Speaker Profiles

Our International Speakers Include

  • Mr Eugene Cornelius Jnr, Senior adviser to the USA’s Office of International Trade at the Small Business Administration.
  • Dr Winslow Sargeant Managing Director of S&T and former Chief Counsel for Advocacy appointed by and reporting direct to President Obama; and Senior Vice President, ICSB.
  • Prof Charles Matthews, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, University of Cincinnati
  • Diah Yusuf, Entrepreneur, business consultant, Vice President ICSB, Indonesia

Day 1 - The P5 Pillars of the SME Ecosystem | Wednesday 4 September

The SME ecosystem explained
Speaker Ms Kate Carnell, AO
Position The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Kate brings extensive experience and knowledge to the role of ASBFEO, having run her own small businesses for 15 years before becoming ACT Chief Minister in 1995 for a five year period. Prior to her appointment as the ASBFEO, Kate held the position of CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), which represents more than 300,000 businesses across Australia. She has also served two years as CEO of beyondblue and four years as CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council. Kate is a pharmacist by profession and was the inaugural chair of the ACT Branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the first female to become the National Vice-President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia. Kate was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006 for her services to the community through contributions to economic development and support for the business sector, knowledge industries, the medical sector and medical technology advances.

Financial Capital Pillar
Speaker Dr Gianni La Cava
Position Senior Research Manager, Head of the Micro Analysis and Data (MAD) Research Unit - Reserve Bank of Australia

Gianni La Cava is a Senior Research Manager in the Economic Research Department at the Reserve Bank of Australia. He is currently the head of a team of economists that undertakes macroeconomic policy-relevant research using microeconomic data. His research is typically devoted to exploring the links between financial markets and the real economy, with a particular focus on housing markets and financial stability. Dr La Cava holds Arts and Commerce degrees from the University of Sydney and a PhD from the London School of Economics.

Speaker The Hon Bruce Billson
Position Former Member of the Australian House of Representatives

The Hon Bruce Billson has a reputation of being a ‘champion of small business’ and ‘Australia’s best Minister for Small Business’. As a Cabinet Minister, Bruce spearheaded that Abbott Government’s SME agenda to ‘energize enterprise’ leading the formulation of the 2015 Federal Budget’s Jobs and Small Business package to boost entrepreneurship and reforms to competition policy and law, unfair contract terms, employee share schemes, crowd-sourced equity funding and industry codes for franchising and food & grocery supply. After 20 years in public life and having owned his own small retail and gallery business with his wife Kate, Bruce is dedicated to working to support the success of other small businesses as founder/principal of strategic advisory firm, Agile Advisory; Executive Chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia; and chair of the Deakin University/IPA SME Research Centre advisory council. Bruce has a Masters degree in Business Leadership, Graduate Diploma of Management and a Bachelor of Business. He is a graduate of the AICD’s Company Directors Course.

Speaker The Hon. Michael Sukkar
Position Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer

Michael Sukkar was first elected to the Australian Parliament in 2013 as the Member for Deakin.


In May 2019, he was sworn in as the Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer having previously served as the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer since 2017.


Michael has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce from Deakin University and a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne.

Prior to entering the Parliament, Michael spent seven years working as a lawyer with the firm Ashurst Australia (then known as Blake Dawson Waldron), where he was a Senior Associate. In this role, he advised many of Australia's most successful individuals and largest corporate groups. Before then he worked as a Senior Consultant with accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers where he also specialised in tax.

Michael has previously served on a number of parliamentary committees, including as Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence & Security, as well as Chair of Parliamentary Joint committee on Corporations and Financial Services.

Michael is married to Anna and they have two children.

Innovation Pillar
Speaker Dr Abrei Swanepoel
Position Senior Economist at Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Abrie Swanepoel has had a number of roles in South Africa and Australia, holding a range of senior positions at the South African Reserve Bank, the Australian Capital Territory Government and currently the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. This covered economic analysis and research, economic and tax revenue forecasting and the provision of policy advice. As Senior Economist of the Office of the Chief Economist at the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Abrie leads a team of economists who undertake applied economic research with a focus on business performance and program impact analysis.

Speaker Mark Burgess
Position Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director | Quickstep Holdings Ltd

Mark joined Quickstep on 8 May 2017. With over 20 years’ experience in the global aerospace and defence industry. His successful delivery of profitable growth and complex projects in advanced technology businesses has led to significant employer, customer and industry recognition. Mark has held leadership roles of increasing responsibility for British and American companies across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia. After a 16 year career in BAE Systems covering sales, contracts, project and general management Mark joined Honeywell in 2013 as Vice President Asia Pacific. In this most recent role Mark had operational and P&L responsibility for Honeywell's defense, space and commercial helicopter business division in Asia. Mark has extensive experience of governance and stakeholder management, working with public, private and not-for-profit sectors. He has managed several successful post acquisition integration projects and has held numerous board positions on subsidiaries and international joint ventures. Mark holds a degree in Politics and Economics from the University of Hull and has completed several post graduate studies in business and operations management.

Speaker Mr David Salisbury
Position General Manager, Consumer Small Business Strategies, ACCC

David is responsible for the ACCC's role in education and liaison with small business, and oversees compliance with several industry codes, including the Franchising Code and the Food and Grocery Code. His recent projects have included ensuring businesses are aware of their obligations under the new Business-to-Business Unfair Contract Terms law and the new requirements for Country of Origin labelling. David has a Bachelor degree in Accounting and a Masters degree in Accounting and Finance.

