The Big Idea is delivered by an impressive, diverse and talented group of Australian social entrepreneurs, business leaders and social enterprise professionals who give their time voluntarily.

The Big Idea finalists will have an opportunity to pitch their ‘Big Idea’ to our panel of high profile judges. The distinguished panel is made up of The Big Issue’s CEO, and an impressive list of long-time supporters of The Big Issue and proud ambassadors for social enterprise.

  • Judges
  • Thought Leaders
  • [X]

    Cheryl Kernot, Social Business Fellow, Centre for Social Impact

    Cheryl is the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Social Impact and Social Business Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact.

    Her role at CSI involves the direction and design of our national post-graduate education program and leadership of our teaching team. Cheryl is also the Centre’s thought leader on social business, social enterprise and social procurement. She writes regularly on these topics, speaks at events throughout Australia and advises emerging talent and organisations.

    Cheryl has been elected Chair of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and NZ for the past four years. She served as an honorary board member of Foresters Community Finance for four years until 2011 and was on the founding committee of a UK charity that works to provide shelter and education for street children in Kampala, Uganda.

    Cheryl is one of the National Trust's 100 National Living Treasures. She was Leader of the Australian Democrats from 1993-1997 and the Member for Dickson and a Labor Shadow Minister from 1998-2001. Her political portfolios included, amongst many, Indigenous Affairs, Treasury, Employment and Women's Policy. She played a major parliamentary role in the introduction of compulsory superannuation and in the introduction of Native Title. Her policy interests have been in social justice and social structural reform and in 1994 she introduced legislation to legitimise parental leave; in 1998 she introduced trial social inclusion projects to the Labor Party's employment platform. Her work in the UK has been an extension of this pioneering policy interest. She was a member of the Council for Reconciliation from 1992-1997.

    Cheryl Kernot

    Social Business Fellow, Centre for Social Impact

    View Bio
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    Suzanne Currie, Head of Group Property, Westpac Banking Corporation

    Suzanne Currie is Head of Group Property for Westpac Banking Corporation, managing the corporate and retail property portfolios for the Westpac Group.
    Suzanne has over 20 years of experience across a range of disciplines, with a focus on financial services. Suzanne’s experience includes commercial legal practice, both in private practice and inhouse, and leadership roles across Strategic Sourcing, Business Banking, Customer Insights and Strategy and Planning functions.
    Suzanne is passionate about coaching and mentoring people to realise their ideas and goals, and to fulfil their potential.

    Suzanne Currie

    Head of Group Property, Westpac Banking Corporation

    View Bio
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    Tracey Kennair, Partner, PwC Australia

    Tracey Kennair is a Partner in PwC’s Technology Consulting business who is passionate about helping clients maximise their return on investment and improving customer engagement through technology enabled change.

    Tracey has 20 years of experience built up across multiple industries, with a focus on government, higher education, health, EUM (energy, utilities and mining), financial services and telecommunications.

    Projects have included major ERP and CRM software system implementations, process improvements, outsourcing, and agile social media and cloud solutions

    Prior to PwC, Tracey held roles at T-Mobile and VicGrain.

    Tracey Kennair

    Partner, PwC Australia

    View Bio
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    Andrea Pearman , General Manager, Community, Brand & Reputation, Corporate Affairs & People, Australia Post

    Andrea Pearman is a senior corporate responsibility and marketing executive with a diverse background and extensive experience in strategy development, marketing planning and execution and community development in complex, large scale organisations.

    Andrea Pearman

    General Manager, Community, Brand & Reputation, Corporate Affairs & People, Australia Post

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Steven Persson, CEO, The Big Issue

    Steven Persson is a Social Entrepreneur. By age 22, Steven was CEO of a large community activities centre. When he started at the centre, only about 20 per cent of its members received an outside income; when he left five years later, 100 per cent were earning an income.

    Steven’s next role was as CEO of a network of 24 houses for disabled people in Melbourne’s western suburbs, and the next 20 years saw Steven working in the NGO sector, as CEO for a number of medium to large NFP organisations providing services such as housing, employment, personal care and case management, across a wide range of social needs. Steven also spent 5 years in the commercial sector, both managing his own businesses and as a consultant to a range of high profile Australian brands.
    Steven joined The Big Issue, Australia’s largest social enterprise, as CEO in 2005, saying “It was a happy
    hybrid between helping people but with a business solution that allowed us to be truly independent of funding.’’

