Our Awesome Mentors
We aim to make a wide ranging, far reaching and long lasting global impact on agrifood systems
Our selection of industry experts and mentors across the agri-food system who bring invaluable knowledge and expertise to our program participants.
Suzanne was born and raised in Barcaldine. Her custodial connection to country has been continuous and carries on the work of her father the late David Thompson, Great Grandparents David and Clara, all of which had traditional custodial links to the lands of the Kunngeri/Iningai & Bidjera peoples.
Suzanne has returned to country after two decades of working within Government agencies and private business enterprises. For the most part she worked in the areas of: Youth and policy Development, Community Development, Indigenous Business Advisor; Volunteering commitments - Board Member of the Queensland Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services Board, Noosa Bio Sphere Board, Committee Member for the Desert Uplands Committee (Landholders), founding member of Yumbangku Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development Aboriginal Corporation.
Suzanne has also teamed up with land owners of the district to work in partnership to further develop relationships with both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous. She is passionate about the opportunities that both cultures can create into the future as new industries for outback communities. Her passions have seen her embrace the sharing of local Native food & medicine plants throughout the Region.
Co-Founder & Principal Consultant, FAPIC Global
Juraj has over 20 years experience in global leadership, organisation and team building, research & product development and planning and execution to provide sustainable and agile FMCG product solutions for customers and partners to achieve successful business growth.
Acting as a professional adviser for Food Industry Partners, Juraj has strong collaboration and connections with the broader food industry community including SMEs, Federal & Local government, Food & Agriculture associations and councils. Juraj has a passion and focus on the commercialisation of innovation faster, end-to-end product development, portfolio rationalisation, cost reduction programs and applying world's best practices to help SMEs move to the market faster.
Juraj brings specialised capabilities in: strategic planning and thinking; new business development; regulatory compliance; portfolio and project management; team leadership; assurance; proposal development; business value analysis; and P&L management.
Native Food Specialist & Director, ANFAB
Dale is a Wardandi Bibbulmun woman, and her traditional country is around Busselton, Margaret River, and Augusta in the south west of Western Australia. For the past 25 years she has been operating businesses in the Aboriginal Tourism Sector. She is a long-term member and Vice Chair of WAITOC, and on the board of the Swan Chamber of Commerce and previously sat on the now disbanded Swan Valley Planning Committee.
Dale is always foremost promoting the participation of Aboriginal people in all aspects of business but particularly in her specialist fields of tourism and bushfood. She is often called on to participate in working groups such as Food Tourism by Tourism Western Australia and others.
In September 2016 she attended Terra Madre in Italy on behalf of Slow Food Swan Valley and gave a taste workshop on Australian Native Edibles, helped prepare an Australia on a Plate lunch and presented at the Indigenous Terra Madre forum. She also has a background in department store buying, merchandising and marketing both in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Indigenous Consultant, PWC Indigenous Consulting
Joshua is a Worimi man, whose family ancestors are recorded as having the first recorded birth in a cave in the Gloucester mountains. His connection to the Worimi nation stems through both his parents, tracing back to the Bugg family.
Josh’s work seeks to connect traditional Aboriginal knowledge and history to current contexts, translating past wisdoms and learning to the opportunities of the future. His work brings together the old and the new, weaving them together to develop new insights and findings.
He is an entrepreneur and business advisor, working predominantly in the Aboriginal cultural, agricultural and environmental spheres. He has worked with numerous of not for profits, businesses and government to develop change and bring people on a journey of change.
Josh pursues transformation through modern truth telling, bringing new concepts to the forefront through acknowledgement of the past.
Director, Speaker & Author, Food & Nutrition Australia
Sharon Natoli helps leaders, teams and individuals communicate for influence. She speaks at conferences and events about the power of communication to create a better future - whether that's for individuals looking to lead themseleves, or organisations and leaders who are looking to lead change.
Sharon assists with message development, speaking up, and communicating in a way that inspires attention and influences direction.Gaining the skills to share thoughts, opinions and ideas enables leaders to lead with confidence, authenticity, integrity and influence – creating and making the difference they seek.
Sharon has a 30 year professional career in communications, including media, spokesperson, brand communication, public relations and counselling roles. Sharon understands the challenges of speaking up, the power of words and the consequences on organisational, leadership and team success that remaining silent can have. She is passionate about helping individuals and organisations use the power of communication to create their future.
Impact Investor & Advisor, Impactor
Dedicated to channeling impact dollars to build a better planet.
Career in launching impact businesses through venture capital, advising entrepreneurs on growth strategy, and getting companies ready to raise equity and debt investment.
