Executive team

Jeff Penrose
Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer

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 and CEO

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. He is ongoing early adopter for continuous personal productivity and learning – MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

James Palmer

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

Phil is the Vice President (Ecosystem Management) at EarlyBirds. Phil is also 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

Brett Peppler is the Vice President (Customer Engagement) 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

Industry advisory board

Dr Tom Janoshalmi
SVP, Chief Growth Officer, SAP

Tom is a passionate, growth and outcome oriented professional with 20 years of executive experience in leadership roles including delivering digital transformation at Fortune 100 companies. He believes in lifetime customer success through resilience, honesty and integrity. Tom is the Chief Growth Officer of SAP’s Digital Business reporting into the Executive Board, with P&L responsibility for €500m worldwide. When not engaged in customer success you can find Tom spending time with my family in Australia or swimming.

Rowan Dollar
Australia's leading CIO

Judged recently as one of Australia's leading CIOs, Rowan is a highly experienced and multi-faceted business-focused technology executive and Company Director with 35 years’ experience in both private and public sector roles. Rowan has a solid reputation for delivering strategic transformational business change including cyber security, artificial intelligence, business intelligence and analytics. Rowan has a solid reputation for being an innovator and transformer managing change, building high performance teams and delivery in rapidly changing and complex situations. Rowan is known throughout Government and Industry as an expert advisor and thought leader re Digital and Data Transformations covering Financial Services, Banking, Consulting/Advisory and Government. Rowan is a sought after advisor and expert in AgTech and experienced with Artificial Intelligence project delivery. Acknowledged by industry, Rowan's reputation is for transformation, innovation and technology leadership.

Richa Arora
National Cyber Strategy Lead, Deloitte

Leading cyber strategy agenda with a business-led approach to identifying, defining and prioritising the problems organisations should be solving. Focusing on digital identity strategy, and building pragmatic roadmaps for investing efforts in addressing challenges organisations face today. Having led a number of large-scale initiatives for federal government, education and healthcare sector, Richa is well across the complexities of the digital landscape and equipped with navigating a vast array of implementation challenges. Richa is interested in being a trusted advisor and a partner who can be relied on for delivering executable cyber strategies.

Phillip Cenere
Chairman & Non-Executive Director

Higher education is experiencing major changes, challenges and opportunities. Borders are shifting, funding models are being reinvented, and the missions of universities are being redefined. Phil has served in senior academic leadership roles since 2003 and has been privileged to help shape and manage some of those changes. As the Associate Vice-Chancellor for CQ University’s New South Wales region and head of the Sydney campus, Phil had responsibility for managing business growth and development, regional engagement, teaching and learning, research and the pastoral care of students and staff. As a management and board consultant, Phil advised and served alongside ASX50/100/200 CEOs and directors, vice chancellors, not-for-profit leaders and government departments and has been involved in the business development of some of Australia’s best known institutions. Phil believes that success leaves footprints and has spent most of his life studying and modelling successful people and organizations. He enjoys working with great people, places and projects.

Nathan Plummer
Ambassador - Accelerators and Corporate Partnerships

Currently Head of Venture Cafe Sydney, Nathan has extensive experience in collaborating with Innovators and corporates.

Dr Lyndon Walker
Online education, statistical consulting, angel investing, and just generally knowledgeable and helpful :)

Dr Lyndon Walker is a former statistics lecturer turned consultant and entrepreneur. Lyndon offers statistical analysis and statistics training to corporate and academic clients as well as the moderation and review of analysis and reports. He also provide audit and moderation services for reviewing educational content, assessment, and delivery (especially online) in higher education.

Liam Holley
Health Research Expert

Liam is interested in shaping innovation that improves the way we live. He is an inventor with over one hundred patents published. Currently also lead Research Engineer with more than a decade of experience working in the medical device industry. Experienced in working with opinion leaders to identify clinical and market needs, and develop solutions from conception to product release. Expertise in mechanical design, acoustics, biomedical algorithms, systems engineering, technology and biomedical research, data science, sleep and respiratory medicine, lean innovation, machine learning, new business creation, technical leadership and management. Inventor of SleepQ acoustic technology used for monitoring sleep breathing in China.