    In 2010 Big Issue vendors earned more than $2m and in June 2014, The Big Issue celebrated its 18th
    Birthday. Under Steven’s leadership, The Big Issue has also developed a range of other social enterprises including the Women’s Subscription Enterprise and The Big Issue Classroom.

    Steven Persson

    CEO, The Big Issue

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Alastair McGibbon, CEO, Social Enterprise Finance Australia

    Alastair was formerly a career banker with more than 20 years experience. He spent the last 10 years at National Australia Bank where he held the position of Head of Banks and ADIs in the Financial Institutions Group. He had oversight for managing all of NAB’s relationships and transactions with bank and ADI counterparties including debt markets, securitisation, financial markets and transactional banking with responsibility for the credit exposure for all counterparty dealing. Alastair formerly worked at Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Bankers Trust Australia specialising in derivatives and debt capital markets. He previously worked in London where he was Head of Primary Markets, Europe with responsibility for working with financial, corporate, government and supranational bond issuers to develop the Australian Kangaroo bond market.

    In 2011 Alastair spent six months in the Northern Territory visiting many remote Indigenous communities whilst making the documentary ‘Northern Lights: A season with NT Thunder’ giving him a first-hand perspective into the problems facing Indigenous Australians. He has spent much of his time working with disadvantaged groups with a particular focus on the homeless.

    Alastair McGibbon

    CEO, Social Enterprise Finance Australia

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Sally Hines, Chief Operating Officer, The Big Issue & Homes for Homes

    The Big Issue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting and creating work opportunities for homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people, and most well-known for The Big Issue magazine - a fortnightly, independent publication sold on the streets by vendors, who buy copies of the magazine for $3.50 and sell them for $7, keeping the difference.

    Homes for Homes is a new initiative of The Big Issue that will help raise an ongoing supply of new funding for social and affordable houses. Funds raised through Homes for Homes will be invested with experienced housing providers to increase the supply of social affordable housing. Funds invested by Homes for Homes will also create new jobs and result in billions of dollars of flow on economic benefits.

    Prior to commencing at The Big Issue, Sally worked in employment services, community development, youth mental health and health for over 10 years. She has held various strategic, service delivery and operational management positions, including experience in establishing new not-for-profit businesses across Australia in diverse communities. Sally has a Masters in Human Resource Management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science.

    Sally Hines

    Chief Operating Officer, The Big Issue & Homes for Homes

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Danni Hunter , CEO, Urban Development Institute of Australia (Victoria)

    Danni Hunter is a passionate Melburnian and a leader on issues shaping Victoria’s cities and communities. In her role as the Victorian Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) – the nation’s key representative body for the urban development industry, Danni serves a large membership base and brings together both private and public sector stakeholders, development industry professionals and policy makers. Danni is a Trustee of the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust and volunteers her expertise in policy and advocacy development with Beyond Blue.

    An accomplished and reputable property expert, Danni uses her influence to protect and promote the industry’s best interests. She is known for her informed, pragmatic and solutions-based approach, as she continues to lead public agenda on behalf of UDIA’s large, engaged membership.

    Danni is passionate about enabling affordability and accessibility for all home buyers, reducing unnecessary regulatory burden throughout the development process, and achieving an efficient planning system that delivers positive outcomes for Victoria’s future.

    She is an advocate for gender diversity in the property and development industry, making considerable effort to profile and enhance the influence of women making a difference in the property sector.

    Danni has an impressive track record in advocacy, policy, political engagement and stakeholder management, with previous roles as Senior Advisor to the State Government, and Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the Property Council of Australia.

    She is a dynamic and nationally recognised spokesperson, regularly sharing her property knowledge and industry acumen through media, events and keynote presentations.

    Danni Hunter

    CEO, Urban Development Institute of Australia (Victoria)

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Clare Eilbeck, Principal Commodity Analyst - Strategy & Market Intelligence, BHP Billiton

    Clare is part of the Portfolio Strategy team at BHP, focussed on developing and executing BHP’s global strategy. She has been with the company since March 2017 and has 13 years working in the resources sector.
    Prior to joining BHP Clare was Risk Manager on aluminium plant construction sites in the Middle East, and, before then, she was a Senior Analyst for an independent metals and mining consultant in London and Singapore. Clare started her career in the steel industry on site at steel plants in the UK.
    Clare studied physics at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. She enjoys travelling and has been fortunate that her career has enabled this.

