Meet Brisbane’s bravest CEOs!

Gino D’Arienzo

QPF Finance Group

A self-confessed food lover, Gino D’Arienzo launched well known Brisbane restaurant, Pane e Vino, in the CBD in 1995.

Gino took pride in the day-to-day business of the Italian restaurant for 21 years, thriving on seeing customers try new things and experience real Italian cooking in a relaxed, nurturing environment.

During this time, he also launched a successful property development and investment business which has seen the creation of a market leading, boutique product that has been involved in the design, build and marketing of over 300 units and townhouses. This passion for property investment is what lead Gino to join the QPF Property Finance team in 2016 as a Mortgage Broker. Now able to look after another aspect of the property business Gino can assist with all your finance needs whether you are a seasoned investor or first home buyer. Seeing someone walk into their new property for the first time is what keeps Gino going.

During his spare time Gino loves to relax by challenging his body in the sport of triathlon and hopes to complete his first ironman in 2018. On the more relaxing side, travel with his family and friends is the way he enjoys his downtime. And while places like Greece and Italy are his favourite overseas destinations he wouldn’t live anywhere else but Brisbane.

Genevieve Dee

Cooper Grace Ward

Genevieve Dee is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and a Partner at Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers.

Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers was established in 1980 and has quickly become one of the largest independent Brisbane based law firms, with a team of more than 220. Genevieve practices in all areas of family law and enjoys working together with clients as they make a fresh start after separation. Genevieve’s focus is on providing clients with practical and strategic advice to assist parties to resolve matters amicably, avoiding litigation where possible.

Genevieve has been a supporter of WLS since she was admitted to practice and considers the work the organization does to support women and children in crisis, is invaluable.

Genevieve enjoys being involved in all aspects of law, having served two terms as a Councilor of the Queensland Law Society, she is the immediate past chair of the QLS Specialist Accreditation Board and a former treasurer and committee member of the Women Lawyer’s Association of Queensland.

While Genevieve admits to being nervous about the prospect of Dancing on the stage at City Hall in May 2018, she says the chance to be involved in the event to help raise much needed funds for WLS was just too good to pass up. In her spare time, Genevieve is mum to 18 month of old twin boys. She is hoping they leave her with enough energy to get through a dance routine!

Lisa Foley

DA Family Lawyers

Lisa Foley is co-owner and Managing Director of DA Family Lawyers, a boutique family law firm in the Brisbane CBD.  Lisa has worked exclusively as a lawyer in family law, domestic violence and child protection law for over 12 years. Lisa is a qualified collaborative law practitioner and is a current board member of the Family Law Practitioners Association.

Lisa has a special interest in international family law matters, including matters falling under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  Lisa was actively involved in the well publicised “Italian sisters” international child abduction case and advises many parents on international child abduction.

Outside of the law, Lisa is a group fitness instructor at Fitness First.  She teaches a body balance class which is a fusion of yoga, pilates and tai chi.  Lisa has two young boys, both under the age of 4.  Aside from spending time with her loved ones, Lisa’s favourite thing to do is dance.  She doesn’t profess to be the greatest dancer but nonetheless loves it.  When she learned that she would be taking part in the Dancing CEOs she kicked off her shoes and danced around the office.  Lisa is so excited (and overwhelmingly nervous) about taking to the stage for Dancing CEOs 2018.

Suanne Lowery

Fitness Forever

Suanne Lowery is co-owner of Fitness Forever, a boutique personal training and nutrition business launched in 2010.  With a life-long passion for health and fitness, Suanne was destined to work in an industry where she had the ability to help all members of the community to lead an active and healthy life having suffered from chronic asthma all her life. Originally based solely in Brisbane, Suanne has now expanded her nutritional services to include Melbourne (VIC).

Suanne’s business focus from conception was on the prevention/maintenance of chronic health conditions and the belief that everyone has the right to exercise and lead a healthy life that is nutritionally balanced.  Suanne is honoured to have had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of clients who suffer from conditions such as dementia, stroke, cerebral palsy, blindness, Aspergers, heart conditions, multiple sclerosis, obesity, diabetes, auto-immune conditions and mental health conditions; depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.

