Master of Ceremonies
Fiona Cooper is an in-demand Master of Ceremonies, voice over, actress, presenter and singer, who’s been performing on stage and screen professionally for 25 years.
Currently, you can catch her on channel 7TWO presenting travel show “Our Town”, also as Claire Edwards in Channel 7’s brand new series “Claremont Murders”, and as Valerie in the feature film “Rampage Electra”. You used to hear Fiona on mix94.5 and as lead vocalist fronting popular party band Hi-NRG- but currently sings with an acoustic duo and is the voice of hundreds of radio and TV commercials (eg. 2023: Kitchen Craftsmen).
Originally from The Netherlands, Fiona is bi-lingual, has two children, and completed a Post-Graduate degree from the WA Academy of Performing Arts. Fiona is a ray of sunshine that people of all ages and genders easily warm to-a very versatile personality able to read the room and adjust her energy and vibe accordingly. She takes great pride in what she does and invests in your event like it is her own. And although she is always well prepared ----due to her experience in live radio and performance ---Fiona handles last minute curve balls with grace and professionalism – and loves to think on her feet. Recent MC clients: The Governor of WA, Ngala, NECA, SummerSalt Concerts incl Ben Harper, Master Electricians Australia, Human Nature, Crowded House, Melbourne Cup Luncheons, Salon Express, Perth Garden Festival, Perth Baby Expo.
Marnie Jones started her career when she was 19. For 10 years she worked as a management consultant helping companies from $200k to $130m turnover get the most out of their businesses. At 23 she was the Head Consultant for a small boutique firm in Sydney where she managed a team of consultants.
Marnie held workshops and seminars for over 1,500 people over this time. She was responsible for more than 150 clients across varying industries such as mining, construction, child care, real estate, accounting, law, non-for-profit, manufacturing, printing and travel.
Her work allowed her to clearly see that building an incredible company that achieves its goals relies on 3 things: 1. Hiring reliable, overachieving employees, 2. Designing and organising the team & its workflow, and 3. Leveraging and retaining the staff through great management. Marnie observed firsthand the true financial cost people have to business: -Hundreds of thousands of dollars go to waste with wrong hires; one bad egg eating at the company from the inside. -On average 30-50% of work done in a business was avoidable if it were better organised. -The majority of companies operate well below their income capacity due to weak management. TALENT X In October 2020, Marnie launched Talent X – her greatest achievement to date. Talent X is what she dubs a “People Agency,” one dedicated to building truly productive, happy teams that are measured by their financial success. Talent X has services across consulting and recruitment. Best known for the organising of teams and hiring of high performers. Talent X has a 96.7% recommendation rate. Talent X grew ten-fold in 2021, working with clients in construction, fashion retail, architecture, accounting, law, manufacturing, food service and more. As a standout win they landed multiple high-ticket contracts to the value of up to $250,000 – no small feat for a budding firm. In January 2022 they moved into a 150sqm office in Ultimo to support our expanding team.
For almost 25 years, Matt Michalewicz has been running high-growth tech companies in the now popularized areas of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
As an entrepreneur, he has experienced first-hand the challenges of starting, growing, and selling his own companies and can effectively connect with any audience of business owners. At the same time, his entrepreneurial experience has revolved around the application of advanced technologies to large, global organisations across a diverse set of sectors—including financial services, FMCG, mining, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, retail, and government—and he is able to provide expert commentary and insight into how these organisations achieve efficiency, competitive advantage, and internal innovation.
