Board of Directors
Chairperson New South Wales Indigenous Chamber of Commerce
Debbie is a Kamilaroi Woman from Bora Crossing NSW who has spent the past 14 years working to support the establishment and growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Businesses and to encourage Enterprising Communities. Her grass roots understanding of the barriers faced by many Indigenous and Minority owned businesses and her personal vision for Indigenous and Minority businesses to reach parity with other businesses as suppliers in the Australian and global economies is key to her successes in this field. Through her extensive career Debbie’s governance and strategic abilities have become highly valued by Indigenous and non Indigenous Communities and by Government and Corporate Australia. Her strengths lie in her grass roots experience and systematic approach to planning, developing, implementing and reviewing programs and projects from beginning to end and always through respectful consultation.
Debbie has been instrumental in the development of key Policies and initiatives implemented by the NSW Government in recent years to enable the participation of Indigenous people and businesses in the economy through meaningful employment and the establishment and growth of Indigenous owned businesses.
Debbie’s key achievements include:
- With Indigenous Chambers of Commerce, Establishing the First Australians Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FACCI) as a Peak Body and Voice for Business owners across Australia
- Establishing the First Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia
- Establishing the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce (NSWICC)
- Winning the NSW Premiers Award for Excellence, for work in Aboriginal Communities in the area of Indigenous Economic Development
- MC for the World Indigenous Business Forum in Australia
- Successfully advocating State and Federal Government for Legislated Policies aimed at increasing Aboriginal Employment and Procurement participation on Government Contracts
- Successfully advocating for policy change within the Corporate Sector to include Aboriginal Companies within their supply chain
In October 2015 and in partnership with Office Max, FACCI represented by Debbie, led an Australian delegation to the National Minority Supplier Development Council Conference 2015 in San Diego. With across government endorsements from the federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Trade and Investment and accompanied by the Australian Small Business Commissioner, leaders in Corporate Supplier Diversity and Export Ready Indigenous and Women owned businesses the delegation worked diligently throughout this global event to broker relationships with key leaders and unite with agencies supporting minority businesses and supplier diversity across many nations. The delegation team has written a report incorporating key learnings and recommendations to support supplier diversity modelling in Australia and an enabled Indigenous and Minority Small Business Sector.
Debbie is committed to an agenda of Indigenous Entrepreneurship and Economic Development as key to empowering Indigenous Communities and Individuals and advocates for an Enabling environment that nurtures and supports such an agenda.
Chairperson South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce &; Chairperson Interim Committee Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce
Leesa Watego is an educator and business woman. Leesa is currently the Managing Director of Iscariot Media, a Brisbane based creative agency. For the past two decades, in addition to owning and running her own businesses, Leesa has been actively involved in the community. At a national level Leesa is a non-executive Director of Viscopy, the Queensland representative on the First Australians’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At a regional level, she is the President of the South East Queensland Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, and has held a number of Aboriginal organisation board positions, including Kooemba Jdarra Performing Arts Centre, Meeanjin Drug and Alcohol Treatment Association, and the North West Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Association. At a local level, Leesa is currently Vice-President of the Everton Park State High School P&C. Leesa is a Round 2 Advance Queensland Digital Champion.
Leesa is an active contributor to the Indigenous Business Sector development space.
Chairperson Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria Limited
Karen is a Yorta Yorta woman who was born and raised in Melbourne. Karen is a strong advocate for developing culturally appropriate solutions to the issues confronting Indigenous people that empower individuals and communities so they can confidently and effectively move forward.
Karen owns and operates Karen Milward Consultancy Services (since 2004) and has extensive consulting experience and networks across Australia within all levels of government and with Indigenous communities and organisations on a broad range of initiatives – especially those targeting Indigenous communities. Karen has held senior policy and program management positions in Government and has been involved in Aboriginal Affairs all of her life and consulting in Aboriginal affairs for 20 years. Karen has developed and delivered over 1,000 Aboriginal Cultural Awareness and Competency Training Programs for government departments and their agencies and the private sector across Australia.
Karen has worked with 38 Aboriginal communities and organisations in Victoria and over 100 Aboriginal communities and organisations nationally across diverse issues relevant to Indigenous communities in Australia. Karen is recognised for her many contributions to enabling Aboriginal Communities and received the EMR NAIDOC Community Person Award in 2105. As an advocate for economic development led by Aboriginal people Karen provides strategic direction as a Chairperson and Director on the boards of Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Victoria Ltd, the Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership Victoria, the Indigenous Leadership Network Victoria and the Boorndawan William Aboriginal Healing Service – Lilydale.