As an experienced Master Personal Trainer, Suanne is also an Accredited Nutritionist with a passion for food, cooking and dinner parties.  With her clients, she shares her holistic approach to wellness through nutritional advice focusing on the individual and treating the body as a whole.

Fitness Forever has won prestigious awards within in the industry including 1 of 19 “Gold” and 1 of 3 “Quality Improvement” Awards in the National Fitness Australia Quality Awards which is a testament to Suanne’s passion to her clients and health beliefs. Aside from Fitness Australia, Fitness Forever is also associated with Nutrition Australia and the Australian Natural Therapists Association.

As a qualified trainer and assessor, Suanne has also had the privilege to teach the Certificate III & IV in Fitness to aspiring personal trainers at a leading Brisbane college, sharing her own story of success and passion for the industry while creating an awareness of the increasing demand for training clients with special needs.

In her spare time Suanne loves to challenge herself, particularly fundraising for a good cause including a 35km fundraising walk that she is currently completing. After dancing during her youth, Suanne is excited to once again hit the dancefloor and is very honoured to be fundraising for Women’s Legal Service.

Sean Martin

Student Flights

Sean Martin is the General Manager of Student Flights and My Adventure Travel, two Australian travel agencies specialising in discount youth travel and adventure travel respectively.

Sean has travelled to over 55 countries and worked in the travel industry for more than 15 years. A tenacious leader, Sean started his career as a travel manager at STA Travel after being knocked back by Flight Centre not once but twice, and as they say, third time’s a charm. Determined to work at Flight Centre knowing that the company had a reputation for developing and fostering leadership talent, Sean has since progressed in the company to where he is today, overseeing the Student Flights and My Adventure Travel brands nationally as GM, a position he has held for the last three years.

Having worked across several of Flight Centre Travel Group’s many brands Sean has been a travel manager and team leader for FCM in Sydney, a team leader at Corporate Traveller, Flight Centre area leader in both Canberra and Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, before moving into his current position in Brisbane.

Sean says the reason he entered into the travel industry and chose Flight Centre was that he wanted to have a career where he could make a positive difference in people’s lives and that’s what happens when you get to encourage people to travel and see the world.

“I also find that sharing my experiences and mentoring my team to develop and progress in their own careers and seeing the results of that is one of the most rewarding parts of the job,” says Sean.

His favourite way to travel is in small group tours because of their focus on becoming immersed in a region’s culture and experiencing authentic interactions with the local community. As an experienced diver, Sean enjoys to travel by sailboat, diving in places like Italy’s Amalfi Coast and around the tropical coral islands of the Maldives. Sean is also an avid cyclist and supports charities close to his heart; in 2016 he rode 450 kilometers over three days from London to Paris in memory of a friend’s brother. He’s also volunteered for over 10 years at St Canice soup kitchen in his hometown of Sydney.

Sean grew up in a family with a mum who needed the assistance of free legal aid when he was a child and knows the importance of this cause better than most. He says that had his mother not been able to access the legal help when she did, it is possible he would not be where he is today which is why he is excited and honored to have the opportunity to support such a worthy cause.

Time to dust off the old tap shoes (just kidding, Sean has zero dance training so this should be a bit of a laugh for everyone involved).

Hugh Rees

Expose Media

Hugh Rees is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Expose Media, a digitally led creative agency for leaders who seek greatness, not sameness. Founded in 2014, Expose Media combines strategy, creativity, and technology to build business value for clients through management of, web, mobile, social and print media campaigns.

Just like their leader, Expose Media is where creativity and intellect meets. Starting from the ground up, Expose Media has worked with brands such as Tab Corp, Infrastructure NSW, Anytime Fitness, Rice Furniture, Healthy Waterways, Mater Group, Variety Queensland and Act for Kids. As Expose Media grows, the company’s family has extended from humble beginnings of 4 staff to 15, in a just a small space of 18 months!

