About Us

About Us

South Australian Leaders inspires leading companies. It achieves this through the provision of knowledge, networks, and capital.

South Australian Leaders assists companies to achieve sustainable growth, manage succession planning and evaluate entry and exit strategies for their business.

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 and international 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

Creagh O’Connor

Creagh is a highly respected Adelaide businessman who has spent nearly four decades in a variety of leadership positions and on numerous company boards. In 1999, together with Malcolm Kinnaird AC, Creagh founded O'Connors, an industry leading South Australian, privately owned, mechanical services provider. Creagh has been Chairman of Cricket Australia, a director of the South Australian Cricket Association, and has also served on a number of Industry and Government boards including ACHA Health, Broken Hill Prospecting Ltd, Adelaide Clipper Ship Foundation and International Pacific Investments Ltd.

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)

Andrew Downs

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. .

Nominate Now

South Australian Leaders selects leading growth companies to become Members. Up to 25 Executive Leaders and 16 Future Leaders are selected each year.