Our CEOs work hard every year to impress our panel of high profile judges…

Maria Becis

Becis Chartered Accountants / Run 2 Give Foundation

Maria is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax Adviser and a Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland. Becis Chartered Accountants provides a complete range of accounting, taxation and business advisory services, personalised and professional services to small, medium and large businesses, not-for-profit organisations, investors and individuals.

Maria is also the founder of Run 2 Give Foundation. Run 2 Give Foundation is a registered charity that hosts running and other sporting events to raise funds to benefit persons affected by domestic violence and persons in necessitous circumstances in the South East Queensland community.

Run 2 Give Foundation also supports initiatives encouraging children and young adults to maintain a physically active connection with their community as they move through the teenage years and into early adulthood with the aim of reducing the large drop-off of sporting participation occurring in the late teen and early adult years.

With the support of the local South East Queensland running and business communities, the Foundation has donated more than $300,000 to various charities and community organisations.

As Dancing CEOs fundraising champion in 2016, Maria will bring a unique expertise in judging our CEOs!

Karl Schwantes

Xennox Diamonds

Diamonds are synonymous with glamour, style and pizazz just as gemmologist and master jeweller Karl Schwantes is synonymous with creativity, romance and flair.

His skill at creating magnificent pieces of jewellery was honed as a child playing at the work benches in his parents’ business – Xennox Diamonds. As an earnest eight year old, he helped out at the Brisbane store, observing the craftsman at work. By the time he was 12, he was creating and designing pieces of his own. Little wonder diamonds are his passion…and always on his mind.

As an award winning designer, and now an international award winning published author of the book “Rock Her World”, Karl has an uncanny eye for quality and uniqueness. His craft lies in making unique jewellery but also in connecting with the people who walk through his door, taking them on a journey to find or create a special piece that tells a story. He has helped over 6,700 couples find the right piece for them, helping them create their story; stories that define life’s poignant moments from wedding to birth, and everything in between.

Karl loves putting pen to paper and you will often find him with sketch book and pencil immersed in creation. He loves designing pieces that truly capture the WOW factor, just as his new Queen Street Mall Diamond Studio does, which has been specially fitted out with a scotch bar, ensuring his clients have a phenomenal and luxurious experience.

Sandra Willis

Opera Queensland

Sandra is one of Australia’s leading arts sector executives and has extensive experience of the strategic leadership of arts organisations, fundraising, production management, touring and community programs. She is currently Executive Director of Opera Queensland one of Australia’s Major Performing Arts Companies.

As Executive Producer, Touring and Outreach at Opera Australia and previously General Manager of Oz Opera, Sandra produced well over 2,000 performances and events to an audience of more than half a million patrons across every Australian state and territory. She secured over $10 million in government, private and philanthropic funding and conceived and established a number of successful new community engagement programs. Additionally, Sandra was Executive Producer of the four-time Helpmann award-winning opera The Rabbits composed by Kate Miller-Heidke.

Sandra’s previous roles have included Company Manager of Bell Shakespeare and Company Manager of Priscilla Queen of the Desert – The Musical for its first two years. After graduating from NIDA, Sandra freelanced in stage management, event, and production management for many of Australia’s theatre companies, Arts Festivals, and Event Companies. She has served as a Branch Council member for the MEAA, Council Member for the Performing Arts Touring Alliance, was a Trustee of the Opera Australia Benevolent Fund for five years and was a member of the Regional and Touring Arts Programs Expert Assessment Panel for the Office of the Arts.  Sandra is currently a Board Member for Arena Theatre Company.

Sandra recently graduated from the Australia Council Arts Leadership Program and is an alumna of their Emerging Leaders Development Program (2012).