EY Entrepreneur of the Year among equals

ASPEN MEDICAL founders Andrew Walker and Glenn Keys have been jointly named 2016 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.

As the Australian winners, Dr Walker and Mr Keys will travel to Monaco in June next year to compete against national winners from more than 60 countries, for the chance to be named the 2017 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year – a feat Australian Manny Stuhl achieved last year.

Dr Walker and Mr Keys founded Aspen Medical in 2003 to provide high-quality healthcare in challenging and under-resourced environments. Today, Aspen Medical employs more than 2,200 healthcare professionals and support staff across Australasia, Africa, the US, Europe and the Gulf Region. 

Chair of the independent judging panel, Josephine Sukkar, who is the co-owner and principal of Buildcorp, said there was strong competition among this year’s applicants but Aspen Medical stood out for its capacity to drive economic and social change on a global scale. 

“Aspen Medical is an extraordinary business with the potential to make a huge impact in the health sector,” the judges’ comments read. “Andrew and Glenn design solutions to problems in a way that can move the world forward. It is an innovative and noble Australian business with global reach.”

Aspen Medical was named this year’s winner at a ceremony attended by EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016, Manny Stul and a selection of Australia’s leading entrepreneurs, alumni winners and judges at the Star Casino in Sydney in October.

Five other impressive Australian entrepreneurs also took home national trophies from the awards ceremony.

Other national category winners were Tim Gurner, of GURNER in the Emerging category; Bec Scott of STREAT in Social Entrepreneur; Ray Dennis of Lightforce Australia in the Technology category; Radek Sali of Swisse Wellness in the Industry category; and the Honan Family’s Manildra Group won the EY Family Business Award of Excellence.

EY Oceania CEO and area managing partner Tony Johnson congratulated the winners, saying at a time when innovation and entrepreneurialism was top of mind for the Australian government and business community, there was much to be celebrated.

“The quality and creativity of the finalists this year is proof of the overwhelming potential of Australian businesses and entrepreneurs,” Mr Johnson said. “We congratulate Dr Andrew Walker and Glenn Keys, and we wish them all the best in the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year competition in June next year.

“The entrepreneurial spirit and bold efforts of these two men are to be applauded. Aspen Medical combines philanthropy with a service model that delivers affordable, efficient, and exceptionally high quality health solutions.

“As businesses and governments respond to previously unimaginable levels of disruption, entrepreneurship has never been more important to our future.  Recognising the contribution of leading entrepreneurs and empowering them to innovate is key to EY’s purpose of building a better working world,” Mr Johnson said.

“EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is much more than just an awards program – it’s an opportunity for participants to embark on a lifelong journey with a network of like-minded and talented program alumni.

“It’s part of EY’s long history of nurturing and supporting the entrepreneurial spirit and enabling individuals to take risks and deliver a vision which could make a positive difference to us all.”




LeadershipHQ chief wins Diversity Champion Award for empowering women

PROMINENT Brisbane-based leadership consultancy LeadershipHQ’s chief executive, Sonia McDonald, was presented with a 2016 Diversity Champion Award by the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW) last month.

LeadershipHQ and Ms McDonald were acclaimed for ‘Empowering Women in a Community or Organisation in Australia’ and awarded second in the Diversity Award category. 

Started in 2000, the ACLW is a virtual centre on a mission to advance women ethically and with integrity through its three main pillars of transformation, empowerment and recognition.

Ms McDonald was awarded the ACLW prize at a ceremony at New South Wales Parliament House in September for her development work with Shelley-Anne Brace, a senior legal professional who benefited from participating in the LeadershipHQ course in late 2014.

Ms McDonald, who received the award from the NSW Minister for Women, Pru Goward, and sponsor AON’s CEO Lambros Lambrou, said she was “tremendously honoured by the recognition”. 

“The ACLW champions the cause of developing women as leaders in Australia so to be acknowledged by that organisation is a massive honour,” Ms McDonald said.

