Our Ambassador Program has been established to grow the Rare Birds community globally, and provide resources and support to female entrepreneurs in their local regions – whether they be metro, regional or rural.


These men and women are thought leaders, captains of industry and world-class innovators who are influencing the global entrepreneurial landscape. They are well-connected within their local community, strongly aligned with Rare Birds’ vision and mission, and are all about diversity and inclusion – regionally, nationally and globally.

Through this program we will grow our Rare Birds community, both nationally and internationally, with the key aim to help female entrepreneurs in scaling their businesses, through providing them with access to critical components of entrepreneurship, including education, mentoring, funding and storytelling.

By the end of 2017 we will have 100 Ambassadors placed globally, who will be growing Rare Birds communities and running events in their local regions.

Would you like to become a Rare Birds Ambassador, or can you recommend a great Ambassador for your local region? Please contact our Community Leader, Sarah Coull for more information: scoull@inspiringrarebirds.com


Our Global Ambassadors


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Jan Owen – Founder & CEO, Foundation For Young Australians

Sydney, Australia

”It’s an enormous privilege to be named a Rare Birds Ambassador. The next significant wave of entrepreneurs globally will be women with the education, drive and passion to shape the Innovation economy. Having watched the phenomenal rise and growth of Inspiring Rare Birds in 12 short months, it is clear this unstoppable movement is going to contribute to growing women entrepreneurs everywhere. Parity means no one is left behind but also equality of access to opportunity and pay. We are going to need a genuine diversity of talent and ideas to rethink and shape the future.”


A pioneer of the youth sector in Australia, Jan has dedicated most of her working life to social change and encouraging young people to give back and invest their talents in their communities and things they are passionate about.

In March 2014 Jan received the degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney, in recognition of her significant contribution to young people and policy in Australia.  In 2012, Jan was named the inaugural Australian Financial Review & Westpac Group ‘Woman of Influence 2012’.  In 2000 she was awarded membership of the Order of Australia for services to children and young people and in 1999 received a fellowship for leadership and innovation to the Peter Drucker Foundation in the US.  Jan is the author of Every Childhood Lasts a Lifetime (1996) and The Future Chasers (2014).

Before joining FYA, Jan was Executive Director of Social Ventures Australia, which aims to increase the impact of the Australian social sector.  Prior to this, Jan founded the CREATE Foundation, the national consumer body for children and young people in out of home care.

Jan has contributed to the establishment of many social change organisations in Australia and served on a wide range of Boards. She is currently Member, RMIT College of Business Industry Advisory Board; Chair, Melbourne Social Equity Institute (University of Melbourne) Advisory Board; Member, Malthouse Theatre Board; a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA) and Patron of Vanish and Children’s Ground.

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Craig Tiley – CEO, Tennis Australia

Melbourne, Australia

Rare Birds offer inspirational opportunities for entrepreneurs. I am proud to make any contribution to the Rare Birds organisation and its people. My past experience and entrepreneurial spirit will hopefully add value to those seeking similar opportunity that I have enjoyed.


Craig Tiley was appointed to the role of CEO of Tennis Australia in October 2013. Prior to this appointment, Craig was Tennis Australia’s Director of Tennis and the Tournament Director of the Australian Open, a position he has held since 2006. As CEO, Craig leads a team of more than 400 staff during the year, with a temporary staff of 8,500 during the Australian Open. Throughout his tenure, Craig has championed a regeneration of the sport in Australia. This is evidenced by the significant growth of the Australian Open, now regarded as one of the most innovative and successful global sporting events in the world, in addition to substantial innovations made to the sport at a grassroots level.

Born in South Africa to a sport-loving family, Craig played professional tennis for three years, before spending the next 18 years working in the United States. Previously, he earned international recognition as a coach and developer of talent. Craig’s extensive coaching experience ranges from captaining the South African Davis Cup Team, to developing collegiate champions and professional players.

As a Lieutenant in the South African Army, Craig was the sixth ever recipient of the Army’s Meritorious Award. He holds academic degrees in kinesiology, economics and business, has produced two best-selling tennis videos and has served as a keynote speaker and leadership consultant. Craig and his wife, Chicago-born Ali, have three children – daughter Marlowe and twin boys, Archer and Weston.

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Gene Lim – CEO, MAV12 

California, USA

“I want to play a significant role in amplifying women’s voices and particularly those of women entrepreneurs around the world.  I also have two daughters and I want them to see that I make positive contributions toward supporting women and for them to feel empowered to pursue entrepreneurship.”


Gene Lim is a visionary with tremendous drive, leadership abilities and global resources. Gene has a reputation for forward-thinking, creative solutions with expertise in strategy, branding, marketing, advertising, emergent technologies, business development and strategic partnerships. As CEO of MAV12, he leads a creative team of seasoned professionals, working with a variety of industries including entertainment, health, financial, luxury, fashion, automotive, food and beverage and other consumer products.

Gene’s creative marketing and advertising agency, MAV12, specializes in strategy, building brands, design, producing videos, celebrity integration, while leveraging technology and distribution through digital, mobile and social media. Gene has worked with such prominent and diverse clients as Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Nissan, Microsoft, Epson, Disney, DreamWorks, Microsoft, UCLA Medical, Bacardi, Moet Hennessy, Ritz Carlton and Autism Speaks.

On the philanthropic side, Gene served 6 years on the Global Strategic Alliances Committee for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global entity of entrepreneurs in over 50 countries, forging relationships with corporations, government, education and media. Gene works to cultivate partner relationships to harness the talent of the world’s most recognized companies and leaders to engage them with today’s most successful fast growth entrepreneurs. He also represented the United States as Sherpa on the G20 YEA (Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance), a  global network of industrialized and developing nations championing the cause of entrepreneurship in the world economy.


Jax Harrison – Founder, Jax Harrison Network

San Francisco, USA

“It is a privilege to be included in this amazing group of humans, who are working to provide a platform where entrepreneurship for women is supported and is a choice… choice is a big word here… Rare Birds invites both parties to the conversation and makes the effort to create a safe welcoming and learning environment for women to succeed.”


Jax Harrison is the founder of the Jax Harrison Network, an independent Brand Consultant Agency, specializing in emotionally connective visual storytelling.