    Clare Eilbeck

    Principal Commodity Analyst - Strategy & Market Intelligence, BHP Billiton

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Connie Sokaris , General Manager, Resources, Infrastructure and Government, Corporate and Institutional Banking National Australia Bank

    Connie is responsible for client coverage across the industry sectors, resources, infrastructure, energy and government for NAB. Previous to this role, Connie spent 10 months as the General Manager Transformation where she drove a program delivering a stronger and easier customer experience within the Corporate and Institutional business.

    Prior to this she was GM Investment Grade originations, which involved debt capital markets, loan syndications, securitisation and all origination activity across loans and bonds for investment grade clients.

    She joined National Australia Bank (NAB) in 2003 and she has more than 20 years’ experience in wholesale and institutional banking via a range of roles within NAB and other financial institutions including Deutsche Bank and UBS both here and offshore. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Economics/Finance and is a CFA charterholder.

    Connie Sokaris

    General Manager, Resources, Infrastructure and Government, Corporate and Institutional Banking National Australia Bank

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Nigel Dalton , Chief Inventor, REA Group

    Chief Inventor of REA Group, Nigel Dalton is a passionate lean and agile technology leader. Nigel has over 25 years of IT-related experience across government, multi-nationals and start-ups.

    In 2007 he joined travel publisher Lonely Planet as General Manager of Information Technology, becoming Deputy Director of Digital (web and mobile businesses) in 2010. He has been involved in several startups, most recently co-founding a consultancy, Luna Tractor, to help organisations apply systems thinking, lean and agile software development techniques to all aspects of business.

    Previously, Nigel held roles with AXA Australia, online human resource startup ePredix in the USA (now owned by SHL), as well as Silicon Systems and Mitsubishi Electric in New Zealand.

    At REA Group Nigel heads up the REALABS team. This team are responsible for ensuring REA is ahead of the curve with future technology and social trends, both in the real estate space, and beyond.

    Nigel Dalton

    Chief Inventor, REA Group

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Sam Edmonds, Principal, Buyer Services, Social Traders

    Sam currently works as the key liaison point with Social Traders 23 business and government buyer members. Sam has been integral in establishing Social Traders network of buyers and 200 certified social enterprises.
    Social Traders provides the only service of its kind in Australia, linking social enterprises with business and government buyers. Sam is responsible for opening new markets and finding supply solutions across a wide range of procurement and new business opportunities.
    Her background as leader of a rapidly growing social enterprise and previously, a small business founder, means that Sam has a first-hand understanding of the complexities of social enterprises and start-up businesses. Sam has an honours degree in Planning and Design from the University of Melbourne.

    Sam Edmonds

    Principal, Buyer Services, Social Traders

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Sean Barrett, Head of Foundation, Origin Foundation

    Sean Barrett is a campaigner who has worked in the public and private sectors. He has campaigned on health issues such as tobacco and HIV AIDS, human rights and the environment. He has worked for national and international NGOs.

    He is currently the head of The Origin Foundation.

    Sean Barrett

    Head of Foundation, Origin Foundation

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Jeremy Blackshaw, Office Managing Partner, Head of Melbourne M&A Corporate Group

    Jeremy has an extensive corporate practice, advising in multiple jurisdictions across industry sectors such as energy, infrastructure, financial services, health and consumer brands.

    Jeremy Blackshaw

    Office Managing Partner, Head of Melbourne M&A Corporate Group

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Nathan Sowell, Manager, Impact Investing

    Nathan is on the SVA Impact Investing team. They partner with organisations that make a meaningful social impact on the lives of people in Australia. They provide flexible capital (equity and loans) and hands-on support to both for-profit and non-profit organisations. Their focus areas are education, employment, housing, First Australians, health, and disability.

    Nathan Sowell

    Manager, Impact Investing

    View Bio
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    Shannon Jaquith Crisp , Executive Marketing & Corporate Responsibility Director, The Body Shop

    Shannon Jaquith Crisp

    Executive Marketing & Corporate Responsibility Director, The Body Shop

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Cliff Moss, Co-founder, Goodsmiths

    Clifford is passionate about investing time and energy into developing and supporting businesses with purpose because these are the ones that consumers will care about in the long-term and the ones that actually matter. An experienced public speaker and self-confessed social entrepreneur Clifford took his time to find his calling. Over the last 20 years he has worked in the commercial property, film and creative marketing industries and has finally come to rest in the world of corporate social responsibility.
    In 1997 he established his first creative agency,, that he left 9 years later with 15 staff, a turnover of $6m and corporate clients in New Zealand and Australia. His most recent ventures are Good Business Matters and Goodsmiths. Good Business Matters is a for-purpose business that develops social responsibility strategies and proprietary projects that are brought to life through cause-related marketing and brand communications. While Goodsmiths is the place to discover, choose and buy products and services that generate a community benefit, support marginalised groups and make a lasting difference
    By building brands of enduring value, brands that matter, Clifford and his team are able to create positive social impact while ensuring that their clients are recognised for the good they’re doing.