“The ACLW is about identifying, developing and empowering women in leadership roles, which is exactly what we do at LeadershipHQ.”

The Diversity Award was a timely precursor to the October release of LeadershipHQ’s second book, Leadership Attitude: How Mindset and Action can Change Your World.

Ms McDonald said the book focuses on “identifying personal strengths and acting upon them, using a mentor, and empowering others, to develop leadership qualities that motivate, influence and inspire”.



Nabulsi leads Cook Medical Australia

COOK Medical Australia has appointed Samih Nabulsi as its new general manager, taking over the reins from Cook Medical Asia Pacific director and Cook Inc vice president, Barry Thomas, who continues in those roles.

Dr Nabulsi has been with Cook Medical for 12 years and has previously held positions as the regional director of operations and director of research and development for Cook Medical Asia Pacific. 

Dr Nabulsi said he was delighted to have been appointed as GM to build on Mr Thomas’ expansion of the company with significant research and development opportunities on the horizon and the growth of domestic and international business partnerships.

“It is an exciting time to take on this role as we continue to make significant advancements in the medical device industry,” Dr Nabulsi said. “Medical technology is always evolving and that provides good opportunities for us as a company and for health care.

“The people at Cook are incredibly committed to finding solutions that improve people’s quality of life. I am looking forward to continuing work with our colleagues here and abroad to pursue innovative health care solutions,” Dr Nabulsi said.

Mr Thomas said Dr Nabulsi was recognised for his leadership in the research and development sector and brings a wealth of experience at senior executive level across a number of areas of Cook Medical.

“Samih brings a fresh perspective to the role and reflects Cook’s core values in his decision making and work ethic,” Mr Thomas said. “His philosophy is that business success and the innovation of technology is optimised in a team-based environment that exhibits strong leadership, nurtures creativity, and empowers employees which makes him the ideal person to lead us into a new era.

“I’ve been incredibly proud to lead Cook Medical Australia and it has been a privilege to work with so many competent colleagues around the world. I look forward to continuing to work with Samih and this exceptional group of people through my role as director of Cook Medical Asia Pacific, vice president of Cook Inc. as we explore new markets and opportunities for the company,” Mr Thomas said.



Eastes is QUT’s science and engineering Outstanding Alumni

RICHARD EASTES’ passion for innovation and entrepreneurship and his technical know-how in building a successful online business were the capabilities cited by judges as he was named the 2016 QUT Outstanding Alumni Award winner for the Science and Engineering Faculty.

Graduating from QUT with a Bachelor of Information Technology in 2002, Mr Eastes was integral in growing car rental comparison site VroomVroomVroom from a small start-up company into a multi-national organisation with an annual turnover of $60 million. His latest endeavour is GreenSocks, an online business that applies an Uber model to gardening services.

After identifying a niche in the online car rental market, Mr Eastes used $50,000 he had saved for a house deposit to buy a share in VroomVroomVroom, investing in new digital technology and customer service tools to grow the business with his partners. 

In the first three years, the company grew 388 percent and became one of the fastest growing online travel companies, winning the Deloitte Fast 50 Award four years in a row from 2007 – 2010.

Mr Eastes said his success had benefitted heavily from his QUT-gained IT skills in strategic search engine optimisation techniques and online marketing, along with his passion and vision to build online businesses.

Excited by start-ups, the growth stage and building brands through clever marketing, Mr Eastes has  become a high-profile innovator in Brisbane.
He has worked on a number of start-ups since the age of 22 including Captain Compare, VroomVroomVroom and ShadeGuide.
Last year, GreenSocks was one of five Queensland start-ups chosen to participate in the River City Labs Accelerator program and received seed funding. Focused on building the GreenSocks brand, Mr Eastes has plans to enter the American market.

A well-regarded member of the start-up community, Mr Eastes shares his knowledge by providing mentorship and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs at River City Labs.

In addition to his contributions to Brisbane’s innovation sector, he has also worked closely with BraveHearts, a community organisation committed to promoting the safety and protection of children.