Brian Walker – CEO & Founder, Retail Doctor Group

As the principal and founder of Retail Doctor Group® in the Australasian and Asian market place, Brian brings considerable senior experience gained in the specialty retail, franchising and shopping centre sectors through line management, consulting, advisory and board roles.

He has successfully led change teams in multi channel retail arenas and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of many notable, integrated retail channel strategy projects
including, Optus, Hutchison Telecommunication, Global Brands Group, National Australia Bank and a host of other well recognised retail, franchise retail and service organisations both nationally
and internationally. Brian has also successfully advised and operated on boards and associations in retail strategy and deployment.

Brian founded Retail Doctor Group in 2005. RDG specialises in the development and transformation of retail strategy into increased asset performance, increasing client sustainable differentiation models underpinned with independent systems and frameworks increasing revenue and profitability. These focus areas are delivered through Retail Doctor Group “Business Fitness” programs.

Retail Doctor Group are the Australian elected representative member of Ebeltoft Group, a global alliance of retail experts.

Mark Eymes – Business Owner, Manly Markets

Mark Eymes was a pro-surfer in the early 80’s who had to get a real job and ended up working for Rip Curl in Promotions for 3 years.

After visiting nearly every surf shop in Australia, Mark seized the opportunity to open his own surf shop in 1987. After teaming up with Doug Lees, Australian Surfer HQ was born and quickly grew to 12 stores in NSW and QLD. 

After 25 years, Mark and Doug sold their last 2 Manly stores to Billabong.  After a gap year, and a chance meeting with Dougal Walker, Mark was hired to oversee the Volcom retail stores in VIC, NSW and QLD. After 3 years, Mark headed to France for another gap year and has now been running Manly Markets for 11 years.


Richie Vandenberg – Founder, The Hidden Sea

“Richie” is a 4th-generation grape grower, with over 25 years with his family enterprise.

Best known for his 10-year AFL career, and leadership role as Captain of the Hawthorn Football Club—Richie was part of the 2005 team turnaround that led to a 2008 Grand Final win, and the start of Hawthorn’s streak as one of the winningest teams in modern AFL history.

Following his AFL career, Richie continued to lead an active life as an avid ocean kayaker, kite surfer, and family beach enthusiast — and this drew his attention to the destruction that plastic had brought to the sea. So, in 2013, he co-founded The Hidden Sea winery to leverage his leadership skills to create a wine brand with a positive, verifiable impact on ocean waste plastic pollution.

For every bottle of wine that The Hidden Sea sells, they remove and recycle the equivalent of 10 plastic bottles from the ocean. To achieve this, they’ve partnered with ReSea Project, a community-driven Danish company operating in Southeast Asia — one of the most plastic-polluted areas of the world.

The work that The Hidden Sea and ReSea Project do, is independently-validated and verified by DNV (a world-renowned dedicated auditor). Together, they’re setting the global industry standard for the sustainable removal and cleanup of ocean waste plastic.

Josh Kirkman – CEO, Surfers for Climate

Surfers for Climate CEO, Josh Kirkman, has a history in climate communications in the Nordic Cleantech Investment space as well as a sporting history in competitive bodyboarding. As a bodyboarder, Josh has earned multiple Australian Championship titles as well as being a highly-ranked competitor on the global stage.

He is passionate about affecting change in the diverse and growing surf community, focussed on leading this community towards greater political agency for people and planet.

After many years abroad, Josh resides on Worimi Country, which is where he was fortunate enough to spend his childhood enjoying the waves at Tuncurry Beach.


Greg Scott – Owner, Stryker Media

Stryker has been operating for 15 years, dealing with a lot of the major brands and retailers in the Surf Industry over this time for their signage, point of sale and advertising requirements.

Before Stryker Media, Greg spent 6 years at Morrison Media in the production department dealing with 15 different titles through the sporting industry. During this time Greg was also selling advertising space for Australian Surf Business with Keith Curtain, being the Queensland “link” for years.

Chris Mater – CEO, Surfing Australia

Chris joined Surfing Australia as their Chief Executive Officer in 2018, following a 19 year career with Red Bull. Chris has spent his 25-year sales, media and marketing career in a fast-paced, consumer-focussed environment within the USA, Australia and New Zealand markets.

He joined a new energy drink brand in 1999 as Sports Manager for Australia and New Zealand. He was an integral part of the brand’s launch, selling the first can of Red Bull in the market and being a part of their explosive growth in the Southern Hemisphere.

In early 2004, Chris took the leap and moved to a content creation role within Red Bull North America. During this time, he created the Content Development Department which included being responsible for making and distributing Red Bull TV shows, films and content comprising of Faces Magazine, Red Bull Illume, and ‘That’s It That’s All’ snowboard film.

