CQU Noosa Institute – Executive Retreat

Wednesday, 1 August – Thursday, 2 August 2018

Participants at the CQU Noosa Institute 2018 Executive Retreat were immersed in a practical, hands-on, innovative learning experience, set in the beautiful Noosa Peppers resort.

The aim of the retreat was to ‘demystify’ the topic of disruption by addressing the following learning outcomes:

  • using data analytics to grow and secure business;
  • disrupting traditional industries and business models using immersive technologies;
  • creating a business culture and preparing employees to embrace and  create innovation, disruption and change; and
  • disrupting the traditional business bottom line through social innovation and enterprise.

More information on the program, the speakers and our partnership with United Synergies are featured below.

DATE CLAIMER: The next CQU Noosa Institute Executive Education Retreat will be held on 31 July and 1 August 2019. Venue TBA. For further information please email

CQU Noosa Executive Retreat Transcript

Teressa Schmidt, Associate Vice-Chancellor (Sunshine Coast Region)
Official MC and Presenting: Welcome

Teressa has been involved in the adult and vocational education (AVE) field for nearly 20 years. During this time she has held various positions in TAFE and has undertaken research and course development work for both public and private organisations in Australia and the Pacific.
Teressa has worked as a sessional lecturer and tutor at Griffith University and is currently completing a PhD. Her research interests are in adult and vocational education, VET (Vocational Education and Training) teacher education and skills development, instructional design, workforce development and workplace learning.

Lyndon Davis, Artist, Educator and Cultural Performer
Presenting: Welcome to Country

Lyndon was born and raised on the Sunshine Coast and is a Traditional Custodian and representative of the Local Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi people. Lyndon feels blessed to have performed Welcome to Country for thousands of local community members, Government dignitaries including Past and Current  Prime Ministers and special Community Guests such as Queen Elizabeth II and the Holiness The Dali Lama.
Lyndon has worked extensively within our local community for the past 20 years presenting an exciting and informative Indigenous Cultural Education Program to local schools, universities and staff cultural awareness training. He has vast knowledge of our local Indigenous History, Aboriginal Culture, Gubbi Gubbi language, traditional song and dance and the arts. His workshops are always a treat.

Professor Peter Best, HOD AEFP / HOC Post Graduate Accounting, School of Business and Law, CQUniversity Australia
Presenting: Using data analytics to evaluate, grow and secure your business.

Dr Best is Professor and Head of the Department of Accounting, Economics, Finance & Property, at CQUniversity. He has held positions at the University of Newcastle, University of Adelaide, Flinders University, QUT, University of Southern Queensland and Griffith University. He has qualifications in accounting, operations research and information technology. His teaching, research and consulting interests include business intelligence and data mining, enterprise systems (SAP), information systems security & audit, sustainability reporting & assurance, automated fraud detection and data visualisation. He is also the co-author of the series of BDO Not-for-Profit Fraud Surveys 2006-2014. He is a Fellow, CPA Australia, and a Chartered Accountant.

Professor Pierre Viljoen, BA(Hons), MA PU for CHE, PhD (Industrial Psychology) NWU, Psychologist (QLD), MAPS
Presenting: Social Innovation

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Engagement and Campuses Division, Professor Viljoen leads the University’s engagement and campuses agenda in pursuit of its interests and strategic priorities. Professor Viljoen has executive responsibility for the University’s 13 Associate Vice-Chancellors, as well as its engagement portfolio, which takes in the Engagement Office, the Office of Social Innovation and the Office of Indigenous Engagement. As such, his role extends across the University’s extensive geographical footprint with the ultimate aim of supporting the development of sustainable communities and an equally sustainable university.

Professor Viljoen also serves as the Associate Vice-Chancellor responsible for the Mackay-Whitsunday region, specifically overseeing and supporting localised engagement and social innovation, growth and development, student experience and campus culture across the region’s two sites.

Professor Viljoen moved to Gladstone from South Africa in 2006 where he initially served as Head of Campus for three years before commencing the dual role of leading the Mackay campus and the engagement agenda from 2010. He was appointed in his current role as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement, Campuses and Mackay-Whitsunday Region) in July 2014.

Professor Viljoen serves on a variety of internal and external boards, including Reef Catchments and Ministerial appointments to the Mackay Hospital Foundation and Regional Development Australia Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday. He holds a doctorate degree in industrial psychology, has a passion for organisational development, and is highly committed to using CQUniversity as a vehicle to support the development of sustainable communities through engagement, social innovation and giving back.