Chairperson Northern Territory Indigenous Business Network Incorporated
Jason is a Limilngan and Mudburra man who has a growing national and international reputation as a skilled communicator and facilitator, with a particular focus on building cross-cultural understanding in a range of contexts.
Working throughout Australia, including remote and regional areas, Jason assists individuals, communities and organisations to create productive relationships, projects, programs and services. Demand for his skills has also taken him to Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Africa and Singapore.
Over many years Jason has built a strong network of contacts in Indigenous Australia, using his non-confrontational approach to bring people together and achieve results. By building rapport and mutual respect, he has brokered solutions to complex situations involving infrastructure projects, service delivery, income support programs and enterprise development.
Jason’s expertise spans training, facilitation, mentoring, change management and project management, with a specialty in dealing with people from diverse backgrounds and technical levels. His practical and friendly manner puts participants at ease and enables a positive learning environment. He has a deep knowledge of Indigenous community development principles as well as a sound understanding of participatory project management.
Jason excels as a mentor, particularly supporting Aboriginal people to grow personally and professionally through work, study, training and development activities.
His cross-cultural communication skills are grounded in broad life experience and his work within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Chairperson The Aboriginal Business Industry Chamber of South Australia
Parry Agius heads Agius Consulting Services a boutique consultancy practice focused on the provision of culturally appropriate community consultation and engagement processes and in leading projects that deliver real economic, cultural and social benefits. One of Parry’s current projects is mentoring doctors who are attaining their GP Practice Fellowship accreditation.
Parry is a sessional Commissioner with the South Australian Environment Resources and Development Court and a Mediator with the Federal Court of Australia. He is currently studying a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Adelaide and in April 2015 was appointed as the inaugural President of the Aboriginal Business Industry Chamber of South Australia.
Parry is an inspiring and motivating mentor and presenter who encourages people to enjoy what they do in the workplace; accept accountability for and ownership of their work, the environment they work in, and realize the importance of relationships with all stakeholders.
Chairperson Interim Committee Tasmanian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce
Chris Trewin is a proud Wiradjiri Man with a commitment to using his successes in business and innovation to contribute to the work of Indigenous Chambers of Commerce and to mentor other Indigenous Business owners through the barriers of growing and innovating. Chris is the Managing Director and Co Founder of 300K Enterprises.
300K Enterprises is an Award Winning Australian Research, Design and Development Company which prides itself on world-class energy and cost saving products for the Resources and Heavy Industry Sectors. As an A-class electrician / refrigeration mechanic by trade, with over 15 years of experience in the mining industry Chris, leads a highly specialised team focussed innovative and finer technologies that result in safer and more efficient lighting options for Government and Private Sector Clients.
Chris is a well known as a contributor to the field of innovative technology through his company’s numerous nominations and wins for Industry Awards and his Guest Appearances on shows such the ABC’s New Inventors Program. Award Winning Inventions such as the Connex, a quick disconnect, reconnect electrical fitting that incorporates the use of state-of-the-art materials ensuring extreme durability, strength and reliability and the NuVo and NuVo PI, an Australian design for Australian conditions LED fitting designed to run at temperatures of 55 degrees ambient without sacrificing LED life are saving clients many thousands of dollars each year whilst contributing the overall safety on worksites. Chris passionately believes in the pivotal role which innovation and growth of the knowledge economy will have to play in the future for Australian business and the economy if we are to maintain our enviable lifestyle.
Chris has a deep appreciation through firsthand experience the barriers any small business person must overcome to bring a new product or service to market. Issues around IP protection, routes to market and the ongoing battle for capital.
Chairperson Interim Committee Western Australia Indigenous Chamber of Commerce
Kim has a strong affiliation and connection with regional Australia. He was born and raised in the East Kimberley and has lived and worked extensively in regional areas of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. This has enabled him to encounter many personal and business experiences and gain sound knowledge of the varied issues encountered by people living in these locations. Kim has formal tertiary qualifications in Business, Accounting and Marketing and is an Accredited Indigenous Cross Cultural Awareness Facilitator. He sits on the Indigenous Implementation Board – WA and the Transfield Services Ltd – Indigenous Reference Board.
Kim Bridge is the Principle Director of Kim Bridge and Associates, a multi-disciplined service specialising in organisation and small business facilitation, personal and professional development and Indigenous cross cultural awareness facilitation.
Kim Bridge and Associate’s has operated since 1996, with Kim having experience that extends over twenty years working in the business and economic environment, particularly with Indigenous Australians, both at an individual and community level.