    Cliff Moss

    Co-founder, Goodsmiths

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Nick Pearce , CEO & Co-Founder, HoMie

    Nick Pearce is the CEO & Co-Founder of HoMie, a streetwear clothing social enterprise that provides brand-new clothing, training and job opportunities to young people affected by homelessness or hardship. Nick was awarded the 2017 Young Victorian Achiever Award for Leadership and 2018 National Retail Association's Young Retailer of the Year.

    Nick Pearce

    CEO & Co-Founder, HoMie

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Jacqui McKenzie, Director, Nous Group

    Jacqui is an experienced public health practitioner and project manager with over 17 years’ experience leading projects and teams to improve organisations’ performance. She has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement, collaboration and project management facilitation in areas spanning acute to primary care and prevention. Jacqui has developed, implemented and evaluated projects and programs in areas including integrated health care, general practice in rural communities, refugee health, Aboriginal health and chronic disease.

    Jacqui McKenzie

    Director, Nous Group

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Alex Oppes, Director - Impact Investing, Social Ventures Australia

    Alex joined SVA’s Impact Investing team in 2013 and is responsible for investing SVA’s $9m Social Impact Fund and the $30m HESTA/SVA Social Impact Investment Trust. His responsibilities include deal origination, assessment and execution, portfolio management from investment through to exit and investor relations. Alex is also a founding director of Vanguard Laundry, a social enterprise commercial laundry based in Toowoomba.

    Prior to SVA, Alex worked as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Co. across Australia, Asia and Europe, specialising in due diligence for major mergers and acquisitions. Alex has also established a small retail business and consulted extensively in the not-for-profit sector. Alex holds a dual BA/LLB (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, where he studied as a National Scholarship holder. Alex is currently a CFA Level III candidate.

    Alex Oppes

    Director - Impact Investing, Social Ventures Australia

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Wendy Chan, Senior Relationship Manager, Sefa

    Wendy's enthusiasm for learning has seen her carve out roles in pharmacy, commerce, banking and social finance. With a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact, Wendy has scaled peaks in Patagonia, inhabited yurts in Mongolia and tackled finance impact models on home soil. Once Wendy spent six months as an intraprenuer in an Indian NGO which included a Medical Yatra to remote villages. When she's not at her desk or off adventuring, you’ll find her sampling delicious foods, snapping artistic photos as she goes.

    Wendy Chan

    Senior Relationship Manager, Sefa

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Faustina Delany , Innovation Consultant, Inventium

    Faustina is an Innovation Consultant with Inventium, an organisation that draws on science to de-mystify, measure, and replicate a robust innovation practice. She is also a registered Psychologist with Clinical training and is interested in how innovation can improve wellbeing within and beyond an organisation.

    Faustina is a published author in psychoneuroimmunology, has taught and been involved in research across multiple domains, including the School of Psychological Sciences, Melbourne Business School, and Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne, as well as Royal Melbourne Hospital and Murdoch Children's Research Institute. She's moonlighted as a Bladesmith and was born in Japan.

    Faustina Delany

    Innovation Consultant, Inventium

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Patrick Lyons , Partner – Social Research, Synergistiq

    Patrick has provided evaluation and strategic advice to a range of Commonwealth and State Government departments and agencies, as well as several Community Based and Philanthropic Organisations.
    Patrick has a particular interest in designing and reviewing interventions focused on building human capital, including programs that aim to influence behaviour and culture through education and information. Patrick also has a passion and deep experience working with programs that impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
    Patrick also draws on significant experience in both the Commonwealth and Victorian public sectors. In these roles he has provided leadership on strategic and business planning, budget and financial management, resource allocation, performance measurement, social policy, and inter-governmental relations.

