Team

Jeff Penrose – Cofounder 

Jeff is an ICT domain specialist, with significant international business development, sales and delivery experience in the private and public sectors. He has held executive management and technical roles in both commercial and large government organisations.

Jeff has extensive experience in defining and understanding business needs from clients and delivering creative outcomes. He is a detailed problem solver, with the ability to engage across a broad cross section of an organisation.
Jeff is married with four adult children and an appetite for continuous learning of business and technology trends and issues – Graduate Diploma on Executive Leadership.
Kris Poria – Cofounder
Kris has an extensive experience both running his own businesses as well as a successful corporate career across Asia, Europe, North America and then in Australia.
Kris has started and run businesses successfully as well as cases of learnings from his adventures. He also has corporate career including internal transformations as well as leading customer engagements and sales for small to large multi-million dollar programs.
Kris is married with two adult children; ongoing early adopter for continuous personal productivity and learning – MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
James Palmer – CFO
Over 25 years experience in professional services – 20 of those with a Big 4 accounting firm and ten years as a partner.
Before Early Birds, James was the CFO at Seeing Machines and, during his tenure has been instrumental in four share placings raising more than £58m in capital.
 Over this period the Company has grown from a staff of 50 to just under 200 full-time employees, with top-line revenue growth of over four times.
Before joining Seeing Machines James ran his own business providing consulting CFO services and advice to fast-growing entrepreneurial companies. Prior to that, James spent 24 years in professional services in London, Sydney and the USA, 20 of those years with a major accounting firm. He was a partner with Ernst & Young (now EY) for a decade, and for six years, Managing Partner of the EY assurance group in Canberra.
James holds a BSc (Honours) in Management Sciences (Manchester University) and is a Fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He is a registered company auditor in Australia and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 

