Episode 85 – Tracey Vieira – CEO, Screen Queensland & Non Executive Director

Tracey Vieira, CEO of Screen Queensland, talks film and television, business acumen, building a personal brand, living with passion, sticking your hand up, and having self-belief.

Tracey Vieira is the CEO of Screen Queensland, a government organisation which works to grow the screen industry and contribute to the economic and cultural well being of Queensland. Screen Queensland’s role is to develop, fund and support the local screen industry, attract production to Queensland, and celebrate an active screen culture across the State. Tracey assumed the role of CEO in 2014 after spending ten years working for AusFilm in Los Angeles in the United States, where she attended the USC Marshall School of Business.

John Kotzas – CEO – QPAC

John Kotzas: CEO of Queensland Performing Arts Centre talks firing the arrow and hitting the bullseye, thinking outside the box, belonging and walking the floor.

John Kotzas is the CEO of Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane. QPAC is one of Australia’s leading centres for live performance and the arts, with over three million visitors attending over 1200 performances annually. John is also on a number of boards including being Vice President of the Executive Council of Live Performance Australia and a member of the Griffith University Conservatorium of Music Advisory Council. He has a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education and in 2015 was awarded an Honorary Degree of the University by Griffith University in recognition of his contribution to the cultural and artistic life of Queensland. Since joining QPAC as Artistic Director in 2002, John has been instrumental in the growth of QPAC’S brand and international profile.

“I see myself as responsible for the overall health, welfare and artistic program of the organisation, the reason for that is… I think it’s one conversation. I don’t think the arts conversation and the business conversation are separate. I think the business is our arts and the arts is our business, that’s why we amalgamated those roles,” John said.

John was born in Innisfail, North Queensland and grew up in the 1960s as one of two children in a Greek, cane farming family. His “creative bent” was fostered from an early age and he always had a passion for music, cultural performances and the arts. From the age of four, John dreamt of being a producer but before he could finish his senior exams, he left school and went to work in a cheese factory, saving enough money to relocate to Brisbane. He fondly recalls a time when he lived with his grandmother in Brisbane and indulged his love of the theatre by volunteering at the iconic La Boîte Theatre. John ultimately studied teaching at university and worked in the education field for many years but fate had other plans; it wasn’t long before opportunities began to present themselves and John was lured back to his first love — the performing arts.

“One of the things I love about the arts is that when you embrace the arts they give you the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes and in doing that you expand your mind and you become a better person and you see the other opportunities to help others.”


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Melissa King – CEO – Surf Life Saving Australia

mkMelissa King, CEO Surf Life Saving Australia talks: Living a nomadic life, creating shared Value, putting yourself out there and swimming between the flags.

Melissa King completed a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Marketing at Victoria University before commencing her career in marketing and corporate sponsorship roles. Later during her career she received a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New England; a Graduate Certificate of Arts Management and she is a graduate of Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Melissa has worked for some iconic organisations including as the Director of Marketing and Development with the Chartered Secretaries of Australia; as Manager of Sponsorship and Business Relations with the 2007 APEC Task Force, and as Group Manager of Corporate Partnerships at Sydney Opera House. Melissa became CEO of iconic brand Surf Life Saving Australia in July 2015, it’s an organisation she lives and breathes and Melissa genuinely views the organisation’s success as her own.

Fiona Maxwell – CEO – Brisbane Powerhouse

fiona-maxwell-ceoFiona Maxwell — CEO Brisbane Powerhouse — Talks the Arts, Connecting with the Community, Creating Experiences & Measuring Success

Fiona Maxwell is the CEO of the Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland’s flagship precinct for contemporary culture and the arts. Built in the 1920s, the Powerhouse is an iconic location on the Brisbane River in the inner city suburb of New Farm, and produces some of Queensland’s and Australia’s largest events. The Powerhouse has a year round program featuring events across music, comedy, writer and ideas; dance, film, the visual arts and digital arts; theatre and music. Over 700, 000 visitors to the Powerhouse each year enjoy over 1250 program items and performances across music, comedy, writers and ideas, dance, film, visual arts and more. Prior to taking over as CEO in mid 2015, Fiona worked in a number of arts focused organisations, including as General Manager and CEO of Next Wave Festival, the Queensland Manager of Artsupport Australia and Philanthropy Australia.