Jax’s success includes working with the Kauffman Foundation and FastTrac, (the entrepreneurial program that assists entrepreneurs in starting and building businesses across the United States.) She also co-founded Biscuit 8, a venture that represents photographers and directors, helping them with the business side of commercial video and photography production.

Born in New Zealand, she has extensive experience in the entertainment industry, primarily in public relations and production; specializing in television, film, and still photography.  Having lived and worked in many different countries including Australia, England, Central America and South America, her cultural experience is a differentiator and always an asset in the increasingly multi-cultural world we call Earth.

Jax is also an advocate of the empowerment of woman. In fact, it is her primary passion.  While living in Peru, she produced a video installation for Gerry Frost, and was Founder and President of Father Joes Orphanage – an NPO organization that rescued children from war-torn terrorist areas and gave under 18s a home, education and livelihood.  She also worked with the Canadian Women’s Embassy Charity Group in Peru, raising funds and reporting directly to the board on woman-focused development projects.

She currently resides in Northern California’s Bay Area, and is now working to give back with the Human Trafficking Network in Kansas City.

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Paul Kirchoff – CEO, SaleAMP Inc

Texas, USA

“There is no greater responsibility for veteran entrepreneurs than to support aspiring business owners with our knowledge, resources and leadership.   Only with a strong foundation can they more readily create tomorrow’s jobs, wealth and value. Rare Bird’s meteoric growth and impact on the lives of women entrepreneurs ensures inclusion, diversity and thought leadership. It is not a women’s organization.  Our efforts transcend geographies, race and gender. This is a movement by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs that will ensure responsible leadership among our future business leaders.”


I’ve been blessed with the gift of innovation in both internet marketing and marketing software technology which has allowed me to be a pioneer in every organization I join. I am addicted to blank sheets of paper in as highly competitive situations as I can find.

My time at Dell taught me the importance of business models and operational execution. It taught me the value of measurement and analysis. I was given the opportunity to innovate and drive home runs at a young age in a company at the top of the food chain.  My time at Yehti taught me how to navigate difficult waters when a market was in a recession and grew my strength in bootstrapping and transferring innovation from product development to operations and finance.

I always push those around me to be better, to show them what they can achieve, to take the hill because it’s there and to operate as if the only weapon I possess is a whiteboard. I am a David looking for Goliaths. And that is exactly why I founded Saleamp! – it is a company with more internet marketing horsepower than anyone and at the same time a company willing to put its money where it’s mouth is in pay for performance internet marketing engagements. We are a catalyst for business in every regard.

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Simone Eyles –  Founder, 365cups

Wagga Wagga, Australia

“Rare Birds is not just something I’m a part of, it’s a vision I believe in 100%. I’d love to pay it forward and help others to share in Jo’s vision of 1 million more women entrepreneurs by 2020.”


At the core of this brilliant mind lies a caring and conscious heart. Simone has been honoured as a recipient of Kidney Health Australia’s Operation Angel Awards Program after an obstacle confronted her and her husband when her child, Joshua, was born with a rare kidney disease. In an effort to find out more about the disease and life with the condition, Simone devoted two years to write a book that compiled the stories of other Australian families with children living with kidney disease.

365cups has won numerous awards including the ‘Best App Food and Drink’ by Australian Mobile Awards in 2012 and ‘Excellence in Innovation’ by the Murray-Riverina Business Awards in 2013. To Simone, success looks like “creative freedom and being free to have wild ideas”. Simone still has dreams of having more of a presence globally in the United States and United Kingdom. However, where ever her future journey takes her, it started in a country town away from a big city with an idea and ambition to create.

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David Fastuca –  Co-Founder, Locomote 

Melbourne, Australia

David is passionate about design and a specialist in solving problems through thoughtful user experience design. His design expertise was fundamental to building Locomote and for developing a platform completely focused on the user experience.

Since David co-founded Locomote in 2014, he has made sure Locomote offers the best experience for business travellers. His eye for detail has enabled him to create a simplistic and seamless product that solves complex problems for businesses across the globe.

His talent and creativity have earned him awards such as the SmartCompany Hot 30 Under 30, Ken Cato Leadership in Design and Top Digital Innovator. David is also a member of the Design Founders group, joining the ranks of founders of Facebook, FourSquare, Shopify and Google.

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Amanda Lear –  Managing Director, Gilimbaa

Brisbane, Australia

“International Womens Day is the perfect day to fan those starting sparks and fuel the powerful fires of female entrepreneurs, whose businesses are building their communities and shaping the very world around us.  So carry on amazing women, we the world are all behind you.”


Amanda is currently the Managing Director and Director of Strategic Communication and Film for award winning Brisbane based creative agency Gilimbaa. Co-founder of the agency, Gilimbaa was born out of a passion for community-driven creative strategy and storytelling and the elements it can bring to contemporary design and communication.

Managing the growth and development of the business, Amanda drives client campaigns and communication and strategies that effectively engage key audiences to meet project outcomes.

Gilimbaa has accomplished nationwide and international recognition and proudly works for some of Australia’s largest corporates, for federal and state government departments and for high profile international organisations and NGO’s.

Amanda has won Telstra Business Women of the Year – Private and Corporate Sector- QLD, and is a member of the UN Women’s Committee Australia and a board member of Welfare Rights QLD (2012 – 2014).

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David Williams – Co-Founder & Director, Gilimbaa

Brisbane, Australia

“As a proud descendant of the Wakka Wakka people, and as a Rare Birds Ambassador, my focus will be to promote the important work that Rare Birds does to the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, in particularly to help grow young Indigenous women entrepreneurs.

As a proud new father to a beautiful daughter, it’s an opportunity to be part of an important and necessary shift in the narrative that exists to promote and develop female entrepreneurs. I hope that the world that she will inherit, will be profoundly different to the realities of today and I feel privileged to be part of the vision of Rare Bards to give women an opportunity to become entrepreneurs by choice.”


David is a proud Wakka Wakka man, with over ten years’ experience working locally and internationally as a cultural performer, artist, educator and designer. Passionate about telling our stories through art, music, design and business in a way that allows others to connect, engage, share and celebrate Aboriginal culture. He is a Co-Founder and Director of Gilimbaa, one of the country’s leading Indigenous strategic communications, public relations and creative businesses in Australia.


