2023 GenAngus Speaker Spotlights

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The program is designed for individuals seeking further knowledge, skills and confidence on a range of elements associated with conducting a successful business no matter what your background. The program has key elements of key business skills success, marketing and communications, Breeding and Genetics for Beef Cattle, teamwork, leadership and creating key networks and as such an exciting line up of speakers have been invited.


Jason Strong – Managing Director, Meat and Livestock Australia

Jason Strong has more than 30 years’ red meat and livestock experience, knowledge and connections from the farm through to the end consumer in both domestic and international markets. He is a well-recognised and respected senior executive with extensive skills in commercial and industry business management and administration, supply chain development, meat science and grading, genetics and marketing as well as on-farm experience. Mr Strong is Managing Director of Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd and is a director of Integrity Systems Company Limited, MLA Donor Company Limited, AUS-MEAT Limited and Red Meat Traceability Systems Pty Ltd, and Chair of the EU and UK Red Meat Market Access Taskforce.






Simon Quilty – Global Agritrends

Simon graduated from a bachelor of Melbourne University Agricultural Science in 1987. His first job was as a research officer with the Victorian Farmers Federation Pastoral Group for four years and was involved with bringing farmers and the meat processing sector together in Victoria with initiatives like establishing a direct shipping service from Victoria into Japan to open up the Victorian chilled beef market in Japan.

Simon moved into the meat trading and processing sector in 1990 working for Louis Dreyfus Australia for four years – spending part of his training in North America – at the time LDC was the largest single buyer of export beef in Australia. Simon’s career moved to ConAgra Foods who at the time owned Australian Meat Holdings and DR Johnston where he worked for seven years and once again resided overseas – his involvement with meat trading remained until 2010 with his own trading company and established his own brand names in various countries.

In recent years Simon has moved into the risk management sector and developed derivatives and meat swaps that are used by companies in both North America and Australia on managingto manage price risk in processed meat and livestock. Simon spent two years working as a consultant with FC Stone in started starting up the livestock and meat desk and in 2015, co-founded the Southern Aurora Group.  

 Today he is an independent meat and livestock analyst and also brokers swaps on behalf of large financial institutions in Australia and the US and brokers physical meat products around the world (namely from Australia, NZ and India), working with large international companies that have interests in China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US. 

 In 2022, Simon was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, and he is currently overseas doing this research. The project’s aim is to look at methane reduction schemes in the livestock sector around the world with the aim of rewarding farmers for lowering methane. He is travelling to 11 countries which include the US, Canada, Portugal, Spain, and Germany. Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Ireland, and New Zealand. 

 He returns to Australia in mid-May and is planning on a report to be written by August this year on his findings.


Heidi Wright – Founder & Director, Wright Social Pty Ltd

Heidi Wright is the Director of Wright Social Pty Ltd, a resourceful and strategic team of social media experts specialising in Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn Marketing for the agri-rural sector. Our purpose is to help organisations that add-value to the agriculture, food and fibre sectors to GROW, through providing ongoing access to world-class social media strategy and tactics, executed in a way that aligns with their core values. Heidi shares a connection to grass roots agriculture with a passion for authenticity unique to every single business and client.







Angus Street – CEO, AuctionsPlus

A global agribusiness executive with success achieving businessgrowth objectives within start-up, corporate and rapid-change environments.
Angus has extensive experience with technology systems, which require deep understanding of critical business drivers in multiple markets and industries, opening of new markets through strong sales and trade marketing as well as growing businesses through innovation, process improvement and transformational technologies.

CEO of AuctionsPlus, Angus is focused on taking the $3.4 billion GMS business to the next level. Angus wants to add value right along the supply chain and sees online marketplaces as a key enabler of success.
Passionate about helping businesses evolve to stay ahead of the pack through the use of digital technology, Angus believes that with a little country music, genuine conversations and a motto of ‘the sum of us  beats the one of us’ we can shape the future of the Ag sector.





