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:
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

Director Innovation
WA Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation

Charlie has spent 20+ years in Perth’s business, tech, media and startup sectors, from founder through to exit, as CEO, mentor, advisor / investor, and in federal and (now) state government. 

Arriving in Perth in 1997, he graduated top of UWA Business School with an MBA, co-founded property listings site which was sold to REIWA in 2010. He then ran, went on to be CEO of Business News, and work on the federal government's Accelerating Commercialisation fund. In 2021, he was awarded WA Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year at the 30th Incite Awards, and in early 2022 joined the state government as Director Innovation at the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI).

Heiko Plange, CFRE, FFIA, FAIM

Chief Development Officer 
Youth Focus 

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, was Head of Fundraising at the Perth Children's Hospital Foundation and Director of Fundraising and Commercial Development at Perth Zoo. He is a Fellow of the Fundraising Institute of Australia and a Community Ambassador. Currently Heiko is the Chief Development Officer at Youth Focus. 

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.

Paul Claessen

Executive Director, Thriver Finance
Co-Founder – Prospekt Strategic Growth Consultants

Paul is an Executive Director and co-founder of Thriver Finance and the Thriver Primero managed investment fund. 

He is also a co-founder of specialist growth consultancy Prospekt working exclusively with owners and senior executives of fast-growing business.  Prospekt helps refine and define organisational vision, strategy, identity and execution plans to unlock the true potential of a business.

Paul was the CEO and a major shareholder in Logic a fast-growing WA based technology company.  Most recently he led the turnaround of ASX listed Cycliq Group Limited. Cycliq designs, manufactures and sells a cycling safety technology solution in 50 countries globally.

Paul has genuine passion for working with and assisting high potential entrepreneurial businesses.

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. 

Dr Paula Smith 

CEO - Global Institute of Training and Presenting

Paula has enjoyed a 30+ year entrepreneurial journey which have included being the Founder of Australia’s largest personal development school, Franchisor, Hotel Owner, President and Board Member of many school and business associations, Professional Speaker, Business Coach and is currently the CEO of the Global Institute of Training and Presenting, a training company specialising in workplace communication and leadership development.

Paula holds a Bachelor’s degree in Training and Development, a Master’s degree in Leadership and a PhD in Organisational Leadership.  She has been awarded the CSP designation by the National Speakers Association and a Fellow from the Australian Institute of Management.  Paula's decades of research in Presentation Intelligence ® and human behaviour have earnt her the reputation as a leading expert in the world of Powerful Presenting and Leadership Communication.  She continues to work with some of Australia’s largest organisations and government departments and has an active interest in supporting entrepreneurship. Paula brings her rich life and business experience to WA leaders. Paula is also a proud mum of 3, wife of 1 and friend to a few more. She has been seen attempting the occasional triathlon and enjoys hanging out on her Perth Hills property with a whole bunch of adorable Alpacas

Kerry Milne  

Founder and Managing Director - GAP 

Kerry is the Founder and Managing Director of GAP. She is an insights and commercial business strategist and marketer who is passionate about using her expertise to influence the growth of businesses of all sizes, wherever they are in their journey.

Tapping into her experience with high-growth and complex businesses, Kerry guides clients through robust strategy and planning processes to get to the heart of the market opportunity, or overcome common growth barriers, to achieve the vision they have for their business.

Since launching, Kerry has helped a variety of start-ups, scale-ups and clients in need of transformation across the technology, professional services, fintech, mining services and NFP sectors – both in the B2C and B2B categories.

Kerry also held the roles of Co-CEO and Chief Growth Officer of Plico Energy – a renewable energy start-up – winning the Business News Rise Award for StartUp of the Year in 2021.

Before starting her own business, Kerry worked for some impressive global companies and held executive leadership roles across Australia and New Zealand with GE, Bankwest and Vodafone.

 Kerry is a well-known growth specialist both here in WA and across Australia. She leans on her knowledge and experience to help clients who have a vision for growth and bucket loads of passion, and the courage to do something new or different.

 Driven by a strong sense of community and supporting others, Kerry is an active champion of improving homelessness in WA, and speaks openly about her struggles and strengths from living with anxiety and ADHD.

Kerry held a position as a Non-Executive Director on the Richmond Wellbeing board for 2.5 years and is a CPM with the Australian Marketing Institute.

Vijay Bhuva

Dispute Resolution Advisor - SBDC
Business Broker - GMO 

Vijay is a highly successful business Executive with experience in:

  • Overall  business management.
  • Handling financial, operational, legal, sales, purchases, inventory, and human resource aspects of a business enterprise.
  • Understanding diversified business requirements, whether technical or commercial.
  • Highly developed knowledge and contacts within the uniform industry, locally and overseas. Transforming business requirements to suit market conditions.

Vijay has owned and operated businesses in both Africa and Australia.

In Africa - Repairs and Reclamation of plant and equipment, building and structures, access and scaffolding systems, expoxy flooring. lock manufacture, telecast spin casting, supplying specalised coatings to building  facades and establishing a paint making plant in Nairobi. 

In Australia - Anti-Graffiti, Wholesale supply of groceries to supermarkets, health supplements and health foods to Pharmacies and health shops, Manufacture of uniforms and importation from China.


Simon Bowen 

Founder of The Models Method
Creator of The Genius Model 

International Keynote Speaker, Business Mentor, Presenter & Author, Simon's method of using models to accelerate thinking and elevate influence has spread to over 30 countries and is used in more than nine different languages.

With a background in electrics and electronics, teaching, university lecturing, executive management, corporate consulting, and peak-performance coaching, Simon’sunique blend of perspectiveshas resulted in a truly unique framework of thinking and influence that is changing theway business leaders,consultants and sales people unpack complex concepts and influence others towards agreement with their ideas. 

Expression of Interest

Western Australian selects leading growth companies to become Members.

International Leaders