Bree JamesFounder, Grand Publishing

Cairns, Australia

“It’s an honour to be part of the Rare Birds vision as an Ambassador. I am very passionate about youth and I think it is imperative that the next generation of young women know to think further than ‘what they want to be’ when they grow up. Rare Birds is going to promote this mission, so it’s an absolute given that I want to be a part of that”.


Bree has always been an entrepreneur, from the young age of ten she was selling Avon to make some extra dollars from her neighbours and school teachers. It was a natural progression to start her first business at 18. When she could not find a suitable medium to market this business, she created her own means to get the message out. Almost nine years later and PakMag (Parents & Kids Magazine) has gone from a staff of two to 10, and from one monthly edition to four editions per month.

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Joe Williams – Professional Athlete & Motivational Speaker

Wagga Wagga, Australia

‘My fiancé, daughter, mother & sisters are among the strongest, most beautiful women I know. I treat every woman I encounter with the same respect as I would respect them’


Joe Williams is a proud Wiradjuri Aboriginal man born in Cowra, raised in Wagga NSW. Joe played in the NRL for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs before switching Joe to professional Boxing in 2009. Joe is a 2x WBF World Jnr Welterweight champion and recently won the WBC Asia Continental Title. Joe is currently working full time as the Aboriginal Education Worker at Mater Dei Catholic College.

Apart from being involved with professional sport for over 15 years, Joe now spends his time working to inspire youth and individuals through motivational speaking workshops. Joe has spent time working with disengaged youth in high schools and primary schools, drug & alcohol rehabilitation centres, gaols and has mentored both youth and adults. Privately, Joe has had his own battles, struggles and setbacks, which culminated in his own suicide attempt in 2011.

Joe was named 2016 Citizen Of The Year in Wagga Wagga.

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Nadene Barretto – Director, Eight Recruitment

Newcastle, Australia

”I have always been surrounded by strong women (Mum and Nan in particular) however, given the times they grew up in, they were not fortunate enough to be given the opportunities that Women Entrepreneurs are given today.  Having 3 young children (2 very strong little women on my hands) I am very passionate about showing them that if you believe in yourself, work hard and stay focused on your goals, you can do it, and Jo’s mantra of ‘if she can I can’ is something I find myself repeating on a daily basis!”


After working for 14 years in the recruitment industry, Nadene Barretto knew there had to be a more personal, cost-effective and honest way to provide a quality recruitment service that truly prioritised its candidates.

Nadene co-founded Eight Recruitment, an Australia-wide company who are reinventing the competitive recruitment industry with an efficient business model, delivering quality candidates across the construction, finance, law and health industries. The business was named Eight Recruitment for is guaranteed rate of 8% on all permanent placements.


Sean Heylen – Founder, Partner Cerca Trova

Adelaide, Australia

“My Grandfather was an entrepreneur. My Father was an entrepreneur. I am an entrepreneur. If they so choose, my two daughters will be entrepreneurs. I want them to grow up in a society in which entrepreneurship is aspired to, accessible to everyone, and celebrated. Supporting entrepreneurs to express themselves and helping them to learn, grow and become great leaders of their businesses and their communities is how we can solve most of the world’s biggest problems.”


Sean is the founder of Cerca Trova, a market entry service and business coaching provider that also offers strategic planning and executive management.

Sean has experience with a vast array of businesses, ranging from small startups and working in the family business from the age of 14 to large corporates in banking and finance and even the wine industry. In 1996, Sean founded one of Australia’s first website development agencies, “Deadline Media”. He owned and operated Deadline Media for 18 years before selling to competitors and moving over to Telstra in 2014. Sean acted as Head of Digital Customer Care and Producer of the “Heroes Program”, a digital network of Telstra Alumni Members.

Sean has also worked alongside many not-for-profit organisations and has dedicated numerous years of voluntary work as a global member leader and Regional Director for the Asia Pacific in the Entrepreneur’s Organisation.

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Cilla Hegarty – Founder, CEO & Chief, WooHoo

Canterbury,  New Zealand

”I have run my own accounting business for the last 10 years and in 2010 a finalist in both the HER and Next Businesswoman of the year awards. In 2011 I was awarded the coveted title of HER Businesswoman of the Year. In 2012 I won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year in the service category.”


Cilla sought to incite that ‘woohoo’ moment amongst thousands of New Zealand taxpayers by providing a simple, digital way to file tax returns. Cilla’s tax refund company WooHoo is only one of the multiple ventures in her entrepreneurial career. Since 2008, WooHoo has processed over 300,000 tax refunds and has more Kiwis on its database than any other tax refund company.

In June 2016, Cilla was inducted into the NZ Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs in recognition of her contribution to the transformation of the tax refund industry.


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Maria Sipka – Co-Founder & President, Linqia

San Francisco, USA

”Every movement needs a powerful catalyst and Rare Birds is a force to be reckoned with! With an inspiring team and global community they’re mobilizing at lightning speed towards an incredible mission of gathering 1 million entrepreneurial women by 2020 to support and nurture one another. I feel honored and excited to be part of the journey and very much look forward to contributing to all the wonderful people I meet along the way. ”


Passionate storyteller and serial entrepreneur, Maria Sipka is co-founder and president at Linqia, a venture-backed technology company headquartered in San Francisco revolutionizing how brands connect with people through a scalable storytelling platform.

Linqia is a performance based influencer platform that discovers and matches brands with thousands of passionate storytellers who craft authentic stories and share amongst their audiences across all major social networks.

Prior to Linqia, Maria was COO at XING (Europe’s leading business social network) focused on monetization and member acquisition. Previous to XING, Maria founded and lead a content marketing agency delivering customer acquisition and retention programs.

Maria’s social vision is to match leaders of online communities together through social technologies and tap into the tremendous human capital and knowledge.

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Te-Shen Gan – Co-Founder, Megawisra Investments Ltd

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Te-Shen Gan is co-founder of Megawisra Investments, a boutique investment firm focused on growth companies in telecommunications, media and technology. Beginning his career at Arthur Anderson & Co as an associate in corporate finance and restructuring, Te-Shen then moved to AIMS Group, taking on a managerial role – and later Vice President – of their Business Development division. Te-Shen served as a director of AIMS Group between 2008 and 2012, and CEO of AIMS Data Centre until 2009. He is also a former Non-Executive Director of Time.com.