Mr Chris Boden Founder, CreateNoosa
Presenting: Interactive AR/VR/Immersive experience

Chris is almost fully recovered from an international career as a tech exec and start-up guy focused on emerging technologies. He consults on product development and digital transformation whilst unlearning 16 years of creating mobile products, to skill up on immersive storytelling and robotics.

Inspired (more likely deluded) by Tim Ferris' mini-retirement concept, Chris moved his family to Noosa from Silicon Valley where he had run a mobile start-up spun out of Lonely Planet. He had spent the previous 5 years there as an exec leading mobile & innovation. Chris and his teams created some of the first smartphone apps for travel and had them featured by Apple at the launch of both the iPhone App Store and iPad, going on to generate millions of downloads and helping the company become the world's leading travel publisher on mobile platforms.

Before joining Lonely Planet, Chris founded and helped run start-ups in the mobile gaming and content space with stints in Sydney, Beijing and Singapore through the glass-chewing pre-smartphone phase of the mobile era.

In recent years, Chris has experimented with conversational commerce products, working with his distributed team to create Bleet (an on-demand household services app) and Tripchum (on demand travel advice from experts).

He has helped take a start-up from concept through to a Nasdaq exit, mixed it at the corporate exec level working with high profile boards and investors, and pitched to some of the leading VC's. Chris operates at a hands-on level with his teams and is as comfortable presenting strategy to a board and investors as he is prototyping new product ideas.

Chris founded CreateNoosa, a tech industry organisation helping develop job opportunities for talented local people over the next decade. CreateNoosa launched the world’s first interschools VR art competition and Immerse, Australia’s leading conference for immersive storytelling.

Prof Fiona Coulson, DVC, Strategic Development & Growth, CQUniversity Australia
Presenting: Welcome to CQUniversity

Prof Fiona Coulson is the CQUniversity Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Development & Growth), a role she commenced in 2018 after holding previous roles at CQUniversity including Dean of the University’s largest School; the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences. Fiona’s current role grants her oversight of major CQUniversity development projects both nationally and internationally. This position takes the lead on key strategies driving growth, the development of new products and new locations, employer engagement, reputation management and impact.

Fiona has a background in biomedical research, primarily in the relationship between diabetes and inflammation and their effects on gastrointestinal motility and respiratory function.  She completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Queensland and obtained a first class Honours degree in pharmacology in 1994. Fiona continued her studies into the pharmacological modulation of airway inflammation and was awarded her PhD in 1999 and extended her training with a post-doctoral fellowship in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. She returned to Australia in 2002 to a Lecturer position with Griffith University Schools of Pharmacy and Health Science, before later working for The University of Queensland School of Medicine as a Senior Research Fellow.

Mr Brett de Chastel, CEO Noosa Shire Council
Presenting: The Noosa Journey - Different by Nature

Brett is the Chief Executive Officer of the Noosa Shire Council - a role he has held since 2014 when Noosa Shire Council was re-established through a de-amalgamation. He has held senior management roles in local government for over 25 years throughout South East Queensland. He has experienced plenty of local government change in that time including two amalgamations and now a “start-up” Council.  Brett has also had six years in the private sector operating a boutique local government consulting business. During this time, he provided local government consultancy services to over 25 Councils across Queensland.

Brett holds a number of qualifications including a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Law, a Masters of Business Administration and an Australian Institute of Company Directors Diploma.  Brett is also a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a fellow of Local Government Managers Australia and is on the Queensland Board of LGMA.

In his downtime, Brett can be found staying fit by paddling on the Noosa River, mountain bike riding around Noosa or doing surf patrols on Noosa Main Beach.

Mr Jim Picton, Lecturer, Digital Media, School of Education & the Arts, CQUniversity Noosa campus
Presenting: Interactive AR/VR/Immersive experience

Jim is a part of the Bachelor of Digital Media academic staff, based at CQU Noosa. Prior to commencing employment with CQUniversity, Jim spent 16 years in a variety of educational and digital media development roles within the commercial, government and educational sectors.

Jim areas of specialty include virtual reality, illustration and game design, multimedia development, project management, learning management systems, content management systems, instructional design for flexible learning, teaching, and vocational training & education.

Mr Darryl Clare, OAM, CQUniversity Australia
Presenting: Interactive AR/VR/Immersive Experience

Darryl is a passionate educator that has been involved in clinical education for 25 years. He has a passion for education, research and implementing best practice in pre-hospital care. He is always looking for new and innovative ways to deliver education that makes it both engaging and dynamic, he has developed and delivered many successful education programs and has an interest in the use of technology in training.