Tony is board advisor to impact CEOs in fintech, agtech, cleantech, and sustainability. He is a frequent guest speaker on impact investing and customer experience for impact accelerator programs, and mentor to about 50 entrepreneurs a year.
Dr Emma Beckett
Food Science & Human Nutrition, University of Newcastle
Dr Emma Beckett is a lecturer in food science and human nutrition at the University of Newcastle. She is also an avid science communicator in the food and nutrition space. Emma has appeared on ABC News, Today, ABC for kids, and ABC & commercial radio. She writes for ABC online, newspapers, magazines & various websites including the conversation. On social media Emma is the Ms Frizzle of Food and Nutrition Science - each day bringing a new food or nutrition fact with a matching outfit! Emma has a passion for science communication, the honest use of science in marketing and empowering people to critically assess the information they are given about nutrition in the media.
In her research, Emma is interested in personalised nutrition, how our environment and genes impact our diets, food choices, and nutrition communication. Emma has experience in immunology, microbiology, epidemiology, nutrition, genetics and epigenetics.
Emma holds a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (Honours in Immunology & Microbiology), a Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition, a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology, a Masters of Science Management and a PhD in Food Science (Nutrition).
CEO, Keeping Company
As Founder and CEO of award-winning accounting firm, Keeping Company, Ryan partners with some of Australia’s leading businesses and entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses, raise capital and hit their strategic goals.
Since 2011, Keeping Company has become one of the leading accounting and bookkeeping firms in Australia and was recognised as Bookkeeping Firm of the Year in the 2020 Australian Accounting Awards. Keeping Company provides bespoke bookkeeping, accounting and business advisory solutions which leverage the cloud.
As a business leader and entrepreneur himself, Ryan has built and grown several companies and understands the challenges that business leaders face on their growth journey. With extensive commercial experience as a CFO and director across a range of industries spanning pharmaceuticals, health, mining, manufacturing, FMCG, services, building & construction, NFP and food, Ryan is able to help clients in all industries tackle any commercial or financial challenge or opportunity.
COO, Keeping Company
As Director, Partner and COO of award-winning accounting firm, Keeping Company, Tim works with many exciting established and start-up businesses. It’s the perfect outlet for Tim to provide innovative accounting and bookkeeping solutions leveraging on cloud-based technology.
Tim invested in Keeping Company as a partner in 2017. He already had a strong relationship with CEO, Ryan Miller, dating back to 2001 and was confident he could bring something different to the business. It has gone from strength to strength. The team has opened an office in Vietnam, restructured to scale and expanded our service offering. To top it off, they recently won Bookkeeping Firm of the Year in the 2020 Australian Accounting Awards.
Tim's first career opportunity came via earning a cadetship at KPMG. He was privy to the inner workings of all kinds of companies, sparking an enduring curiosity and passion for building and growing businesses and the strength and conviction possessed by entrepreneurs. This passion continues to guide Tim's advisory work at Keeping Company today, as he advises businesses on their financial strategy, management and ambitions.
Managing Director, Concierge Genetics
Generation 5.0 born into successful farming family, Ag science geek by degree, Plant breeder by trade, Whole primary industries genomics specialist by business.
Concierge Genetics™ accelerates the rate of genetic gain (more food of higher nutritional value) through the delivery of genomics on multi-platforms coupled with predictive analytics for breeding value. Improved genetic value drives profitability, productivity and creates enduring prosperity for Australian breeding businesses and farmers on a national and global scale.
Inventor of the term "Tinder for breeding" among other things. We use DNA selection for "matchmaking" in animal and plant breeding (It's like combining AncestryDNA + 23andMe together and adding analytics for matepair selection ontop) to select for more food of higher quality.
Have you ever wondered why there are 1 billion people without adequate food? or realised that we have achieved food for 6 billion people, yes six Billion! What will happen in 2050 when we have an extra 2 billion people on earth? or before the food makes it to your plate what the value chain is?
These are some of the global challenges James would like to be a part of solving, locally here in Australia and let's go from there.
Co-Founder & CPO, Fable Food Co
Chris has spent his life work focused around the radical improvement of what and how humans eat and use as medicine, to radically improve what we are, and how we ensure thriving symbiosis with the planet we currently call home.
By partnering with and learning from fungi, Chris believes we can create a rich and abundant biosphere in a way that solves for our energy needs, allows for a balanced approach to animal husbandry (and massive reduction in reliance on animal proteins), and generates a robust regernerative culture within our guts, brains, ecosystems, economic and social spheres.
