Episode 95 – Lincoln Hopper – CEO – MS Queensland

Lincoln is the CEO of Multiple Sclerosis Society of Queensland (MS Queensland).

For the last 27 years he has been working in the health and community service sector. He began his working life in the finance industry as a chalkie at the Sydney Stock Exchange and, in a short space of time, progressed to being a licensed stockbroker for Pembroke Securities. A stock market crash and a reality check later, he turned his back on a very promising career in pursuit of “something more”.

He commenced working with the Sydney City Mission in 1990, firstly in Kings Cross with disadvantaged and homeless young people and then in a diverse range of roles from front line social work, program management, policy and advocacy, fundraising and executive leadership including national leadership of 2,000 staff and an annual budget of $180m.

He has more than 20 years management experience, including the last ten at Executive level, and is currently the CEO and Company Secretary of MS Queensland.

He has been extensively involved with other community organisations through directorships of ACOSS, Mission Australia Early Learning Services, MA Housing Ltd and Aboriginal micro enterprise nonprofit Many Rivers Microfinance. He is also the Founding Chair of the award-winning NeuroCare Network collaboration.

He holds qualifications in Conflict Resolution, post graduate qualifications in Commerce and am a non-graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). He became a Fellow of the Vincent Fairfax Ethical Leadership Program in 2011.


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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.


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

Chris McCarthy – CEO – Hear and Say Centre

headshotNoble man, Chris McCarthy – CEO of Hear and Say – talks: The non-for-profit space, awakening the senses, delivering on the greater good and living a blessed life.

Chris McCarthy is the CEO of Hear and Say, a non-for-profit organisation and one of the leading paediatric auditory-verbal and cochlear implant centres in the world. The centre was established 25 years ago and across six centres in Queensland offers services for children who are deaf or suffer some form of hearing loss. Chris has had an interesting career working over a number of different sectors, before joining Hear and Say as General Manager in 2007. He assumed the role of CEO  in 2012. Chris previously held roles with Suncorp Metway and SMS Management and Technology.

Rob Seljak – CEO – TUH Health Fund

headshotTUH Health Fund CEO, Robert Seljak, talks: The green line, aligning values, being passionate and trekking and travelling.

Rob Seljak is the CEO of TUH Health Fund, a Brisbane based non-for-profit organisation established in 1972 by the Queensland Teacher’s Union. Since then, TUH has expanded to all union members and was one of the fastest growing health funds in Australia over the past two years. Prior to joining TUH as CEO in 2005, Rob was the General Manager of Insurance WorkCover NSW and General Manager of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. Rob’s leadership strategy is underpinned by ideas around social justice, community service; aligning his values with those of the organisation he leads and the positive engagement of people. Rob sits on the board of four industry organisations also as Director of Hillbrook Anglican School and as Director of a community board in Sanford where he lives.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Rob’s parents were immigrants who fled Slovenia after WW2. The second eldest of five children, he was raised in a close family, however, after finishing a law degree travelled around the world for a long while before settling in Australia where he has remained for the past 25 years. Rob has an interesting story to share, one which sees him travel to Nigeria to teach at a carpentry school, then to Kenya and to many other third world countries as a young man before he met an Australian girl, his wife, while trekking through Nepal.

Rob is someone who believes studying a subject one is passionate about leads to bigger and better pathways. He earned a Bachelor of Laws at Queens University, Ontario, and has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. He later obtained a Masters of Business from Queensland University of Technology.

Rob has two grown daughters who share his adventurous spirit — one is currently in Sweden studying a post graduate degree while the other has just returned home from living in New York. Rob lives in Samford with his wife.


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

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.

Peter Maher – CEO – St Vincent de Paul Society

headshotPeter Maher, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society, talks: Lifelong learning, working for others and being awarded the Order of Australia.

Peter Maher is the CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Peter is an enthusiastic person and he is dedicated to his work; he is very highly regarded in both the non for profit space and the broader business community in Queensland. Peter began his career as a school teacher and principal before transitioning to senior roles with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Centrelink.

Peter was born in Sydney and grew up in Canberra, the second eldest of nine children; he is one of two sons and has seven sisters. His father was a public servant and a man of strong faith who raised his children in the Catholic tradition. Peter tells how his mother is a person who always has time for others and that her generous nature influenced the entire family. He fondly recalls how his father, with nine mouths to feed, was always a pragmatist and economically sensible. He would buy a dilapidated caravan and repair it to take the family on holiday, later selling it to cover the costs.

While Peter admits he wasn’t a great student, his passion for helping people was noticed at school and he was recommended for teacher’s college. He began his teaching career in small town Cootamundra and later earned a Masters of Education from Australian Catholic University. Peter worked in education for almost fifteen years before changing careers.

One of Peter’s greatest achievements is being awarded The Order of Australia for his service to the non for profit sector. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.