Te-Shen was a member of Entrepreneurs Organization for 7 years in Malaysia, and during this time was also a Board Member, Chapter President and Learning Director for Asia Pacific.

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Rosie Thomas – Co-Founder/Co-CEO, Project Rockit

Melbourne, Australia

“I’m totally committed to providing innovative opportunities for young people to create the change they want to see in the world. More so, I’m excited by the positive force that’s unleashed when we empower girls and women. That’s why I’m so proud to be a Rare Birds Ambassador.”


PROJECT ROCKIT was launched in 2006 by Rosie and Lucy Thomas, two Australian sisters who saw the opportunity to create real social change by tackling the issue of bullying in school communities.

To put it simply, PROJECT ROCKIT builds spaces where imagination, leadership, creative expression and acceptance are available to all young people, regardless of their social label, grades, gender, sexuality or cultural background.

PROJECT ROCKIT has now worked with hundreds of thousands of school students and presented at major national and international conferences as (cyber)bullying experts. In 2012, PROJECT ROCKIT launched an innovative online anti-bullying curriculum, which is an Australian first in the fight against (cyber)bullying.

They’re proud to have earned the reputation of “student fave” for all school anti-bullying interventions!

Phil Hayes-St Clair – Senior Vice President, Business Development, inkl.

Sydney, Australia

“Girls and women are exceptional leaders and some wish to transform an idea into an enduring vision. I’m immensely excited to share entrepreneurial experiences that will help them get there faster. And I have a vested interest, our incredible daughters may very well want to put a dent in the universe and it’s important to us that they have the environment to achieve just that.”


Phil Hayes-St Clair is a four-time entrepreneur whose professional life began as an Australian Army soldier. 20 years later, as an entrepreneur and general manager, Phil has collected experience in ASX20 companies, social enterprises and high-growth ventures in strategy, tactics and operations. He writes about those experiences each week at philhsc.com and hosts the iTunes podcast Founder To Founder.

Phil is the Senior Vice President, Business Development, inkl, a venture which aggregates breaking news from the world’s best publishers into one app for iPhone and Android. Phil was previously the CEO and Co-Founder of AirShr, a world-first mobile service that helped listeners and broadcasters interact in real-time to save, share and listen differently to radio. He also has the extraordinary privilege of advancing veterans affairs as an Ambassador at Soldier On Australia. Phil is guest faculty in entrepreneurship at the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales and will be actively supporting women entrepreneurs as an Ambassador at Rare Birds.

Phil has represented Australia on the men’s triathlon team and was also humbled to receive nominations for Australian of the Year in 2007 and 2008. He is inspired by those – including his wife and daughters – who are putting dents in the universe.

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Therese Tarlinton – General Manager Australia www.buddybid.com

Sydney, Australia

“When I was at school, I never understood the opportunities possible for me. I looked at the stereotypical roles for women in corporate and felt like that was my path. Leaving a career in marketing, I took a chance and started my own importing and manufacturing company and it’s the achievement I am most proud of.

I feel passionately that young women in high school should know that being an entrepreneur is a credible and rewarding career path. Most of us intuitively know what makes us come alive, and we need to foster that enthusiasm and channel that energy into a successful and rewarding career. I am proud to be part of a tribe of resourceful and resilient people, who always strive to be the best version of themselves. I want to know the stories of Inspiring Rare Birds entrepreneurs and share them with young women to inspire and entice them to stand strong, forge their own adventure and lead a colourful life.”


After creating a global multi-million dollar company in her twenties, Therese joined an ASX listed $500m retail group and introduced the concept of social commerce.  Using auction techniques to gather market intelligence on potential buyers, she was able to sell customers what they wanted, at their price point, transacting over 250,000 bottles of wine on the company Facebook page.  Recognising the value of BuddyBid software to generate leads, build brands and make sales in social platforms, Therese has bought the software to Australia.


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Anmoljot Kaur Saini – MBA Candidate, University of Sydney / Senior Manager, Ferrier Hodgson

Sydney, Australia

“It is an absolute privilege to combine forces with an organisation determined to build a diverse world of entrepreneurs. I have been the beneficiary of great leadership and mentorship during my career, and I have a vested interest in helping other women in the same way. I want to work with Rare Birds to extend and strengthen the global conversation around diversity, inclusion and equality.”


In 2015, Anmol was awarded the UN Women National Committee Australia MBA Scholarship in partnership with the University of Sydney Business School for her work and commitment to women in leadership. Anmol is a Senior Manager at Ferrier Hodgson based in the Sydney office with over 13 years’ experience working in the areas of corporate recovery, restructuring and turnaround. She was the driving force behind her highly successful ‘Women at Ferriers’ initiative, established to provide greater networking opportunities for female employees within her firm, as well as their clients, in the hope of breaking down gender barriers in what remains a male-dominated industry. She has also been on the NSW committee of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) for over 5 years, an organisation which is committed to the connection, promotion and success of women in insolvency and restructuring worldwide.


Mick Spencer – Founder and Managing Director, ONTHEGO Sports

Canberra, Australia

“Female entrepreneurship is a deep passion of mine, and I support fully the Rare Birds vision of 1 million female entrepreneurs by 2020. Being a young male in the startup and growth business space, I feel I can add value to the conversations needing to be had around this topic. I also am incredibly excited to learn off new peers, and share my stories about the successes and failures I’ve endured. We do not grow without lessons, we do not succeed without people, we do not achieve visions without voicing them to those around us.”


Despite adversity and health challenges, Mick has constantly lived outside his comfort zone. This helped him to find his true purpose at a very young age – to be adventurous and teaching others the joys of sport. After a 12 month gap year in the Hawaiian Islands (helping children become healthy and active) Mick founded ONTHEGO® at age 18. He had a mere $150 in his bank account, but a vision to build a brand that could inspire people to move. ONTHEGO® is now one of Australia’s and the world’s fastest growing sports apparel brands.

Mick continues to instill the vision of the brand into the company on a daily basis, maintaining full control over design and development of products, integrating technology and supply chain capabilities to ensure further innovation of the company, and ensuring the brand is growing in line with the strategy and values. Mick has a personal range of advisors and mentors to the company, including industry experts who have been the brains behind popular Australian and worldwide companies including Billabong and David Jones.

