Bec Brideson | Golf Business Forum 2018

Hear from Bec:


Bec Brideson

Principal, Bec Brideson Consulting
& Founder, Venus Comms

Award-winning marketing leader and gender intelligence expert Bec Brideson wants to teach business how to better serve the world’s fastest growing market - female consumers. 

Bec opened Australia's first female-focused ad agency Venus Comms in 2004 and expanded with the Bec Brideson – Gender Intelligence consultancy in late 2015. High in demand, Bec Brideson helps businesses across every category including AGL, Hyundai, AFL and many others on increasing their female market share. Bec is most noted for leading the creative work for AFLW’s campaign ‘I’d like to see that’. Bec continues to speak globally on the simple steps it takes to embed a female lens within your business to increase bottom-lines, create better customer experiences and evolve better business practices. 

Last year, Bec debuted her better business book Blind Spots in which she shares her disruptive methodology on how we can all tap into the new $28T female economy and get on the front foot with the highly influential and economically disruptive modern woman.

Kirk Edwards, Topgolf | Golf Business Forum 2018

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CEO, Village Entertainment & Topgolf Australia

Kirk is an established operator of Cinema Exhibition circuits in both the United Kingdom and Australia having founded his career in leisure and entertainment.

In 2010, Kirk returned to Village as CEO of the Australian business having previously worked for Village Cinemas International from 2000 to 2005 where he was General Manager for the United Kingdom and Ireland. The United Kingdom circuit was subsequently sold to VUE (78 sites, 4,500 staff) where Kirk continued as a senior member of the management team.  Kirk is a director of Village Cinemas Australia, which has a turnover in excess of $500m employing almost 2,000 staff.  Along with its joint venture partner Event Cinemas, and other partners, it has a market share of approaching 50% of the Australian market.  

Kirk will also oversee the role out of Topgolf into Australia and New Zealand with the first site now opened on the Gold Coast in June 2018.

Kirk holds an MBA from the United Kingdom Open University, a Hotel Management Diploma from the Hotel School Johannesburg and is a member of the CEO Institute of Australia.  Kirk is also a Director of the National Association of Cinema Owners.

Ian James, RetailTribe | Golf Business Forum 2018

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Ian James

CEO, retailtribe

Ian has spent 25+ years working in, and for, the largest retailers around the world, including in Australia, as a professional, an executive and as a consultant. His areas of specialty have included business strategy, supply chain reorganisation, retail marketing and demand creation.

His work has led him to working on programs to influence consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns, and then on to the best ways to create brand loyalty within communities.

Ten years ago, a friend in the golf industry asked for some assistance at their golf club. Now, Ian is CEO of RetailTribe - a company dedicated to helping create increased participation and revenues in the golf industry. The company has a simple philosophy for growth: focus on the consumer and what they value; and leverage the PGA Professional to help to unlock that value.   

RetailTribe works with hundreds of golf clubs, coaching academies, and PGA Professionals across the English-speaking world, as well as ownership groups, city boards and councils, PGAs and Golf Associations.

Ian’s home is just outside Cape Town in South Africa, but he spends a large part of the year travelling, running ‘revenue workshops’ for PGA Professionals and golf club management, and presenting to industry leaders on the critical importance of consumer engagement. He is married with two grown children and now two grand-children.     

Chris Helder | Golf Business Forum 2018

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international keynote & bestselling author

Chris Helder is a business communication genius and master storyteller whose presentations have radically transformed how thousands of people worldwide communicate with clients, customers, colleagues, staff and teams. He has been a professional speaker for 16 years and has done over 2,000 presentations around the world.

He is the author of two bestselling books “The Ultimate Book of Influence” which has been published in five languages and his latest release, “Useful Belief”, which is one of the highest selling Australian business books of all time.

His global client list includes: Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Glaxo Smith Kline, Toyota, Mercedes Benz, Fuji Xerox, Levi’s, and IBM. Chris speaks at conferences in the areas of communication, influence, human potential, leadership and mastering the face-to-face customer experience.

