The Innovators

'It begins with passion'

Dr Narayan Gopalkrishnan


Dr Narayan Gopalkrishnan is the Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Social Work course and is a Fellow of the Cairns Institute at James Cook University, Australia. Narayan has worked for over thirty-five years in Australia and overseas in universities, NGOs and the private sector and has held senior leading roles in research and sector development. Narayan brings together his background in business and in community development to his work in Social Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise. He has helped to establish a social enterprise network spanning eight countries in Southeast Asia and is the founding chair of the Social Enterprise Network for the Tropics.

Crystal Williams

Deputy Chair

Director of Social Enterprise Australasia, facilitating and strengthening the growth of social enterprise with a particular focus on the tropics. Currently involved in a team project developing a coherent, representative and ambitious growth strategy for social enterprise and impact-led business in Queensland. Crystal is committed to raising the profile of social entrepreneurs as innovators in business and impact. She is an experienced researcher, strategist, facilitator, project manager and academic.

Crystal Williams

Anita Veivers

Theme Leader

Anita Veivers is the Executive Director of Centacare FNQ. Passionate about working with people and community, Anita is a member of several community advisory groups across the disability and community sectors, and chairs the regional Disability Advisory Council as well as representing FNQ on the Queensland Disability Advisory Council. With a long-held interest in Social Enterprise Anita is excited to be leading development of a local enterprise offering employment pathways for refugees and migrants, whilst also addressing the need for ethical and sustainable practices in our community.

Stephen Ung

Aboriginal &Torres Strait Business Leader

Stephen Ung is a Regional Director with the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. For more than 20 years, his roles in Far North Queensland have included state and local government program delivery, contract administration and environmental engineering. Stephen is committed to working with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses as they contribute to economic growth and navigate private and social enterprise models.

Shiralee McHardie

Theme Leader

Shiralee McHardie holds the position of  Manager of  Community and Customer Services for the Tablelands Regional Council. Shiralee has a 16 year career in Local Government working across the Tablelands, Cairns and Central  North West Queensland, with Local State and Federal Governments, NGO’s, Universities and the private sector.

Shiralee is responsible for the strategic and operational development of community health & wellbeing, equity and inclusion, community development and social capital investment, cultural development, sport and recreation, libraries, customer relations, the community and regional arts development grant programs, tourism & information, arts culture and events within the Tablelands Regional Council.

Shiralee’ s guiding values that underpin her work include a holistic approach to sustainable community development grounded in principles of human rights, inclusion, social justice, education, empowerment and collective action.

Dr Taha Chaiechi

Theme Leader

Dr. Chaiechi is Australian Director, Centre for International Trade and Business in Asia (CITBA), at James Cook University where she is also a faculty member at the College of Business, Law, and Governance. Taha’s research attitude is holistic and inspired by issues in climate change and natural disasters, and their impact on different economic sectors such as public health, tourism, environmental and energy economics.

Dr Josephine Pryce

Theme Leader

Josephine is a scholar of Organisational Behaviour with a keen interest in ‘the nature of work’. She came to Academia with a strong industry background having worked for Australia Post and the Hotel Industry. During that time, she developed a strong appreciation of the challenges faced by workers, employers, and organisations in service industries. Her PhD extended understanding of service predispositions, human relations in the workplace, and organisational culture; and developed a fascination for the nature of work. Josephine seeks to enrich her research through methods and methodologies that can better understand the lives of people in communities and the world, especially in relation to their working lives.

Jennifer McHugh

JCU Liaison

Jennifer has a background in Social Science and brings extensive experience in project management and coordination, particularly in community and social development. Currently, Jenni is the Program Coordinator, Development in the Tropics at The Cairns Institute, James Cook University and has led project coordination for complex projects, events, and conferences, both in Australia and overseas. Jennifer is the licensee and curator of TEDxJCUCairns and is a board member or involved in a number of community organisations including Straw No More and the Kuranda Neighborhood Centre. She is passionate about promoting and creating better outcomes and opportunities for people in FNQ.

Natalie Musmeci

Theme Leader

Natalie Musumeci is the Area Manager for Mission Australia Community Services Cairns & Townsville.    Natalie has been with Mission Australia for ten years and prior to this worked in Child Protection for 8 years.  Natalie is a qualified Social Worker whose passion is working for the vulnerable people in our community.