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Linda Reeves – Director, Global Labour Solutions Pty Ltd

Northern Territory, Australia

“It’s an honour to be part of the Rare Birds vision as an Ambassador for Northern Territory. I am very passionate about empowering women to move outside of the boundaries of social stereotyping and to explore their individual entrepreneurial talents.”


Linda Reeves had always been able to work well within boundaries set by someone else, adept at infusing any position or project with her own methods and creativity. But eventually it wasn’t enough – she wanted to be able to do new, unrelated, unusual, challenging things. She wanted the ability to set and expand her own boundaries. Owning a business allowed her to do just that.

Linda migrated to Australia from Indonesia, and faced challenges in completing two Bachelor Degrees and a Master Degree and then being a woman competing for management positions in Australia. Her father was in business in Indonesia and was a big influence on Linda growing up, teaching her to be independent and always challenge and believe in herself.

Two years ago Linda started Global Labour Solutions, a labour hire and recruitment company that at first specialised in harvest labour – the only female contractor in the Northern Territory at that time supplying harvest labour. Linda cold-called her first farm, who saw something in her and gave her a chance. What followed this was hard work and long hours. She then received referrals off her first client to other clients and saw her business really grow. Linda’s clients are all Australian companies, some of which are involved in export. Her staff are local, indigenous, and multicultural, coming from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Phil Ore – Co-Founder, Marketing Entourage

Melbourne, Australia

“I am truly honoured to be a Rare Birds Ambassador. Since our initial conversation, I have always been inspired by Jo’s passion and drive to make a difference to the next generation of entrepreneurs. I want all children, including my own, to understand how entrepreneurship is an option in their lives. Supporting the Rare Birds movement is essential to making female entrepreneurship ‘business as usual’ globally for our next generation.”


Phil Ore is a global entrepreneur who has founded three successful companies – Ore Consulting (business advisor, MC and keynote speaker), Marketing Entourage (co-founder of a human-centred marketing consultancy) and Entrepreneurs&Co (co-founder of a social enterprise focused on helping entrepreneurship and innovation in Australia).

Phil has had a fulfilling career with many global roles with customers in over 130 countries. From roles including Global Director of Customer Experience and Global Head of Customer Marketing at Nokia along with Global Head of Brand Architecture at Nokia Siemens Networks, Phil has traveled the world with his work and had the opportunity to see the impact that female entrepreneurship can make.

Now with a broad range of clients, Phil strives to guide purpose driven businesses on their path towards achieving their goals and gets a real buzz from helping them succeed. Phil is a firm believer in GSD (let’s call it ‘Getting Stuff Done’) and is fascinated by innovation, tech enablement and especially supporting purpose driven businesses.

Sue Pember – Director, Aussie Orientation Services

Perth, Australia

“Being recognised as a Rare Birds ambassador is confirmation and reward for the risk I took in drawing a line in the sand with what I wanted out of life, then picking myself up, dusting myself off and walking in the opposite direction to what I thought was going to be my career in 2010. I love being an entrepreneur and inspiring others to take a similar path!”


Sue Pember is a passionate entrepreneur with over 15 years sales and consulting experience. In 2010 Sue opened Aussie Orientation Services – an Australian owned and operated Global Mobility Consultancy company that specialises in relocation programs, cultural training and ongoing support programs to ensure a smooth transition for workers and their families into Australian life. Through the success of Aussie, in 2013 Sue was awarded WA Today Female Entrepreneur of the Year and recognised as one of the top 40 under 40, also receiving the people’s choice award. She was also a WA region nominee for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

In 2015 Sue went on to co-found Mi Casa Property Boutique – an agency of talented working parents focused on the core values of people, passion and personal touch, to connect people and property. Sue is passionate about giving back to the community and in 2016 was appointed to the Board of Parkerville Children’s and Youth Care.

Rhonda Brighton-Hall 

Sydney, Australia

Rare Birds is a valuable addition to our thriving entrepreneurial community – a living breathing network for mentors, advisors and peers – and I’m delighted to be an Ambassador. We know from history, that if you want to diversity, you have to challenge the old rules. As we build new businesses, we want to support women and girls to choose their own path to success, and that’s what Rare Birds is all about!”

A HR Leader and Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, Rhonda is a current Director of AHRI, and recognised as one of Australia’s foremost experts in the human side of business, specialising in leadership, learning, diversity, and the future of work. Her fundamental belief is that inclusion and great leadership are not only foundational for good people practices in organisations, but equally of more equitable and prosperous economies and communities.

Her career has spanned senior roles in large multi-nationals – starting with BHP, moving to Sara Lee, (Italian eyewear giant) Luxottica and CommBank, living and working in Europe, Asia, and the USA. With an undergraduate degree from UNSW and post-grad from UTS and London Business School, Rhonda now guest lectures in HR, Leadership and the Future of Work at UNSW and Sydney University.

She is a past Patron for Autism, and remains active in ASPECT, Fighting Chance and other organisations that work closely with disability, the indigenous community and other structurally excluded people and groups.  

Now working exclusively with entrepreneurs and businesses focused on fundamentally changing the way we work and designing better ways, Rhonda is CEO and Founder of mwah. Making Work Absolutely Human. mwah. is a business designed and built to help us all (businesses and individuals) put people at the heart of the way we work.

Shantelle Saiville – Founder, SAVI CHIX


Being a Rare Birds Ambassador to me means amplifying my vision with other passionate, like-minded people. This collaboration of voices will ensure that the next generation of women can have the confidence, role models and opportunities necessary to maximise their talents, purpose and potential. It allows me to stand tall and let girls know that I believe in them and will do everything that I can to help them turn their dreams into reality – ensuring we will see a new generation pursuing lives that are true to them, not what others expect of them.”


Shantelle Saiville is the founder of SAVI CHIX, an organisation dedicated to inspiring and empowering girls around the world to do as Shantelle has done – ‘Be Yourself, Believe in Yourself and Follow YOUR Dreams’. She is also the host of her own TV program The SAVI CHIX Show, which gives young women and girls proof that their dreams are possible and the confidence to go out and pursue them. It showcases the coolest careers as well as the innovators out there who can give girls the education and tools necessary to bring these dreams to fruition.

