Internal

We have a dream to make work absolutely human.
That’s why we called our company just that. Mwah.
Our whole company is dedicated to those 4 words.

CEO mwah

Rhonda Brighton Hall

Determined | Optimist | Human

My life and career merged a while back.

Love people and all the crazy potential every single one of us brings.

Especially love the people side of business and work. I’ve never felt the need to reframe that in fancier or more technical words. People are businesses. In fact, at the heart, that’s all businesses are – a bunch of people working together towards common goals. And “working” matters. It’s such an important part of all our lives. And our contribution, is the only part of any business that has unlimited potential.

I’ve spent my career on the people stuff, working with some of the biggest and best companies all around the world, but I’ve always thought – “we could do this better. We could make work (and leadership) better for all of us – more inclusive, more real, and more ‘human’.

So, here we are doing just that.

I fundamentally believe that inclusion, good leadership and treating each other as equals, is not only foundational for good people practices in organisations, but equally of more equitable and prosperous economies and communities. In short, if we include as many people as possible in work, then we start to build the sort of community and society we all want to live in.

Behind the scenes, if you could see my ‘real resume’, you’d know I grew up in Wollongong (‘the Gong’), and as such I inherited that ‘work very hard and be straightforward’ work ethic. I don’t step back from either.

Away from work – I’m a wife, a mum, a friend, a person who likes to laugh, and a great lover of the ocean.

Business Director

Sonja Ankucic

 Energiser | Ideator | Friend

Sonja is a Business Director with mwah.

With over ten years’ experience in senior roles, Sonja is a commercially focused HR professional with expertise in leadership, strategy, industrial relations, change management and organisational culture. Known for her energy and her pragmatic and creative approach to people and business, Sonja is deeply passionate about working with leaders to create a better world of work for tomorrow.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business (HR & IR), a Masters in Labour Law and an MBA, and is a Professional Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute (CAHRI). Sonja has worked extensively across Australia and Asia Pacific and has proven success working and leading teams across a range of industries including Supply Chain, professional services, telecommunications and not-for-profit.

A lover of animals (especially her rescue Greyhound Daisy), music, travel and wine, most days you can find Sonja working on the mwah. couch in our Sydney office.

Business Director

James Hancock

Listener | Thinker | Doer

James is a Business Director with mwah.

With a diverse range of experiences across HR, Strategy, Business Management and Digital, he loves finding the intersections across roles and functions to learn from the multidisciplinary – to inform organisational strategy, leadership, culture and talent. He takes a considered yet practical approach to bring to life his mwah. descriptors of “Listen”, “Think” and “Do” (in that order!).

James holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Business (HR) and Arts (Psychology) from Macquarie University, supplemented by courses in Business Strategy and Commercial Acumen, Design Thinking and Product Ownership.

He has worked to harness diverse talent as a member of Graduate and Diversity Councils at a leading Financial Institution, led the development of a talent portal with an agile team in Vietnam, and advised senior executives on a range of customer and people challenges.

Away from mwah., James is a tennis tragic (which aptly describes his love of the game and the way he plays it), a water baby, a chuffed Uncle and a member of the Development Advisory Committee at Be Centre.

Human Capital Consultant

Zoe Collyer

Zoe is passionate about all things human. She believes people are inspired by passion which promotes high levels of energy, commitment and engagement.

Zoe started her career as a HR Graduate in the Northern Territory Government, after completing her university studies. During her time in the Northern Territory, she gained valuable experience in learning and workforce development, employee relations, WHS and project management.

Since moving to Sydney, she has worked in FMCG and consulting.

Zoe is customer and solution focused, with a passion for creating high performing workplacesShe brings curiosity and thirst to understand the ‘why’, pushing us to think differently.

Zoe has a bachelor’s degree in Business (HR Management) from James Cook University . She considers herself to be a professional student who holds a range of certificates and is currently working towards her AHRI Practicing Certification.
She is also an animal lover and the proud owner of an elderly foster cat You will find her on the weekend exploring Sydney and it’s wine!

Co-Founder

Michael Brighton-Hall

Everyman | Yachty | Family Man

As a Co-Founder of mwah., Michael is passionate about helping people improve the way they work.

