposium, Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd, Mint Hotels & Apartments and Hyatt Coolum.

Arts & Culture

Giuliana Bonel

Empire Theatres

General Manager

A creative and innovative thinker, Giuliana has a passion for arts engagement and nurturing dynamic cultural growth. She has a proven track record of overseeing successful major events and experiences through her previous roles at Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane Festival and Queensland Music Festival. Giuliana has extensive expertise in brand management, marketing and audience engagement, corporate sponsorship, stakeholder engagement, placemaking and visitor experience.

Business

Darren McLean

Pico Play

Executive Director

Darren is a driving force behind some of the world’s most impressive rides and attractions. Pico Play is a global leader in the planning, design, development and construction of themed experiences and entertainment and as Executive Director, Darren leads international teams to bring big dreams to life. His end-to-end service expertise includes delivering jaw-dropping projects at Universal Studios Japan, Legoland, Dreamworld, Movieworld and Singapore Zoo.

Business

Cyber Security

Access to the Experts

The University of Queensland’s Business, Economic and Law Schools

Gain detailed insight into today's business landscape through leading academics and experts at The University of Queensland’s Business, Economic and Law Schools. Connect with experts who can provide contemporary insights into topics such as: • AI and emerging technologies • Sustainable business practices • Cyber security and resilience • Tourism • Gender equity • Marketing innovation • Digital transformation • Economic leadership • Property and insurance

Science & Technology

Dr Anita Milroy

Inspiring Australia Queensland (IAQ)

Senior Manager

Anita’s expertise spans art, science, research, education and leadership and, with Inspiring Australia, aims to engage all Australians with science. Anita’s strong leadership skills, change management experience and proven collaborations across government, industry, institutions and community drive successful projects. She works to make research accessible through exhibitions and innovative communication methods.

Arts & Culture

Jackie Ryan (PhD)

Brisbane Writers Festival

Artistic Director

Jackie’s passion for storytelling and the literary community shines through her extensive contributions to Queensland’s writing, reading and publishing industry. An accomplished author, Jackie has dedicated her career to nurturing other aspiring writers through delivering programs at the State Library of Queensland, Queensland Writers Centre and as Artistic Director of the Brisbane Writers Festival. Jackie won two 2018 Queensland Literary Awards and holds a PhD in history and political science from UQ.

Community

Cost of Living

Homelessness

Pam Barker

Brisbane Youth Service

CEO

Armed with a psychology degree and leadership accreditations, Pam is dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable children and young people. With passion and purpose, she drives meaningful change for young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Pam's expertise spans policy advocacy, service delivery, health and organisational development.

Business

Scott Bush

The Cheesecake Shop

CEO

Scott is a seasoned business leader with a knack for fostering franchise growth, nurturing connections, seeding innovation and leading teams. As CEO of The Cheesecake Shop, he is revitalising the beloved brand and spearheading ambitious expansion across Australia and New Zealand; honouring the brand's heritage while embracing its future growth. Scott’s expertise also spans two decades at one of Australia’s largest pizza franchises.

Arts & Culture

Amy Hollingsworth

Australasian Dance Collective

Artistic Director

Amy Hollingsworth is a multi award-winning dancer and director, based in Brisbane and was described by the UK Observer as one of ‘the most compelling and intelligent dancers on the world stage’. With an impressive international performance and creative career spanning large-scale classical ballet and contemporary dance, Amy is a highly versatile director of dance. She has produced, collaborated on and performed in a wide range of live art collaborations, collectively driven independent work, film, documentaries, art gallery instillations and large-scale music videos and tours. Amy is also a sought-after keynote speaker, industry mentor and creative consultant with a deep interest in cybernetics.

Arts & Culture

Renai Grace BA

Queensland Museum Network

Executive Director – Museums and Engagement

Renai has dedicated her career to raising awareness of the impact of creativity to connect and inspire communities and create vibrant cities. Renai has worked with many of Queensland’s leading cultural institutions including Museum of Brisbane, Artisan, Arts Queensland and QAGOMA. She is also a Board member of Of One Mind (Women of the World Festival) and committee member of the Australian Museums and Galleries Association, Queensland (AMaGAQ).

Arts & Culture

Stephanie Kelly Gordine

Affordable Art Fair

Managing Director, Asia Pacific & Australia Fair Director for Affordable Art Fair

Stephanie Kelly Gordine is the Asia Pacific MD and Australia Fair Director for Affordable Art Fair. Stephanie is creative leader, culture vulture and number nerd with 20 years experience in building brands. She began her career in healthcare marketing in New Zealand and the UK before moving to Asia to make a change into the world of arts and events.

Science & Technology

Dr Jim Thompson BSc(Hons), MResSc, PhD, GCELead, PSM

Queensland Museum Network

Chief Executive Officer

Prior to joining Queensland Museum Network in 2017, Jim was responsible for biosecurity within Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Jim has decades of experience in government agencies in both Queensland and New South Wales including 14 years in scientific research focussed on livestock and wildlife management. He participates in numerous state and national committees, with a particular focus on science, policy and organisational leadership, and has worked extensively with non-government industry bodies and stakeholders.

Canine Behaviour & Training

Glenn Cooke

Pet Resorts Australia

Chief Training Officer – Canine Evolution

Glenn has almost three decades of canine training expertise including breeding, socialisation, temperament, obedience, behavioural problem-solving, and the advanced training of working dogs. He is a sought-after expert consultant in court hearings, specialising in explosive detection, and providing training to foreign military police in all facets of canine expertise. Glenn is a dedicated member of the National Dog Trainers Federation.

