Provide information about the Australian business environment (laws, standards, market dynamics) and what it takes to start or expand a business.
Our Executive Chairman of Thrive came to Australia as a Vietnamese refugee in 1978. An alumnus of Harvard Business School, he has a diverse operating, entrepreneurial and advisory background and is an advocate for a progressive Australia. His success is one of the inspirations behind the establishment of Thrive. He currently serves as the CEO of Australian Life Insurance Group.
Gus Nehme has held an array of jobs in various countries. He’s been the NSW Multicultural Senior Business Advisor (Department of Industry, CMRC).
Arie has over 25 years' experience in working with small businesses, specially start-ups. Arie has also advised and supported the start-up of small businesses by recently arrived migrants and refugees. Arie has over 20 years workshop delivery experience in Marketing, Strategic Planning and Business Development. Arie has got over 20 years’ experience working with people assisting them into self- employment and served as the Chairperson of the National NEIS Association for 7 years. Arie established and ran two successful businesses for a period of 12 years – one in Serviced Offices and Co-Working space and a Cheese/Dairy export business to Canada, Brazil and Chile. Arie is currently the State Manager for Thrive Refugee Enterprise, an organisation that provides micro finance loans to Refugee and Asylum Seekers Industry specific experience: Food Export, Business Development, Strategic Planning. Arie has Business and Mediation qualifications.
Daniel is an experienced professional with a background in business banking and economic development. Over the last 15 years, Daniel has been passionate in supporting start-up and established businesses achieve their potential, with a demonstrated history in delivering business finance, business planning and mentoring, credit analysis and educational workshops. Daniel has held senior positions in government agencies and banking with most recent roles including State Manager Business Development and Operations Manager assisting customers in both metro and remote Australia. Daniel is a strong advocate for business enterprise and the positive contribution it creates by social and economic inclusion, and financial freedom. Daniel is very excited to support the Queensland refugee community to start and grow their businesses.
Tristram has over 15 years' experience in Business Banking mostly in Equipment Finance and as a Business Banker. During that time Tristram specialised in the SME segment assisting his clients in starting up and growing a small business across many different industries.
Tristram has also worked for two large franchises assisting people from diverse cultural groups to make the transition to becoming self-employed and gaining financial freedom and independence. He has also been able to help his clients by drawing from his own personal experiences of going through the process of starting a small business as an Equipment Finance broker and working in his family’s Heating & Air Conditioning business.
Tristram is excited to have joined the TRE family and is assisting the Refugee community in Victoria.
Eymie is a marketing professional with a Bachelor’s specialising in business, communications, and marketing. She has worked in various places, starting off her career as an Executive Assistant for managers at Commander, has gained sales experience working at Apple, and marketing experience working at Toshiba Australia. Thrive has been her home for two years as she has always been passionate about helping others in the non-for profit sector.
Over 24 years' experience in the settlement sector, working in education, employment, refugee and asylum seeker support programs. Industry specific experience: business and contracts management, partnership and stakeholders' management and capacity building. Achievements: instrumental in development and implementation of the contract administration framework for humanitarian settlement programs granted to AMES in 2005. Managing multiple humanitarian settlement and asylum seeker contracts across Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, including management of 18 major partners and sub-contracts until 2021. Qualifications: Bachelor Degree in Business Management. Excited to have joined Thrive to support advancement of opportunities for refugee communities' economic participation as the important step in their successful settlement.
Prior to joining Thrive, Adrian has a held number of executive roles including with BP AMERICA as General Manager Operations, Strategy and Performance, as well as holding senior executive roles within the mobile telecommunications and construction industries. Adrian will be responsible for developing and maintaining corporate partnerships and business relationships nationally to ensure that our clients have the full benefit of a broad range of new business opportunities which emanate from these partnerships.
Diana brings to Thrive a wealth of experience in the finance/risk and business operations management gained from a number of commercial organisations.
Leigh has spent most of his working life helping people address inequalities and challenges experienced when starting up and growing micro and small enterprises. Leigh has established successful enterprise development and finance organisations in several countries including Australia.