Similar to an aged wine, Hugh’s industry experience is mighty fine. Boasting an impressive 15 years in the IT industry, 10 years in Web and Digital and 5 years in Digital Marketing, Mr. Rees is the modern day wiseman. Claiming the title of Serial Entrepreneur, Hugh has also co-founded IT start-up Inturo and digital publication My City Life.

Passionate about people and projects, Hugh and the Inturo team were handpicked to be part of Microsoft’s Innovation Centre in Queensland. When it comes to giving back to the community, Hugh has devoted hours of time to charity work and non-profit organisations. In the words of the master himself, “It is something that I have always made sure I do personally and in business. Anyone can donate money to a cause, but it’s giving back that really makes a difference”.

Stepping out of the business suit and into some dancing shoes, Hugh is full of energy and ready to relive the 90’s. A word of caution: he wants to get everyone involved and has a few sneaky tricks up his sleeve. Already preparing himself for the winning title, you could say our socialite man is used to the glory and fame. He’s partied with Holly Madison and Perez Hilton; drank beers with the Wombats in the green room on Jimmy Kimmel Live; chauffeured Skrillex around for a day and met Kristen Wiig, Richie Benaud, Mike Tyson and had lunch with Allan Border. What do you mean we’re name dropping?

Until the Dancing CEOs debut arrives, you can find Hugh at home with the real CEO, Rhea, taking care of their fur babies Stevie and Benji, and newborn human baby, Willa. He’s a cricket fanatic and a mad Southampton FC supporter, but most of all he’s looking forward to the challenge ahead and working with Women’s Legal Service to make a difference.

Kurt Royan

The Post Lounge

Kurt Royan is General Manager and shareholder of The Post Lounge, a film and television post production facility that specialises in Feature Films, TV Series, Commercials, Corporate & Online Content, and Animation.

Most recently, The Post Lounge has completed post production on the acclaimed comedy series The Family Law for Matchbox Pictures and SBS, and Ronny Chieng: International Student for Sticky Pictures and ABC.

Having designed the custom-built facilities in Woolloongabba, and now a chic, new space in Collingwood (Vic), Kurt continues to expand The Post Lounge’s unique brand of creative production and personal service into new locations and sectors alike.

With a natural leadership ability and care factor second to none, as General Manager Kurt makes sure that his staff and clients are nothing less than ecstatic about every job that goes through the facility.

Kurt is very much a believer of the ‘lead by example’ approach to running The Post Lounge, and the skills he hopes to transfer to the dance floor will be his passion for the industry, dedication to the craft, and of course more than a little bit of fun.

When Kurt isn’t at work he tries to keep fit by competing in the (ridiculous) sport of obstacle course racing. You may have seen him dancing up a storm at a variety of night clubs around Brisbane, though he is famous for only having three dance moves. He hopes to correct this fallacy by participating in Dancing CEOs. His vice is jam and cream donuts.

Sarah Broad

MaximusPR

Sarah Broad is Founder and Managing Director of MaximusPR, a boutique PR and marketing agency. What started out as a solo adventure has evolved into a thriving team working with local, national and international clients across a range of industries.

Founded in 2015 to meet the growing demand for professional public relations and communications support for growing businesses, MaximusPR’s point of difference is its collaborative approach to client relations.

After more than 12 years working behind company lines, Sarah moved full circle back to the land of consulting where her career first commenced. What began as a passion to work with some of Australia’s leading brand and companies, has developed into a business focused on empowering companies to stand out by connecting ideas and inspiring action.

Every aspect of the communications mix, from investor relations to social media and crisis communication to event management and more, is carefully considered at MaximusPR. With an in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience across a variety of industries including consumer goods, property, retail and food and beverage, the team is passionate about tailoring their approach to suit a range of businesses and needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach!

Often told she looks like Reese Witherspoon, Sarah’s passionate about what she does and can literally talk underwater! In addition to running MaximusPR, Sarah tutors and mentors at QUT and keeps herself busy with two kids under 4.

