Matt Jones Images  VicSuper Logo

Matt Jones, Co-Founder & Creative Strategist Four Pillars Gin 
'In Craft We Trust'

Matt Jones, Co-Founder and Creative Strategist at Four Pillars Gin, will share the story of Four Pillars Gin (so far) as well as some simple but effective lessons anyone can use to build their brand and grow their business.

Matt Jones is one of Australia’s leading strategists and storytellers when it comes to the intersections of brand, business, leadership, experience, culture, technology, human behaviour and storytelling. 

Matt has an eclectic background, combining economics, politics, brand experience and gin.   

From 2001 to 2005, Matt was Chief Political Adviser to the UK Conservative Party (the youngest person in the party’s history to hold that role). 

In 2006, Matt moved from politics into brand experience, first in Sydney and then in New York City, as Jack Morton Worldwide’s first chief creative and strategy officer. Between 2006 and 2012, Matt became one of the world’s most influential thinkers in the emerging world of brand experience, helping brands like IBM, Microsoft, Qantas, Sony, Samsung and Volkswagen navigate their way in a new era of socially-connected consumers and experience-led brand building. 

In 2012, Matt founded his own consultancy, focused on applying creative strategy, storytelling and experience design to brand and business challenges for corporate, craft, start-up and social businesses. 

In 2013, Matt co-founded Four Pillars Gin, a craft gin business based in Healesville in the Yarra Valley. Matt takes the lead on building the Four Pillars brand and customer experience, and has helped Four Pillars Gin become one of Australia’s fastest-growing and most admired craft businesses. 

Matt is obsessed with sport, food, photography, wine, film, travel, politics, fiction, architecture, technology, design, hotels, ideas, experiences, cinema, contemporary art, human behaviour, ideas and (yes) gin. He works in, speaks about, and connects the dots, between all of the above areas and is a former panellist on The Gruen Transfer.     


James Stewart Image WDEA Logo

James Stewart, Managing Partner Ferrier Hodgson 
'Digital Disruption & the New Consumer' 

James Stewart is the Managing Partner of Ferrier Hodgson, an independent turnaround and restructuring firm based in Australia. James has worked with many businesses over his 30 year career providing strategy advice, performance enhancement solutions and corporate restructuring services. He has developed a reputation as one of Australia’s leading corporate doctors.

James is Ferrier Hodgson’s retail practice leader. James has a strong understanding of the global trends having seen what goes wrong and what goes right with businesses. He is adept at interpreting changing consumer behaviours and breaking down the impact that digital disruption has on the market. 

James is highly regarded as a key advisor by boards, CEOs, lenders and financiers with his experience covering $6 billion of retail sales in Asia Pacific. He has travelled extensively overseas with Westfield studying retail businesses and global trends. James has acted for stakeholders involved in global brands such asSteinhoff Asia Pacific (Board Advisor), Topshop Australia (Administrator), Payless Shoes Australia (Administrator) and Dick Smith Electronics (Receiver).

Attendess will leave with understanding what digital disruption looks like and how it critically affects their business. James will outline a global and local view on the disruption happening right now, how consumers are responding and the challenges for the business future. His presentation will be content rich and digital by nature. Attendees will be challenged to navigate the status quo and plan for the future. 



Eliza Brown  City of Ballarat Logo

Eliza Brown, CEO All Saints Estate 
'Making Good Mistakes' 

Eliza Brown is from a fourth generation wine family from Victoria Australia.
She studied advertising business at RMIT Melbourne and eventually earned a role as an account executive at the international advertising firm J. Walter Thompson.

On a rainy winter’s day in Melbourne and an hour and a half in traffic, Eliza decided it was time for a change of scene and moved to All Saints Estate winery in Wahgunyah in 2001 to join her family business.

Currently, Eliza enjoys building regional businesses; she is the CEO of All Saints Estate (1864), St Leonards Vineyard (1860), Mount Ophir Estate(1891), Thousand Pound Wine Bar& Store (2015) and Luxe Auto (2018) all located in Rutherglen Victoria.

Eliza likes to contribute to the broader wine industry and issues; she is currently a director of her broader family business, Brown Brothers and is also chair of Wine Victoria’s Five Pillars Project.

When not immersed in wine, she enjoys spending time with her beautiful daughter's, the region of North East Victoria, and having a competitive game of tennis against her husband, Denis.


Nick & Peter  Commerce Ballarat Logo

Nick Stanley, Co-founder & Peter Dostis, CEO & Co-Founder Runway
'Using Startups to help your Business Innovate'

Nick Stanley is an active entrepreneur with a focus on the success of regional startups…simply put, Nick loves startups.  Tech, startups and innovation are his purpose.

Nick’s significant success story to date was Sky Software which he founded in 2011 and led to an acquisition by Tribal Group PLC in March 2014.  At its time of acquisition, Sky Software quickly grew to become one of the largest privately held software companies in regional Australia with ~100 staff and $14m in revenue.

Sky Software was Nick’s second successful startup exit but since then Nick has co-founded several other successful projects including FitMyCar, Educrowd, Runway and ConvX.

Nick also travels significantly spending a large amount of time in the UK / Europe, SE Asia and the US and is a Limited Partner in Silicon Valley VC fund, Maven Ventures.

Nick is married and lives in Geelong (Victoria, Australia) with his wife and three children.

Peter has over 15 years business experience in senior management and executive roles as an intrapreneur and 15 years as an entrepreneur in 4 businesses he started.  Peter’s exposure to over 30 different organisations has given him a great depth of business operating experience across different industries.

Peter is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of Runway, established in Geelong in 2016 to provide support and services to regional entrepreneurs. 


Pete and Nick will talk about what is happening in Australia with Corporate Accelerators and some emergent trends in the startup space overseas.