He works with entrepreneurs and businesses providing them with a resource base of everything they need to work with people in a good way.

A constant re-inventor, Michael’s experience spans a variety of industries including telecommunications, heavy industry, traffic engineering, IT and real estate. Most recently he was the Director of Gone Sailing Yacht Charters as a qualified commercial captain.

He is also a prolific fundraiser for children with autism whilst supporting the improvement of men’s health through LifeLine.

If you were stranded on a desert island and not sure what to do, Michael is the guy who’d get you through.

EA and Social Media Producer

Alicia Luong

Reader | Dreamer | Designer

Alicia is Executive Assistant to Rhonda and looks after Social Media at mwah. She keeps the wheels on the business as we move forward and is an invaluable member of the team.
She is currenlty studying for her Diploma in Graphics Design and is an enthusiastic promoter of humorous memes.

Digital Manager

Kerri Thomas

Driven | Pragmatic | Mixologist

Kerri is the Digital Manager at mwah. responsible for the website, digital marketing and IT.
She has spent the last 20 years working in small businesses - agencies, technical, marketing industries with a period of moonlighting in hospitality & cocktail training.
Having built and run two businesses in the UK over a seven year stretch Kerri approaches business with an innovative & pragmatic approach. She is passionate about company development through digital transformation and knows that the only way to succeed is with an awesome team of people.

Kerri loves water sports, travelling the world and family time.

Table of ten

We have some lovely and very clever lawyers & accountants working with us, but our table of Ten is much more special.
It’s ten vastly diverse and different people - some people who think ’in system’ (how can we make this better) and some people who think ‘out of the system’ (How can we make a better way). They have just two things in common - deep expertise and capability in their own field and a lifelong passion for humanity.
Not just a belief that the future can be better for all of us, but a serious track record of making it so. The table of ten guides the thinking behind mwah. They’re the ideas people who challenge us every day and keep us on track to make work absolutely human.
And, yes, we stole the idea from King Arthur - Ten equals from ten different adventures, coming together around a table, to talk about one common goal.

CEO mwah.

Rhonda Brighton Hall

My life and career merged a while back.

Love people and all the crazy potential every single one of us brings.

Especially love the people side of business and work. I’ve never felt the need to reframe that in fancier or more technical words. People are businesses. In fact, at the heart, that’s all businesses are – a bunch of people working together towards common goals. And “working” matters. It’s such an important part of all our lives. And our contribution, is the only part of any business that has unlimited potential.

I’ve spent my career on the people stuff, working with some of the biggest and best companies all around the world, but I’ve always thought – “we could do this better. We could make work (and leadership) better for all of us – more inclusive, more real, and more ‘human’.

So, here we are doing just that.

I fundamentally believe that inclusion, good leadership and treating each other as equals, is not only foundational for good people practices in organisations, but equally of more equitable and prosperous economies and communities. In short, if we include as many people as possible in work, then we start to build the sort of community and society we all want to live in.

Behind the scenes, if you could see my ‘real resume’, you’d know I grew up in Wollongong (‘the Gong’), and as such I inherited that ‘work very hard and be straightforward’ work ethic. I don’t step back from either.

Away from work – I’m a wife, a mum, a friend, a person who likes to laugh, and a great lover of the ocean.

Related Organisations

Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) – FAHRI-CP and Non-Executive Director

FlexCareers – Chair

Phronesis Academy – Board

ASPECT

Feel the Magic – Board

Sydney University

Telstra Business Women Alumni

Lauren Fried

I love working with people to grow things; whether it’s their businesses, non-for-profits, confidence and awareness in business, or helping them think bigger about all aspects of their lives.

For the last 13 years my day job has been leading my marketing and advertising agency Pulse Collective. I also have business interests across restaurants, consulting and advisory firms, food production, technology and working with Indigenous communities to create food micro-businesses.

I also love talking about all things marketing and advertising, so being a regular panelist on the ABC TV show Gruen is a perfect outlet for that. In my work downtime, I travel to bucket list locations where I can feed my other passion which is food and wine.