A sister to two younger brothers, Fiona was born in Townsville and spent her early years in outback Winton, where her parents ran a sheep property. She completed her secondary education in Brisbane before receiving a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Queensland University of Technology and then a Masters in Arts Administration from the University of New South Wales (College of Fine Art). Upon completing university, Fiona relocated to Los Angeles to undertake a coveted year long internship at the Getty Museum before returning to Australia to assume a role with Monash University Museum of Art in Melbourne. Fiona has also been a Committee Member of Women and Change, Queensland Women’s Giving Circle since 2013.


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David Pratt – CEO – Queensland Symphony Orchestra

headshotDavid Pratt — Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Newly Appointed CEO — Talks his Passion for Music, Engaging the Community, Spotting Opportunity & Being an Aussie in LA

David Pratt’s passion for music, entertainment and the outdoors have seen him forge a dynamic career across three distinctly different industries: recreation management, music and film. A highly experienced arts leader, David specialises in music organisations, orchestras and festivals and points to his ability to build large networks as pivotal to his professional success. Appointed CEO of Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) in September 2016, David has returned to Australia after many years in the United States where he was Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Symphony and previously, the Executive Director of the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra. During his illustrious career, David has held roles with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the G’Day USA Festival. He has also worked extensively in the film industry in Los Angeles, including as the General Manager of Ausfilm and the President and Co-founder of Australians in Film.

David is a global traveller but a country boy at heart. He was born along with his twin sister in Bendigo, Victoria, to an elder sister. His mother, a teacher, and his father, an army officer, both instilled in their children an interest in the arts and in academia. David’s mother always advised him to pursue his passion. Throughout his secondary education in Canberra, he studied music and played the piano and the clarinet. Upon graduation, David headed south to Melbourne with his twin sister, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Management from the Victoria University of Technology. He later completed a postgraduate degree in Business Administration at Swinburne University.

After kick starting his career with the Melbourne City Council in the Department of Recreation, David’s life took a fortuitous turn when he was approached to undertake a role working for the then Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, in the public service. While there, the then Head of Film Victoria recognised David’s vision and passion and offered him a role, which saw him venture into the film industry. David has long aspired to work with QSO and has a vision to see the orchestra reach its full potential on the international stage.


If you enjoyed this podcast please share it with your friends. We would also love you to subscribe to the Arete Podcast on I-tunes or Stitcher to stay abreast of our latest discussions with leading CEO’s and Non Executive Directors and post your comments. Follow Arete Executive on LinkedIn

Paul Piticco – Former Manager – Powderfinger and CEO – Secret Sounds

AAEAAQAAAAAAAATMAAAAJGVkMDJlYjEwLWFmNGYtNGRkZS1hM2MzLTNiMzY1ZjgyZmNlMQ Paul Piticco CEO of Secret Service Group Talks his Colourful Career, Managing Powderfinger & Joining the Dots Between Skills and Passion.

Paul Piticco is the CEO, Managing Director and Partner of the Secret Service Group, a music services company with three arms: artist management, public relations and digital marketing services. The company also serves as the umbrella company for two record labels, a publishing company, two festivals and a touring company. Secret Service, along with Byron Bay’s Village Sounds, are the co-promoters of Splendour in the Grass, a live music festival held annually in Byron Bay, New South Wales, since 2001. Paul also co-promotes The Falls Music and Arts Festival. He is best known for managing Powderfinger, an Australian band who enjoyed tremendous success both locally and internationally, and who is arguably one of Brisbane’s greatest musical exports, particularly among the generation who came of age in the 1990s.

Since the band disbanded in 2010, Paul has moved on to build an extensive portfolio of business interests within the areas of music and hospitality. He is part-owner of Brisbane restaurant Popolo, and bars Heya and The Gresham. It was a notable opportunity to feature Paul as a guest on the Arete podcast, as he is someone who has contributed significantly to Brisbane’s music industry and cultural scene. Paul is a creative thinker and true entrepreneur whose passion for “eating, drinking and listening to tunes,” is reflected in his energetic approach to many roles and different projects. He remains humble despite his many achievements and generously shared his career experiences and reflections, on the podcast.

Paul grew up in the inner city suburb of Paddington in the 1970s and 80s and has a self-confessed “passion for Brisbane.” An only child, Paul’s father was an Italian immigrant who relocated to Australia in the post-war era. Paul attended Petrie Terrace State School and later, Kelvin Grove State High, but left before completing his senior education. Paul worked for his father’s construction business before joining Boral, where he spent his lunch break and after-work time cheekily making long distance calls from the company phone to promote music shows and bands. It wasn’t long before he met the members of a young Powderfinger and quit his job to manage the band full-time, throwing himself into the music industry. Paul lives outside of Brisbane with his partner and their children.

Paul on LinkedIn

Paul in The Australian