Peter on LinkedIn

St Vincent de Paul Queensland

Australian Catholic University

The Order of Australia


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


Mark Brooke – Former Former CEO – Asthma Australia

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAjuAAAAJGVkYzYzOTYxLWMxMTYtNDdhYy05NzNkLTkwMDY5YmYxMTAzNQMark Brooke — Former CEO Asthma Australia On Serving the Community, People Leadership & Inspiring loyalty. 

Mark Brooke has extensive experience as a leader in the Non for Profit and For Purpose sectors. He has dedicated his career to philanthropic roles, which orientate toward creating positive social impact and serving the community. Mark is someone who truly views his profession not merely as a job, but as a purpose. He began his career at iconic organisation Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) and has previously been CEO of Playgroup Queensland, before joining Asthma Australia as CEO in 2010. Mark studied a Bachelor of Business at Queensland University of Technology, is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

Mark’s story is unique and his upbringing played a large role in shaping his people first, purpose driven approach to his career and leadership. Born in Belfast in the late 1960s during The Troubles, Mark and his younger sister are the children of a Catholic father and a Protestant Mother. Seeking a better life for their family away from the conflict of Northern Ireland, Mark’s parents relocated to Australia and settled in Queensland. Mark’s Mother was the only female GP on the Redcliffe peninsula at the time, and he spent his teenage years working Saturday mornings on the front desk of her at-home surgery. Upon finishing school, his father’s “experience before education” philosophy, prompted Mark to go travelling. He spent a year backpacking through Europe and the United States before returning home and securing a position with PCYC QLD, where he worked on youth leadership programs, designed to help young people on the margins of the community. It wasn’t long before Mark’s dedication saw him promoted and he advanced his career in the Non for Profit space.

Mark is an accomplished leader who has been widely recognised for his achievements — organisations under his stewardship have received a number of awards including: the NSW Premier’s Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management (PCYC), Westpac’s Non for Profit Community Group of the Year  Award (Playgroup QLD), and Queensland Government’s Healthiest Workplace Award (Playgroup QLD).



 Mark on LinkedIn 

Queensland University of Technology

Rob Goudswaard – CEO of Credit Union Australia

Rob Goudswaard – CEO of Credit Union Australia – on the importance of being vulnerable and having self awareness, managing a farm and his love of cricket.

It’s always fascinating to have guests on the Arete Podcast who are relatively new to their roles, particularly CEOs. The initial period of understanding the culture of an organisation and establishing and implementing strategy is an exciting time filled with many challenges and opportunities. Capturing conversations with CEOs and hearing their unique insights in the early stages is for me, highly enjoyable and of great value to upcoming executives and aspiring CEOs.

Jeff Forbes – Non Executive Director & Former CFO of Cardno Limited

Former CFO of Cardno Limited & Non Executive Director Jeff Forbes, on his Portfolio Career, Having No Regrets and Seizing Opportunity.

A desire for a change of direction saw Jeff retire from his role as CFO of Cardno Limited in 2013. Since then, Jeff has stayed busy as a Non Executive Director and Chairman of a broad range of organisations and not-for-profits across different industries. Presently, Jeff is a Non Executive Director of Cardno, PWR Holdings, Horizon Housing and Heron Todd White Australia.  He has previously worked as a NED for Affinity Education Group and Exoma Energy, among others.

Jeff grew up as the eldest of three siblings in Cardiff NSW, where he attended the local state high school. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in economics and accounting from the University of Newcastle, which he completed part-time while undertaking a cadetship in marketing at Commonwealth Steel. It wasn’t long before Jeff found his niche in accounting, relocating to Townsville for a role with Queensland Nickel, the rest, as they say, is history.

Jeff is a highly skilled Finance Executive and Company Director with over 30 years of merger and acquisition, equity and capital markets and project development experience. Jeff has extensive expertise in the financing and development of resource projects in both Australia and in the Asia Pacific Region. Prior to first joining Cardno in 2006, Jeff was the CFO, Company Secretary and Executive Director at Highlands Pacific Limited, and has also worked for a number of prominent companies including RTZ (now Rio Tinto), BHP and CSR.

Jeff lives with his wife in Queensland’s beautiful Noosa Heads, where he enjoys the outdoors, staying active and spending time with his children and grandchildren.


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

Rod Cameron – CEO – Autism Queensland

Rod Cameron headshotBackground

Rod is the CEO at Autism Qld. He is a highly experienced financial executive with extensive multinational experience in the energy, resources, renewable energy, airport & seaport sectors. An expert in project, corporate & infrastructure finance, he has more than 30 years experience within the commercial sector in high growth capital intensive businesses. Rod is currently Executive Director for Capital Advisory Services, and a Non Executive Director and Deputy Chairman for Blue Energy.

He has worked as CFO for ASX and MYSE listed multinational corporations and has held several NED and Chair positions, also with ASX listed entities.

Prior to joining Autism Qld, Rod was Executive General Manager, Corporate Services for Endeavour Foundation.

Rod is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, with a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons), Griffith University 1987, Master of Business Administration, University of Queensland 1990 & Master of Financial Management, Central Queensland University 1996.

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