Rebecca Cassells

I am a mother of two incredible young women and I’m keen to do all I can to make their world a more equitable place to live and work in. I’m a big fan of data and use it to create information that produces valuable insights into economic and social issues – and hopefully helps solve a problem or two. I also like to find ways to connect everyday people to complex research findings and speak numerous languages to try and make this happen – academia, private sector, government, everyday person. As an Associate Professor with the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, I’m currently leading a project, partnering with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency to provide insights into gender equity across Australian businesses. My research to date has focused on issues around inequality and disadvantage and has been influential in driving public debates and influencing good policy and legislation. I’m hoping that it will continue to be used for this purpose.

Kathy Finckh

I’m like a lot of people now days with multiple careers that have taken the lattice path, not necessarily the ladder path. From finance, IT, recruitment, leadership development and organisational systems, I’ve taken every opportunity I can to learn and grow. However growing up with two sisters and having two daughters, I’ve always had a strong desire for equity. I want everyone to be treated fairly and respectfully, taking me from a traditional human resources career to championing inclusion for all. I like to lead change and help others see the possibilities. My 30 years in the corporate world, particularly the 9 years leading diversity and inclusion at Australia’s Commonwealth Bank, shaped my thinking beyond ownership and power as a strength. Strength comes from people feeling valued, included, empowered and having choices.

Now as Director Leadership Development at Chief Executive Women, I work with executive teams to engage them in leading equity in their own organisations and helping them find their own strength and courage to drive change.

I resist judgment, am open-minded and enjoy listening and learning from others. There is so much to learn.

Michael Combs

I believe that access and opportunity should be afforded to all and I firmly believe that diversity is good for business. I strongly advocate for excellence in all we do when working with vulnerable individuals and this underpins the vision of the organisations I founded, CareerTrackers/CareerSeekers.

CareerTrackers is a national non-profit organisation that creates internship opportunities for Indigenous university students across Australia. CareerSeekers is social enterprise that works with leading organisations to create employment opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees who aspire to obtain professional employment.

I champion the use of Innovation in learning. Without a commitment to innovation in education and business, how do we expect to nurture future thought leaders and game changers?

Without focused programs there is no national drive to spread innovation and change in learning and teaching across business and education.

My education is varied. I graduated University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Business Administration. I was awarded an internship with Hewlett-Packard for five consecutive summers through the INROADS program then was offered a full time position when I graduated. During 10 years with HP my career spanned the US, Australia and the UK. In 2000 I was named a Gates Millennium Scholar, in 2003 I was awarded the US Congressional Medal of Service for community outreach and development. In 2013 I was recognised in the inaugural Westpac Community Leaders Award for Social Entrepreneurship and named in the 2015 Australian Financial Review True Leaders list.

Narell Hooper

grew up in country NSW, where our family ran a farm and a pub (frequently chaotically), my mum worked nightshift as a maternity sister and I was the first in my family to go to uni.

I’m eternally curious; I like the people stuff and the finance, tech and sciency stuff and I like to get things done by crossing disciplines and building communities of interest.

I’ve been founding co-chair of the Australian Financial Review’s Women of Influence Awards and learned what makes CEOs tick as editor of BOSS Magazine. I’m a director at The Ethics Centre, Documentary Australia Foundation and Springboard Enterprises Australia which runs the accelerator program for women entrepreneurs. I co-authored New Women New Men New Economy in 2015, which shows how inclusive cultures drive innovation and sustainable growth. I also teach yoga and meditation and reckon you can pretty much sort most differences over a shared meal.

Áine Watkins

Áine acts as bridge between two worlds. She stands at the intersection between the tension of reality and possibility, data and poetry, mystery and practicality, the organisational and the personal. Her work has been evolving, into leading the sacred business of becoming whole, as she has journeyed through over 20 years of working as a consultant with organisations around the world. She bears both the joys and scars of working to streamline the messiness of being human into systems designed to predict and control, and daring to find ways to enliven the human spirit within the boundaries of organisational life. An Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, she specialises in working as an executive coach and trusted advisor to game-changers who want to shape a better world.

Everyman

Michael Brighton-Hall

As a Co-Founder of mwah., Michael is passionate about helping people improve the way they work.

He works with entrepreneurs and businesses providing them with a resource base of everything they need to work with people in a good way.

A constant re-inventor, Michael’s experience spans a variety of industries including telecommunications, heavy industry, traffic engineering, IT and real estate. Most recently he was the Director of Gone Sailing Yacht Charters as a qualified commercial captain.