Kim Parascos

iVolve

Kim Parascos is the co-founder and CEO of iVolve Pty Ltd. With a background in electronics engineering, Kim started her career in the tech world after graduating with degrees in Engineering and IT. Kim and David Eagles founded iVolve back in 1995 as engineering consultants specialising in control systems.  Together they have built the company into an international solutions provider for Fleet Management Systems focused on the minerals value chain. Since iVolve’s launch, Kim furthered her studies by attaining an MBA through the Australian Institute of Management.

Over the past 22 years, Kim has been responsible for the ongoing growth of the company through the successful commercialisation of new products focused on improving efficiencies in the industrial sector. Kim has single-handedly secured major deployments in ports and mines both across Australia and internationally. This success is a tribute to her ability to build and manage an excellent team based right here in Brisbane.

To support the company’s ongoing expansion, Kim has secured numerous strategic partnerships and distributors. Through leveraging these partnerships Kim is currently driving expansion into the North American market with an iVolve office opening soon in Boulder, Colorado.

Stepping away from business, Kim also has a keen passion for the cultural side of life as a supporter and regular attendee of the Queensland Ballet.  An avid foodie and home cook, Kim and her husband David make a formidable team in the kitchen, proudly taking out the inaugural (and only) iVolve My Kitchen Rules competition in 2013.

Adam Barton

Drunken Monkey Group

If you wanted to really get the measure of a CEO like Adam Barton, all you have to do is walk into one of his venues. Passionate, spirited and not afraid to get his hands a little dirty, Barton’s love for live music and hospitality, coupled with an intimidating professional background that has helped establish three wildly successful Brisbane institutions, including Brooklyn Standard and Chingon in Eagle Lane and the new River Quay Fish in South Bank.

Walk into either venue and you will be immediately struck by the refreshing lack of pretence. All venues are indicative of Barton’s relaxed nature as he sets out to create institutions that effortlessly match low key cool with impeccable service.

Whether it’s the breathtaking views at River Quay Fish or the gritty intimacy of Brooklyn Standard, a Barton venue is the kind of place that patrons can loosen their ties and get down to the business of pleasure, as they cheerfully delve into a curated list of local and imported tipples.

Spurred by his extensive industry experience which has included 8 years at Brown Forman, he’s a man more at home slinging cocktails in the trenches with his staff than sitting in a board room. It is perhaps this hands-on enthusiasm that lends his venues project a sense of authenticity that so often eludes some of Brisbane’s flashier hot spots.

Adam is also no stranger to the Dancing CEOs stage, and is the first CEO to return to take over the dance floor for a second time. The biggest question – how will he top the legendary performance of 2017? There’s only one way to find out…

Danny Juric

Plus Architecture

Danny Juric is a Director of award-winning architecture firm Plus Architecture. With studios across Australia and New Zealand, Plus Architecture has a team of 200 architects and interior designers, and specialises in multi-residential, master-planning, commercial, hospitality and seniors living projects.

Danny has over 20 years’ experience, cohesively teaming resources with creativity in the delivery of highly resolved solutions to development, corporate real estate and specialty building projects.

A driven architect, Danny works to create projects which improve the urban environments in which they sit. Having worked with a wide range of clients, Danny has excelled in applying critical thinking to projects for some of Australia’s largest companies. Danny’s confident leadership style has drawn together talented and committed teams in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. His mentorship, communication style and enthusiasm facilitate ownership of project success, maintains quality staff & secures client confidence.

A former triathlete and fitness fanatic, Danny’s day rarely ends without a session in the gym or a run on the beach.  Weekends are filled with SLC nippers, paddle boarding, skateboarding, bike riding and fun in the surf with his 2 children. A dance novice – Danny’s wife volunteered him for this event in the hope he might bring home some salsa moves …. instead of sweaty boxing gear.  He has risen to the challenge.

In his spare time, Danny has tackled a number of major renovations and flips, combining his eye for commercial value, design skills, understanding of the building process, with a tool belt to match.

Danny hopes his appreciation for the modernist aesthetic of South American architectural greats such as Marcio Kogan, can infiltrate his performance and leave you all with a positive, lasting impression…. albeit a smile.