Lodewijk Klootwijk | Golf Business Forum 2018

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Lodewijk klootwijk

CEO, European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA)

Lodewijk Klootwijk has been in the golf business since he graduated at the University of Amsterdam and managed various golf courses in Holland. He has presented numerous time and was voted best keynote in 25 years at the NGCOA Canada conference (Lodewijk was one of our most popular speakers at Golf Business Forum 2016). He is passionate about the growth of the game of golf and is dedicated to finding what it takes to get and keep people in golf. In his 25 years in the golf industry in various roles he keeps picking up new insights and looks forward to sharing them with us in July.

Lodewijk is chief executive of the European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA). This organisation represents 14 national owners’ associations and more than 900 courses in 21 countries in Europe. The association was founded in 2004 and has three main goals: Grow the game of Golf, Represent the Golf Course owners on a European level and Professionalise the golf business.

Lodewijk is also chief executive of the Dutch Golf Course Owners Association and is a member of the advisory council of the Golf Environment Organisation, treasurer of the Dutch Turfgrass Research Foundation and member of the Education Policy Board of CMAE.

Lodewijk lives in Amsterdam with wife Marjon and their two children.

Chyloe Kurdas | Golf Business Forum 2018

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National Female Participation Manager, GOLF AUSTRALIA

A former elite Australian rules footballer, television and radio sports commentator, Chyloe Kurdas has spent a decade building the catalyst for Australia’s first ever national women’s professional competition, AFLW, as AFL Victoria’s Female Football Development Manager.

In doing so, Chyloe combined her studies and work in health promotion, psychology and education to build award winning high performance sporting programs for adolescent girls that focus on the whole athlete.

Chyloe has shifted the focus of her passions for cultivating cultural change and gender equity through sport to golf. Chyloe, as the newly appointed National Female Participation Manager for Golf Australia, is charged with leading the implementation of Vision 2025, Golf Australia’s long term strategy to enhance the engagement of women and girls in golf.

A 2018 TEDX Sydney keynote speaker, Chyloe is also an Associate of the Melbourne Business School, presenting to Department of Defence leadership programs on cultural change and gender equity. Chyloe credits being one of the first women to play football on the MCG as one of best days of her life.

Louise Eyres | Golf Business Forum 2018

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Louise eyres

GENERAL MANAGER/CMO, australian sports commission

Louise Eyres is a global marketing executive with a career spanning 25 years in transformative marketing roles across manufacturing, mining, financial services and now sport and health.

Louise is leading the establishment of the marketing function and capability at the Australian Sports Commission and the transformational strategy to shift Australians’ connection with sport and activity.

Prior to the Australian Sports Commission, Louise most recently was Group General Manager Marketing at ANZ having spent the past decade leading marketing in the Australian and Group Divisions. 

Louise was responsible for delivering the transformative group wide marketing program to drive the ANZ Asia Pacific expansion and more recently the move to a digitally-focused business.

Prior to ANZ, Louise held numerous global sales and marketing leadership roles with BHP Billiton including the development of the BHP Billiton global brand following the integration of BHP and Billiton plc.

Louise is a board member of the Advertising Standards Board, Director of Williamstown Football Club and has recently been appointed to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Board.

John King | Golf Business Forum 2018

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john king

DIRECTOR & FOUNDER, golf marketing university

John King is the Co-Founder of Golf Marketing University, a dedicated marketing training platform for commercial golf clubs.

After spending nearly a decade marketing facilities and venues within the golf and hospitality industry, John has harnessed how to effectively guide his clients to increased sales in todays competitive and ever-changing market.

John doesn’t just preach and teach marketing to golf clubs, he actually does the business every day as founder and director of Digital Distilla, a golf only marketing agency that brings in hundreds of thousands in sales every year for some of the UK’s most commercial and well respected golf clubs.