Previous Experience Throughout his career, Matt has raised more than $60 million in venture capital, sold his own companies for tens of millions of dollars, served on the board of directors of several ASX-listed companies, and written many books, including Life in Half a Second, Winning Credibility, Puzzle-Based Learning, Adaptive Business Intelligence, and The Rise of Artificial Intelligence. He is considered a modern leader, having personally led organisations through the crashes and uncertainty of the dot-com, GFC, and covid eras, as well as the rise of disruptive trends such as mass personalisation, on-demand, digitalisation, and the rise of AI. Matt is also known for attracting global names to the boards of his own companies—including the former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Walesa; former Bank of America Chairman and CEO, Hugh McColl Jr.; world-renowned fraud expert and subject of Steven Spielberg's blockbuster "Catch Me if You Can," Frank Abagnale; and former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Zbigniew Brzezinski. His achievements have been featured in numerous television shows and publications, including Time Magazine, Newsweek, Sky News, and Forbes, and he was also named the Pearcey Foundation “Entrepreneur of the Year”, Business Journal “40 under 40” list of accomplished business leaders, and Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist. Matt is currently the CEO of Complexica, a provider of Artificial Intelligence software that helps large organisations make better decisions in sales, marketing, & supply chain operations. Matt’s more notable achievements at Complexica include raising almost $35 million in venture capital, being named the 2018 Australian Innovator of the Year, and winning several global tenders against competitors that were more than 100 times larger. Complexica employs more than a hundred staff across four offices and has many well-known customers, such as Dulux, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Metcash, Asahi, Pernod Ricard, Woolworths, and Arnott’s among others. Prior to Complexica, Matt was the co-founder and CEO of SolveIT Software, a company he grew from scratch to 180 employees and more than $20 million in revenue before selling the business to Schneider Electric in 2012. SolveIT Software provided Artificial Intelligence systems for the mining industry to optimise their planning and scheduling processes, and was named the 3rd fastest-growing company in Australia in 2012 with global customers such as Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Viterra, Glencore, and Xstrata. From 1999 - 2003, Matt was the co-founder and CEO of NuTech Solutions in the USA, where he raised almost US$20 million in venture capital and grew the business to almost 200 employees in 6 international offices. NuTech Solutions provided Artificial Intelligence-based software to the banking, defence, and manufacturing sectors, with customers such as General Motors, Unilever, Beiersdorf, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Air Liquide, NSA, U.S. Department of Defense, and Ford Motor Company among others. NuTech Solutions was acquired by Netezza Corporation, which was subsequently acquired by IBM Global Services. From 1994 – 1999, Matt was the founder and operator of Fitness Forever, a personal training business, and later, the co-founder of CFG Investments, a money management and financial planning company with more than $150 million under management. Matt is also a Limited Partner in Blackbird Ventures, an Australian early-stage venture capital fund, and from 2005 - 2016 he held the position of Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide where he lectured on the subject of technology commercialisation for graduate students.
Born and bred in wild Patagonia, Gus Balbontin never allowed his small town and humble beginnings get in the way of his big dreams. A healthy disrespect for authority and a severe case of fomo (fear of missing out) landed him in Australia at the young age of 17.
By the age of 22 he had dropped out of uni, hitchhiked South America, set up his first business and landed his dream job at Lonely Planet. Fast forward a few more years and he was leading the company globally, working with companies such as Google X, Nokia and Amazon on the latest technology, creative cultures and high-performing teams
Seeking a change from corporate life, he hung up his boots as the Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet and decided to move back to his entrepreneurial roots, becoming an investor, founder and mentor across the start-up ecosystem in Melbourne. He loves sharing a story, he loves even more, knowing those stories make a difference to people, helping them in their own business and life. Over the last 3 years Gus has presented to audiences of 10 across regional Australia and New Zealand, to audiences of 10,000 across North America, Europe, South America and Asia. To him there’s no difference. Small, large, private, public, board room to mail room, his lessons hit a chord, his simplicity disarms you, his energy infects you and his counterintuitive way of looking at the world will motivate you to do things different. Often thought as futurist, not because he predicts the future, but instead because he helps you focus on what you can control to deal with any future. Still want to talk trends? Sure! He loves as much as the next person trying to imagine a world run by AI, but he warns that getting too distracted with future guesses will only take time away from you and your company to actually do something about the future.
Senior Associate and Industrial Relations Practice Manager, NECA Legal
Lisa is a Senior Industrial Relations Solicitor who is passionate about employment law. Lisa obtained her Masters (with distinction) in the area and advises on all contracts of employment, enterprise agreements, general protections, unfair dismissals, workplace health and safety, terminations, redundancies, legislative and award interpretation, policies, discrimination and harassment and employment related litigation.
Lisa has worked at the Attorney General’s Department, NFP Lawyers, inhouse at Infinite Aged Care and more recently at Gadens Lawyers and Crown Law.