Shantelle left her home of Canada to travel and pursue the sunshine and beach life in Australia at 18 years of age. At 24 she had completed a Bachelor of Business in Marketing and was working as the Marketing Manager in the Prestige Automotive Industry. Shantelle then went on to run a corporate gifts business before taking a leap of faith out of the corporate world to found SAVI CHIX.

Shantelle is a regular public speaker for schools and universities through to health and fitness expos, where she speaks on creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself and turning your dreams into a reality. She has also been an ANB Fitness Model, using health and fitness to communicate what can be achieved when you put your mind to a goal. Shantelle has collaborated with top brands and businesses to inspire and empower wellness in the community, and has been featured in Women’s Health & Fitness magazine on the importance of Mentors and Role Models.

Melanie Power – Global Head of Bookkeeping, Xero

Global Ambassador

Being a Rare Birds Ambassador to me means connecting entrepreneurial women together as part of a global community to raise them up, support and encourage them on their journey, to live and breathe their passion and purpose and to embrace the function of mentoring…”


Melanie Power has been involved in the Australian small business sector since her career kick-off in the accounting industry in 1992. She has owned and managed several other small businesses (as well as a bookkeeping practice) in the IT industry, the motorcycle industry, and finance brokerage but she always maintained a passion for software-based systems and processes for small to medium enterprises.

In her current role as Head of Bookkeeping for Xero, Mel is the voice of the industry to Xero. Mel is passionate about raising the profile of bookkeepers globally and showcasing the value they bring to helping small business, especially how bookkeepers use their understanding of the financial data and to help small businesses make informed business decisions. Mel is a keen advocate of the accounting and bookkeeping function in helping small business by putting the words behind the numbers. She is proactive in helping bookkeepers grow in the digital age of cloud technology, and this energy has translated into the highly successful Xero Grow Your Practice webinar series for bookkeepers.

Prior to working for Xero, Mel worked for LEAP Legal Software and also owned a highly successful KTM motorcycle dealership and finance brokerage. 

Stefanee Lovett – Managing Director, CapitalHill Advisory

Canberra, Australia

To me, becoming a Rare Birds is the chance to be a part of an amazing group of people, helping those already in business and to inspire the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”


Stefanee Lovett is a corporate advisory and government relations specialist, having served at the highest levels in the federal government. With more than 15 years’ experience in politics and the public service, Stefanee now assists businesses to work with government to achieve policy outcomes and navigate this often challenging process. CapitalHill is a bipartisan firm based in Canberra and provides a range of services to support clients to achieve their business objectives, including corporate and business advisory; government relations and public policy; strategy development and planning; strategic council; public affairs; and market access.

With more than 15 years’ experience in politics and the public service, Stefanee now assists businesses to work with government to achieve policy outcomes and navigate this often challenging process. CapitalHill is a bipartisan firm based in Canberra and provides a range of services to support clients to achieve their business objectives, including corporate and business advisory; government relations and public policy; strategy development and planning; strategic council; public affairs; and market access.

Lisa Burling – Managing Director, LBPR

Illawarra and Shoalhaven, Australia

I am truly honoured to be a Rare Birds Ambassador, nestled amongst a dynamic, diverse and driven group of female entrepreneurs who are leaders in their respective fields. I’m in the business of creating authentic human connections, and Rare Birds is a fantastic example of how to foster genuine collaboration between like-minded people, so we can truly be the change we want to see in the world. It’s also the ultimate breeding ground for young female entrepreneurs, who can’t help but be inspired to think REALLY big. After all, if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re simply not big enough!”


Lisa Burling is a journalist and PR professional with over 20 years’ experience working on some of the world’s biggest brands in Australia and the UK. In 2013, a chain of devastating events resulted in her being an unemployed, single mum of two boys under three. Whilst in the Centrelink queue wondering how this was her reality, she decided to set up a business. Most people thought she was crazy.

Three years later, Lisa is the Managing Director of award-winning PR, media and events consultancy LBPR. With a direct line to Richard Branson after smothering him in kisses, Lisa is living proof anything is possible if you simply believe in you.

With extensive PR, media and event management experience spanning the private sector, local government, consultancies and charitable organisations, Lisa has led award-winning strategic global and domestic PR campaigns to support leading consumer brands across a range of sectors – including tourism, local government, diet and lifestyle, human health, property, fashion, animal health and welfare, and the automotive industry.

In the 2016 Illawarra Women in Business Awards Lisa received awards for Best Small Business, Business Woman of the Year, and Innovative Business Woman of the Year.


Suzie Beaudoin – Marketing Manager, Negotium Technologies Inc


“To me, becoming a Rare Birds Ambassador means empowering women to become who they truly want to be. In particular, I am passionate about educating girls that an IT Career is no longer a man’s world and that there are many career options beyond programming.  I want to inspire, educate and make a difference!”


Having previously built her own consultancy firm, Suzie’s entrepreneurial spirit has guided her successful career path to run major projects and programs for software companies such as Microsoft. Suzie is a results-driven professional with solid experience in solution management, innovative products and services, its ecosystem and strategic marketing. She has a strong customer focus and has delivered business and customer insights for more than 20 years with recognized competencies in communication and leadership.

Suzie currently manages the marketing division at Negotium, a knowledge-centric technology company. who offer a business-centric strategic approach to technology, implement integrated enterprise knowledge systems and provide infrastructure and support services to mid-market north American companies.

Suzie’s personal passion is in helping people and companies grow in their passion towards their business goals.


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Trent Innes – Managing Director, Xero Australia

Melbourne, Australia

Trent is the managing director of Xero Australia, a cloud-based accounting software company used by half a million small businesses globally. His love for technology has guided him through a career in sales leadership, business analysis, channel development, strategic planning and building cloud businesses. Before moving up the ranks in Xero, Trent was the national sales manager of the Microsoft Business Group in Australia where he managed the ERP and CRM business.

With more than 17 years of experience with accounting and IT industries, Trent believes in the power of advancing businesses through technological solutions – especially as technology continues to rapidly advance. 

Trent is focused on educating businesses on how to effectively use technology to help them grow and prosper in the digital age.