Access to contracts, capacity building and capital continues to be an impediment to many businesses. In his early years Leigh started and ran a number of successful micro and small businesses. From 1976-2001 Leigh worked closely with a small team who established Opportunity International.
Leigh was a Founding Director and CEO of Many Rivers Microfinance (Many Rivers). Many Rivers now has a National presence in Urban, Regional and Remote Australia with a strong emphasis on Aboriginal business development.
Leigh, along with two other founding Directors, established ServeGate Australia as an Aboriginal collaborative gateway and facilitator of Small and Medium Enterprises. Leigh was also Acting CEO of Thrive Refugee Enterprise in early 2019 and also conducted the research that has informed the Thrive Regional Development rollout.
Originally from Mozambique, Elsa worked as a loan officer in micro finance including triaging clients to other relevant service providers. Elsa has a PhD in Economics and a Master of Social Change and Development. In 2019, Elsa Authored her book, Freedom to Belong where she shares her journey of blending cultures in Australia. She has amongst other attributes specific key skills in cross cultural adjustment, migrant support, mentoring and intercultural training. Currently works as Sessional academic at the Newcastle Business School University of Newcastle Recently appointed as the Board member of Hunter Multicultural Communities(HMC) Founder of "Freedom to Belong", a Newcastle based intercultural service.
Paul Schwarze is a Head of Credit.
Jessica is currently studying for a Bachelor of Commerce and Law and has a marketing background. She has started her career as a Marketing Intern and worked her way up to a Marketing Coordinator at The Social Media Network (TSMN). She has gained more experience as a Marketing Executive at the VIP Sydney, and gained customer service experience at Datacom. She has always been passionate about working in a non-profit organization!
Hilary was first working as a volunteer at Thrive Refugee Enterprise for about 6 months when she first arrived in Australia from New York. She has now been promoted and working as an Enterprise Assistant, aiding in day-to-day tasks while continuing to study a Bachelor in Zoology at Western Sydney University.
Bell Purevdorj has been working for TRE as a Business Development Intern since September 2019. Bell undertook an internship with Thrive for 6 months, then continued working as a business volunteer until the end of August 2019.
Karthik Banala is the Business Development Officer for Thrive. His role is to meet new and existing clients to have discussions about their business endeavours and to create a viable Business Plan and Cashflow which helps them to start and expand their businesses in Australia. Prior to Joining the team in 2019, Karthik holds an MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Western Sydney University. You can contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior to joining Thrive, Chris held senior finance roles at The Salvation Army for over 25 years, including ‘General Manager – Financial Control and Governance’ (Financial Controller) for 15+ years. Chris oversees all finance responsibilities including monthly reporting, budget, external audit and banking arrangements. Chris is thrilled to be a part of the Thrive team, and to use his skills and experience in assisting the organisation in achieving its mission.
Rowan has a career in finance and business spanning 35 years. He has worked with major Australian and international banks in senior credit risk and infrastructure funding roles as well as advisory roles in M&A and venture capital. Rowan served on the Victorian Premier's Infrastructure Planning Council and was the independent financial expert in the development of a Victorian State Government’s Water White Paper. For the past 15 years Rowan has owned and operated a fine coffee roasting business in New York City. When in New York, Rowan also established a barista training programme for young offenders incarcerated on Rikers Island.
Lindsay started as a cabinetmaker by trade and owned and operated his own successful kitchen and bathroom company for over 15 years and holding multiple design awards whilst managing 20 staff on a daily basis. Lindsay also worked in micro enterprises for 15 years. Originally, Lindsay specialised in Indigenous programs and built extensive networks with philanthropic sponsors and stakeholder relationships which included government and private enterprises at senior level. Now, Lindsay has an extensive background in small to medium micro enterprise development as well as training and coordinating employment opportunities for Indigenous in the role of a Community Development Officer.
Kevork has extensive experience at several positions in the banking, finance, and risk management domains. Having started off as an accountant, he then became the head of operational risk management for over 10 years at the Bank Bemo Saudi Fransi and Qatar National Bank in Syria. In 2017, Kevork moved from Syria to Australia to deepen his experience in the business world and joined the Westpac Group as a credit assessor. He is fluent in French, Armenian and Arabic. With this, Kevork joins Thrive as the BDM from Western Sydney University MBA program having interned with us previously.