Francis English – Director Relationships, Regional & Agribusiness, Judo Bank 

Passionate about finance and agriculture, Francis’ role with new Australian bank Judo Bank is the ideal combination. This is supported by previous work with the Federal Department of Agriculture in Canberra, as a CPA accountant working with primary producers in South East SA and an international agri bank working across SA. Now based in Adelaide, he travels across the state to see clients at their kitchen table, and help them to manage and grow their business. He has a straightforward approach, and is enthusiastic about financial literacy and having an organised approach to business ownership. 







Jess Cavanagh – Succession Planner, Proagtive

She is passionate about the evolution of modern agriculture and seeing that farming families use best practices to ensure longevity and sustainability of the industry. Jess holds a degree in Arts/Laws and worked in private practice in Dubbo before moving to her hometown of Harden and working in the field of Economic Development for Local Government. Jess has been with the Proagtive team since 2018.

Jess is fourth generation in a family farming business. Her husband, Brad works in the business and also runs his own Angus stud. Jess sees family farm living as the best type of lifestyle for raising her three children and teaching them to realise the major role that agriculture plays both domestically and internationally.

Jess’ dream is that Australian families will continue to have the passion, drive and skill to continue in their roles as custodians of Australian farms, well into the future. Jess believes the Proagtive team has the expertise to assist families in upholding this dream.



Pete Clark – Director, 21 Whispers

Uncertain times require certain minds. As the world changes and adjusts to our new normal our mindset will be the difference that makes the difference. 21 Whispers was born to build that very capability. We believe life whispers to us, and occasionally – it shouts. When it shouts, we tend to do something about it.

Pete specialises in leadership team alignment and executive facilitation using mindset and behavioural methodologies to bridge the performance potential gap. Results are achieved by providing tools and strategies to close the gap and offering support along the way. Pete has engaged with C-suite executives and leadership teams for over 20 years. Previously, he was a Partner with full-service training organisation rogenSi heading up the leadership & mindset practice within the APAC region.

Pete is more interested in your progress than your comfort and client feedback is that his style is engaging and interactive; pragmatic yet stretching; empowering but edgy. His clients include: Air NZ, NAB, ANZ, KPMG, Discovery, Novartis, Unilever, CoreLogic and Arup.




Diana Wood – Marketing & Communications Manager, Angus Australia

The Angus breed is in Diana’s blood, she grew up on parents property at Coonamble NSW where Outwest Angus has been run since its inception in 1989. Diana’s grandfather is a life member of Angus Australia.

Diana is a product of the Angus Youth program having been an Angus Youth Ambassador in 2002 and involved in the Angus Youth Management Committee in subsequent years. In 2004, Diana won the Angus Youth National Judging Competition and subsequently studied at the University of Illinois in 2005 on a scholarship as the award for winning that competition.

Diana has completed a Bachelor of Economics with a Marketing Major at the University of Sydney and has worked as a Marketing and Administration Assistant at the Balmain Leagues Club, as a TACE processor at ABRI, Executive Officer at Murray Grey Beef Cattle Society, Marketing Assistant and Marketing & Communications Manager at Angus Australia.

Given her involvement in the Angus Youth program, Diana has a passion for supporting youth in agriculture and believes it is integral for the up and coming stars of the beef industry to be provided access to the tools which can help them succeed, in particular in the areas of marketing and communications.


Cheyne Twist – Senior Marketing & Communications Officer, Angus Australia

Cheyne Twist is the Senior Marketing and Communications Officer at Angus Australia, a role she has been in since 2018.

In her role at Angus Australia, Cheyne works with the Marketing and Communications team to create and implement communication strategies to promote the Angus breed, Angus Australia members and information out of the society.  She has a background in Public Relations and Communications, completing her bachelor’s degree in 2017.

Cheyne is third generation in her family grazing business and comes from a commercial cattle operation in Southwest Queensland, where she is based and works remotely from.  Having grown up producing cattle, Cheyne has a passion for the agricultural industry in which she has carried through into her professional career.





