About Us

About Us

Western Australian Leaders inspires companies through knowledge, connections and resources.

Leaders surrounds growth companies with the expertise and experience of Business and Industry leaders to provide an effective, trusted community that fast-tracks outcomes and leads to greater prosperity for each Member.

Using this experience and its networks, Western Australian Leaders operates a range of initiatives designed to benefit companies at different stages of growth.

These initiatives include:

Western Australian Leaders has a vision that includes:

  • Assisting growth companies to become national and international  market leaders;
  • Developing and enhance the leadership skills of Founders, Directors and Executives;
  • Developing greater link to local, national, international opportunities and capital markets;
  • Surrounding growth companies with Business, Industry and Government leaders.

Advisory Board

Western Australian Leaders has engaged a highly qualified and respected Advisory Board to assist in strategic direction provide strategic insight, support and connectivity to the broader network. This Advisory Board includes:

Steve Marmion
Manager Advocacy and Economic Development,
City of Wanneroo

Steve has held positions in the education sector, business consulting and local government as well as owning and operating small business.

After a career in education, Steve worked at Syme, Marmion & Co as a Project Consultant and General Manager and then as Principal Business Development Advisor with the City of Wanneroo. From 2015 to early 2019, Steve led the economic development unit at the City of Joondalup and returned to the City of Wanneroo more recently as Manager of Advocacy and Economic Development.

With and a Master of Business Administration from Curtin University of Technology, Steve has consulted on many commercial and government projects involving economic impact analysis, demand analysis, business case development, policy development and economic strategy development.

Some key consulting projects include:

  • Perth Arena Business Case;
  • City of Joondalup Commercial Strategy;
  • City of Joondalup Whitfords Retail Assessment;
  • WA Football Commission Football Facilities Strategic Plan;
  • UDIAWA – Economic Impact Study of the Land Development and Apartment Construction Industry;
  • Department of Planning – Industrial Land Needs Study for Perth and Peel; and
  • Alkimos/Eglinton Joint Venture – Alkimos/Eglinton Economic and Employment Strate

Yvonne Atkinson
Stirling Business Association

Yvonne Atkinson has many years experience in small business having owned and operated three of her own over the last 20 years. It's this experience that drives her passion to advocate for the sector, striving to ensure SMEs have access to the necessary support while also promoting the sense of connection and community.

 Yvonne's current role as CEO at Stirling Business Association brings together her business leadership skills and this community focus to build a small business association that fosters the values of support, friendship, collaboration and community to enhance business success.  

Alan Nelson 
Entrepreneur, Investor, Advisor

Alan is described by some as a Serial Entrepreneur.  He has created, managed, lead over 40 businesses in his career in industries ranging from railways, truffles, labour hire, recycling, construction, tourism, office furniture, training and a restaurant train to name, but a few.   Some he has made money, some he has lost, but he has had fun and enjoyment along the way.

 With specific expertise in formulating the strategic direction of an enterprise and assisting business owners to achieve their objectives.  He has negotiated many acquisitions and the sale of businesses.  He Chairs and is a Director of a number of enterprises and is actively helping a number of start-up organisations.

 He spends his spare time, climbing mountains and has recently completed an end-to-end of the Bibbulmun Track.  He has tried to retire three times and successfully failed.  Over the last few years, his focus has been giving back and helping others in business

Cecily Rawlinson
Director, AustCyber

 Cecily Rawlinson was appointed in July 2021 as Director of the WA AustCyber Innovation Hub.

Cecily is a human-centred design practitioner and is passionate about using design thinking to unlock the creative potential of stakeholders and unlikely innovators. She led the CIVICUS team that facilitated the co-design and establishment of 7 regional innovation hubs around the world, launching the Innovation for Change network in 2015. Working with Innovation for Change allowed Cecily to hone her innovation skills and to witness first-hand the global demand for cyber security awareness and training. 

Prior to joining CIVICUS, Cecily began her career at the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and also worked at DCAF - Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance.

