Paul Quilliam – Managing Director – Hummingbird House Foundation

Paul Quilliam: Managing Director of Hummingbird House Foundation, talks changing the world, building houses, having a vision, advocating for children and taking flight.

Paul Quilliam is an incredible individual with an amazing story, someone with a big vision who is driven to change the world, and Richard was honoured to host him for an episode of the Arete podcast. The Managing Director of Hummingbird House Foundation in Brisbane, Paul co-founded the non-for-profit organisation in 2011 with his wife Gabrielle, after they fostered a child affected by a life-limiting condition. Hummingbird House is Queensland’s only children’s hospice, providing short break stays, family wellbeing services, creative therapies, and care at the end of life, in a medically supported home away from home. In 2014, a compelling feature article written by well-known columnist Frances Whiting in The Courier Mail’s QWeekend magazine highlighted the stories of families who needed or would need Hummingbird House and the services it could provide. The buzz the article created coupled with a compelling business case ultimately resulted in two transformative donations worth millions of dollars, which helped Hummingbird House flourish into what it is today — one of only three children hospices in Australia.

Paul is also a Trustee of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network, an executive advisor of the Executive Masters Business Administration (EMBA) program at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and a QUT Global Ambassador.


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Phillip Di Bella – Founder – Di Bella Coffee

The problem solver: Phillip Di Bella talks entrepreneurship, the why-what-how, celebrating wins, leading from behind, mapping the moves and getting comfortable with the worst case scenario.

Phillip Di Bella is a force to be reckoned with. Exuberant, spirited and innovative, the founder and Managing Director of Di Bella Coffee is self aware and focused, and has achieved tremendous success as an entrepreneur, building his business into Australia’s largest speciality coffee retailer. Phillip is also a sought after board member, adjunct professor and philanthropist, working closely with the Pyjama Foundation, Hummingbird House and the Hope Foundation. He is also the vice-president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce, a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, chairman of Brisbane CBD Economic Development Board, and a Board member of Brisbane Bullets basketball team.

A self described “creator,” Phillip was born one of three children to Italian Migrant parents in Brisbane, Queensland, and from a very early age always harboured the desire to be in control of his own destiny. Upon finishing his secondary education at Sandgate High School, Phillip studied at Bachelor of Commerce at Griffith University, an honour to his parents who “did it tough” after arriving in Australia from Italy with two young children and little more than a suitcase.

“My Dad always said to me don’t be jealous of other people, if you want it work for it,” he said.

“Uni was for my parents, I was the first child from our whole family to go to uni… It was an honour to them and I wanted to pull out throughout the whole degree but I’m glad I didn’t. I always had a burning desire to be in control of my own destiny, in terms of work. I love brands, marketing and strategy and coffee was just the industry I fell into.”

Phillip founded Di Bella Coffee in 2002 and has recently sold the company to Retail Food Group with plans to remain an ambassador and a consultant for the brand

He lives in Brisbane with his wife and young children.


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

Ronsley Vaz – Founder – Amplify

heashotSpeaker, marketer, author and audio expert, Ronsley Vaz talks: AMPLIFYING your career, harvesting the power of conversations, finding pathways and testing beliefs.

Richard first met entrepreneur and founder of AMPLIFY agency, Ronsley Vaz, during Glen Carlson’s Key Person of Influence program. Ronsley has been at the forefront of the podcast movement in Australia and has inspired Richard in the development of the Arete podcast. Ronsley is a dynamic entrepreneur, someone who is  good humoured, optimistic, energetic, focused and always ready for a challenge. He is the co-founder of social enterprise Eat for Two, and host of podcasts Bond Appetit and Should I Start a Podcast.

Ronsley has had an extremely interesting and diverse career. He earned a Bachelor of Computer Science and Engineering at Karnatak University in India, before commencing a career in the IT industry. Later he returned to university to complete a Masters of Business at Queensland University of Technology. Being a passionate entrepreneur, he moved into the food industry and opened his own restaurant for a short time before venturing into other areas of food and lifestyle. After completing the KPI program, he began his own podcast which quickly became highly successful.

