Speakers include

  • Leiza Dessein – SMart Co-operative (Belgium)
  • Peter Martin – Fairfax Media (Economics Editor for the Age & ABC Broadcaster)
  • Wally Newman – CBH Group Chair
  • Sam Byrne – Secretary Co-ops NSW
  • Professor Emmanuel Josserand – University of Technology Sydney – Centre for Business and Social Innovation
  • Hon Matthew Kean, MP – Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation
  • Richard O’Leary – Chair Co-ops NSW
  • Peter Tregilgas – Conference Curator & Manger
  • James Brown – CEO, Common Equity Housing NSW
  • Professor Greg Patmore – Professor emeritus of business and labor history and chair of the Co-operative Research Group in the University of Sydney Business School
  • Dr Sarah Kaine – University of Technology Sydney – Centre for Business and Social Innovation
  • Rose Webb – Deputy Secretary Better Regulation Division & NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading
  • Lorraine Gordon – Farming Together Program Director
  • Claire Marshall – Futurist & Freelance Project Consultant
  • Dr Olivera Marjanovic – Professor (Contemporary Technology Leadership) Deputy Head, Teaching and Learning, School of Systems, Management and Leadership, UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT
  • Marika Kontellis – Relationship Manager
  • Peter Calabria – Managing Director, Yenda Producers Co-operative Ltd
  • Peter Wells – Secretary Co-operatives WA


Key Note Speaker Profiles

Lieza Dessein, SMart

SMart is a co-operative dedicated to the needs of freelancers. Without creating their own legal structure, freelancers can work within our legally secured framework, stay autonomous and focus on their core activity, whilst easing their access to the best social protection possible. We developed a full range of pragmatic mutualized services to make sure that individual entrepreneurship does not mean isolation or precariousness. Amongst other services our co-operative is providing an online accounting tool, a salary guarantee fund, debt collection, training modules, as well as legal and economic advice to its diverse member base. We are aiming to bring back collective dynamics into an increasing individualized and complex work environment.

Lieza Dessein is a project and community manager for SMart. She acquired expertise in professional development through consulting work with SMart stakeholders in one-on-one and group settings. Lieza built collaborative leadership skills by managing atypical work spaces and cultures. She is in charge of the development of SMart’s creative hub, the Brussel Art Factory.

Lieza also gained an astute awareness of the impact of digitalization on a wide range of contemporary work environments. She is advocating for a fairer digital economy and represents SMart in the Platform Co-op Movement. This advocacy group facilitates the implementation of sustainable and democratic business models for digital companies.


Peter Martin

Peter Martin is Economics Editor of The Age. He writes for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Canberra Times. Former Commonwealth Treasury official, he has reported economics for the ABC and then for Fairfax Media since 1985. With Dr Gigi Foster he presents The Economists on ABC RN, and presents Wednesday Economics on ABC Nightlife.

He was the ABC’s economics correspondent from 1985 to 2002, reporting for its flagship programs AM, PM, and The World Today, covering events including the floating of the dollar, the 1987 Black Tuesday stock market crash, the early 1990’s recession, the Asian economic crisis and the introduction of the goods and services tax.

His passion is explaining economics simply, and he defines economics broadly. For more than a decade he presented Home Economics on ABC Life Matters, using new research in the fields of economics and psychology to explore decision making. He has worked in the Canberra press gallery since 2006. In 1996 he was made Journalist in Residence at Melbourne University’s Economics Department.


Walter (Wally) Newman, CBH Group

Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH) Group is Australia’s largest co-operative and a leader in the Australian grain industry, with operations extending along the supply chain from storage, handling and transport to marketing, shipping and processing.

Owned and controlled by approximately 4,200 Western Australian grain growers and headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, with offices in South Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Russia, CBH is Australia’s largest exporter of grain, with a market share of approximately 30 per cent of aggregated bulk exports.

Wally Newman has been a Director of the CBH Board since May 2000, was the Deputy Chairman from 2008-2012 and was elected Chairman in 2014. He is currently a member of the Remuneration and Nomination Committee.

Wally is a farmer from Newdegate in Western Australia’s grainbelt. A Director of several private companies, he is renowned as the instigator of the popular Newdegate Machinery Field Days and is its former President and a current committee member. Wally has 25 years of local Government experience, including three years as Deputy President of the Lake Grace Shire.

Wally is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Sam Byrne

Secretary Co-ops NSW

Sam has been active in the co-operative movement for more than 20 years and a part of Co-ops NSW since 2013.