Dr Phil Kowalick – Vice President – Ecosystem Management

 
Phil is the President of Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO). He is one of Australia’s foremost thought leaders in law enforcement, intelligence and national security.
A serving police officer in the Australian Federal Police for over 34 years retiring at Commander level in 2014. Played a key role in many of Australia’s most important law enforcement programs and initiatives. Established multi-agency intelligence capabilities in Australia’s major airports; designed arrangements to set and manage Australia’s counter terrorism priorities in the Counter Terrorism Control Centre; and was instrumental in developing the Australian Criminal Intelligence Model.
A critical thinker, with extensive experience in strategic design and harnessing skills to help clients achieve benefits within intricate systems. Solves complex problems in organisations and was engaged as a consultant to develop the strategic design of the Australian Border Force.
Phil regularly presents scholarly papers on Intelligence, Law Enforcement, Counter Terrorism and Criminology and other associated issues at national and international conferences.
Brett Peppler – Vice President – Customer Engagement 
Brett Peppler is an independent consultant at Early Birds Marketplace specialising management consulting practice providing intelligence-led approaches for managing uncertainty in strategic planning.
He specialises in the creative application of strategic foresight to frame and navigate complex business challenges. Most recently, Brett worked in the corporate sector as an executive leader and practitioner in business model innovation.
Previously, Brett was a professional intelligence officer, including appointments and professional engagements in the United States of America, Europe, New Zealand, and South-East Asia. Brett is a Fellow, Past President and Life Member of the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO), a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), a Member of the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE), and an Adjunct Fellow at Macquarie University.
Industry Sectors: Defence, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, Public Policy, Higher Education, Financial Services
Expertise: Foresight, Intelligence, Strategy, Innovation, Risk
Dr Pramod Singh
Dr. Pramod Singh is a senior executive with over 20 years’ experience in the space of advanced analytics and big data. He has in depth experience of developing strategy and delivering end-to-end big data and data science solutions in multinational business environment.
Throughout his consulting and in-house experience with Accenture, Unisys, HP, HCL Technologies, QBE Insurance and IAG, Pramod has developed a strong understanding of the data-driven enterprise of financial services, utilities, manufacturing, resources, telecom, government and health sector. He has experience of delivering machine learning and data analytics solutions using state-of-the-art big data, data visualisation, and advanced analytics tools.
He has a master’s degree in computer and information technology from a premier institute – Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur and holds a doctorate in machine learning from the University of New South Wales, Australia. He was also associated with the University of Technology, Sydney as a lecturer and researcher for advanced databases and data mining.
Industry Sectors: Financial services, Telecom, Resources and Mining, Utilities, Manufacturing, Government, Health
Expertise: Strategy, architecture and roadmap of analytics, data science and big data; Analytics and data science solution development and delivery; BI
Modernisation; Management of mix team of offshore and onsite resources; Agile methodology; Project and client engagement management
Dennis Silvers
Dennis is experienced innovative Executive with extensive experience in leading complex business Development activities across corporations and government entities with a passion and track record of stimulating business growth in the Start-up and young entrepreneur space.
Dennis’ background includes holding the position of Productisation Manager with the Commonwealth scientific & industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) responsible for the identification of research throughout the organisation that had the potential to be commercialised, then lead and mentor the teams though the process of progressing the research to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and finally facilitate the transfer of the product to industry.
Additional relevant experience includes holding the position with CSIRO of Manager Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs) office. An Australian Federal Government program. Responsible for evaluating the value proposition of all divisions that proposed to become a participant in a CRC this included working closely with a science committee, evaluation of the financial viability and IP management through to providing advice on the governance structure, Contracted by NSW Trade and Investment (T&I) to establish a team to identify Start-ups and SME’s developing investor /export ready novel technology. With a focus on eHealth, Dennis developed and implemented a strategic plan that resulted in identifying some 60 start-ups and facilitated the formation of some 10 consortia comprising of one or more start-ups, a multi-national corporation, a hospital prepared to pilot the technology and a public funded organisation, such as a university or CSIRO for advancing the technology to meet the criteria.
Expertise: Renewable energy, eHealth and Virtual Intensive Care, Telemedicine technology, advance manufacturing including additive manufacturing, wireless sensor technology
Jane Bailey
Jane is a former CIO of the Attorney General’s Department and a former senior SES officer at the Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Customs Service. Jane’s career spanned corporate leadership in both small and large agencies, including significant client service operations supporting both industry and citizens. She led major organisational restructuring and workforce redesign in response to changes in agency powers and responsibilities and budget reductions.
Her understanding of the human factors involved in organisational performance, particularly the need to build trust with staff, stakeholders and governments led her to focus on integrating integrity and trust into the operating environment of agencies. Jane has applied her extensive experience in Commonwealth corruption risk management through specialising in corruption resistance and integrity framework design and implementation. Jane’s expertise includes :
• Leadership of strategic corporate operations including organisational redesign
• Information, communications and technology design and integration
• Citizen-centric engagement and consultation
• National program and project design, delivery and evaluation
• Employment relationships including staff mentoring and guidance
• Corruption and fraud risk assessments
• Design and review of integrity frameworks
Ryan Hagh
Ryan has been in IT industry for 20+ years’ spending most of his career working as a subject matter expert in cyber security in banking and financial sector, government, health and educational sectors. He has completed security projects in Australia and worldwide including US, Europe and Asia.
Ryan graduated with bachelor’s degree in computer engineering-programming from LIA University and has updated his skills with different IT and security industry certificates.
Ryan co-founded NSAA Security which is known for its high-end cyber security services especially in cloud computing.
Janaki Ramachandran 
Janaki established Facilitrade as a Management Consulting Startup focussing on setting up organisations in export. Over 20 years the business gradually developed into business enhancement services working with small, medium and global organisations and federal and state governments.
Experience includes strategic research projects such as developing a commodity based marketing strategy for American Express. Researched global prospects for a first in the world training program for Aconex Ltd, set up a new business division and launched the product in 15 countries within 3 years.
Headed several service improvement and customer experience programs for the private and public sectors, customers included Moldex Metric Inc, KinCare Ltd (Home Care Services), NSW Family and Community Services and the Department of Ageing Disability and Home Care.
Managed Performance Measurement and Market Research QA for Austrade globally. Currently working as an Independent Consultant for EarlyBirds Market Place to connect Startups and Scaleups to businesses which can help them grow.
Industry Sectors: HEALTHCARE, AGED CARE, DISABILITY, EDUCATION
Expertise: Startup Management Services, Corporate Strategy,
Customer Experience (CX), Corporate Governance,
Program & Project Governance, Process Improvement & Cost Efficiencies.

 

Patrick Simpson 

Patrick is an independent consultant with over 20 years experience working in a professional advisory capacity with companies ranging from start-ups to multi-national listed businesses in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and throughout Asia.

He has worked across a number of industries within both the private and public sectors, operates well in complex and ambiguous environments and specialises in quickly identifying critical issues and challenges a business is facing, developing hypotheses and structuring a path to validate and implement innovative solutions.

His experience includes the transformation of a multi-national FMCG business after it entered the Australian market (capturing portfolio expansion, establishing a new business unit, implementation of a more effective and efficient NPD process, integration of new brands), design of an electricity utility’s capital management and approval process, development of a business improvement framework for a listed mining company and program management of a supply chain optimisation project.