He is also a prolific fundraiser for children with autism whilst supporting the improvement of men’s health through LifeLine.

If you were stranded on a desert island and not sure what to do, Michael is the guy who’d get you through.

Business Director

Sonja Ankucic

Sonja is a Business Director with mwah.

With over ten years’ experience in senior roles, Sonja is a commercially focused HR professional with expertise in leadership, strategy, industrial relations, change management and organisational culture. Known for her energy and her pragmatic and creative approach to people and business, Sonja is deeply passionate about working with leaders to create a better world of work for tomorrow.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business (HR & IR), a Masters in Labour Law and an MBA, and is a Professional Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute (CAHRI). Sonja has worked extensively across Australia and Asia Pacific and has proven success working and leading teams across a range of industries including Supply Chain, professional services, telecommunications and not-for-profit.

A lover of animals (especially her rescue Greyhound Daisy), music, travel and wine, most days you can find Sonja working on the mwah. couch in our Sydney office.

Business Director

James Hancock

Listener | Thinker | Doer

James is a Business Director with mwah.

With a diverse range of experiences across HR, Strategy, Business Management and Digital, he loves finding the intersections across roles and functions to learn from the multidisciplinary – to inform organisational strategy, leadership, culture and talent. He takes a considered yet practical approach to bring to life his mwah. descriptors of “Listen”, “Think” and “Do” (in that order!).

James holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Business (HR) and Arts (Psychology) from Macquarie University, supplemented by courses in Business Strategy and Commercial Acumen, Design Thinking and Product Ownership.

He has worked to harness diverse talent as a member of Graduate and Diversity Councils at a leading Financial Institution, led the development of a talent portal with an agile team in Vietnam, and advised senior executives on a range of customer and people challenges.

Away from mwah., James is a tennis tragic (which aptly describes his love of the game and the way he plays it), a water baby, a chuffed Uncle and a member of the Development Advisory Committee at Be Centre.

Expert Contributors

At mwah., we’re lucky enough to be working with some serious experts. Absolute thought leaders with deep specialist knowledge. Here’s just some of our growing community of expert contributors.

Photos and Bios COMING SOON
Darren Murphy, Dr Renee Brighton, Paul Davis, Chris Nelson, Ronni Khan.

CEO & Founder of Energx

Sean Hall

TEDx speaker, awarded innovator and Chief Energist, Sean Hall, says that he's on this fifth career (fitness, marketing, technology and HR have come before), he's built two startups and worked as employee #11 in another. Over two decades of leadership experience. Most importantly, Sean learned why wellbeing is important the hard way by suffering burnout, or what he calls an energy crisis, twice in three years. This ultimately led him to create wellbeing company Energx and work with brands and governments who believe their most valuable asset is the collective energy and creativity of their people.

Founder of Flourish Consultancy

Nikki Hobin

Nikki is an experienced coach, consultant and facilitator and the founder of Flourish Consultancy.
Respected for her integrity, creativity, energy, and solutions driven approach, Nikki is passionate about working collaboratively with businesses, leaders and their teams to help them flourish, love their careers and generate ongoing success.
A key note speaker at seminars and conference events and the co-author of two white papers. She worked for 20 years as a Senior Marketer and Business Developer within FMCG, manufacturing and retail businesses in Europe and Australia. She is also EL and DiSC accredited.

Customer and People Transformation

Sally Ann Lyster

My career is defined by leading transformational change and performance improvement.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, I have taken on new challenges for progressive corporations domestically and offshore - traversing through leadership and executive roles in finance, strategy, customer service transformation, digital integration, capability, culture and organisation development - while completing my MBA along the way.

Executive Manager for Strategic Projects & Small Business

Leah Wilmot

Leah is an Executive Manager for Strategic Projects and Small Businesses at the Commonwealth Bank. She has extensive experience in recruitment.

Diversity & Inclusion Specialist

Jennifer Levasseur

Jennifer works passionately on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion programs and has spent 18 years in supplier diversity, working with Indigenous suppliers across Australia, Europe and North America.