He is also a former Mayor of Marrickville in the inner west of Sydney and a current director of an $11 billion superannuation fund. Sam holds a Masters of Management from the University of Technology, Sydney and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

He is passionate about the co-operative enterprise model that delivers benefits to members and communities rather than remote investors. Sam can be contacted at sec@nsw.coop, in the office on 02 9057 5155 or on 0408 231 509.



Professor Emmanuel Josserand

University of Technology Sydney – Centre for Business and Social Innovation

Director of the Centre for Business and Social Innovation. His research interests focus on inter- and intra- organizational networks, social capital and new organizational forms. Emmanuel has managed many projects of applied and fundamental research about innovation and innovative networks. He has a strong international publication track record with more than 100 academic publications, including books and peer reviewed journals. He also has extensive experience in consulting as an independent adviser or in partnership with several consulting firms in Paris and Geneva.

Hon Matthew Kean, MP

Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation

Matt Kean became the youngest member of the NSW Legislative Assembly when he was elected as the member for Hornsby in 2011.

After increasing his margin at the 2015 election, the former chartered accountant and PwC senior manager was elected to chair the NSW Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the Office of the Valuer General. Under his stewardship, the committee recommended radical changes to the system of land valuation in NSW to make it fairer for home owners.

In January 2017, Matt was elevated to cabinet as the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, giving him the opportunity to continue to be a champion for the little guy.

As minister, he is responsible for a diverse range of issues with a portfolio that includes consumer protection, workplace safety, and innovation.

So far, he has:

  • reformed the laws around gift cards to ensure a minimum three-year expiry date
  • attacked ticket scalpers with new laws to smash their dodgy business models
  • commissioned Kathryn Greiner to conduct an extensive review into retirement villages to improve the quality of life for their residents
  • initiated the Bergin Report into charitable fundraising, to ensure people can have confidence about their donations
  • tackled quad bike safety issues with a raft of reforms to reduce deaths and injuries

Matt counts mental health issues as a key concern. His first speech in parliament back in 2011 was dedicated to a young friend who had recently taken his own life. Matt is working on a program to improve mental health in the work places of NSW.

As a keen promoter of innovative technology and its power to improve the economy, Matt is committed to highlighting the ways innovative technology and thinking can improve quality of life, as well as the NSW economy.


Richard O’Leary

Chair Co-ops NSW

Richard is the CEO of the Macleay Regional Co-operative. Coming originally from an accounting background, he has had extensive involvement in local community organisations.

He currently sits on several local and regional committees including Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast, where he has a commitment to provide an independent voice and good governance.


Peter Tregilgas

Conference Curator & Manger

Peter is the Principal of Social Enterprise Services, Chair of Mercury Co-operative and a Director for Co-ops NSW

Peter Tregilgas has skills and experience in creative and social innovation encompassing regional development, arts management, festival coordination, capital projects and social enterprise. Peter is a Master of Business Arts and Cultural Management University of SA.

Peter’s specialist focus is Cooperatives and Social Enterprises and has produced the definitive publications “Social Enterprise in Australia” and “Cooperatives in Australia”. He is a champion for communication and creative events, producing Co-operatives Get Mutual for Vivid Idea 2016 & 2017. Peter portfolio has included Executive Officer Regional Development Australia, Mid North Coast, Festival Consultant for the Victorian Tourism Commission and Director for the Adelaide Festival Fringe.


James Brown

CEO, Common Equity NSW

James Brown is CEO of Common Equity NSW, the peak body for housing co-operatives in NSW. James has over 15 years experience in Executive and leadership roles in local government, public health, aged care and housing. Drawing on diverse roles covering political, strategic and practical perspectives in pursuit of the public good, James presents a unique view and is seeking to bring about change in Australia’s housing market by fostering a consumer-led approach to housing. With a growing body of evidence and many international exemplars, it is time for policy-makers, financiers and developers in Australia to help housing co-operatives play a significantly bigger role in Australia’s housing market. Housing co-operatives deliver economic and social benefits at the same time as delivering affordability, diversity, innovation and choice.



Prof Greg Patmore

Professor emeritus of business and labor history and chair of the Co-operative Research Group in the University of Sydney Business School.

His current research projects include an Australian Research Council funded history of Australian co-operatives, with Nikola Balnave and Olivera Marjanovic, and writing a history of the Berkeley Consumer Co-operative in the USA to be published by Routledge. His recent publications include A Global History of Co-operative Business (2018, with Nikola Balnave). He is also serves on the Steering Committee of the New Global 300 Initiative of the International Co-operative Alliance, which measures co-operatives’ international impact.