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Anoushka Gungadi – CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Australia-VIC

Global Ambassador – Mauritius, India, Australia

”Rare Birds” really talks to me as it brings a number of my passions together- entrepreneurial spirit, global connections, gender and impact. Growing up, I was told I could do anything I put my mind to. This has been my magic wand which I want to pass on to my children. I believe everyone should have one. Rare Birds represents this for me. It’s an absolute pleasure and privilege to be part of a movement so brilliant, bold and necessary.”


Anoushka is currently the CEO of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Victoria. She is also the founder of LeaderPreneur, which helps unlock entrepreneurial thinking, build capability and enable impact. With more than 15 years of international experience across Africa, Europe & China and India, she brings a high level of cross-cultural, strategic and leadership expertise to her work. 

Anoushka’s lesson of entrepreneurship started at home, learning from her dad who ran his business along side full-time work. While her dad was a necessity-entrepreneur then, he was always a hustler with a curiosity for learning . At 24, Anoushka launched her first business while in full-time employment. Unlike her dad, it was her choice. A gender-advocate, she runs youth forums that bring young women and men together to champion gender balance. She has co-authored 4 books in The Nurtured Woman series to empower women globally.

Anoushka is encouraging of aspiring entrepreneurs to have fun, face your fears and be fulfilled.

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Amanda Whitley, – Founder + Director, HerCanberra 

Canberra, Australia

”I never dreamed of being an entrepreneur. Growing up in a small town, I’d never really thought past the ‘traditional’ career paths, but owning my own business has allowed me to accomplish things I had only ever dreamed of. By becoming a Rare Birds Ambassador, I hope I can help other Canberra women realise their entrepreneurial potential in what is still a predominantly public service town. I want to provide them with advice and inspiration to help them on their own journeys, because I see it as my responsibility to help other women up the ladder.

In 2011, after enjoying a diverse career in public relations and media, Amanda Whitley launched www.hercanberra.com.au, a website for local women. As at December 2016, it has a monthly unique readership of 125 000 and a social network exceeding 60 000 followers. Quite a feat in a city with less than 400, 000 people!

HerCanberra provides a resource which tells the city’s stories, highlights things to do, facilitates connections, and encourages people to engage with their city as a great place to live. HerCanberra has grown to be one of Canberra’s leading media brands, also boasting a quarterly hard-copy publication, Magazine; online bridal magazine and event, UNVEILED: and ‘Click + Connect’ event series, aimed at helping Canberra women make social connections.

Amanda is 2016 ACT Woman of the Year.

Kerry Anderson – Director, KA Rural Enterprises

Bendigo and Central Victoria, Australia

‘To me, being a Rare Birds Ambassador is an opportunity to encourage and support more women to engage in business and entrepreneurship in rural Australia.’

Coming from a small business background – earthmoving, retail, manufacturing, and consulting – Kerry has a passion for promoting entrepreneurship and business in rural and regional Australia. She has interviewed hundreds of rural business people and studied rural entrepreneurship in the United States.  In her quest to change the conversation from job seeking to job creation, Kerry has attracted a strong following through her blog and column for Inside Small Business.  In 2013 she initiated a successful pilot project entitled Operation Next Gen with rural towns exploring how they can encourage entrepreneurship.  As the author of Entrepreneurship: It’s Everybody’s Business Kerry is frequently invited to speak at conferences and to the media about how we can all look at existing landscapes with fresh eyes. 

Kathryn Parsons – Co-Founder and CEO, Decoded

London, UK

Kathryn is the Co-Founder and CEO of Decoded, a technology education company dedicated to demystifying the digital dark arts.

The need for digital literacy and skills is resonating with every sector, strata and geography of business globally. Decoded now have offices in London, Sydney, New York and Amsterdam and have taught in over 65 major cities worldwide. Their digital OnDemand and face-to-face education programmes span the worlds of code, data, cyber security and beyond. Most famous for their “In a Day” experiences, Decoded believe there is no technology they cannot decode.

Kathryn is a regular public speaker and campaigns for code on curriculums and gender diversity in technology. She was part of the successful campaign to have code introduced as a mandatory to the UK national curriculum in September 2014 and now sits as Chairwoman of the UK Government Digital Skills Innovation Fund, supporting an academic centre of excellence to develop high-education cyber, data and code skills. She also sits on the UK Government’s Cyber Security Board and the Mayor of London’s Business Advisory Board.

Linda Jenkinson – Serial Entrepreneur

Wellington, New Zealand

Linda Jenkinson is a serial entrepreneur who has built three multi-million technology-enabled services companies with successful exits.  Linda is an experienced executive and strategist in global travel, hospitality, corporate loyalty, financial services and on-demand delivery.  Her career has spanned being Partner in a global strategy consulting practice (focused on financial institutions), a founder of several startups, running companies as CEO, and taking on public, private and non-profit director roles.

Linda is an experienced board director.  She currently serves as a Director for Air New Zealand (AIR.NZ) and as a Director for The Guild (www.guildgroup.com.au).  She is the former director of DMS Corporation (DMSC) and Chairman of John Paul.

Linda is the first New Zealand woman to take a company public on the NASDAQ Exchange. She has received multiple awards for her entrepreneurial efforts in the United States and New Zealand. Linda is a serial entrepreneur who has built three multi-million dollar companies, on-demand delivery and on-demand limo (DMSC), online wine sales (Porthos Inc) and concierge oriented customer loyalty (John Paul).  Her focus has been on technology-enabled services.

Prior to her entrepreneurial endeavors she was a Partner at A.T. Kearney where she was a leader in financial institutions strategy and strategic sourcing practice. Her consulting career spanned the globe. (www.linda-jenkinson.com)

Most recently Linda was named one of the most Influential Women in the Bay Area (San Francisco, CA, USA), Master Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, in New Zealand and was the first women to be awarded The Sir Geoffrey Peren Award for most Distinguished Alumni from Massey University in New Zealand.

Ms. Jenkinson is active in supporting her community.  She is a World Class New Zealander, a director of “Global New Zealand Women”.  Linda is also a member of the New Zealand Olympic Counsel, an Advisor for The Icehouse and is a Director and Secretary of the Massey University Foundation.  Linda co-founded WOW for Africa, an innovative business-based approach to SME development in West Africa. Linda was a five-year Chair of the Bay Area Red Cross and was a Board Member of the NZTE Silicon Valley Beachhead in the United States. Linda has an MBA from The Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania and a BBS from Massey University in New Zealand in Data Processing and Accounting. She resides in San Francisco and Wellington with her husband, son and daughter.