Regulation Pillar
Speaker Ms Karen Payne
Position Inspector-General of Taxation & Taxation Ombudsman

Ms Karen Payne was appointed Inspector-General of Taxation & Taxation Ombudsman commencing on 6 May 2019.


She leads the Taxation Ombudsman complaints management service for taxpayers and advisers and the Inspector-General of Taxation’s review and public reporting function, both of which are directed at improving the tax administration system for all taxpayers.


Ms Payne is also a Member of the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation.


Ms Payne was previously a Member of the Board of Taxation as well as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Board of Taxation. She was formerly a partner with Minter Ellison, specialising in corporate and international tax for mergers and acquisitions, and capital raising for the financial services, mining, energy, and utilities sectors. Her career includes a broad range of experience (legal, accounting, audit, education and tax return preparation) across a diverse range of taxpayers (including individuals, trusts, companies and partnerships).


She brings a wealth of experience and extensive networks to the role of Inspector-General having worked with a range of government and private stakeholders as well as the legal and tax profession, and many industry bodies.


Ms Payne is a solicitor admitted in New South Wales and is a member of:

  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ)
  • The Tax Institute
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
Speaker Ms Su McCluskey
Position Director, Commissioner and Business Owner

Su McCluskey is a Director of Australian Unity and the Foundation for Young Australians, Chairman of Energy Renaissance, a Commissioner for International Agricultural Research and a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration. Su was a member of the recent review of the Australian Charities sector, Independent Review Panel for CPA Australia, the Harper Review of Competition Policy and the NSW Review of the Regulatory Framework.


Su was previously the CEO of the Regional Australia Institute and the Executive Director of the Office of Best Practice Regulation. Su has held senior positions with the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Taxation Office.


Su was named the Westpac/Australian Financial Review Regional Women of Influence in 2013 and received the Women in Agribusiness award in 2014 for outstanding contribution to policy development.  She is also a beef cattle farmer at Yass, NSW.

Speaker Dr Craig Latham
Position Deputy, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Craig’s experience stretches across business, academia and the public service in Australia and New Zealand.  He has specialist expertise in commercial and tax law, regulatory reform, and private sector and cross-government collaboration. In his current role, Craig has a particular focus on speedy and low cost dispute resolution for small business and family enterprise. Craig holds undergraduate degrees in economics and law, a Masters of Law and a Doctorate of Philosophy focused on regulatory systems. When he finds the time, he enjoys photography and strenuous walks with his wolfhound.


Day 2 - The SME Ecosystem and the Australian SME Environment | Thursday 5 September

Trade and Internationalisation Pillar
Speaker Ms Sophie Krantz
Position State Manager, Export Council Australia

Sophie Krantz is the Export Council of Australia’s State Manager for Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. Before the ECA, Sophie worked with multinational companies, SMEs and international organisations. In Australia she was responsible for BlueScope’s trade and investment strategy across the company’s international footprint. Before this she was in Switzerland, at Swiss Re and the International Trade Centre (the joint agency of UNCTAD and the WTO).

Human Capital Pillar
Speaker Ms Julie Abramson
Position Commissioner

Julie Abramson was appointed a part time Commissioner with the Productivity Commission in December 2015.

Julie is a lawyer with over 20 year’s regulatory experience at both State and Federal levels. She was also a part-time Commissioner with the Victorian Essential Services Commission from August 2014 to August 2016.

Her career in public policy includes working with Government, industry bodies (VECCI, Civil Contractors Federation), the private sector (National Australia Bank) and a Regulatory Agency (Australian Securities and Investments Commission). She has particular expertise in economic related regulatory matters such as financial services and competition policy. She also has strong policy skills in the Vocational Education sector as well as infrastructure and procurement policy.

Julie has also worked in self-regulation and was a member of the 3 person Code Compliance Monitoring Committee which monitors bank compliance with the voluntary Code of Banking Practice from 2008 to 2011. She is currently a member of the Governing Council of the Photography Studies College (a dual sector Higher Education Provider).

Julie has a BA, LLB and LLM (Commercial Law) from Monash University. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

Julie is currently a Commissioner on the Mental Health inquiry.

She has previously worked on:

  • Competition in the Australian Financial System
  • Consumer Law Enforcement and Administration
  • Education Evidence Base
Speaker Prof Charles Matthews
Position Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, University of Cincinnati

Charles H. Matthews, Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management, Fellow of the Graduate School; J. William Fulbright Fellow (2018); Founder Center for Entrepreneurship Education & Research (Executive Director 1997-2013); Director; Small Business Institute® (1982-2013), Lindner College of Business, U. of Cincinnati.


Prof Matthews is an internationally recognized scholar and innovative teacher in the field of entrepreneurship. His teaching and research interests include: strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, startup financing, leadership and decision making. He is published in Small Business Economics, the Journal of Small Business Management; the Journal of Small Business Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Regional Development; Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research; Family Business Review; The International Journal of Operations & Production Management; The Center for the Quality of Management Journal; Quality Management Journal; Industry & Higher Education; and New England Journal of Entrepreneurship. He is quoted in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Industry Week, Forbes, Business Week, and Inc. He is a former columnist on entrepreneurship for The Cincinnati Post (1998-2001) and The Cincinnati Enquirer (2011-15). He is the co-author of Innovation & Entrepreneurship: A Competency Framework, with Ralph Brueggemann (Routledge, 2015); and Editor, The Annals of Entrepreneurship Education & Pedagogy, vol. III, with co-editor Eric Liguori, PhD, (Edward Elgar Publishers, 2019).