Darryl is also a very active volunteer in several and varied communities based roles including; 12 years as a member of the Australian Resuscitation Council and current Chair of the Queensland Branch, a member of Scouts Australia for 26 years and holds the current position of Branch Commissioner Vocational Education and Training for Scouts Queensland and a role as a trainer with the Scouts Australia National Training Team and also as an active member of St John Ambulance Australia for 22 years where he has severed as the State Superintendent, State Training Officer and currently holds the role of a State Youth Development Officer.

Professor Julian Teicher
Presenting: Future-proofing your business and employees - what skills will be needed in the future?

Since 2016 Julian Teicher has been the Deputy Dean (Research in the School of Business and Law at Central Queensland University. His previous academic appointments include as the Head of the School of Business at RMIT University Vietnam, Head of the Department of Management and Director of the Graduate School of Business at Monash University.

Julian has degrees in Economics (B.Ec. Hons; M.Ec.) and Law from Monash University and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. In the early part of his career, he worked as an industrial relations officer for two unions, one in the maritime and power industries and the other in nursing. Here he gained experience and skills in counselling, negotiation and advocacy. In academia, he undertaken numerous research and consulting projects as well as providing media commentary on economic and industrial relations issues.

In his role as Deputy, Dean Julian is focused on building engagement with industry and the wider community across CQU’s various locations and developing the research portfolio of the School of Business and Law.

Dr Olav Muurlink
Presenting: Wickedly good:  the opportunities for social innovation and enterprise is hidden inside some of society’s most ‘wicked’ problems.

Olav Muurlink is a social psychologist specialising in social innovation (the tackling of entrenched societal problems using innovative solutions) and works stress. A former newspaper publisher, Dr Muurlink is a senior lecturer and Head of Course, Sustainable Innovation at CQU’s Brisbane campus, and also Head of Country (Bangladesh) for one of the largest education NGOs operating in Bangladesh. He is a regular expert witness on Working Time (including weekend work, night work and overwork) and has published widely in public health and human resource management.

Ms Beth Berghan
Presenting: Daring to be different workshop - developing a culture for shifting mindsets and facilitating employee mindset

Beth Berghan has extensive experience in management and senior executive management positions including Faculty Director at a large TAFE college and a national business development role. She worked in the public sector for over 20 years while concurrently owning and assisting with daily operations of 3 successful small businesses and has operated her own consultancy and coaching company, working nationally and internationally as a facilitator, coach, speaker, writer and in business and opportunity development since 2007. These experiences have provided Beth with a unique combined insight into the demands of an executive role and the challenges all small business operators face daily.

Beth is a creative thinker and provocateur who uses powerful and thought-provoking questions to encourage others to explore things from a different perspective. Her strong sense of self is reflected in the courage she shows when working with clients, often challenging and encouraging them to make changes to themselves, their teams and their organisation which have flow-on benefits at many levels. Beth is an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation.

Ms Jamila Shah, Licensed Care Manager, United Synergies
Presenting: United Synergies - Supporting Vulnerable Members of our Community

As Licensed Care Manager at United Synergies, Jamila’s role provides overarching guidance and coordination for all Licensed Care and family programs, supporting the care teams to ensure young people have a safe and nurturing place to live, grow and aspire to the future.
Jamila has worked in the child protection and community services arena for over 18 years, holding management positions for 25 years in both the community services sector and corporate sector. Over this time Jamila has developed extensive experience and knowledge in the child protection and family services field with roles undertaken in residential care, intensive case management services, youth education services, family services, disaster relief, child protection, Youth justice, Aboriginal-specific programs and disability services.
In the community services sector, Jamila has worked in a number of capacities, as the case manager, team leader, program manager, area manager and licensed care services manager. Her roles have taken her from Victoria to Brisbane, Rockhampton, Mackay and the Sunshine Coast, to further afield including a university placement with a child protection office in Northampton, United Kingdom.
Jamila holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Melbourne University majoring in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies, and a Diploma of Social and Community Welfare from Monash University.

Des Watkins, Managing Director, Watkins Steel
Presenting: Transforming the traditional steel manufacturing industry using digital technology

Des Watkins has been Managing Director of Watkins Steel since 2004, taking over from his father after working at the company for 10 years. He possesses a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Science and Maths) and a Bachelor of Applied Science and Construction Mgt.
Responsible for spearheading multiple initiatives over the years, Des has successfully implemented best practice lean manufacturing procedures in the factory and transformed the way Watkins Steel operates as a steel fabrication company.
Passionate about innovation, Des has led the Watkins Steel team to new heights by overseeing the development of the “Watkins Steel Four-Step Process”, an end-to-end digital workflow for steel fabrication and installation that is unique to Watkins Steel. His continued drive for innovation today has led to an extension of this process with the commissioning of a second-line of advanced robotics and experimentation in Mixed Reality.
Des’ innovative outlook has led Watkins Steel to win several awards, including the 2016 YPO Tommy Award for “out of the box” Innovation, the 2016 AFR & PwC’s Private Clients Aspire Awards in the category of Private Business Growth & Transformation ($10m-$50m) and 2017 Lord Mayor’s Business Award for Digital Adoption Strategy.