Prior to working in employment law Lisa worked at a senior level in finance and project management for fortune 500 companies in three continents such as Shell, Diageo, EDF Energy and Hewlett Packard as well as SME organisations and is qualified in project management and business accounting. It is this balance of legal expertise and commercial acumen that enables Lisa to effectively problem solve and provide practical and well-balanced solutions and strategies that consider risk while understanding business operations and requirements.
Director, Government Relations, NECA National
Ms Irma Beganovic is the Director of Government Relations for the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA).
Prior to joining NECA, Irma worked in senior executive roles for the Queensland Government, leading teams of policy, media, communication and governance specialists, while providing trusted and strategic advice to Ministers and Chief Executive Officers on matters affecting the government (including in areas of building and construction, energy, and procurement).
Underpinned by her qualifications in Business and Marketing, Irma’s strategic stakeholder engagement and advocacy strengths see her making a genuine difference and giving a voice to those in the sector who need it most, particularly subcontractors and women. Irma is a member of the Federal Government’s National Construction Industry Forum, as well as a member of the Electrical Safety Board for the Queensland Government.
Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Development, NHP
Malcolm Noyle from NHP Electrical Engineering Products has expertise in the space of EV infrastructure development supporting the complicated roadmap around EV charging. With a background in the vehicle OEM space, low carbon technologies, strategic consulting and the transition for EV vehicles, Malcolm has a broad grasp of the changing face of transport and the fast moving engineering challenges facing companies adopting change today. As a volunteer firefighter he has a passion for safety and supporting all aspects of EV charging, upstream safety, load management and the implications for our industry
Standardisation & Regulation Manager, Pacific Zone, Schneider Electric
Lucy leads Schneider Electrics participation in the development of standards and regulations across the Pacific Zone. Lucy is also responsible for Schneider Electric’s regulatory compliance in Australia and New Zealand. Joining Schneider Electric in 2016, Lucy is passionate about securing outcomes for all in Australia’s energy transition. She has over 20 years of experience in electrical design, and manufacturing, working on projects in a diverse range of industries such as medical, military, mining, oil and gas, intelligent transport systems, and hypersonic research.
Locally, Lucy represents the Australian Industry Group on many technical standards committees within the Electrotechnology sector, including the installation committees of EL-001 and EL-042. In 2023, Lucy was appointed by Standards Australia to the EL-001 executive committee. Lucy is actively involved in representing the industry on the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) National Committee of Australia. She is the chair of Australia’s EL-004-09 standard committee. In this capacity she is Australia’s representative to the IEC for low voltage circuit protection devices. Lucy has a long and deeply personal involvement in advocating for greater inclusion and equitable outcomes for everyone. She is a member of Schneider Electrics Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council. This work also includes improving inclusion of LGBT Schneider Electric staff around the world.
Managing Director, Enginuity Power Solutions
Tom Green, a trailblazer in the field of future-proof energy solutions, stands at the forefront of disrupting conversations surrounding our nation's energy consumption and crisis.
With over two decades of hands-on experience in the electrical industry, Tom has left an indelible mark across diverse settings, from domestic and commercial to industrial, automation, and high voltage environments. Rising from an electrical technician to an industry leader, Tom earned an electrical engineering degree in 2012 and an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business in 2017.
Fuelled by his passion for environmental impact, Tom founded Enginuity Power Solutions in 2021. His leadership promotes a paradigm shift in energy consumption, emphasizing that the cleanest, greenest, and safest energy is the energy we don't use. Tom's advocacy transcends boardrooms, inspiring companies to rethink practices. A distinguished industry speaker, he shares a compelling story, that encapsulates innovation, transformation, and environmental stewardship in shaping a sustainable future.
Head of muru-D and Incubation, Telstra
A proven executive leader with an entrepreneurial mindset, Ben Green is the founder of two successful technology start-ups including being acquired by fortune 500, Schneider Electric. Ben has held senior executive roles in multiple global Technology corporations, including Schneider Electric, Evolt, and Optus. In 2024 Ben joins Telstra as Head of muru-D and Incubation, where he’s responsible for identifying and accelerating start-ups, entrepreneurs and hyper scalers in transforming new ideas into viable products & services.
Channel Marketing Manager, Schneider Electric
Hastak Shah is Channel Lead for Schneider Electric Australia and New Zealand business, managing Switchboard Builder and Contractor Channels.
