Our Guests

MORE TO COME...

Series 3


Colette joined Cufa’s board in August 2018. With over 20 years’ experience in leading NGO’s both in Australia and Internationally, Colette brings a unique synthesis of effective and respectful leadership skills and practical experience gained through roles as the Laos-based Country Director for a global NGO, CEO of an Indigenous financial inclusion foundation, and strategic public-private partnership manager. Colette has extensive knowledge and expertise in female-centred economic development programs, microfinance and financial inclusion and is a highly skilled fundraiser and strategic stakeholder management advisor.

Take me to this episode!

Amanda Young is an Indigenous woman to the Pacific Islands who has worked extensively across the political, social and economic equity of Indigenous people. A lawyer by trade, she has worked in criminal law, government, commerce and as the CEO of an Australian Indigenous economic charity she won awards for a world-first Indigenous financial edutech program and a superannuation outreach program that reunited $24 million superannuation with its remote Indigenous owners. An Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity at the London School of Economics, she has attended Harvard and Stanford executive business schools, she now builds the Oceania Atlantic Fellows program at the University of Melbourne as its partnerships manager.

Chris has been a volunteer in the international development sector for 35 years and is a strong advocate of customer owned banking – she is Chair of RESULTS Australia, Chair of Women in Aid & Development, Director of Gateway Bank and a member of CUFA International Programs Committee. She has been a director and Chair of a number of not for profit, government, mutual and corporate organisations including CUA, ACFID Code of Conduct Committee and was the recipient of the inaugural ACFID Award for Outstanding Service to the Aid and Development Sector. Chris believes our society is stronger, better managed and better governed with women in leadership roles. To that end her aim as the founder and Chair of the Women In Aid & Development network is to encourage, inspire and support women to advance their careers and, in time, secure leadership, CEO and director roles.

Take me to this episode!

Rithy is a young Cambodian entrepreneur who co-founded SmallWorld Venture, which focuses on investing in & supporting early stage team-startups and redefined their goal toward building tech-startups and aligning with the green business movement. He also co-founded Codingate.com, a local software development firm specializing in mobile and web applications.

Since 2016, Rithy has led a blockchain and decentralized application research and a development project at SmallWorld Research Lab. Now called KOOMPI OS, this R&D project aims to apply blockchain applications to broader markets and industries. During the same time, he co-founded two other projects; VitaminAir.org a reforestation project which is currently piloting on a 100 hectares estate located in the western side of Cambodia. And Selendra.org is a blockchain platform for ownership and digital assets tokenization built with Substrate Framework.

Take me to this episode!

Jeff Bost is a career international development consultant. His expertise covers team leadership; program design, management, and performance assessment; monitoring and evaluation, and training. He has a passion for mentoring counterpart staff and young professionals. Jeff is a former AusAID/DFAT officer with postings to the Australian Embassies in Jakarta and Beijing, and with the intergovernmental organisation the Commonwealth Secretariat with postings to London and the Solomon Islands. He has carried out long and short-term assignments across a wide range of sectors in over 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Pacific, Europe and North America.

Take me to this episode!

Manuel Renteria is a Team Leader for Carers Queensland with a Bachelor in Agricultural Engineering and a Masters in Agricultural Development. He was born in Colombia during the armed conflict between the government, guerilla groups, crime syndicates and paramilitary groups. Before relocating to Australia, He worked for 8 years as a Project Coordinator for the Development and Peace Corporation of Magdalena Medio (CDPMM) in Colombia. Some of his areas of expertise include culture, health, poverty, human right violations and regional conflict.

Take me to this episode!

Nigel Spence is a Research to Practice Associate at the Institute for Global Development at the University of New South Wales. He is currently completing a PhD investigating the influence of international organisations on child protection policy in Vietnam. Nigel recently completed 14years as CEO of ChildFund Australia overseeing child-focused development programs in the Asia-Pacific region. He also contributed to the wider international development sector and in 2019 was awarded the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), Outstanding Contribution to the Sector Award. Previously, Nigel was CEO of the NSW Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA). His early career was as a child welfare social worker in Australia and the UK.