Not afraid to tell it like he sees it, John is an entertaining, thought provoking golf marketing speaker. His practical approach incorporates the fundamentals of consumer behaviour and embeds this ethos throughout his marketing, centred on the customer first - not the product. Prepare yourself to leave motivated and armed with new ideas and a fresh perspective.  

Kate Williams | Golf Business Forum

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kate williams

Ceo, west beach parks

Kate has enjoyed an extensive career spanning over 17 years within government, community, tourism, recreation, sport, hospitality and the wine industry.

As the Chief Executive Officer at West Beach Trust trading as West Beach Parks (South Australian Government), Kate is responsible for the strategic oversight of the business and effective commercial and community operations, development, management and administration of all human and physical resources.

Prior to Kate’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer, she was the Commercial Business Manager for West Beach Parks and had responsibility for all commercial operations within the precinct.

Before joining West Beach Parks, Kate consulted part-time for two years to spend time with her family. Prior to relocating back to Adelaide in 2007, she was employed as Chief Executive Officer of Tower Estate Pty Ltd in New South Wales, a position held for three years.

As a Director of BIG4 Holdings Pty Ltd National Board, Kate is also responsible for the evaluation, monitoring and approval of the groups strategic plans, and financial budgets.

Matthew White | Golf Business Forum 2018

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Matthew has over 18 years of Hospitality Management experience, starting as General Manager of the award winning restaurant & events space, The Pavilion. He progressed on to a multi site Operations Manager role for the Spotless Group and went on to become Business Development & Operations Manager for the boutique Epicure division - managing high profile accounts including the Melbourne Town Hall, Arts Centre, Zinc and launching site based catering at prestigious corporate accounts NAB, CPA Australia, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, University of Melbourne, ACU and BHP Billiton. Matthew was successful in winning the Victorian Caterer of the Year award over three consecutive years, and was inducted into the National Catering Association Hall of Fame for his efforts with Spotless catering.

In 2013 Matthew established the leading cafe and events space, Mister Fox - a contemporary hipster café and bar servicing the Ringwood Golf Course. Matthew continues to strengthen Mister Fox’s position today as a leading golf focused catering and events facility.

In 2017 Matthew took over the sleepy Lorne Country Club transforming it to The Peak at Lorne Country Club. The Peak was instantly embraced by the community and is now one of the Surf Coast's busiest event venues whilst still providing a club feel for the small membership base. Later this year Matthew’s team is taking over The Studley Park Restaurant and Golf Course in Kew – which is sure to be the team's biggest challenge to date.

Matthew’s team compliments their golf-focused ventures with a small fleet of food trucks, proving how far golf course catering has come from the humble pie! 

A dedicated hospitality consultant and qualified workplace trainer, Matthew takes a hands-on approach to all his projects and his love of golf does not compliment his golf handicap.

Margot Harley | Golf Business Forum 2018

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Margot Harley is Director of Harley Consulting, specialising in sport management, marketing and engagement services with clients including the University of Technology Sydney and Victoria University.

Margot's previous roles include Head of Consumer Business at the Sydney Roosters, a foundation club of Australia’s National Rugby League where she was responsible for commercial outcomes across departments such as Membership, Fan and Community Engagement, Match Day Entertainment and Ticketing. 

Margot was a member of the inaugural NRL Women in League Committee which lead the development and implementation of a female engagement strategy across the NRL, and has also held senior commercial roles the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Cronulla Sharks and Australian Rugby Union.

Margot is extremely passionate about sport, the role it plays in the lives of Australians and how organisations can improve how they engage with their consumers.


Matt Connell | Golf Business Forum 2018

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National Managing Director, MKTG Australia

As National Managing Director of MKTG Australia, Matt is responsible for leading a team of specialists, helping brands to deliver meaningful connections with their audiences.

MKTG Australia are strategic and long term partners of the AFL, Cricket Australia and Football Federation Australia. Regarded as market leaders of delivering innovative stadium and digital solutions, MKTG Australia work with leading brands to enhance the fan experience, and deliver meaningful outcomes for brands investing in sport.