Ben Yu, 3D scanning/BIM Manager, Holovision 3D, the sister company of Watkins Steel
Presenting: Transforming the traditional steel manufacturing industry using digital technology

Ben Yu currently serves as 3D scanning/BIM Manager at Holovision 3D, with more than 15 years’ experience in the construction & engineering industry.
Before starting with Holovision 3D Ben spent 12 years as project manager/BIM manager working for sister company Watkins steel. During that time Ben was heavily involved with 3D laser scanning, BIM modelling, construction surveying, animation and AR technology.

Dr Michael Cowling, Senior Lecturer in Educational Technology, CQUniversity
Presenting: Interactive AR/VR/Immersive experience

Dr Michael Cowling is an educational technology academic and a Senior Lecturer at CQUniversity Australia, with a keen interest in technology/computer science education, educational technology and technology ubiquity in the digital age. He is currently a partner in an OLT Innovation and Development grant and is the recipient of an Australian Government Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. He founded The CREATE Lab at CQUniversity, focused on collaborative research & engagement around technology and education, and is the co-founder of The Mixed Reality Research Lab, in collaboration with Bond University, focusing on mixed reality technology research in education. Dr Cowling’s work focuses on how technology can be weaved into the pedagogy of a classroom, rather than bolted on to the side. Living by the mantra “pedagogy before technology”, he helps teachers and academics to innovate with technology, leveraging it as a tool to improve the overall education process.

Event Program - Day One

8 - 9 am
Arrival and registration

9 - 9.25 am

Professor Fiona Coulson, CQUniversity Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Development & Growth)

9.25 - 9.45 am
Welcome to Country
Lyndon Davis (Gubbi Gubbi Dancers)

9.45 - 10.30 am
The Noosa Journey - Different by Nature
Brett de Chastel, CEO Noosa Shire Council

Brett will welcome the retreat’s participants to Noosa, and explain why being “Different by Nature” is at the core of Noosa Council's purpose. He will also outline how as a “start-up” CEO, he managed rapid change during a period of significant disruption (starting a brand new Council following a de-amalgamation) using guiding principles and practical application. Brett will also focus on Council's economic planning that focuses on disruptive and innovative businesses to ensure that Noosa can create sustainable outcomes that meet the needs of its residents and its world-renowned natural environment.

10.30 - 11 am
Morning Tea

11 - 12.30 pm
Using data analytics to evaluate, grow and secure your business.
Key note speaker: Professor Peter Best, CQUniversity

This session will explore the application of data analytics and visualization to evaluate, grow and secure your organization. This session will explore tools for assessing financial performance and performance based on non-financial KPIs, understanding your products, customers and suppliers, identifying areas for intervention and strategic activities, assessing fraud vulnerability and detecting potentially-fraudulent behaviour.

12.30 - 1.30 pm

1.30 - 2 pm

Keynote Presentation: United Synergies - Supporting Vulnerable Members of our Community
Ms Jamila Sha, Licensed Care Services Manager (United Synergies - Event Partner) 2 - 3 pm Interactive AR/VR/Immersive experience: Demystifying new technologies for business innovation and success (Part One)
Mr. Chris Boden (Founder, CreateNoosa) Mr. Jim Picton (Lecturer, CQUniversity) Mr. Darryl Clare OAM (Lecturer, CQUniversity)

Would you like to unravel the secrets of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)? The immersive technologies of AR and VR are emerging as key disruptors in every industry sector and are reshaping the way that products and services are created, promoted and experienced. Our world-class AR/VR future technology gurus will show you just how effective and simple some of the available applications are to use. You will come away from this hands-on, immersive experience with practical ideas and strategies to apply disruptive technologies to promote and grow your business. 3 - 3.30 pm Working Afternoon Tea 3.30 - 4.30 pm Interactive AR/VR/Immersive experience: Demystifying new technologies for business innovation and success (Part Two)
Mr. Chris Boden (Founder, CreateNoosa) Mr. Jim Picton (Lecturer, CQUniversity) Mr. Darryl Clare OAM (Lecturer, CQUniversity) 4.30 - 5.30 pm Optional - Networking Cocktail Hour