Take me to this episode!

Dr Michael Spann is a Founding Director of Square Circle which is a global development consulting company headquartered in Brisbane, Australia. Working at the intersection of theory and practice, Square Circle offers services in leadership and policy; governance; institutional strengthening; program design and management; digital storytelling; research; monitoring and evaluation; and conflict, peace and development. Square Circle works with a diverse range of clients and stakeholders throughout the Indo-Pacific and puts an emphasis on sustainable and inclusive development. Dr Spann also lectures in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland on global development, political economy and Indo-Pacific security.

Take me to this episode!

Nicole Stanmore is the CEO of Habitat for Humanity Australia, an international NGO that works in partnership with volunteers, corporate partners and families to provide appropriate housing solutions in sustainable communities. Prior to joining Habitat, Nicole held senior positions at the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and at Good Return, an international development agency providing microfinance and financial literacy. Nicoles is a lawer by training, has an MBA from Cambridge University in the UK and is originally from Santiago, Chile.

Take me to this episode!

Series 2


Clare Brown is an international human rights lawyer and currently works as the Legal Program Manager at Legal Action Worldwide (LAW). Clare has been in this position for almost six years after working as a legal intern at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Her work sees her based between Kenya and Somalia with travel to South Sudan and Lebanon developing and implementing creative legal interventions to address human rights violations with a focus on sexual violence and violations committed by security forces.

Take me to this episode!

Amelia Christie is the CEO of RESULTS, an advocacy organisation that informs political decisions by empowering everyday voices to bring an end to poverty. RESULTS trains, supports and inspires volunteers to become skilled advocates and is a partner of ACTION, a global partnership of advocacy organisations working to influence policy and mobilise resources to fight diseases of poverty and achieve equitable access to health. Amelia has also worked with Ministers of Parliament and for both small and large NGOs. She is passionate about human rights and using people power to bring about positive change.

Take me to this episode!

Veronica Nou is a pharmacist and proprietor of two pharmacies in Western Sydney. Veronica was born in Cambodia during the time of the Khmer Rouge and her family fled the country, arriving in Australia in 1991 by way of refugee camps. After earning a scholarship at a private girl's school, Veronica overcame a tough start in Australia to complete a Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Sydney. She now dedicates her spare time to speaking out about refugee advocacy as a national convenor for the group Mums 4 Refugees.

Take me to this episode!

Paul Jones is an associate professor at the University of Sydney. Paul has 30 years of professional experience in developing sustainable urban management, development and planning solutions in Australia and overseas. Within this experience, he has worked across Asia and the Pacific and spent over 8 years living in Kiribati as their first urban development planner. Along with his position at the University of Sydney where he teaches a range of subjects he also runs overseas workshops, providing field experience and works with development agencies such as UN Habitat, ADB, UNESCAP and formerly AusAID.

Take me to this episode!

Aaron Kearney is a multi-award winning broadcaster, journalist and sports commentator with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. As a member of the ABC’s International Development team he has led the communications support for the Pacific Sports Partnership, an Australian Aid program that promotes gender equality, disability inclusion and a variety of health benefits. Aaron has also worked as a commentary lead, training and mentoring female journalists across the Pacific in the Women In News and Sport (WINS) initiative.

Take me to this episode!

Guy Winship was the founder and CEO of Good Return, an organisation that provides microfinance across the Asia-Pacific region. Good Return delivers programs to those who are financially and socially excluded, empowering through financial inclusion. Guy is a development expert who has worked in Africa, Asia and the Pacific for 30 years. He has consulted and advised governments and NGOs on microfinance, public policy and vocational training.

Take me to this episode!

Series 1


Weh Yeoh is the founder of OIC Cambodia, established for the 600,000 Cambodians with communication and swallowing disabilities. According to Weh, OIC is one of a handful of charities in the world working towards its own exit. OIC will exit Cambodia in 2030, when there are 100 Cambodian speech therapists integrated into the public sector. Weh is also the co-founder of Umbo, an initiative to improve access to services for children in rural and remote communities. He has been featured on TEDx, The Huffington Post and The Sydney Morning Herald.