The Co-operatives Research Group at the University of Sydney Business School provides a forum for research into and teaching about all forms of mutual organisations, including consumer, worker, finance and producer co-operatives. Its current major project, with colleagues from Macquarie University and UTS, examines the growth, decline and revival of co-operatives in Australia before 2012, the UN International Year of Co-operatives, and is funded by the Australian Research Council. It will construct a Visual Atlas of Australian Co-operatives that charts the clustering and development of Australian co-operatives and be of major benefit to the co-operative sector, public policy and educators.


Dr Sarah Kaine

University of Technology Sydney – Centre for Business and Social Innovation

Associate Professor Sarah Kaine lectures in HRM and ER in the UTS Business School and is a member of the CBSI management committee. Her research focuses on several broad themes: the transformation of employee relations in the digital economy, the development and exercise of employee voice, the formal and informal regulation of employment relations and HRM and CSR. Specifically, Sarah is interested in innovation in employment relations and regulation– beyond the bounds of traditional labour law, Corporate Social Responsibility and its link to industrial relations and the role of leadership in promoting ethical innovation in the management of work. Prior to becoming an academic Sarah worked as an industrial relations practitioner and a consultant to not-for-profit organisations.


Rose Webb

Deputy Secretary Better Regulation Division & NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading

Rose has a wealth of Australian and international experience in the regulatory space, including a recent three-year period working as Senior Executive Director and then Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong’s Competition Commission from 2014 to 2017.

While working in Hong Kong, Rose was responsible for administering the Competition Ordinance, which was established to promote competition and to restrict anti-competitive conduct in Hong Kong. Rose led complaint handling, competition investigations and the provision of competition policy advice to government.

Between 2001 and 2008, and again between 2011 and 2014, Rose worked for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), most recently serving as Executive General Manager, Mergers and Acquisitions. As the ACCC’s NSW Regional Director from 2001 to 2005, Rose worked closely with NSW Fair Trading.

Registry Services is the unit responsible for the regulation of co-operatives registered under the Co-operatives National Law in NSW. Registry Services is one of the units within the Regulatory Services group which is part of Department of Finance, Services and Innovation’s Better Regulation Division (BRD), which is led by Rose Webb as Deputy Secretary BRD and Commissioner for Fair Trading.

Registry Services’ core responsibility is the regulation of incorporated associations, co‑operatives, funeral funds, and co‑operative housing & Starr-Bowkett societies in NSW. The Registry also administers registers for solicitor corporations, limited partnerships, and incorporated limited partnerships. In this role the Registry undertakes primary level compliance and enforcement action and delivers a comprehensive suite of information and education services that guide and provides compliance with the laws it administers. Registry Services also uses its specialist knowledge to support Fair Trading’s MyPlace community information programs.


Lorraine Gordon

Farming Together Program Director

Lorraine Gordon is a beef cattle backgrounder from Ebor in the New England Tablelands of NSW and Director of successful agricultural, tourism and health businesses in northern NSW. Lorraine is also Director of Strategic Projects for Southern Cross University and was recently appointed to the board of the first 100% Australian farmer owned, not for profit mutual company dedicated to farm and multi-peril risk mitigation. Previous posts have included CEO of Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast, Westpac Agribusiness Banker, Director of the Australian Rural Leadership Network and Executive Director of Economic Security for Women. She has also presided on the Small Business Review Panel of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Lorraine was awarded the 1994 NSW ABC Rural Woman of the Year for her contribution to rural Australia and is a Graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program. She is completing her PhD in Ecological Economics (grazing systems in northern NSW) through the University of New England.

The Farm Co-operative and Collaboration Program (known as Farming Together) is a two-year, $13.8m initiative from the Australian Government designed to help agricultural groups value-add, secure premium pricing, scale-up production, attract capital investment, earn new markets or secure lower input costs. Farming Together has been delivered by Southern Cross University and a highly experienced team representing a range of commodity groups, backed by a national industry advisory group. Farming Together has interacted with more than 18,630 primary producers and 730 ag-groups, delivering funding and services in business planning, legal advice, marketing, supply chain analysis, agronomy, collaborative workshops and other activities.


Claire Marshall

Futurist & Freelance Project Consultant

Claire Marshall has a love for stories, technology and social good. An award-winning creative her work melds story-telling, futures thinking and experiential learning to help people understand how complex technologies and changing worldviews can alter our future. A firm believer that the future is not only decentralised but shared Claire is a passionate advocate for the true ‘sharing economy’, and recently developed Sydney’s first Sharing Cities Map thanks to a grant from the City of Sydney. She sits on the board of Mercury Co-operative, as well as on the advisory team for The Studio.