Chris has a passion for proactive regenerative farming and novel cultivation of food and medicine, along with the technical evolution of supply chains and monetary protocols for resource allocation.
Chris McLoghlin, along with being a founding member of Fable Food Co, has also co-founded Escavox. Using the IoT (Internet of Things), data can be collected at all stages of the food supply chain to ensure optimum conditions for storage.
Chris was recently awarded Young Farmer of the Year for his work in not only overhauling the organic mushroom industry, but at the same time developing data management systems for fresh produce that can improve processes, save waste and enhance the quality of the product for consumers.
Founder & Managing Director, The Australian Superfood Co
Hayley is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist and Accredited Sports Dietitian, with experience in sports dietetics, nutrition journalism, product development, sponsorship and event management.
Hayley has broad professional experience across a range of industries from the North Melbourne Football Club, Shotz Sports Nutrition, Abundant Media/Noisy Beast/The Health Consultancy and The Australian Superfood Co.
Hayley is the founder and managing director of her native food business The Australian Superfood Co, most recently featured on the popular TV series, MasterChef Australia. The Australian Superfood Co. celebrates native Australian Superfoods - some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Through the unique range of dietitian created products that are gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and 100% natural, Hayley and team aim to share these ancient superfoods with the world and promote prosperity and wellbeing in Indigenous communities.
Hayley holds a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Monash University) and Masters of Business Administration (Deakin University).
Co-Founder & CEO, Fable Food Co
Michael is a very successful entrepreneur with deep understanding and experience in establishing and running food startups. Michael combined his vegetarianism, passion for healthy food and startup experience to most recently co-found Fable Food Co where the team develop and produce delicious meat alternatives based on mushrooms.
With alternative proteins increasingly gaining popularity, Fable has secured its reputation for a delicious go-to 'meat-free' option in a competitive market. Fable has created a unique advantage by targeting 'flexitarians' and creating pulled meat products using the hero ingredient mushrooms. The Fable team includes co-founders Jim Fuller and Chris McLoghlin, who are on a mission to provide consumers with a healthy, clean mushroom-based meat alternative. Michael is also a mentor and investor in a range of other businesses.
Prior to Fable Michael co-founded online retail businesses Shoes of Prey and Sneaking Duck and was a founding board member of the National Online Retail Association in Australia.
Founder & CEO, Taste Studios
Ricky and his business Taste Studies, help food retailers and hospitality venues serve healthier food & beverage offerings to their customers conveniently and profitably. He partners, advises and invest in manufacturers, supply chain providers and start-ups to find innovative solutions for the food industry.
Ricky continually works with chefs, start-ups, manufacturers, government and consumers to understand industry needs and find innovative food solutions. He is passionate about entrepreneurship, assisting students to become professionals and developing start-ups.
Ricky has been mentoring in a number of entrepreneurship programs over the last few years.
CEO, Australian Institure of Food Science & Technology
Principal, FJ Fleming Food Consulting
Fiona is an experienced Corporate and Regulatory Affairs professional with a proven ability to work in a fast paced, challenging environment. She has a track record of proactively leading and facilitating change and developing management strategies across a portfolio of food policy and regulation; food safety and quality systems; issues and Crisis management; government and media relations and corporate social responsibility within global multi-national FMCG and NGO environments.
Fiona is a committed, responsible and trustworthy leader with high standards and a passion for making a difference; protecting and building a company’s reputation and building effective partnerships with key stakeholders.
Fiona's specialties are in: Communication and Corporate Affairs; Food Policy and Regulation; Product Recall and Crisis Management; Issues Management; Food Safety and Quality; Allergen Management and Labelling.
Business Innovator, KPMG Audit Assurance & Risk Consulting
Alicia is an experienced lead design ethnographer and futurist. Her work brings the customer’s point of view and human voice to any group's innovations and decisions. Using visual communication, design, ethnography, and other deep contextual customer research methods she designs, conducts, and trains others in the world of customer empathy.
The work she does with teams brings empathy into the organisation to help inform, inspire, and initiate innovation. Central to her ability as a change agent is a capability to illuminate absences of customer understanding and to build powerful projects to rally teams and decision makers around their client’s needs.
She has extensive experience in designing and conducting customer focused qualitative research in a professional services and academic environment. She has deep expertise in research methods that provide targeted understanding of customers and the implementation of deep insights to design and build solutions.
Her areas of expertise: insights, synthesis, gaia centred design, decision design, and strategy. Her methods focus on making links between the customers' contexts and their behaviour patterns. Alicia's passion is to craft solutions that create complete interactions for users. She has led customer experience research components for multi part projects in diverse industries.