As a global lifestyle marketing agency, MKTG operate in 17 countries, with over 1,700 employees.

Prior to his role at MKTG Australia, Matt spent three years with the AFL leading the commercial development of AFL Media after starting his career in sport and media spending time at both Network TEN and News Corporation. Matt holds a Bachelor Degree in Commerce, majoring in Sport Management and Marketing.

Golf has always been a big part of Matt’s life growing up, although these days, balancing a heavy work schedule and spending time with his wife and three children, has meant less time to invest in his golf game. He is however excited about bringing golf back into his life and hitting the course with his children.

Nick Thornton |  Golf Business Forum

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nick thornton

general manager, mpower golf

Nick is the GM of MPower Golf, managing MSL's global golf markets. He has previously served as General Manager, Commercial and Marketing at the PGA of Australia, with responsibility for the commercial, marketing and operational requirements of the Australian PGA Championship, and commercial aspects of professional golf – tournament and vocational – within Australasia and Asia Pacific through the PGA’s investment in OneAsia. His work included domestic and international broadcasting rights, sponsorship, government liaison, marketing and promotions, licensing, events and talent management. Prior to his role with the PGA, Nick had a successful career in golf club management, serving as General Manager at Sandhurst Club, Kooringal Golf Club and initially at Churchill Park Golf Club.


Geoff Stewart | Golf Business Forum 2018

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General Manager (Membership & Education), PGA of Australia

After graduating from University as a Physical Education and Science Teacher, Geoff Stewart’s career in the golf industry commenced in Canada in 1997, and since that time he has held roles ranging from Head Teaching Professional at a private Country Club in Montreal through to his current position as General Manager – Membership and Education at the PGA of Australia.

A former Member of the PGA of Canada and a Member of the PGA of Australia since 2007, Geoff is committed to innovation and to see the industry collaborate to grow the business of golf through value and experiences. The PGA’s key priority is to grow and develop the game across all areas including women, juniors and inclusion as well as creating career and player pathways for PGA Professionals within the Australian golf industry and PGA Tour of Australasia respectively.

In his current role, Geoff is responsible for PGA Vocational Membership Programs including the Association’s Accreditation and Continuing Education Program and Trainee Program, in addition to overseeing the PGA International Golf Institute.

Geoff also works closely with Golf Australia on a range of joint initiatives such as the MyGolf, Community Golf Instructor and Inclusion Programs.


Francis Loughran | Golf Business Forum 2018

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FRancis Loughran


Francis’ forty years in retail food, business and hospitality have resulted in his ability to offer his clients specialisation in the ability to understand consumer needs, map their purchase path and buying patterns, and align them with the spatial positioning of the projects he is working on. Francis specialises in strategic planning of F&B clusters (hospitality precincts, cafe courts, mixed use developments, water front developments, food courts, airports and restaurants), trend analysis, cultural adaptation and transition strategies, spatial planning and design analysis of retail, commercial, leisure and mixed-use developments.

Francis is a considered futurist when it comes to what people will be eating and drinking and how they will be spending their leisure time in 2020 and beyond; this is well documented in his Shopping Centre News (SCN) articles and keynote speaker roles at national and international conferences.

His endless passion to follow F&B as a fashion trend has allowed him to travel expansively for various international projects. Francis’ talent to develop strong working relationships with international clients, senior level executives and key stakeholders, and adapting to the intricacies of diverse cultures and attitudes of the international business landscape has enabled the successful delivery of complex projects in the Middle East, Europe, Australia, Singapore, China, Chile, Peru and USA. Francis’ key strengths are master planning food to a hospitality level by starting with the customer, adopting a customer centric approach, justify a sustainable food and beverage business model and then apply spatial planning, purchase path modelling and design refinement of the F&B offer within retail precincts with an emphasis on requirements for operational efficiencies and design aesthetics that are aligned to the positioning of the project.