In 2013, he was promoted and became the GM for Red Bull, responsible for running the $320 million dollar can business on the West Coast of the USA.

Chris was also a professional skier on the Australian Ski Team, a winning nominee of the Sports Business Journal’s ‘Forty under 40, Class of 2010’ and owned production company, RCJ Productions that produced the award winning film ‘The 6th Element – the Ross Clarke Jones Story’.

Toby Simm – Managing Director, Left Bank Art Group

Toby Simm has been in the print industry since graduating design college in 2003. Kicking off his career at  Worldwide Online Printing and years later, using CMYKhub to service his freelance design business, he developed his understanding in running print manufacturing businesses. Officially joining the family picture framing business in 2013, over the last decade he has grown Left Bank Art Group from a retail picture frame shop into one of Australia’s most sought after artwork reproduction companies. Producing fine art prints on paper and canvas and drop-shipping around the world has been Left Bank’s core offering for many years. In 2020, Toby invested in a HP R2000 to offer wallpaper and tiles to his clients, and in 2022 he installed the first Kornit Presto direct-to-fabric printer in the country, to not only expand Left Bank’s home decor offering but to also enter the fashion industry.


Tom Leak – General Manager, Rebel Sport

Tom Leak has over 30 years of experience in the Australian Retail industry and currently serves as General Manager Retail – Rebel Sport .

Tom joined Super Retail Group in April 2013 as General Manager of BCF, and transferred to rebel in April 2020.

Previously, Tom served as the National Retail Manager for Steinhoff Group, the parent company of the Freedom Group at the time, and his experience there included executive roles at Freedom, Bay Leather Republic, Bayswiss and Freedom Home.

Andy Ireland – Founding SBIA Board Member / Former Owner, Saltbush Surf

Andy is an SBIA Founding Board Member and was a Surf Retail Store Owner for 25 years. He has previously won and been the runner up for Australian Independent Retailer of the Year | Single Store.

Andy has also previously been involved with ISRA as the President and Secretary.


Gary McCartney – Owner & Creative Director, McCartney Designs

With more years in the industry that he cares to think of, Gary has gathered a wealth of stories and the grey hairs that come with them.

He is a great listener, a keen observer, a writer, speaker, artist, and Ironman. Last but not least, a visionary creative director and team leader. As our senior strategist, he sets the foundations for our award-winning concepts.

Having worked as an architect in the UK and the USA, he has been calling Australia home for  twenty five years, and has completed  projects in North America, the UK, Europe, Asia and Australasia. 

McCartney Design had its tenth anniversary in 2021 and Gary continues to lead the team to explore a world of new opportunities.

Laura Cahir – Retail Fit Out Specialist / Retail Store Owner

In her nearly 25 year career in house construction, retail fit outs, retail spaces and now owning 2 retail stores, Laura would call herself a jack of every trade. Since leaving both National and International roles with major global brands, she went on to build a 6000m2 shopping centre in Fiji, before finally deciding to dabble in retail herself. With 2 of the most prominent brands she’s worked with in her many years, it seems quite fitting that Laura landed on 2 café/surf/ethical retail spaces (one on the Coral Coast and one in Nadi).  Laura is a past recipient of SBIA’s Shop Fit Out of the Year, as well as Australian Retailer of the Year, so she can’t wait to be in the judging seat for once!


Carla Bridge – General Manager, Shop! Australia & New Zealand

Carla Bridge is General Manager of not-for-profit retail marketing association, Shop! ANZ (formerly POPAI). Shop! provides a range of membership services for retailer marketers in addition to the annual Marketing at Retail Awards. Carla has more than 15 years experience in the Australian retail and FMCG industries. Prior to Shop! ANZ, she was Head of Media and Communications at the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Managing Editor of trade retail news titles, Inside Retail and Inside FMCG.

Paul Burdekin – CEO

Paul has a track record of combining strategic thinking and strategy development with implementation via and engaged and hands on application to the day to day business. He has excellent apparel and accessory experience obtained across a 20-year career within the Youth and Women’s Fashion sectors across the Asia Pacific and European markets. With hands on experience – across concepting and assortment planning, through design to supply chain, and ultimately to demand creation and in market execution.

Jay Woods – Creative Director, A.N.D.

Jay Woods is a Graphic Designer and Creative Director at A.N.D, based between the Gold Coast and Sydney.
Agency Next Door is a design practice that connects culture, commerce and creativity to deliver meaningful brands, buoyed by insights and grounded by intuition. Prior to commencing with A.N.D, Jay worked in Sydney and the Netherlands on both agency and brand side, in design and creative positions for Stab Mag, Monster Children Creative, Deus ex Machina, Unilever and Element Skateboards.  Today, his focus is on creating product and lifestyle campaigns, website design and branding for a mix of clients and industries nationally and internationally.