Take me to this episode!

Kate Lee works for Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, the global justice organisation of the Australian union movement, where she has been the Executive Officer since 2013. Prior to Union Aid Abroad, Kate worked for Australian trade unions for 12 years, and before that, worked in women’s health, community health and social justice organisations in campaigning, organising, advocacy, policy and management roles. In August 1988, following the crackdown on student activists by the Burmese military and the shooting of thousands of young people, Kate joined with others to spur on an Australian solidarity movement supporting Burmese democracy. She’s been campaigning for human rights and equality since. Kate has a Master of Policy and Applied Social Research from Macquarie University. In 2002, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to investigate union and community organising in the US, Canada, UK and Europe.

Take me to this episode!

Tim Costello is Chief Advocate at World Vision Australia and is one of Australia’s most sought-after voices on social justice issues, leadership and ethics. He has spearheaded public debates on gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse. He has been instrumental in ensuring that the issues surrounding global poverty are on the national agenda. Tim was ordained as a Baptist Minister in 1984 and he established a vibrant and socially active ministry at St Kilda Baptist Church. He has served as Mayor of St Kilda, Minister at the Collins Street Baptist Church and as Executive Director of Urban Seed, a Christian not-for-profit outreach service for the urban poor.

Take me to this episode!

Melissa Bungcaras is the Gender and Resilience Manager for ActionAid Australia. She is currently managing a portfolio of programs across the Asia-Pacific focused on women’s resilience to climate change and disasters, and drives policy advocacy on climate justice and women’s leadership in emergencies. Melissa has over 10 years’ experience in international development and environmental management, primarily in the Asia Pacific region.

Take me to this episode!

Stephen Wearing is a conjoint professor at the University of Newcastle whose research focuses on sustainable tourism and the importance of community based approaches in the tourism and volunteering sector. For 22 years he ran VOICE Volunteers in Community Engagement (previously known as Youth Challenge Australia), a not-for-profit organisation sending volunteers on grassroots, community-identified development projects since 1992.

Take me to this episode!

Mahir Momand is a microfinance expert and the CEO of Thrive Refugee Enterprise, an organisation that provides microfinance and business support to refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Previously, Mahir served as CEO of the National Association of Credit Unions in Afghanistan, worked for the World Bank, UNHCR and was Financial Adviser to the Federal Ministry of Labour in Afghanistan. The microfinance programs run by Mahir have helped establish a total of 165,000 small and medium business enterprises in Afghanistan. These have provided a livelihood for nearly 1 million people.

Take me to this episode!

Brynn O’Brien is an international lawyer and researcher in the area of business and human rights. She started her career as a corporate lawyer and then went on to practise human rights law, representing refugees in Australia’s detention centres and people who had suffered human trafficking and severe exploitation in Australia. Now as Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, she holds Australia’s largest companies to account for their impacts on people and the environment.

Take me to this episode!

Aimé Saba has worked in the field of international development, humanitarian assistance, peacebuilding and peacekeeping for over 10 years. He recently returned to Sydney after serving as a civilian peacekeeper with the UN Mission in Liberia in Monrovia. He has also served on the Iraq desk of the Department of Political Affairs at the UN Secretariat HQ in New York and has worked for the Australian Government’s overseas aid program (AusAID) on humanitarian programs in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, North Korea, and the Philippines. Aimé is an accredited Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist and is currently part of the Australian Civilian Corps Cadre with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Take me to this episode!

Antony Loewenstein is an independent freelance journalist, author, documentarian and blogger. Antony’s best-selling books include My Israel Question, on the Israel/Palestine conflict, The Blogging Revolution, on the internet in repressive regimes, Profits of Doom, about privatisation. His latest book is Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe, about fortunes made from disaster, poverty and catastrophe. His first film is Disaster Capitalism. He’s currently working on a book about the global “war on drugs”.

Take me to this episode!