Dr Olivera Marjanovic

Professor (Contemporary Technology Leadership) Deputy Head, Teaching and Learning, School of Systems, Management and Leadership, UTS Faculty of Engineering and IT

Dr. Olivera Marjanovic is a Professor of Contemporary Technology Leadership in the School of Systems, Management and Leadership at the University of Technology Sydney and a former Director of the Cooperatives Research Group, University of Sydney. Through her applied research and innovative teaching, Olivera seeks to link data and analytics, processes, human-centric services, human knowledge and technology in business, government, and cooperatives & mutuals organizations. Olivera is particularly interested in, and passionate about the human side and societal impact of new technologies such as AI, advanced analytics and algorithms.

Olivera has completed numerous industry-based research case studies and action design projects with companies worldwide and has published over 150 fully refereed conference and journal publications. She has held Visiting Professor positions at the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatisation (INRIA), Laboratoire Lorrain de Recherche en Informatique et ses Applications (LORIA) Institute in France, the University of Duisburg, Germany, the Arizona State University, the Big Data and Analytics Research Center at the University of Tennessee and Queensland University of Technology, Australia. From 2008 to 2017, Olivera was on the academic leadership board of Teradata University Network (TUN) – the largest international community of Business Intelligence and Business Analytics educators and industry leaders, currently with over 2000 members in more than 100 countries.

Olivera has received numerous national and international grants, recognitions and awards for her innovative teaching and highly applied industry-based research. In 2015, she won the Bronze Award (Category: MBA and Social Sciences) at the highly prestigious International Wharton-QS Starts Re-imagine Education Awards—the Oscars of Higher Education Innovation—for her innovative teaching in visual analytics and visual storytelling. In 2012, Olivera was named as one of the top 20 researchers in the world in the area of Big Data, Business Analytics and Business Intelligence. Her most recent grants include a large Australian government research (ARC Discovery) grant and a large Australian Learning and Teaching Innovation grant – both in the emerging area of interactive data visualization. She is actively engaged in numerous activities designed to enhance collaboration between industry and academia and is passionate about creating new types of value networks and innovative industry/university learning communities.


Marika Kontellis

BA (Welfare Studies), Bachelor Social Work, Master of Management (Community)

Marika is a relationship manager. She knows how to push people out of their comfort zone and support them to participate in thinking to progress the common good. She has highly developed facilitation skills and an intuitive style that brings the best out of people. She is strategic and can assess operating environments with ease. Her frontline social work experience brings credibility to her leadership advice when she supports social care organisations to understand their communities, predict future customer needs and honestly review service models. Marika is a past member of the Disability Council of NSW, the Guardianship Tribunal of NSW and was, until 2012, an elected Local Government Councillor.


Peter Calabria

Managing Director, Yenda Producers Co-operative Ltd

Peter Calabria was born, grew-up and was educated in regional NSW. Peter holds a degree in accounting and is a CPA. In 1994, Peter was employed as company secretary of the Yenda Producers Co-operative, later taking over as General Manager in 2003 and Managing Director in 2005.

Peter believes the value cooperatives like Yenda lies in the contribution they can make to their local community and to agriculture in general. Yenda aims to return annual dividends and rebates back to its members – This has averages out at around $1.2M pa for the past 10 years. As a Co-operative, Yenda supports over 100 different organisations in its community re-investing around $100,000 in community initiatives each year. Projects range from niche community projects, sport sponsorships, primary school support, high school breakfast programs, and supporting tertiary students from the local area.


Peter Wells

Secretary Co-operatives WA

A Chartered Company Secretary for over 40 years, and a Fellow of the AICD, Peter has worked with Chairmen, Directors and CEOs from many walks of life with skill levels from almost non-existent to highly developed. He has also held non-executive director positions following a tree change in 2004. Far from being an “accidental secretary” Peter’s secretarial roles have included training and mentoring non-executive directors new to an organisation or the role. As a board appointee, he has also provided guidance to CEO’s and senior management teams on their corporate governance and reporting responsibilities.

Co-operatives WA

The Co-operative Federation of WA (Co-ops WA) was formed in 1919 as the State’s peak body to represent the interests of members and assist with formation and development of co-operatives. The role of Co-operatives WA today not far removed from its origins.

Whilst the business landscape has changed over the last 100 years core co-op values remain central to a successful co-operative. There are elevated expectations around management and governance of member owned entries with questions around relevance to the today’s mobile and tech savvy generation.

Membership of Co-operatives WA is voluntary with annual subscriptions. Approximately 80% of active WA based co-operatives choose to be members gaining access to resources that would otherwise be out of reach.