About Us

About Us

South Australian Leaders inspires companies through knowledge, connections and resources.

Leaders surrounds growth companies with the expertise and experience of Business and Industry leaders to provide an effective, trusted community that fast-tracks outcomes and leads to greater prosperity for each Member.

Using this experience and its networks, South Australian Leaders operates a range of initiatives designed to benefit companies at different stages of growth.

These initiatives include:

South Australian Leaders has a vision that includes:

  • Assisting growth companies to become national and international  market leaders;
  • Developing and enhance the leadership skills of Founders, Directors and Executives;
  • Developing greater link to local, national, international opportunities and capital markets;
  • Surrounding growth companies with Business, Industry and Government leaders.

Advisory Board

South Australian Leaders has a nationally recognised Advisory Board, consisting of leading executive and non-executive directors to assist in developing the ongoing strategic direction of the network and aide in the growth and development of Members. This Advisory Board includes

Andrew Downs (Chair)

Andrew Downs began his working life as an apprentice electrician. In 1994 he started his own company, SAGE Automation from the family backyard shed. Today, in the role of Managing Director he has overseen the growth of SAGE to become Australia’s largest independent industrial control system integrator with offices nationally and in India, employing more than 250 staff and revenue of $65 Million. Andrew is passionate about leadership and strategy and has recently completed the Owner President Management course at Harvard Business School. Andrew loves his role as an ambassador for SAGE and is on a number of privately owned technology company boards. He is a member of the national executive of the Australian Industry Group and was named Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Central Region – Technology) in 2004 .

Richard Hockney

Richard is a proven senior business leader. During his 27-year career in the banking & finance industry, he held senior leadership positions in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and the UK. Offering extensive business experience, knowledge and networks, Richard has also held a number of key South Australian board positions since 2007. Richard has an impressive educational and professional track record, including Harvard Business School, the Australian Graduate School of Management and the University of South Australia. He is currently a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the World Presidents Organisation, and is a Senior Fellow of the Financial Securities Institute of Australia (Finsia)

Megan Hender

Megan Hender is a lawyer by training, a business owner and an experienced non-executive Director. She opened her own management consulting business, Megan Hender Consulting, in 2002 – providing advice and services in the areas of strategy, risk and communication to clients here and interstate.   Megan has a strong interest in corporate governance. She has served on the board of a number of not-for-profits. She currently sits on the boards and audit and risk committees of two Adelaide icons - the Adelaide Central Market Authority and the Adelaide Festival of Arts.  She is Chairperson of Connecting Foster Carers SA – the peak body for foster carers in the state.  She is a member of, and a regular presenter for, the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In addition Megan is an elected member of the Adelaide City Council and has recently completed a term as Deputy Lord Mayor.

Grace Portolesi

Grace Portolesi is the first woman to hold the position of Chair of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission assuming the role on 1 September 2014. Grace served in the South Australian Parliament from 2006 – 2014 representing the electorate of Hartley in Adelaide Eastern suburbs.

In 2009, Grace was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs.

The following year she was appointed Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Multicultural Affairs, Youth and Volunteers.

She later held the Education and Childhood Development portfolio before moving on to be Minister for Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology.

Wayne Phillips

Wayne "Flipper" Phillips enjoyed a highly successful cricket career over a 13 year period for both South Australia and Australia, where he played 27 test matches. He spent 10 years coaching at the AIS Cricket Academy before taking over the South Australian Redbacks head coaching role. He is a popular South Australian media identity who is always in high demand for speaking engagements with his quick wit and polished MC capabilities. He is currently the Adelaide Oval's Master of Ceremonies for Port Power and Adelaide Crows home AFL matches.

Christine Molitor

Christine Molitor is the Managing Director of Be Sustained Pty Ltd. She advises and facilitates board and executive discussions regarding strategy, strategy execution, planning and leadership.

Christine’s previous experience was as the CEO of Scope Global Pty Ltd, a global company delivering international development/international education programs, technical training assistance and mobility programs around the world. 

Christine’s Board experience includes; 14 years total service including past Chair of CanDo4Kids; one of South Australia’s oldest not for profit organisations that provides services to hearing and sight impaired children and their families. In 2018 she served on the Board of Sight for All, a charitable organisation focusing on eye health care projects and ophthalmology training in communities and partner countries. Since 2016 she has been on Corporate Traveller SA’s Customer Advisory Board.

Andrew O'Connor

Andrew is a Chartered Professional Engineer (Mechanical) and fellow of Engineers Australia, as well as the winner of the 1999 Directors excellence award for his MBA at Adelaide University. He began his professional career as a Construction Project Manager in Texas and Honduras building military bases for the US Army Corp of Engineers. (entonces él habla español).

Mentored by Malcolm Kinnaird AC, Andrew started his own business in 1999, OConnors an industry leading South Australian, privately owned, mechanical services provider, building on his family tradition in Engineering and Construction. Andrew has also co-founded successful businesses in the Water technology and Fabrication area.

A specialist in his field, he brings a successful track record in innovation, cooperation and value added services and remains committed to delivering the best possible out comes to his staff, his clients and all other project stakeholders. With over 30 years’ experience, Andrew is passionate about the construction industry having been the National President of AMCA Australia and is the current chair of the Specialist Contractors Association.

Stacey Copas

Stacey Copas, Author of "How To Be Resilient", is Australia's #1 Keynote Speaker and Facilitator on Turning Adversity Into An Asset. Stacey has used her life experience and philosophies to deliver keynote speeches, training, consulting and coaching to organisations including Telstra, SACA and CSIRO. She helps leaders empower their people with the tools and desire to embrace change and adversity as opportunities and assets rather than barriers and excuses. She has been featured in national media including ABC, Financial Review and The Australian for her insights on resilience in the workplace. More recently Stacey has added athletics to her repertoire after 22 years of inactivity to further stretch her comfort zones and is training to qualify for the Paralympic Games.

Expression of Interest

South Australian selects leading growth companies to become Members.


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