Bec Brideson

Principal, Bec Brideson Consulting
& Founder, Venus Comms

Bec Brideson is opening the business world’s eyes, ears and minds to the commercial possibilities of gender.

A pioneer for the rising $28T female consumer, Bec helps forward-thinking businesses develop strategies and solutions to capture a greater share of the world’s fastest growing economic market.
Bec is also set on disrupting how business views innovation by creating greater awareness and education around gender intelligence. With over twenty years as a communications specialist, Bec has acquired considerable recognition for her creative work and has won numerous accolades at the Clios, London International and New York Festivals. Bec led the successful launch of Virgin Airlines into Australia and the AFL Women’s league in early 2017. A singular leader and visionary, Bec was one of only 3% of females to have risen to the title of Creative Director before starting Australia’s first female-focused creative agency Venus Comms in 2004.
As an influential speaker, facilitator, mentor and coach, Bec uncovers the numerous overlooked commercial opportunities within an organisation revolving around gender and teaches businesses how to transform this into 30% YOY business growth. Her ability to create clarity and focus around a topic that is often misunderstood makes her a much sought-after and in-demand business consultant and adviser. Bec speaks frequently at conferences and events throughout the world including Cannes Lions, Ad:Tech, Mumbrella 360, Indie Summit, Marketing to Mums, The 3% Conference and Pause Fest to name a few. This year Bec was honoured as one of only ten global jurors on the Glass Lions panel at the Cannes Lion festival.
Bec is married to an ad-man and has two young daughters. Her first book ‘Blind Spots: How to uncover and attract the fastest emerging economy’ was released in September 2017 with Wiley.


Zach Shor

COO, TopGolf International

As Chief Operating Officer of Topgolf International, Zach Shor is responsible for helping localise the Topgolf brand all over the world. He manages the day to day operations of the Topgolf International team, while searching for international partners to help establish Topgolf venues in new countries. He is focused on fostering an international Guest experience that is authentic both to Topgolf and local culture.

Previously, Zach served as Topgolf Vice President of Real Estate Development, overseeing all aspects of site selection, including the negotiation, entitlement and development processes. He has helped secure dozens of Topgolf locations since joining Topgolf in July 2011. In 2017, Zach was recognised by Chain Store Age as one of 10 under 40 in real estate to watch.

In a previous life, Zach taught kindergarten at a small private school in Manhattan. He taught for a year, then decided it was time to come home and move to Dallas for Topgolf in 2011. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University, and he received his MBA in real estate and finance from Southern Methodist University.

Due to his frequent travels, Zach’s primary hobbies include sleeping in his own bed and cooking at home. He’s also a live music junkie and tries to go to shows as often as he can. Ironically, he’s a horrendous golfer, but he’s pretty much made peace with that.


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.     



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

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.




Stephen Pitt joined Golf Australia as CEO in November 2008 after two and a half years as the CEO of Golf Queensland. 

Stephen has helped to rebuild the financial position of Golf Australia and strengthened the organisation's engagement with key stakeholders including the State Associations, Government and media. In addition, he has worked with the Golf Australia Board and Staff to deliver some of the finest Men’s and Women’s Open Champions in the events’ long and storied histories.  

In his time, Golf Australia has enjoyed notable success in its high performance program and website and digital communications programs and has done an enormous amount of work in game development in terms of programs for juniors, women and casual golfers.


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 and former board member of the AANA (Australian Association of National Advertisers).


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

Ceo, adelaide shores

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 Adelaide Shores (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 Adelaide Shores and had responsibility for all commercial operations within the precinct.

Before joining Adelaide Shores, 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 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 struggling 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 surfcoast's busiest event venues whilst still providing a club feel for the small membership base. In May 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 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.




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.


gavin kirkman

CEO, pga of australia

After over 30 years in the golf industry, Gavin Kirkman was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the PGA March 2017. The PGA of Australia owns and operates the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia and is part of the Federation of Tours and PGA World Alliance that represents over 2800 Members. He 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 player pathways and progression for Australasian Tour Professionals.

Gavin’s career in the golf industry began in 1985 and he has held senior management roles in areas such as facility, club and resort management, event and commercial management, member services and development, government relations, governance and sports administration. Prior to joining the PGA, Gavin’s past experience includes senior executive roles with globally recognised companies Panasonic, Club Corp, Morgan Stanley and RACV.



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 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. 




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.



Founder & CEO of Bluefrog Marketing and Silver & Wise

Hunter Leonard has presented to over 10,000 SMEs across Australia and benchmarked more than 1200 SME businesses on their marketing practices, needs and wants. Blue Frog Marketing is a multiple winner of the Australian Marketing Institute Awards for Marketing Excellence.

Hunter has authored five books on marketing and is currently finalising a new book on mature age business ownership called Generation Experience.

He has been featured on national radio broadcasts such as Nightlife, and on several business shows. Hunter contributes regular articles to organisations such as CCIQ and the popular small business community – SMALLVILLE.

Hunter and his team have consulted to over 50 organisations in 20 different industries and past and present clients include BlueScope Steel, Resilium, ANZ, NAB, Melbourne Brick, Altus Traffic, Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses.

Hunter is currently launching Silver & Wise – an organisation which aims to change the lives of mature age Aussies who want to start their first business after the age of 40. He is passionate about changing the social dynamic for this group, which is the fastest growing unemployed demographic with over 27% reporting some form of age discrimination.

Hunter and his wife support several philanthropic endeavours including programs to increase the awareness of human rights and to keep kids off street drugs. When not working, Hunter is happiest either bush walking, playing golf, music or cooking for his family. 





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

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, 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 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.