Robert Kronk

Arts & Culture

Robert Kronk

Flipside Circus

CEO & Creative Director

Robert is the Creative Director and CEO of Flipside Circus and is a co-founder and director of debase (winner Gold Matilda Award 2018). He has worked extensively as a dramaturg, writer, director, and producer for companies including; La Boite, Brisbane Festival, Queensland Theatre, HotHouse Theatre, and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Charlie Cush

Arts & Culture

Business

Charlie Cush

Brisbane Festival

CEO

Charlie is an experienced executive with a demonstrated history of working in the international performing arts industry. Appointed CEO of Brisbane Festival in 2018, Charlie has skillfully led the organisation through some of its greatest challenges including the global pandemic.

Adam Brunes

Arts & Culture

Business

Adam Brunes

Aruga

Co-Founder

A trained journalist and published writer, Adam’s media background, coupled with broad marketing experience, gives him an enviable edge in developing and executing creative brand campaigns. Adam is also an experienced cultural commentator and co-founder of The Little Red Company and Chair of La Boite Theatre.

Donna Kramer

Business

Travel

Donna Kramer

Aruga

Co-Founder

Sharp and strategic, Donna brings equal parts business savvy and sparkle. For 20 years, DK has delivered top-shelf communications solutions and business counsel for industry leaders across the cultural, tourism, lifestyle, property and not-for-profit sectors.

Kate Gould

Arts & Culture

Kate Gould

Brisbane Powerhouse

Artistic Director & CEO

Kate is one of Australia’s leading artistic leaders and cultural entrepreneurs, and strategic advisor to numerous major events and organisations including Dark Mofo, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre (SA), Monash University and Australian Dance Theatre. She is current CEO and Artistic Director of Brisbane Powerhouse and former CEO and Associate Artistic Director of the iconic Adelaide Festival.

Brooke Wood

Agriculture

Mental Health

Travel

Brooke Wood

Hipcamp Australia

Global Social Media Lead

Brooke is a camping expert committed to getting more people outdoors through Hipcamp. Brooke is a lifelong camper who has spent many a night under the stars and can provide expert tips, data and trends about Australians' camping habits.

Rhys Kennedy

Diversity & Inclusion

Rhys Kennedy

CPL (Choice, Passion, Life)

CEO

Rhys is the CEO of Choice Passion Life and the current chair of Cerebral Palsy Australia. He is passionate about ensuring Australians work together to de-stigmatise disability. Under his leadership, CPL has grown from an organisation with a turnover of $84 million and 1,100 employees to a $172 million organisation with 2,600 employees.

Jayne Shallcross_Rosies

Cost of Living

Homelessness

Jayne Shallcross

Rosies - Friends on the Street

CEO

Jayne has been CEO since 2022 but was on the board for two years before that. Her background is in senior executive banking, finance and economic roles. She has always had a head for business but a heart for the community.

Sophie Li_SignHow

Community

Diversity & Inclusion

Sophie Li

SignHow

Co-Founder

Sophie is Li Cunxin’s daughter and was born profoundly deaf. She had her first cochlear implant when she was four but only learned to sign three decades later. She is co-founder of the world’s first online sign language database.

Ben Bjarnesan_LGBTQ DVA

Diversity & Inclusion

Domestic & Family Violence

LGBTQIA

Mental Health

Ben Bjarnesan

LGBTQ DVA Foundation

Founder and Managing Director, TEDx Speaker, Police Officer

Ben Bjarnesen is a passionate educator, campaigner and speaker who believes that all people, no matter what their sexuality or gender identity, deserve the right to live free from domestic violence and abuse. In 2020, he founded the LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Day and has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and stamp out domestic violence in LGBTQ+ communities.

Bill Owens_Veracity

Business

Cyber Security

Bill Owens

Veracity & Digital Literacy for Leaders

Managing Director

Bill Owens is the Managing Director of Veracity and has decades of experience in global business consulting and technology. Bill is passionate about finding the sweet spot where IT and corporate stewardship intersects – using technology to transform businesses. Through his Digital Literacy program, Bill is committed to raising digital literacy levels of business leaders across Australia.

Naomi Price

Arts & Culture

Business

Naomi Price

The Little Red Company

Artistic Director

Naomi Price is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Queensland independent production house The Little Red Company and Executive Producer of the Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols. An award-winning performer and producer, she is a passionate and respected advocate and thought leader for the Australian performing arts industry.

Agriculture

Community

John Warlters

Rural Aid

CEO

John has always championed our primary producers and advocated for a fair go for our farmers and their families. He has a deep connection across the Australian agribusiness sector and a genuine affinity with rural and regional communities. John joined Rural Aid as CEO in February 2020.

Arts & Culture

Louise Bezzina

Brisbane Festival

Artistic Director

Louise commenced as Artistic Director of Brisbane Festival in 2019, delivering her first Festival in 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Renowned for her unique brand of “artistic intervention”, Louise’s programming is hallmarked by site-specific spectacle and local artist engagement.

Courtney Stewart

Arts & Culture

Diversity & Inclusion

Courtney Stewart

La Boite Theatre

Artistic Director

Courtney commenced as La Boite’s 18th Artistic Director in July 2022 and launches her inaugural season for the company in 2023. She is an acclaimed director, dramaturg and actor with a deep passion for intercultural works and multicultural dramaturgies.

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