He has now founded AMPLIFY, an agency which supports organisations using podcasting to broadcast messages to the community. AMPLIFY  is a leading audio marketing agency in Australia which has enjoyed rapid growth since it was established in 2016. The agency now has 11 full-time employees across six time zones. Ronsley is also an author, having just finished writing a book and he has also recently hosted his second annual podcast conference – We Are Podcast.

Ronsely’s story is one of humble beginnings. Born in Goa, Ronsley recalls early childhood memories of his family sleeping on a mattress on the floor during a time when his father worked washing dishes in a restaurant. Ronsley inherited his entrepreneurial spirit from his father – the original entrepreneur –  who eventually went on to establish a construction business, which he hoped Ronsley would assume responsibility of. But life had other plans for Ronsley. He was lured to Australia after being told by friend Griffith University was located on the beach and so he  relocated in 2003 to complete a masters of software engineering.

In 2016, Ronsely was a Finalist in the Business News Australia Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. AMPLIFY has also been named as one of the Top 100 Coolest Companies in Australia by Anthill Magazine.


Ronsley on LinkedIn

Queensland University of Technology

Griffith University

Nina Chen – Founder and Director – Harvest Education Technical College

Nina-196x300The power of one: Nina Chen, Founder and Director of HETC, talks education, grabbing opportunity and transforming one country at a time.

Nina Chen is an entrepreneur and the Founder and Director of Harvest Education Technical College (HETC), an educational institute with two Brisbane campuses and over 3000 international and domestic students. HETC offers courses in business, hospitality and technology among a range of  other study areas. Energetic and boundlessly passionate about her work, Nina is a young woman who has achieved incredible things in her career and she has a personal, fascinating story. Nina strives to help others less fortunate and as well as operating HETC she is constantly working on ventures overseas to improve third world countries. She is also a mum to three young boys.

Allan English – Executive Chairman – Silver Chef

headshotAllan English — Entrepreneur, Philanthropist & Executive Chairman of Silver Chef — Talks Trend Spotting, Making Meaning of the World & Business as a Force for Good

Allan English is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Silver Chef, Australia’s only dedicated hospitality equipment funding solution. Silver Chef Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2005; operates in three countries — Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and employs more than 200 people. Founded by Allan in 1986, Silver Chef has assisted more than 25, 000 clients achieve their business goals. Allan is also dedicated to a range of philanthropic work. He’s a Non Executive Director of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and he is currently a Board Member of Philanthropy Australia. He is also involved in his own non-for-profit, Opportunity International, and he is the Director of the English Family Foundation.

The eldest of four children, Allan was born in Western Australia in the small wheat belt town of Muckinbudin. His parents were second generation farmers and he spent his formative years on the family’s sheep and wheat property. Allan attended the local primary school before setting of to Perth to board at Aquinas College. Upon graduation, Allan was unable to return to the family property; after experiencing three years of tough drought, his father could not maintain the farm and was forced to let it go. His parents relocated to the city, while a young Allan began working as a railway ganger in Pilbara.

Allan is highly curious, an avid learner who has an innate business acumen and an eye for spotting trends. His path to success is fascinating, it gives a small snapshot of Australia in the 1970s and early 80s and is very much a story of talent meeting opportunity. Allan’s sales career began with him selling glory boxes to young women and later, Space Invaders arcade games and ice cream machines. It wasn’t long before Allan became the top salesman in Western Australia and was promoted to the role of state manager. When the ice cream company decided to franchise, selling to state managers by funding them in, Allan swiftly transitioned from salesman to owning his own business in just three months, marking the end of his Space Invaders days and the beginning of his entrepreneurial ventures.

In 2012, Allan was awarded the Queensland Community Foundations Philanthropist of the Year and the Griffith University Medal for Management Innovation. Allan and his wife live in Brisbane and have been married for almost 40 years. They enjoy travelling and visiting their three grown children all of whom live overseas.