Patrick works effectively with stakeholders at all levels, taking account of key requirements to deliver against the businesses needs and targets across multiple functions and locations.

Industry Sectors: FMCG, Energy, Agriculture and Food, Mining, Heavy Industrial and Transport

Expertise: Corporate Strategy, Strategy Development – from conception to implementation, New market entry, Innovation, Business Planning, Change Management, Transformation and Performance Improvement

 

Maysoon El-Ahmad

Maysoon El-Ahmad is an experienced strategic thinker spanning over 20 years in both senior executive roles and most recently in management consulting. Maysoon had an extended career in retail working for Australia’s largest retailer across roles in operations, innovation, business transformation, merchandise, buying and marketing, strategy, insights and customer experience. She recently made a switch to management consulting applying her strategic thought leadership across industries in health, financial services, aged care, professional services, FMCG, QSR, media and not for profit government organisations.

One of Maysoon’s strengths is her ability to look at problems with curiosity along with a critical eye aimed at finding solutions grounded with a deep understanding in consumer behaviour, cultural insights and the changing market.

Maysoon holds a master’s degree in Commerce with majors in strategy and innovation from the University of Sydney. She is also a part-time lecturer at Tafe NSW and the University of Sydney. She also runs industry training in strategy and marketing.

Industry Sectors: Retail, Financial services, Health, FMCG, Professional services, Government, Aged Care, QSR

Expertise: Business Consulting, Strategy, Research (qualitative and quantitative), Data and Insights, Customer experience, Journey mapping, Trend watching and analysis, Project and client engagement management

Holger Arends

Being a lifelong enthusiast for computer security and emerging technologies, Holger started his IT Security career in the German army in 1997. Since then, Holger has continued to strengthen his professional skill set by being involved in many security projects around the globe. While working with industry leaders such as Microsoft, he’s had several years of experience running his own IT Security business. Holger has always been passionate about innovating and developing new security solutions, and this has led him to Telstra where he is the Principal Security Domain expert at the Centre of Excellence, Technology & Innovation, where he works on futuristic and real-world security intelligence analytics solutions in the fields of IoT and Cyber Security. Besides his role in Telstra, Holger is a founder Cydalics PTY LTD and a SME consultant with EarlyBirds.

Key Skills: high analytical, design and problem solving skills, detail and quality oriented, dedicated to develop and maintain high security quality standards.

Expertise: Technology Innovation focusing on security analytics and enforcement technology innovation and design

 

Tony Sinclair 

Tony is an experienced innovator, with 15 years as an entrepreneur across four countries and now an innovation consultant.

Tony has launched three products in regulated markets. Tony’s role is defining the opportunity space, analysing the market to create a business case for investment, interviewing customers, validating products, digital marketing, and organising teams for growth.

Tony’s strengths are futuristic, strategic, and communicator. These strengths play together to anticipate risks in new ventures and also bring clients on the innovation journey.

Tony holds an MBA and an Economics degree from the University of Sydney. He is a guest lecturer and facilitator in innovation at the University of Sydney. Tony is active in the startup ecosystem, and has worked with dozens of teams on commercialisation and strategic growth.

Sectors: Health, e-commerce, fintech, non-government sector, venture capital, crowdfunding.

Expertise: Lean Design, Product Validation, Insight to Opportunity frameworks, Customer Experience Research (qualitative and quantitative), Board Communications, Business Case Development, Key Driver Analysis and Forecasting.

Danielle Warren-Smith 

Danielle is a commercially minded, adaptable Chartered Accountant with Private Equity, Corporate Advisory and Wealth Management experience. An analytical thinker and problem solver, telling stories with data to support and facilitate business decisions.

Danielle has diverse experience from working in a variety of organizations from SME and start-ups to multinational companies both in Australia and abroad. She has lived and worked in South Africa, London and Sydney and have also lived in Shanghai.

A natural connector, Danielle is a people’s person with a strength for creating and nurturing opportunities for people and businesses to work together for their mutual benefit.

Danielle is passionate about giving back and supporting women and girls. She has founded and lead a South African Women’s Network in Sydney and is a volunteer with Josephite Refugee Services supporting young Sudanese women transition to tertiary education.

Danielle is a mother to three teenage boys and when she is not working she loves bush walking, running, cooking, reading, painting or enjoying a cup of coffee with family and friends.

