Announcing our teams for The Annual Great Debate 2019!

This year our teams will battle the notion “That soft skills are the mark of a successful leader.” Our debaters are a colourful and influential mix of personalities including Local and National Senior Executives, Legal Experts, a Stand-up comedian and a personal branding personality.

The Affirmative or Proposition supports the Motion

JAMIE PRESTON - Private Banker at Westpac Private Bank

Jamie is a Private Banker with Westpac Private Bank where he has been since 2014, continuing a financial service career spanning over 18 years. Jamie has been passionately working with local charities and was recently appointed Vice President for the Gold Coast Project for Homeless Youth. 

Jamie has completed studies covering Marketing and Business and has most recently completed his Diploma of Financial Planning. He is a husband, Father and well-known member of the Gold Coast community.

KATHLEEN SIMPSON – Principal Domestic Violence & Family Lawyer with DV LAWYER

Kathleen is a Principal Domestic Violence & Family Lawyer with DV LAWYER practising in DV domestic violence, children’s matters, and property settlements.  

She has strong negotiation skills with a commercial focus and a talent of “thinking outside the box” and has previously been awarded a finalist in the GC “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” awards as nominated by her peers. 

Kathleen will go to great lengths to secure the right outcome for her clients swiftly with a friendly and approachable nature.

PETRINA MACPHERSON – Lawyer at MinterEllison and Stand Up Comedian

Petrina specialises in construction and infrastructure disputes, has a diverse range of experience in all aspects of commercial litigation and is currently undertaking a Masters in Construction Law at the University of Melbourne. 

She is also a stand-up comedian, a hobby and skills which she describes as the ‘one night stand that never went home’! She was a finalist in the Queensland Raw Comedy Competition in 2008, performed at the inaugural ‘In Stitches’ Comedy Festival’ at QPAC and she was the only female comic to make the final of the ‘Tank F*ck I’m Funny’ Competition in 2011.

The OPPOSING OR CONTENDING  team refutes the motion

EMILY (Blyth) KUCUKALIC – Founder & MD of Brand New You | Communications Director of Conversely | Personal Branding Strategy

Emily Kucukalic is fun. She openly shares new insights, sees potential readily and wants to know how things work.  Her energetic and creative approach both energises and inspires her audience. Her intense curiosity in people and the world drives her to build branding strategies for organisations and individuals.

As the Founder and MD of Brand New You, Australia’s number one personal branding agency, she helps her clients to develop the skills to be the best possible version of themselves.  She started the organisation 10 years ago after a successful corporate career as a member of the Executive team of both AGL and EDS Asia Pacific. Today, she counts 35% of the ASX 50 as her clients. 

Emily believes that people buy from people, not companies and that people work for people, not organisations.

CLAIRE THURWOOD – CEO at Robina Private Hospital

Claire is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. She is skilled in Marketing Management, Business Planning, Coaching, Event Management, and Team Building.

As Robina Private Hospital CEO, Claire oversees doctor recruitment and service development to strategically grow the hospital as the central Gold Coast’s only private hospital, with all the service offerings of a large metropolitan hospital conveniently located on the Gold Coast. She is passionate about delivering a high level of private health care across all services to the Gold Coast community.

SCOTT LYALL – Chief Operating Officer of Burleigh Brewing

Scott has a background in Sales, Accounting, Strategy, Operations and Leadership roles. He is an adaptable and a fast learner and has gained significant international experience providing leadership in a variety of industries, with large multinational corporations and in smaller, privately owned businesses.

“I have successfully delivered proven results in different roles requiring commercial, financial and people leadership responsibility. My customer service focus drives my passion for businesses needing growth and high-growth businesses trying to keep up, so, as a team builder and leader I am a team culture and morale champion!”

Don’t miss this year’s battle – the Women of Influence Annual great debate is always entertaining, insightful and a bit controversial as the teams aim to engage and influence the audience and our official judge.