Allan on LinkedIn

Silver Chef

Aquinas College

School of Social Entrepreneurs


Linzi Boyd – Global Partner Shirlaws Group

International Speaker, Educator, Author & Global Partner Shirlaws Group – Linzi Boyd – Talks Business & Brand, Street Smarts & Listening to Your Intuition

I sat down with Linzi Boyd when she was in Brisbane from the UK. We were on the rooftop of a hotel on an extremely hot Brisbane day and were melting in the sun, but we had a great conversation and having Linzi on the Arete podcast was a wonderful experience.

Linzi is an expert at executing strategy to build and elevate brands within the global market place.  An International Speaker and TV presenter, Educator, Author of Brand Famous and the youngest female, Global Partner of Shirlaws Group, Linzi is a self confessed serial entrepreneur who established her first business by the age of 18. She went on to open a second business, selling both by the time she was just 24. She grew her second company, a footwear brand, to have seven distribution channels globally. Linzi is also the founder of Surgery Group, a company which has become known for influencing an industry and elevating some of the UK’s most identifiable high-street brands.

Matthew Michalewicz – CEO – Complexica

Matthew MichalewiczThere is no doubting Matthew Michalewicz’s pedigree in business. During this episode of The Arete Podcast, I explore how Matthew, an only child of parents living in communist Poland, grew up to be named in Business Journal’s “40 under 40” list of high achieving young business leaders.

Matthew’s current role as CEO of his new firm Complexica sees him working alongside his father, who is a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence. Matthew is showing large companies how they can apply artificial intelligence to big data, to sell more products and services while reducing labour costs. Matthew is frank about having some 200 meetings with 70 plus companies, in order to complete the primary research and ensure Complexica’s software would resolve his customers’ pain points.

During the interview I explore the story of Matthew’s previous business SolveIt Software, which he started in 2005 (again partnering with his father). SolveIT also applied artificial intelligence to optimise complex supply chains which required the scheduling and planning of people, machinery and multiple logistical movements. Matthew grew the company from zero to over $20 million in revenue with over 180 employees. SolveIT Software was ranked as the 3rd fastest growing company in 2012, won numerous awards and boasted an enviable client list including Rio Tinto, Xstrata and BHP Billiton.

It’s fascinating to hear Matthew describe the process of selling SolveIT, which was purchased in 2012 by Schneider Electric. Once the sale was complete, Matthew was able to take a short break from business to concentrate on writing another of his books, which include Life in Half a Second”, “Winning Credibility”, “Puzzle-Based Learning, and “Adaptive Business Intelligence”.

Matthew and I travel further back in time to explore what life in business was like for him while he was based in the USA. We explore his tenure as CEO and CoFounder of NuTech Solutions in the USA, which was the first business he undertook with his father. NuTech had six international offices, a staff of close to 200 people and raised more than $15 million USD in venture capital. Matthew shares the lessons he learnt around business scalability and how he sought mentorship and advice from the board he established. He tells inspiring stories about the persistence which enabled him to attract high profile people like former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Walesa; former Bank of America Chairman, Hugh McColl Jr.; and world renouned  fraud expert and subject of Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster “Catch Me If You Can” Frank Abagnale, and former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Prior to NuTech, Matthew co-founded and operated a financial planning and money management firm, and before that, a personal fitness training business while he was at university studying finance. He reviewed all the regular job options such as ‘flipping burgers’ but he was hungry to earn more than just a minimum wage to assist with his tuition. With a passion for fitness training, the 18 year old learned what it means to be an entrepreneur and, as Matthew describes it, “hold the reigns of your destiny in your hands and have the freedom and control around your own actions and direction in life”.

Matthew has been named the Pearcey Foundation “Entrepreneur of the Year”, University of North Carolina “Alumnus of the Year” and Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist. His businesses and business acumen have featured many times on television and in print including Time, Newsweek and Forbes. He is also a board director at Prophecy International (ASX: PRO) and ComOps (ASX: COM), and a Limited Partner in Blackbird Ventures, an Australian early-stage venture capital fund. From 2005 – 2016 he held the position of Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide where he lectured on the subject of technology commercialisation for graduate students.

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