Event Program - Day Two

8.30 - 9 am
Arrival and networking

9 - 9.15 am
Welcome and introduction to Social Innovation
Professor Pierre Viljoen, CQUniversity Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement and Campuses)

9.15 - 10.45 am
Wickedly Good: the opportunities for social innovation and enterprise hidden inside some of society’s most ‘wicked’ problems.
Key note speaker: Dr. Olav Muurlink, CQUniversity

Solving society’s problems is traditionally considered the ‘government’s job’, but increasingly government is looking to the private sector and non-government and in particular non-profit sectors for solutions. Traditional solutions to ‘wicked problems’ (complex problems highly resistant to change, such as youth unemployment, drug abuse, poverty, indigenous and rural disadvantage) are expensive and offer an extremely poor return on investment. Social innovation and social entrepreneurship approaches offer leaner, more effective responses, and enterprises able to argue for a social innovation advantage are likely to gain the ear of government and non-government funding agencies.

10.45 - 11.15 am
Morning Tea 11.15 - 12.45 pm Future-proofing your business and employees - what skills will be needed in the future?
Key note speaker: Professor Julian Teicher, CQUniversity

Much has been written about the 4th industrial revolution, the future of work and AI but the exact shape of the future is unknown. What is reasonably clear is that technology is transforming many jobs and that new jobs are coming into existence, but continuity will be the norm. Plumbers and electricians will not disappear any time soon.The issues of the future of business and jobs take on a somewhat different character in the regions because of the intersection with the challenges of regional economic development.In this regards both government intervention and foreign investment are key; major infrastructure investments are a pre-condition for most forms of foreign investment.

12.45 - 1.30 pm

1.30 - 3 pm
Daring to be different workshop - developing a culture for shifting mindsets and facilitating employee mindset
Key note speaker: Ms Beth Berghan

We all learn by experience that damage control is not the same as making progress and obviously we all want to minimize any damage to our core business and to our teams as we negotiate the race to keep our organisations competitive and relevant in the marketplace. One constant is the internal and external pressure to be innovative, to be agile and to be responsive to individual client’s needs. Any change will mean burning some old ways of doing things and changing things up so that you are all ready for a sustainable and competitive future. The temptation is to overthink and overcomplicate rather than keeping things simple so that you can pivot quickly. Being bold and decisive and different from your competition is going to take courage and strong leadership. You may need to get out of your own way and give yourself and your team permission to be disruptive in your industry. This interactive presentation/workshop explores some of the mindset shifts you, your teams and your client base will need to make to stay ahead of the pack.

3 - 3.30 pm
Wrap up/conclusion
Professor Pierre Viljoen, CQUniversity Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Engagement and Campuses)

3.30 - 4.15 pm

CQUniversity Noosa Institute is proud to have partnered with United Synergies for the Noosa Executive Retreat. We are happy to announce that we will be making a cash donation plus donating a percentage of ticket sales to the foundation.

United Synergies is a Queensland based not-for-profit supporting vulnerable people facing a range of issue across 5 core areas: Mental Health, Child & Family Relationships, Homelessness, Training & Employment, and Support after Suicide.

When people need help, many of them are feeling distressed or mentally unwell, are having relationship and/or family violence difficulties, don’t have stable housing, are struggling financially, are/or are either unemployed or looking for more work. Often they are experiencing several of these issues all at once.

Everything United Synergies do is dedicated to people living better lives. They support people across Queensland from our work sites in Tewantin, Maroochydore, Nambour, Caboolture, Toowoomba and most recently Bundaberg. They also provide support after suicide to individuals and communities across Australia.

To find out more please visit

Our 2018 participants had great things to say about the Executive Retreat and some of the sessions they attended:

“The speakers were very good and so varied. Excellent, useful topics. Well facilitated. Great venue! Very good networking opportunities. It was excellent! I learnt a lot and made great networks. I enrolled in the MBA Leadership course as a result and it also challenged me to think about social innovation and how I can contribute.”

“Loved the interactivity between presenters and the audience through the activities.” – Daring to be a different presentation

“I really enjoyed this presentation as it was a thought-provoking, challenging and contemporary discourse around future employment.” – Future proofing your business and employees presentation

“This immersive session has sparked my interest and unlocked creative ideas for application in my work” – Immersive Technology presentation

Don’t miss out on the 2019 event, further details will be announced soon.

For further information please email

CQU Noosa Institute - Executive Retreat