Sjaak Vink – CEO, TheSocialMedwork

Global Ambassador (Europe, USA)

Entrepreneurs change the world. The more entrepreneurial people dare to realise dreams the better place this world will be! Rare Birds inspires and encourages to go for it. And so will I. Here’s to the crazy ones!’

Sjaak is a social impact entrepreneur, changing the world by building ambitious social businesses. He loves enterprises that aren’t driven just by profits, but those which have courage to invest in major challenges, encourage breakthroughs, change the game within industries and create transformation for the better of all; companies that create value for society, for the entrepreneurs and for the investors at the same time. For Sjaak, that’s what sustainable social entrepreneurship is all about. From Good to Great to the pursuit of WoW! That’s why he started Virus Participation. And that’s what the virus of entrepreneurial change explores and why it invests in social impact companies like TheSocialMedwork, myTomorrows and www.CuresUnited.com. Game-changing companies that move the world with a passion for life and innovative entrepreneurship!

Cedric Atkinson –  Partner, CJ Knight Management LTD

Toronto, Canada

‘To me, becoming a Rare Birds Ambassador means being a contribution to others and fulfilling on creating a future of extraordinary leaders.’

Cedric Atkinson is results-driven entrepreneurial and innovative executive with 15+years of a proven track record in all facets of consultative sales, business development, and transformational leadership. During his business career, Cedric has focused on sales and marketing as well as contracted consulting in the financial markets to both privately held and public companies. Cedric has established a reputation for creating effective strategies for asset acquisitions and long-term success.

Cedric is currently a partner in a new venture, that is dedicated to creating legacies for entrepreneurs and their families. Cedric’s personal passion is being a contribution to entrepreneurs and helping them discover, create and live a life they love and fulfilling on their true purpose. 

Isabelle Ugochukwu –  Founder, ISABELLA QUEEN

London, UK

‘As a Rare Birds Ambassador I have the chance to encourage women to fulfil their potential, to give back what I have received from the great women who mentor me and to champion a life changing cause.’

Isabelle Ugochukwu is a celebrated leader, educated to postgraduate and professional levels, with extensive experience in business, relationship management, executive leadership, portfolio delivery, legal, sales and design.

She is an alumni of the London College of Fashion, a visionary and a creative designer with a global reputation for her innovative leather accessories designs and the strategic approach with which she is executing the leadership of ISABELLA QUEEN.

Isabelle is an eloquent public speaker and highly skilled orator who brings freshness, a balanced view, articulates with authenticity, fearlessness and authority, has great audience awareness, connects well on all levels, and inspires people with her story.

Isabelle was awarded the NATWEST Business Boost ‘Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year’​ WINNER for 2016.

El Kwang –  Founder and Chief Editorial Officer, Biz Events Asia


‘Inspiring Rare Birds provides a channel to share business experiences that may assist the next rising star.’

El Kwang has over 20 years of experience within the hospitality and business events industry. Between 2007 and 2012, his strategic approach to business events generated multi-million-dollar revenue per annum for event management and venue owners, Dockside Group based in Australia; bringing the brand to leading status in the Australian Business Events Industry.


In 2014, El became the co-owner of micenet ASIA and founded Biz Events Asia in early May to move the magazine from a traditional trade-news channel to the leading knowledge platform for the business industry in Asia.  In 2016, El launched a self-publishing platform called The “Voice” Community on  www.bizeventsasia.com that aimed to encourage the industry to speak up and share their thought-leadership opinions.

El is heavily involved in a number of committees, conferences and speaking opportunities to promote the  utmost importance of professional education and development in the events sector.

Lauren Beaufils –  Founder, Aetus

Illawarra and Shoalhaven, NSW

‘It is an absolute honour to be a part of the Rare Birds global entrepreneurial community. Being a Rare Bird Ambassador is about encapsulating the vision of empowering women from all walks of life to become remarkable changemakers.  Together, we can help eliminate roadblocks, contribute to a supportive network and drive change for future female entrepreneurs.’

Lauren is a passionate youth leadership advocate, a budding entrepreneur, and marketing extraordinaire. Her vision is to create economic development in regional Australia through leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship. After graduating from the University of Wollongong with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2013, Lauren has been heavily involved in programs that not only empower young Australians, but youth across the world.

Recently, Lauren represented Australia at the International Young Leaders Assembly in Washington and New York. She is also involved with organising the South Coast Youth Leadership Forum, a 3-day program empowering youths to become ‘change makers’ in their community.

Lauren has also founded a company named Aetus, a watch brand focusing on creating quality mid-century modern timepieces.  She upholds the strong belief that regional Australia is one of the best places in the world to start a business.  

Narelle Brook –  Proprietor – Brook Project Management & Marketing

Kimberley region, Western Australia

Living in a remote part of the Kimberley region, the opportunity to become a Rare Birds Ambassador empowers me to engage more strongly with a broad range of women in the pastoral, agricultural, tourism, mining and general business areas.  The Kimberley region has been kind to me and Rare Birds provides an opportunity for me to give back to the Kimberley by encouraging and supporting our rural and remote women and girls to do great things.’

Narelle Brook has lived and worked in Kununurra in the East Kimberley region of WA since 1995.  Since then, much of her work life has revolved around the tourism industry with senior and general management roles in cruising, aviation, hospitality and visitor servicing.  Narelle’s business Brook Project Management & Marketing works with a number of local tour operators in the areas of sales, marketing, social media and public relations.

Narelle also enthusiastically works within community organisations such as Skal International Kununurra, the Rotary Club of Kununurra and is a founding member of both the East Kimberley Marketing Group (2014) and the Ord Valley Muster which commenced in 2001 in the spare room of her home.  More recently, Narelle has become the Chairman of the Ord Valley Events Inc. Board (who manage the Ord Valley Muster) and a Business Advisor for the Kimberley Small Business Support Service.

In 2010, Narelle was awarded the GWN Visitor Centre Manager of the Year at the Top Tourism Town Awards and was also a finalist in the Regional Service Award category of the 2009 WA Regional Achievement & Community Awards.