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.

James Paulsen
Founder & CEO, International Leaders

James started his career with Corporation Builders and worked his way up to Executive Director. He also founded Enterprise Angels, one of the first business angel networks in Australia. In 2006 he founded Queensland Leaders, an initiative to work with Queensland’s leading private companies to assist them become national or international market leaders. James studied accounting at QUT and then completed an MBA from Bond University.

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.

Rupen Kotecha
CEO, WA Leaders

A founder of the CFO Centre Australia, Rupen was on the Board of British Airways Regional Cargo based in the UK. Over his career to-date, which has included exposure to global organisations, Rupen has acquired invaluable knowledge and experience of the problems and opportunities facing large and small businesses in sales, operational and financial areas.

Rupen was Managing Director of the CFO Centre Australia before starting WA Leaders in 2015.

Charlie Gunningham
Commercialisation Adviser
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

As a Commercialisation Adviser on the Accelerating Commercialisation (Entrepreneur's Programme), Charlie provides commercial advice and matching grants of up to $1 million to innovative companies looking to commercialise their novel IP.

Originally an Economics teacher from the UK, via Singapore, Charlie Gunningham 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 GM of Digital, then as CEO.

Charlie is an active speaker, mentor and adviser among Perth's tech startup community, and sits on the advisory boards of TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, ECU School of Business & Law, the Chief Scientist's STEM Panel and the Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Fund marketing committee. 

Jemma Greene
Chief Innovation Officer 
City of Canning 

Jemma is the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Canning. She is 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.

Nominate Now

Western Australian Leaders selects leading growth companies to become Members. Up to 25 Executive Leaders and 16 Future Leaders are selected each year.