Coaches

Clare Hallam | AgFrontier Mentor

Clare Hallam

COO | Director | Startup Coach

Co-Founded 25+ startups in the Pollenizer portfolio. Clare has a proven track record of managing Pollenizer ’s investment portfolio (investment processes and decisions) Led numerous portfolio company investment due diligence, asset sales, and the share sale of Spreets, a $40m exit from the portfolio.  As a coach, mentor and often a therapist Clare cares fundamentally about helping founders and startups. Guiding them to be both commercially and culturally successful.

Allen Haroutonian | AgFrontier Mentor

Allen Haroutonian

CEO | Venture Builder | Start-up Mentor

An experienced start-up mentor, having run the renowned Pollenizer start-up incubator, Allen started his career in electronics assembly, going on to work with global icons Apple & IBM, as well as roles driving global expansion for Australian start-ups. His work with AgriFood & Fibre innovators since 2016 has exposed him to trailblazers who are using technology and business model innovation to re-invent the industry.

Project Team

Liz Alexander | AgFrontier Mentor

Liz Alexander

Agribusiness Development Coordinator | AgFrontier Lead | Likes Dogs

Based in Emerald, Queensland, Liz Alexander leads CHDC’s award-winning Central Highlands Accelerate Agribusiness (CHAA) initiative which works with stakeholders to identify the competitive advantages for the region, and deliver strategic interventions and programs to grow, promote and realise value and opportunity for all agribusiness. In her role, Liz developed and facilitates the AgTeCH events held annually in Emerald and Mungindi since 2017. She is an experienced non-executive director and serves as the Deputy Chair of Plant Health Australia, and as a director for the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, for which she chairs the Intellectual Property and Commercialisation Committee.

Sonya Comiskey | AgFrontier Mentor

Sonya Comiskey

AgTech Community Officer| Project Manager | French Beef Producer

Based in Emerald, Queensland, Sonya Comiskey is AgFrontier’s AgTech Community Officer, managing the grass roots level engagement between the cohort, program delivery and external stakeholders.  She is an experienced project manager with a breadth of experience in agriculture, civil construction and building projects.  Sonya has a passion for French heritage beef and is founder of a premium niche beef brand for domestic and export markets.  A 2018 Nuffield Farming Scholar, Sonya’s key areas of interest encompass collaborative value chains, provenance-led brands and enabling technologies such as Blockchain to credential provenance and traceability as well as market collaboration.

Mentors

Taylor Pressler | AgFrontier Mentor

Taylor Pressler

Authorised Export Officer | Market Innovation | Agronomy

Since leaving her family’s business, Taylor has been sharing her love of horticulture and agriculture as an independent consultant helping companies of all sizes to succeed and thrive, and to remain competitive through industry transition. Previously Taylor was the Product Coordinator and Marketing Assistant for 2PH Farms, the largest privately-owned citrus farm in the southern hemisphere. in 2017 Taylor completed the International Emerging Leaders Program delivered by the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) at the University of Arizona, Tucson in conjunction with Harvard Business school to achieve successful completion of Market Innovation. Taylor is in the process of completing her Authorised Officer training with the view of assisting local producers bridge the gap to market.

Warwick Powell | AgFrontier Mentor

Warwick Powell

Founder | Blockchain Builder | Fund Manager

Warwick is the founder of Sister City Partners. He is passionate about Australia’s regions and regional resilience. Through companies in Australia and Hong Kong, he is involved in big data analytics, tourism & travel, agribusiness and e-commerce in China. His developing work in applied blockchain technologies in agribusiness and financial institution re-imagination is creating new ways of framing regional futures; BeefLedger is developing and commercialising an integrated blockchain-enabled provenance platform and smart contracting payments regime that streamlines payments and strengthens consumer confidence in product credentialing.

Linda McCall | AgFrontier Mentor

Linda McCall

Startup Mentor

Linda is an adventurous Australian mentor who helps Startup Founders conquer the unknown. Growing up in the Australian Outback, she joined the Australian Airforce, became an international flight attendant with Qantas, coached kids in Hong Kong, and helped the Saudi Royal Family start up an airline. Walking the talk Linda has circumnavigated Australia on motorcycle and solo across the USA, is a qualified recreational pilot and has flown hot air balloons in many countries. Linda now lives in France and assists entrepreneurs embrace the unknown, the spirit of adventure and gain momentum in their startups.

Mark Phillips | AgFrontier Mentor

Mark Phillips

Serial Entrepreneur | Global Startup | Mentor

Mark is an Australian entrepreneur & business mentor who has launched 5 international startups and believes innovation is the key factor for high growth business. Mark’s career began as a Chartered Accountant, and has included success as an international gymnast, tech consultant, executive sales & business manager with KPMG, Apple and Microsoft. Opening his first Silicon Valley office in 1995, has visited over 100 countries, and now lives in France. Known for his business creativity, hand-on approach, and relaxed style Mark is constantly connecting people with opportunities.

Will Schmitt | AgFrontier Mentor

Will Schmitt

Mentor | Global Innovator

As Co-founder of Open2Innovate (o2i), Will is a global innovation expert with broad experience in senior positions over the past decade helping governments and international organisations harness the  power of innovation processes to tackle protracted global challenges. Will previously worked with AECOM Australia bringing innovative practices into the Australian aid program as head of the Innovation Resource Facility.  Prior to moving to Australia, Will worked at the Innovation Lab at the World Bank, where he focused on a range of topics, including innovation strategies, human-centred design-led programming, and Big Data challenges for development outcomes.   He’s the co-founder of LAUNCH, an award-winning global accelerator program and partnership between NASA, Nike and USAID focused on the biggest challenges in global development founded in 2010.

Will Schmitt TwitterWill Schmitt LinkedIn

Industry Champions

Susan Maas | AgFrontier Mentor

Susan Maas

Research & Development Manager | Crop Protection & Stewardship

Susan Maas is one of CRDC’s R&D investment managers and is based in Emerald.  She is passionate about the cotton industry and is particularly focussed on crop protection issues such as insects, weeds, diseases and biosecurity.  Susan has been involved in the cotton industry for 15 years, starting off in extension officer.  Susan was awarded the 2010 Chris Lehmann trust Young Achiever of the Year and Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigators Association-2018 Iain Mackay Non-grower service to industry award.

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