In his 14 years of experience he has worked at all levels starting from Customer Care and Technical Support, managed most crucial offers as Product Marketing Manager, has led some major innovation launches for switchboard connectivity across APAC region, all of which puts him in an unique position to understand customer needs and importance of strong partnership while leading channels, both at APAC level and now for ANZ.
A Mechatronics Engineer by trade and with a passion in digitization, electrification and sustainability, Hastak is a strong believer that these key trends will enable greener and smarter future. Hastak continues to engage in conversation with partners to understand their business dynamics, changing energy landscape, and building plans to ensure partners are ready for it. Hailing originally from India, Hastak has lived in Australia and Singapore, and is now back home to beautiful Australia with a family of 4, to continue to enjoy the long drives, beaches, mountains and coffee.
Dr Karin Mathison
Karin is an accomplished business leader, recognised for her strategic acumen and ability to innovate. With a strong foundation in education and research, Karin’s varied career of more than twenty years spans multiple industries across organisations of many sizes.
Karin holds a PhD in Management (Organisational Sociology), a Master of Education and Master of Commerce. She recently completed study in non-profit management at Harvard University and is a Graduate of the AICD Company Director’s course. This solid educational background, and a commitment to lifelong learning, provides the intellectual foundation for her career success.
After twelve years as a university Lecturer in Management, Karin remains active in academia as an Adjunct Lecturer and Associate Editor of the top-ranked Journal of Industrial Relations. She has owned and operated her own successful small businesses in the construction industry, worked within the labour movement in various capacities, is a fully registered secondary teacher, and most recently held the position of CEO with Keystone Tasmania (the Tasmanian building and construction industry training board). As CEO, Karin led the transformation of the organisation through a rapid period of reinvention, strategic repositioning and growth. Karin’s interdisciplinary research interests are in the sociology of organisations, which is concerned with the development, relevance and impact of organisations in society. Karin’s PhD thesis investigated the lived experiences of male blue-collar workers’ perceptions of the work-life interface, finding that employees’ organisational identity is closely related to perceptions of work-life balance. Karin has authored research papers and articles in management, education and professional journals, and has presented at numerous conferences and events. Karin’s leadership style is entrepreneurial, marked by collaboration, adaptability and strategic thinking. She is recognised as someone who is forward-thinking, innovative and capable of inspiring others to achieve a shared vision. Karin brings her broad experience across business, education, industry and government to her current work as a business improvement consultant to several organisations across Australia.
CEO, Powering Skills Organisation
Anthea Middleton is an Energy industry leader in workforce planning and development. After completing her Bachelor of International Business and Human Resources, Anthea honed her leadership capabilities working across various industries, including tech, finance, mining, energy, gas, utilities, electro-technology, telecommunications, government and rail. Anthea has grown and refined her skills in a range of challenging work environments, from relatively new start-ups, to small not-for-profits, all the way to world leading multinationals like Facebook.
Anthea is the CEO for the newly formed Powering Skills Organisation, one of ten industry jobs and skills councils, focused on industry workforce planning, engagement, and training sector enhancement. Anthea brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, with recent achievements including contributing future workforce skilling research for Australia’s electricity networks, electrotechnology contractors, and the Coal Seam Gas industry.
GM Projects, Powering Skills Organisation
Steve, a seasoned veteran with 34 years in the electrotechnology sector, embodies visionary leadership. From founding and successfully running his own contracting business to shaping young minds as an educator, Steve has seamlessly blended entrepreneurial acumen with a commitment to education. His influence extends beyond the classroom, representing industry on numerous advisory groups and councils, contributing to the development of industry standards and navigating complex policy landscapes. Steve's extensive experience and rogue MC work bring a valuable perspective on the past, present, and future of the electrotechnology sector.
Owner and Director, GEM Generation Electrical Maintenance
Mel is an electrician and an electrical contractor running her local WA business, GEM, for the past 8 years. She is also the winner of the Women in Energy Award at the 2023 NECA National Awards.
Through her 18 years in the industry, she has seen change and a more inviting space for female participation and is hopeful this change will continue into the future.
Mel is passionate about ensuring our younger generations understand the career options that are available to them and the incredible life skills, opportunities and financial freedom an apprenticeship can bring.
A role model and industry mentor, Mel draws on her experiences
to drive change and encourage girls and women wanting to pursue an electrical career.