Jake Phillips – Extension Manager, Angus Australia

Jake Phillips is the Extension manager at Angus Australia, based in Naracoorte SA. Jake has  wealth of industry experience and knowledge and has worked across Australia in a variety of positions in the beef supply chain. Jakes role is considered front line with Angus members and breeders of Angus cattle to assist them in understanding the variety of breeding and genetics selection tools and information available to them. This also includes overseeing the expansive Angus Youth scholarships, awards and bursaries offered to industry.

Prior to joining Angus Australia , Jake worked for one of Australia’s largest processing companies in a variety of roles including livestock procurement, supply chain and branded beef programs, quality assurance and processing plant management. Jake also previously held positions with MLA and was heavily involved in the Meat Standards Australia program from on farm production to retail and food service and everywhere in-between.

Jake also serves on the committee of the largest beef carcase competition in world , overseeing the grading and competition and also serves on the South Australian Junior Heifer Expo committee.

Jake enjoys judging cattle and has been fortunate to judge cattle across Australia at several royal shows including the largest led steer show in Australia.

In his spare time Jake and his wife run Phillips Cattle Company, a registered cattle business selling Angus and Murray Grey bulls to local commercial producers looking for modern day genetics.


Richard Officer – Business Development Manager for SA and WA, Achmea Australia

Richard Officer joined Achmea Australia in February 2016 as a Farm Insurance Specialist supporting the Moree (NSW) and Goondiwindi (QLD) regions.  

Since then, Richard has held several positions with Achmea Australia including as Regional Manager for NSW and National Strategic Alliance Manager to support the farm insurer’s strong growth in the agricultural sector. 

Currently, as Achmea Australia’s Business Development Manager for SA and WA, Richard is delighted to work closely with Angus Australia to support the 2023 GenAngus program. 

Born and raised on a broad acre farming enterprise outside of Boomi in Northern NSW, Richard understands first-hand the importance of risk mitigation to help keep farmers farming. 




John Francis – Director/Consultant, Agrista

John is a business management professional with over fifteen years’ experience in agricultural business management consultancy and a further fifteen years’ experience in production agriculture (agronomy). John is a competent small business owner and manager.

John has a proven understanding of the drivers of productivity and profitability in broadacre agriculture. John assists clients to develop and implement strategies that improve operational performance and deliver increased financial returns. John relies heavily on farm performance assessment and comparative analysis to identify opportunities for improvement in productivity and profitability.

John has consulted to financial institutions, government and industry bodies, corporate, family and individual investors, farm managers, legal practitioners and agricultural service providers. John works primarily with grazing and mixed farm businesses (beef, lamb, wool, goats and crop) ranging in asset value from under $1 million l to over $200 million. He is also holds several farm advisory board positions.

John is a regular presenter at industry events and updates on a broad range of topics primarily around farm productivity, profitability, strategy and growth.

John enjoys the challenge of working as an expert in legal matters, delivering presentations, podcasts and workshops because these jobs require skill, not only to understand the content, but also to distill and simplify key messages so the audience remains engaged while learning.


Matthew Merrett – Manager, Brentalls SA

With almost a decade of experience in the taxation and business advisory sector, Matthew has a broad cross-section of expertise in many different industries. An upbringing in the rich agricultural area in the South-East of South Australia provided the platform for a considered understanding and appreciation for all kinds of farming businesses. It fostered Matthew’s keen interest in small business. He specialises in many areas, including management reporting, budgeting and forecasting, compliance and tax planning.
A practical, minimal fuss attitude is the backbone for Matthew’s approach in working with clients. This philosophy is driven simply by listening to clients and understanding their challenges, finding the best strategies and solutions for each situation, and then communicating and implementing the processes required in easy to understand language.
Matthew has a keen interest in budgeting and management reporting, particularly as a tool to help clients understand their current financial performance, establish goals, and employ strategies to meet those goals. Utilising the latest technology and software allows Matthew to drive these processes and minimise the bookkeeping burden for many clients, allowing them to focus their energy on core business operations and strategy.