Lyndsay Sharpe | Golf Business Forum 2018

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lyndsay sharp

owner, curlewis golf club

With more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, marketing and public relations, Lyndsay Sharp’s passion for regional food, wine, hospitality and in particular, brand innovation, is infectious.  As co-owner (with husband David) of Jack Rabbit Vineyard, Leura Park Estate Vineyard and Flying Brick Cider Co, she drives all things sales, marketing and venue ‘experience’ at three of the most exciting ‘products’ on the spectacular Bellarine Peninsula. Since July 2015, this passion has also embraced Curlewis Golf Club when the Sharps assumed ownership following a majority member vote. 

Known for her throwaway line of finding golf “boring and irritating”, the emergence of Curlewis as the fastest growing golf club in Australia comes as no surprise. One of her first marketing drives cheekily stated ‘No Doilies. No Stuff.’ to reinforce the concept that this was a regional club on the move.  Underpinning all things Curlewis is the tag line ‘Hip, Green Fun’

Innovation, invigoration and contemporary thinking towards a game steeped in tradition is at the forefront of all initiatives and community engagement activated by the Curlewis team. Lyndsay will share these initiatives with you as well as providing an insight into pipeline activations planned for Curlewis. 


hear from danny:




A graduate of the University of St Andrews, Danny is a senior sports industry professional and experienced marketer with a passion for maximising the health, social, community and economic benefits of sport.

He started his career as a management consultant and initially came to Australia with Deloitte, where he was an integral part of the UK firm’s ground-breaking London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games marketing program.

Now an Australian citizen and, for the last two years, Golf Australia’s Marketing Director, Danny’s main focus is on driving participation through the marketing of programs and initiatives such as MyGolf, Golf Month, Swing Fit and Play 9.

He has also been heavily involved in Golf Australia’s customer experience and digital strategy, as well as ‘Vision 2025: The future of women and girls in golf’.

Danny is firmly a moderniser when it comes to the game of golf, and speaks regularly and passionately about the consumer insights that tell us how the sport needs to change.

Whilst he’s adjusted to most aspects of Australian life, Danny remains bemused by the competition obsession at golf clubs around the country.

Hunter Leonard | Golf Business Forum 2018

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Founder & CEO of Bluefrog Marketing and Silver & Wise

Hunter Leonard is a business owner, marketer, speaker and philanthropist who has a passion for changing the lives of mature individuals through business ownership. Hunter has a proven track record working with over 500 business owners for the past 17 years helping guide their marketing and strategy through his first business, Blue Frog Marketing, founded in 2001. He has created a second business, Silver & Wise founded in 2016, with books, workshops and online learning programs to help create successful mature age business owners.

Hunter has written six books on marketing and business ownership; surveyed more than 10,000 business owners; delivered over 600 presentations to more than 15,000 business owners; and contributed to over $2 billion in sales growth for his clients since 2001.

His latest book, Generation Experience, went to the top of bestseller lists in Australia on Amazon and #3 in the USA. It details eight steps to mature age business success.


Matt Kamienski | Golf Business Forum 2018

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Vice President + Executive Director,
PGA TOUR Melbourne

Matt Kamienski is a Vice President with the PGA TOUR and Executive Director of The Presidents Cup. Matt is responsible for the strategic development, revenue generation/management, operational management and overall leadership of the Presidents Cup event when staged internationally. In addition Matt is also responsible for the management and oversight of the PGA TOUR’s office in Australia which includes to planning and delivery of the 2018 Melbourne World Cup of Golf.

Matt has held oversight roles of nine previous Presidents Cup events and has been an integral part of some of golf’s most prestigious tournaments. Working at more than 80 international golf events throughout his career, he has garnered extensive experience in event operations and management in Japan, Australia, China, Mexico, Canada, United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, Barbados, South America and Malaysia. Matt, an Ohio native, graduated from Miami University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in health and sport studies and a minor in marketing.