Jennifer was the Head of Indigenous Affairs at Commonwealth Bank, responsible for the Group’s Reconciliation Action Plan programs and previously Head of Communications and Corporate Responsibility for Staples where she developed and implemented Staples first Reconciliation Action Plan and supplier diversity program.

She’s especially proud of her role helping educate Australia on supplier diversity. Her work was recognised by Supply Nation with the ‘Supplier Diversity Champion’ Award in 2011 and 2013.

Now she’s helping organisations develop their corporate responsibility and diversity and inclusion programs, including Reconciliation Action Plans and supplier diversity programs.

Co Founder Equal Reality

Ric Martin

An inclusive technology design specialist, MIT Global Entrepreneur Alumni, and winner of the UN’s Unleash Innovation Lab 2017. Rick started his career in tech consulting, sales, and international financial markets, working for global tech leaders IBM, and Bloomberg. Rick formed a passion for social entrepreneurship, and cofounded Equal Reality, which is leveraging VR/AR to transform learning and development for inclusion. Equal Reality is an alumni of the Remarkable incubator (one of only two disability inclusion focused incubators in the world), an Advance Queensland Hotdesq Alumni, and a Halcyon Fellow in Washington DC.

Co Founder Equal Reality

Annie Harper

Annie believed there were more effective ways to teach social skills and inclusion, and founded Equal Reality to do just that; utilising Virtual Reality's ability to teach what it’s like to be in another person's position.

Her broad technical background covers Programming, Game Development, Computer Graphic Art, UX testing and research, Multi-Spectral light cameras / sensing technology.

CTO at Equal Reality

Brennan Hatton

Brennan began building virtual worlds and communities 10 years ago, and has since founded several social impact companies in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), game development and education.

He is currently co-founder and CTO at Equal Reality, which The Ageing Revolution described as “transformational, shifting people’s perceptions and helping to create better workplaces, better communities”. Equal Reality creates diversity and inclusion training in VR, allowing you to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”, so anyone can experience discrimination or inappropriate behaviour from the perspective of others.

CEO & Co-Founder at Drop Bio

Phil Hayes St Clair

Phil is CEO & Co-Founder of DROP Bio, a direct-to-consumer health information venture, a Member of the Board of Directors at Sangui Bio and an Advisor to Sempo, a venture using blockchain technology to rapidly send relief funds directly to victims of natural disasters.

He previously led global business development at inkl prior to which he was CEO and Co-Founder at AirShr, a world-first audio recognition and interaction technology for radio.

Phil also led user-centred design product teams at Suncorp and AMP after starting his career as an Australian Army soldier.

Phil is an ardent believer in the power of sharing knowledge and experience. He delivers weekly entrepreneurship insights with passion and humour through his blog, podcast and Youtube, earning him a finalist spot as Startup Journalist of the Year at StartCon 2018.

He also teaches entrepreneurship to MBA candidates at Australia’s leading business school, the Australian Graduate School of Management at UNSW.

He has a Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) from QUT and an MBA from AGSM. His early experience in the military led him to become an Ambassador at Soldier On and Veterati. His wife and two daughters sparked an interest in women in leadership and he is a mentor and ambassador at Inspiring Rare Birds. Phil has also represented Australia in triathlon.

CEO, The FlexAgility Group

Vanessa Vanderhoek

Vanessa Vanderhoek has a well deserved reputation for delivering results in flexibility and leadership consulting, training and coaching. She is the proud founder of Flexible Working Day.

Based on her personal experience in executive roles and managing geographically dispersed (flexible and agile) teams, Vanessa has witnessed firsthand the productivity benefits for business, and how it drives the attraction and retention of top talent.

Vanessa has a unique position of having sat on both sides of the fence. She was an executive for 10 years, and over the course of her career, adopted many different types of flexible work, including full-time flexible, part-time, shift‑work, compressed work weeks, working remotely, ‘fly-in, fly-out’, career break (to live and ski in Canada!), leave without pay, long service leave and carer’s leave. Some of these flexible work arrangements were due to the nature of her roles, while many others were adopted by Vanessa as a choice for her personal and family life, and health and wellbeing.

She loves travel, cooking and studying a passion dear to to heart, functional nutrition. Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Commerce, is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), is a highly experienced management consultant and a qualified (and engaging!) trainer and coach.