Our Executive Chairman of Thrive came to Australia as a Vietnamese refugee in 1978. An alumnus of Harvard Business School, he has a diverse operating, entrepreneurial and advisory background and is an advocate for a progressive Australia. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Australian Life Insurance Group.
Our Deputy Chairman was a co-founder of Thrive. Previously she was a Non-Executive Director with a diverse portfolio of boards including Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and Country Road Limited. She was also an Adjunct Professor at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Business School.
In addition, Anna has over 20 years of experience in general management and marketing roles in financial services and consumer products companies. Anna spent most of her executive career at American Express where she held a number of senior positions. Anna has also held various executive roles with JP Morgan, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever. She has worked in the USA, Asia and the UK as well as in Australia and New Zealand. Anna has a Masters of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.
Paul has over 30 years of global experience in Financial Services, Telecommunications, Insurance, and Government, including senior appointments in Australia, the United States, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and Ireland and is a Senior Advisor at Gresham Partners. Paul is also Chairman of the Bosch Institute for Medical Research at the University of Sydney and holds an MBA from the University of Melbourne. He is based in Sydney.
Catherine Scarth’s career has focussed on the design and implementation of innovative social programs and enterprises in Australia and the United Kingdom. She has achieved this through the creation of partnerships with government, employers and the community sector to deliver programs designed to increase the economic and social participation for newly arrived migrants and refugees.
Ms Scarth is the Chief Executive Officer of AMES Australia, an organisation providing a wide range of interconnected settlement, education, vocational training and employment services in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania.
Ms Scarth is a Board Member of the Migration Council of Australia.
Finn has had a distinguished career as a leader in the Australian Public Service. Finn was the Chief Executive Officer of Centerlink before becoming Secretary of a number of federal departments including: Department of Human Services (2009-11), Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2011-13), Department of Social Services (2013-17) and Department of Environment and Energy (2017-19).
John Curtis is currently Chairman of Thrive’s Advisory Council. He was a Founder and the Founding Chairman of Thrive. He has held many senior positions in business, primarily in the finance sector. He was the former Chairman of Allianz Australia Limited, Chairman of St George Bank and Deputy Chairman of Westpac Banking Corporation. In addition, he was Chairman of the Merrill Lynch Advisory Board and Director of Perpetual Limited.
He was also a former Chairman and director of various community, industry and government organisations, including Chairman of Sydney Cancer Centre, Chairman of UTS Business School Executive Council, Chairman of NSW Property Group and a director of Sydney Symphony.
David Gonski is a leading Australian businessman and public figure. He is currently Chancellor of the University of New South Wales, President of the Art Gallery of NSW Trust, Chairman of Sydney Airport Limited Board and Chairman of Barrenjoey Capital Partners Group Holdings Pty Limited as well as having numerous other roles.
He was previously Chairman of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd and Chair of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools for the Commonwealth Government of Australia. Other roles included Chairman of Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd, the Sydney Theatre Company, the Guardians of the Future Fund and the Australia Council for the Arts.
Dr Martin Parkinson served in Commonwealth Government leadership positions on all facets of economic, social, foreign, defence and national security policies for almost 40 years. As the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and The Treasury, Martin was Australia’s most senior public servant. He served under five prime ministers.
Martin is currently Chancellor of Macquarie University, non-executive director of Worley, North Queensland Airports, Champions of Change Coalition and O’Connell Street Associates and Chair of the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation as well as serving on a variety of advisory boards and councils.
Christine Holgate has 35 years of diverse international leadership experience in highly regulated industries, at both Board and Executive level. Christine is currently the new Group Chief Executive Officer at Toll Global Express - a $3bn leading logistics organisation in Australia & New Zealand. Previously, Christine was the Group Chief Executive Officer at Australia Post and prior, she led Blackmores Ltd, expanding the Natural Health company through Asia. Christine is also presently the Co-Chair for the (Federal) Ministerial Advisory Council for Trade and is a Director of the Collingwood Football Club.