Cecily holds a Masters in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) and a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia. 

Greg Riebe
Executive Director, Entrepreneurs in Residence

Greg’s extensive experience in corporates, SMEs and start- ups, has helped him hone a unique set of skills that recognises where enabling technologies combined with highly- scalable business models can result in fundable high performance operating businesses. 

With over 20 years experience in most facets of the emerging technology sector, Greg ran what was the first technology incubator in Perth, managed a fund investing in technology start-ups, has been a co-founder of a number technology businesses and more recently as an adviser to founders on how to become investment ready, how to get scale, create and capture value and how to position their ventures to harvest returns for shareholders, investors or stakeholders; Greg’s exposure to filtering, assessing and structuring numerous individual innovative ventures for investment &/or acquisition or divestment, has helped him better appreciate the perspectives in the sourcing of funds from capital providers, fund investors, co-investors and business owners.

In 2020, Greg was recognised as the Australian Angel Investor of the Year and was awarded the 2020 WA Pearcey Entrepreneur Award

Dr Richard Charlesworth, AO

Richard is a doctor of medicine, a former captain of the Australian Hockey Team, the State Hockey Team and the State Cricket Team. He was also in Federal parliament for 10 years then he retired to take up the position of National Coach of the Australian Women's Hockey Team from 1993 until Sydney 2000.

Ric has worked as a high performance consultant to the Fremantle Dockers, and as a mentor coach to 5 Australian Institute of Sport coaches.

Retired from full time coaching the Kookaburras in 2014 after winning the World Cup, Ric now works as a High Performance Consultant.

Charlie Gunningham
Founder & Principal

Charlie has spent more than 20 years in Perth's tech startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor.

Originally an Economics teacher from the UK, via Singapore, he landed in Perth in 1997 to do an MBA at UWA. Graduating as top student in 1999 he set up aussiehome.com, an online real estate business, running it for 10 years before selling to REIWA, whereupon Charlie and his team ran reiwa.com. He then moved to Business News to lead their digital transformation as CEO, and also worked for the federal government's Accelerating Commercialisation program, funding pre-revenue startups and innovative businesses. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech businesses (through his own company 'Damburst'), is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast.

As well as WA Leaders, Charlie sits on the advisory boards of TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and the full board of Rise Network.

Jemma Iles
Executive People Experience Transformation
City of Cockburn A passionate intrapreneur delivering innovative executive leadership across the Public Sector. Innovation is delivering change that adds value and creating a better world. People are the key to transforming our world, therefore I aspire to guide others to innovate by sharing, enabling and connecting:

- Inspiring people to get excited and embrace innovative thinking
- Sharing knowledge and learnings with people locally, nationally and internationally

- Building the capability of people to transform their organisation
- Developing systems, processes and supporting resources to enable people to innovate

- Connecting people and ideas globally
- Connecting and collaborating with external partners including corporates, academia, innovators and learning organisations

Heiko Plange, CFRE, FFIA
Director Fundraising & Commercial Development 
Perth Zoo

Heiko is a globally Certified Fund Raising Executive and has extensive experience in managing fundraising and corporate partnership programs. With a comprehensive background in developing and implementing strategic marketing and major gifts fundraising, Heiko has worked with organisations spanning health, medical research, arts, education, and community services.

Previously, he has worked for the Brightwater Care Group, St John of God Health Care, Western Australian Museum Foundation, the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and was Head of Fundraising at the Perth Children's Hospital Foundation. He is a Fellow of the Fundraising Institute of Australia and a Chuffed.org Community Ambassador. Currently Heiko is the Director Fundraising and Commercial Development of Perth Zoo. 

He is a recipient of several awards, including the inaugural Centre for Social Impact Scholarship awarded by the Qantas Foundation. In addition to a number of other professional development qualifications, Heiko graduated from the University of Western Australia, earning a Bachelor of Commerce in Management and Marketing.

Expression of Interest

Western Australian selects leading growth companies to become Members.


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