Dr Greg Adamson

Greg is a cyber security expert with a strong history in health, critical infrastructure, and financial services. He established Medibank Private’s secure gateway environment, in 1993 was the first CISO for Australia’s Quarantine service, and established the operational risk practice for ANZ’s Transaction Banking business unit (trade, payments, correspondent banking). He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Digital Health, and of Engineers Australia.

Greg’s experience ranges from project management (AIPM Project Director) to academia (University of Melbourne Honorary Associate Professor). His PhD examined online business challenges, and he is completing a Master of Commercial Law with the Melbourne Law School. He is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Club Melbourne Ambassador.

Greg has a strong understanding of advanced technologies as a data communications engineer, a 7-year specialist in blockchain business architecture, leads an initiative on digital identity with the IEEE Standards Association, and is a global authority on engineering professional ethics.

He has worked with the Asian Development Bank in Azerbaijan, with Fujitsu in Ukraine, consulted for the BBC, Telstra, and the Scottish NHS, and presented research across the world including Beijing, Sarajevo, Bengaluru, Singapore, Dublin, and Washington.

Marcel Sorouni 

Marcel has over 20 years’ experience in the IT security industry. His qualifications include a Bachelor of Engineering degree and an MBA from UTS. He is also a CISSP, CISM, CISA, CCNA, MCDBA, MCSE, ITIL qualified professional as well as a baseline and NV1 security clearance.

After completing a Bachelor of Engineering degree, Marcel began his IT career in 1993 as a graduate trainee. Marcel became an IT Manager before his interest in Security began in 2000 when the Internet exploded onto the scene and Security became a key issue. Since then Marcel has assessed, implemented, managed and advised many organisations on the state of their security and provided recommendations on building secure environments. After receiving an MBA in 2005, Marcel became interested in Security Strategy and Management and began to develop ideas and philosophies to deal with the ever-growing challenges facing Security.

Marcel is currently the founder, owner and director of Securify, an organisation that provides top line security management consulting. The focus is to provide strategic and management consulting services as well as delivery across all lines of Information Security Services.

Marcel has presented at Gartner’s Security Conference as well as other security and risk conferences. He was also part of the CISM Quality Assessment Team as well as participating in the Inaugural Australian Executive Security Forum and the Inaugural Technology Leaders Forum. Marcel has also been confirmed as a subject matter expert (SME) reviewer of the deliverables produced by the Framework Committee and the COBIT 5.0 Task Force for the development of COBIT 5.0.

Joann Corcoran

Joann is an experienced strategic leader in management consulting, public service and ICT spanning small and large environments. Joann had an extended career across state to federal government agencies and was the CIO at the Attorney-General’s Department Australia. One of her strengths is the ability to switch her mind to many diverse technical and business problems at the same as shaping strategic direction and guiding operational outcomes.
Joann’s expertise includes:
Business Consulting, Strategic Planning, Business Process Reviews, Board Level Strategic Advice, Program Management, Not for Profit Sector, Federal and State Government, Risk Management, Governance, Technical Consulting, Procurement, IT Strategic Planning, Systems Reviews, Systems Roadmaps.
Nitesh Chawda

Nitesh is an experienced Strategy Consultant in both senior executive roles and strategy consulting roles. Nitesh has consulted CEOs globally working at Deloitte M&A, Accenture Strategy and Operations, KPMG (Strategy Manager) and at elite law firms such as Herbert Smith Freehills. Nitesh has focused on in finance, HR, supply chain, IT transformations, operations, business strategy and digital transformations. Nitesh has also started 3 startups mainly focusing in the Internet of Things and Block Chain. Furthermore, Nitesh has also worked in a number of NFPs acting as the Chief Strategy Officer.

Education: Nitesh has a Masters in Management (ALM) from Harvard University – attaining a perfect GPA (4.0/4.0). Nitesh received a university medal and the Katie Yang International Student University medal for the highest GPA across all management and finance students internationally. In addition to this Nitesh also have a Bachelor of Commerce (88%) from Bond University majoring in Finance (with a major / post graduate certificate in Strategy from Harvard in Strategy (4.0/4.0 GPA)). Furthermore, Nitesh is near to completing his Law Degree.

Expertise: Nitesh is a cross-functional Strategist, having worked across all industries including telecommunications, banking, resources, government, health and start-ups. Nitesh’s core expertise is creating upfront diagnosis via design thinking aligned to hypothesis driven frameworks, developing actionable next steps executed via stress-tested roadmaps. The above is backed by evidence and logical business financial models to ensure projects are delivered with the highest accuracy. Nitesh also has deep expertise in Mergers and Acquisitions due to his mentoring from Macquarie Bank and working with CFOs globally.