Kevin Gates | Golf Business Forum 2018

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kevin gates

vice president, club car llc

Kevin Gates joined Club Car as a Regional Sales Manager in 1998. Over the past 20 years he has supported or held positions with the Australian Golf Industry Council, the Asian Golf Industry Federation and a wide range of Golf and Turf Management Associations across the region. Kevin has served as President and as a Board Member at St Michael’s Golf Club in Sydney where late last year he was awarded Life Membership. Under his leadership, Club Car has become the leading supplier of golf cars in Australia and is now; Official Golf Car of the PGA of Australia, Exclusive Golf Car Partner of GMA, Sponsor of the Club Car Series (ALPG Tour) and will be supplying vehicles to the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Presidents Cup here in Australia. In 2011, he was made a Vice President at Club Car.





Sam Squiers is an award-winning Sports Presenter with Channel 9 and the founder of the Women in Sport Think Tank Sportette.

Sam has worked in the media for over a decade and has covered some of the biggest sporting events both nationally and internationally. She's currently the weekend Sports Presenter for Channel 9 Queensland.

Sam is also the host of Nine's Women in Sport podcast "In Her Court", Surfing Australia TV, The Isuzu QLD Golf Open, Ocean Thunder Surf Boat Series, has hosted the Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Ironman Series, co-hosted TripleM's Dead Set Legends and has been a guest presenter on Getaway.

In 2014, Sam founded Sportette to provide an avenue to tell the incredible stories of our female athletes and it has grown to be a leading think tank on Women's Sports. Sportette aims to challenge the way you think about women in sport and has created a strong reputation among athletes, brands, stakeholders, sports organisations and fans alike.

In addition to her work at Channel 9 and Sportette, Sam runs marathons, plays golf, rows surf boats, is a keen touch football and netball player and has recently become a mum to little Imogen.

Instagram: @samsquiers @sportette

Twitter: @SamSquiers @sportette_au

Facebook: Sportette


Sonia Kirkman | Golf Business Forum 2018

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sonia kirkman

DIRECTOR, kirkman sports

Sonia Kirkman has been working in the golf industry since 1994 after completing an Advanced Certificate in Golf Management and a Bachelor of Business in Club Resort Management at Griffith University. Sonia held golf management positions at Hope Island Resort and Royal Pines Resort before creating Kirkman Sports consulting business.

Kirkman Sports is a consulting business offering expertise and service in all areas of golf and sports inclusive of golf course, golf operation design and start-up, business planning and budgets with a strong focus on retail. Sonia specialises in Retail Buying, Merchandising, Golf Shop design and all aspects of a Golf Shop operations.

She sources merchandise to suit clients target markets and develops start-up plans inclusive of all operational equipment, fit-outs and all FF&E to suit the property and within the budget of the client. Recent clients have included: NSW Golf Club Golf Shop, Terrey Hills Golf and Country Club Golf Shop, The Eastern Golf Club Sports Shop, RACV Torquay Golf Shop, Gardiners Run Golf Shop.

Along with consulting, Sonia has lectured for the PGA International Golf Institute on Golf Shop Retail Operations and written Retail Modules for the PGA Traineeships Business Management education.

Stewart King | Golf Business Forum 2018

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Stewart is a highly motivated and commercially astute senior retail professional, with over 20 years experience within a national retail multi-site business. Stewart has a passion and breadth across all components of a retail business, and has successfully delivered retail strategies in store layout & design, customer segmentation, buying, promotions, product ranging, pricing, retail operations and training.

In 2013 Stewart established Golf Connect – a retail golf consultancy service. Golf Connect has now been involved in many projects, primarily focusing on retail strategy development and implementation across 80+ green grass golf shops nationally.


Jason Eldering | Golf Business Forum 2018

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jason eldering
executive gm, aveo group ltd

Jason is an experienced Executive General Manager with demonstrated expertise in residential aged care, retirement living, home care, acquisitions, new start-ups and commissioning. Jason obtains a strong business improvement focus that improves culture and overall financial sustainability. Further, Jason has demonstrated experience in connecting business, communities, people and ideas together to improve the spirit and services delivered to all that we serve. As a continuous learner, Jason is also passionate about people and improving culture, products and services.