    Patrick Lyons

    Partner – Social Research, Synergistiq

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Sandie Pullen, Manager, Community Relations and Social Design

    Sandie Pullen is a human-centred design practitioner, communicator and strategist with extensive in-house corporate and government experience. She pursues opportunities that seek to make people’s lives better and has trained students and professionals in community design, which is Australia Post's way of working in and with communities. Prior to joining Australia Post, Sandie was part of NAB's strategy and corporate responsibilities teams and also managed the Victorian Government’s Our Water Our Future behaviour change campaign.

    Sandie Pullen

    Manager, Community Relations and Social Design

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Sally Hines, Chief Operating Officer, The Big Issue & Homes for Homes

    Sally Hines joined The Big Issue in 2011 as the National Manager and is responsible for four social enterprises - The Big Issue Street Magazine Enterprise, Women’s Subscription Enterprise, The Big Issue Classroom and The Big Idea, as well as the Community Street Soccer Program. Prior to commencing at The Big Issue, Sally worked in employment services, community development, youth mental health and health for over 10 years. She has held various strategic, service delivery and operational management positions, including experience in establishing new not-for-profit businesses across Australia in diverse communities. Sally has a Masters in Human Resource Management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science.

    Sally Hines

    Chief Operating Officer, The Big Issue & Homes for Homes

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Amy Hetherington, Editor, The Big Issue

    Amy Hetherington is editor of The Big Issue. She is an experienced editor and journalist, who has spent two decades in magazine publishing and content licensing. She has held senior editorial roles across several women’s magazines at Bauer Media and Pacific Publications, working as an editor, sub-editor, reporter, photo editor and columnist. She was most recently the editorial and business development director at content agency Snapper Media, where she promoted sales growth in Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia and established the company's Beijing office.

    Amy Hetherington

    Editor, The Big Issue

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Jeremy Urquhart, National Operations Manager, The Big Issue

    Jeremy Urquhart is the National Operations Manager for The Big Issue. Jeremy is responsible for all of TBI State offices, which are the sites around the country which run The Big Issue’s Street Magazine Enterprise, the Women’s Subscription Enterprise and Community Street Soccer Programs. With a background in a range of community-based initiatives, Jeremy has worked for The Big Issue for more than a decade. He is now more energised than ever by the potential of social enterprise to change lives and change the world.

    Jeremy Urquhart

    National Operations Manager, The Big Issue

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Emma O'Halloran, Chief Communications Officer, The Big Issue & Homes for Homes

    As Chief Communications Officer for The Big Issue, Emma is responsible for the development and implementation of marketing strategies for The Big Issue’s enterprises and programs including; The Big Issue Magazine, The Women’s Subscription Enterprise, The Community Street Soccer Program and The Big Issue’s Education Enterprises.

    Having worked as a marketing professional in a variety of industry sectors, Emma is of the belief that The Big Issue presents both the biggest challenges as well as the greatest opportunities in her career to date.
    The challenge includes developing effective marketing strategies with limited resources that must consistently deliver results each and every time in order to make a difference to the lives of some of Australia’s most marginalized people.
    Working with a great product (The Big Issue Magazine) and other ground-breaking social enterprises, as well as being part of a team of professionals at the forefront of social entrepreneurship continues to present exciting opportunities.

    Emma is also responsible for fostering and managing corporate partnerships and is proud to be able to work alongside some of Australia’s largest companies who understand and value the role they can play in making a real difference to their community.

    Emma O'Halloran

    Chief Communications Officer, The Big Issue & Homes for Homes

    View Bio
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    Jon Whitehead, Chief Financial Officer

    Jon has over 20 years of financial and accounting experience working for Commonwealth and State Governments, Industry, Financial Services and Not for Profit. Jon graduated from the University of Canberra with a bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance and has gone on to complete his CPA.

    Jon is currently the Chief Financial Officer of The Big Issue and Homes for Homes, where he manages both companies' finances, IT, Admin and Facilities, Human Resources and Legal. Outside of work Jon is busy with his family raising twins and occasionally playing a round of golf.

    Jon Whitehead

    Chief Financial Officer

    View Bio
  • [X]

    Danya Sterling , Manager - Education Enterprises

    Danya Sterling has been at The Big Issue since 2009. Her role as Manager – Education Enterprises involves oversight of The Big Issue Classroom’s school and corporate programs, as well as project management of The Big Idea – a social enterprise planning competition for university students. Danya has previously worked as an educator with primary, secondary, and university students, and she has worked on community development projects in Australia and overseas. Danya holds a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Public Policy and Management.

    Danya Sterling

    Manager - Education Enterprises

    View Bio