About Us

About Us

Western Australian Leaders inspires leading companies. It achieves this through the provision of knowledge, networks, and capital.

Western Australian Leaders assists companies to achieve sustainable growth, manage succession planning and evaluate entry and exit strategies for their business.

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 and international capital markets;
  • Surrounding growth companies with Business, Industry and Government leaders.

Advisory Board

Western Australian Leaders has a nationally recognised Advisory Board, consisting of leading executive and non-executive directors to assist in developing the ongoing strategic direction of the network and aide in the growth and development of Members. This Advisory Board includes:

Paul Niardone
Managing Director, AusNet Financial Services

Paul was the Executive Director and founder of Professional Public Relations (WA), the largest PR and communications firm in the State.

With a degree in Politics and Industrial Relations, and after 5 years in government Paul was appointed inaugural Manager of the Peel Region Business Enterprise Centre. He was then appointed as the first Marketing Manager for the entire Enterprise Centre Network comprising 36 centres throughout WA.

He is recognised as a strategic planner, developing lateral solutions to business and management issues and advising many corporations. He has lectured at universities and conducts in-house corporate planning and marketing sessions. His career to date has provided him with a unique opportunity to gain experience, insights and contacts in a wide range of industries at the CEO and Board level.

Greg Riebe
Executive Director, Entrepreneurs in Residence

Greg is an active member of technology innovation, emerging entrepreneurial businesses and early stage investor communities in Western Australia.

In 2000, Greg co-founded Entrepreneurs in Residence Pty Ltd (EiR) which today provides support to emerging technology-based businesses with services including investment readiness & capitalisation, breakthrough growth readiness & execution, governance & interim management and exit & succession planning. Between 2000 and 2008, EiR had the mandate to manage investment funds on behalf the Federal Government to invest in information technology startups.

In 2009, Greg co-founded the Perth Angels network (current chair) and ebusiness association eGroup WA (past Chair, current Deputy Chair).

Greg is a speaker, mentor and adviser at a number of entrepreneurial programs, is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Inaugural winner of the TechBoard 2015 Startup Community 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 Greene
Executive Director Transformation
South Metropolitan Health Service  

Jemma is Executive Director for Transformation at South Metropolitan Health Service.

With a background in local government as the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Canning. she was  responsible for developing the City’s innovation strategy, building the innovation capability of over 800 employees, and embedding a culture of innovation which includes embracing technology and digital enablement.

Before joining Local Government in 2015, Jemma built a successful 15 year career in human resources, business operations and continuous improvement across a number of industries including retail, manufacturing, construction, and mining. She is a qualified Training Facilitator, Certified Human Resources Practitioner with the Australian Human Resources Institute, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Edith Cowan University, where she was awarded the Business and Law School Dean’s Award for achieving outstanding results within the top 5% of undergraduate students.

Jemma has a passion for driving change that adds value within an organisational context, which she demonstrates through her openness to share her knowledge and experience, and in the application of intrapreneur leadership that embraces creativity and collaboration

Heiko Plange, CFRE, FFIA
Head of Fundraising
Perth Children's Hospital Foundation

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 and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. Currently, he is the 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.

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.

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 Strategy.

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

Dr Ian Martinus
Director WA AustCyber Innovation Hub
Joondalup Innovation Hub

Dr. Ian Martinus is a trade and investment specialist with experience in technology-related ventures across government and industry.

With a strong background in entrepreneurship and innovation, he has founded start-ups in digital visualisation, e-commerce and online music. Cross-border economic empowerment projects for USAID, the World Bank an AusAID include countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Africa.

As an active member of the Australian economic development community of Australia and the United States, Ian has delivered successful projects in the urban and land development sectors and co-created the Railsmart project in WA which received a national Smart Cities award in 2019. As a founder of two digital start-ups and Tech Crunch DISRUPT pitch experience, Ian was also a founding board member and recent Chair of the Perth International Jazz Festival and lifetime musician. Ian believes that support for arts and culture can unite communities, help design unique projects and foster innovation and improvisation. His latest role within the Australian cybersecurity ecosystem marries all of these elements.

Expression of Interest

Western Australian Leaders selects leading growth companies to become Members.

International Leaders