Joseph Dalessandro
Security Audit | Research | Education (more privateer than pirate)

Struggling introvert who values teams and values curiosity and diversity of thought over everything else in team members. The more I work and live the more I find who I work with, and what I do, far outweighs other tangible benefits of having a job. I crave learning and thinking which has luckily been a part of every role in one way or another. Opportunities have come in starting three business, living in three countries, working in eight countries, working for very large and very small companies, and working and learning with individuals from varied educational and cultural backgrounds. I give back and want to give back more. I love teaching and will do it until the day I die. Huxley said, “…experience is not what happens to a [person]; it is what a [person] does with what happens to [them].”

Joe Corvetti
Technical | Strategic Adviser in the Onshore & Offshore Energy Sector

Solution oriented. Motivated by building successful, cohesive teams, bringing resources and infrastructure to energy projects and operations. Collaboration and relationship management are key motivators.

Gordon Lang
NED | Director | Mentor | Advisor | Coach | Projects | Corporate - For Purpose - Community - Member based

Is your business or career resilient? You should be working the three critical components for future success: Survival - Revival - Reformulation. Gordon can help businesspeople and businesses develop and succeed. He is an Experienced Mentor, Board Member, Advisor and Senior Manager with more than 35 years of developing, guiding and sustaining businesses, including high level involvement with business associations and community organisations. He offers a track record of developing people and businesses that result in organisational growth and profitability. Recognised and respected as a businessperson adept at influencing commercial and business success, and as a community leader who uses experience, expertise and knowledge for professional mentorship and organisational and board participation and advisory.

Gemma Battenbough
General manager | Digital leader | Growth strategist

Gemma is an experienced digital leader with a proven track record in using strategic thinking to deliver growth in a complex organisation. Gemma is passionate about people and building high-performing, diverse teams.

Daniel Witherington
Digital Innovation, Strategy & Transformation Health & Life Science

Daniel is an experienced executive whose goal is to lead and in fluence a dynamic business, to exceed and outperform markets. Driving and influencing change to ensure the business strategy is at the forefront of transformation initiatives across culture, strategy, simplification, digital solutions, risk and AI. While continuing to deliver a strong customer centric solution.

Chintan Jajal
Technology Leader

Chintan is proactive, driven and highly accomplished Technology Leader recognised for strategic ingenuity and insight in technical operations, business processes, and leadership. He has extensive experience in leading and achieving business transformation, process optimisation, change objectives and uplift capability goals. Backed by more than 18 years of experience in IT Strategic Planning / Execution, Digital Transformation, Program Delivery and Solution / Enterprise Architecture aligning to business direction and driving continuous improvement, and change management across the public and private sectors.

Arjan Bloemer
Senior Transformation Leader

Genuine Senior Transformation Executive who leverages his extensive global experience, insights in best practices and deep understanding of (new) technologies to drive and lead Business and Technology Transformations. Worked in the industry both as a Senior Executive and Senior Advisor to Boards and C-suite. This unique and valuable combination has proven to be the best foundation to lead complex Transformation challenges. Every day Arjan lives by his personal values; honesty, integrity, courage, boldness and inclusiveness.

Andrew Mastromanno
MD and Senior Executive

As an experienced Senior Executive with an entrepreneurial flair Andrew is passionate about building high performance businesses, with a multi-facet skill set he has a proven track record of achieving results. With a diverse range of industry expertise, including, software development, ecommerce, omni-channel, online retail, freight and logistics, warehousing, FMCG, property (residential and commercial), telecommunications, financial services, marketing, sponsorship and media. Being able to work both operationally and strategically across all levels of a business allows him to utilise his diverse skills set in a true leadership capacity.

Early Birds Innovation Ecosystem

1M+ Innovators
400+ Organisations already joined
100+ SME Consultants