The founding team at WOA, bring together a wealth of skills and expertise in agriculture, finance, investment management, entrepreneurship and development.

The board and management teams unite in a vision and zeal for social and environmental transformation, and are delighted to pool their combined experience and expertise in order to launch and steer a new, sustainable and replicable model of productivity and inspiration.

  • Proven stock market entrepreneurship
  • Senior investment management portfolio
  • 35 years corporate finance experience
  • 30 years experience in ethical and sustainable investments
  • 35 years agriculture experience
  • 5th generation farming family connections
  • 3rd generation wheatbelt farming commitment
  • 10 years experience with government and donor funding programs for development and infrastructure.

Do we have the expertise and experience to deliver this ambitious project?

“Wide Open Agriculture has an incredibly important mission ahead of them. A real game-changer for the way we think about sustainable farming in Australia. Once you learn about the team leading this ambitious project, and the fact that they have some of the most experienced brains in the country working on this – you really believe the project can be delivered.”
-Anna Bowden, ex-Senior Associate, Social Outcomes, 2015.

socialoutcomes.com.au

Anthony (Maz) Maslin – Chairman

Stock market entrepreneur and social change visionary, driven to bring new meaning and hope to environmental and community projects.

Background

I started as a stockbroker 13 years ago. During the first 6 years I managed several capital raisings for micro-cap companies, and provided ethical investment advice.

I then founded Solar Energy Systems (SES) Ltd (now Solco Ltd), which I listed on the ASX two years later. SES was the first solar energy company listed on the ASX.  I remained the founding MD of SES for 7 years, raising in excess of $7 million in equity capital for the company.

I’ve since consulted to and managed listed companies, including 5 years as the MD of Buxton Resources Ltd, an ASX minerals exploration company, and remain a non executive director of two ASX listed companies.  In total I’ve worked in the small listed companies space for in excess of 20 years.

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My community project involvement is something I have always made time to prioritise. I was the President of the Scarborough Primary School P&C for 4 years, and with my wife have started Scarborough’s first community Art Collective – the Artspace Collective.  I also run a Foundation focused on early intervention for dyslexia – the Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin Foundation.

I hold a Bachelor of Business (Finance & Entreprise).  I’ve also undertaken postgraduate studies at the Securities Institute of Australia and undertaken undergraduate studies in Anthropology and Geology. I’ve always had a keen interest in social and environmental, as well as financial, dynamics. It is very exciting to see these areas brought together for this enterprise.

Inspiration

WOA came about as the result of a discussion between myself and Hans Schut, when I was looking to find some meaning, some reason for living.  WOA has delivered on that.  Doing something that brings hope and inspiration to ALL people involved is meaningful, rewarding and exciting work.

The highlight of my day is when I see the same inspiration I’ve just described for myself, on the faces of the new people who are introduced to the company; be they migrants, farmers, politicians or simply friends.  It is a concept that resonates with virtually every person you speak with.

One of the most exciting things about this work is it doesn’t feel like work.  For me the challenge is to not focus too much on it, as balance in my personal life is also extremely important.  Work /Life balance is also something that we are keen to promote as part of the incentivised labour scheme. Just like any ecosystem, work place productivity needs balance to be sustainable.

Photo of Wide Open Agriculture Team Member - Anthony Maslin

Photo of Wide Open Agriculture Team Member - Ben Cole

Ben Cole – Executive Director

Social enterprise expert brings development fund experience and vision to Wheatbelt.

Background

I have a PhD in environmental engineering and have worked internationally as a Grant Manager of water supply and sanitation infrastructure projects, totalling up to $30 million.

Between 2008 and 2013, I founded, managed and sold, a social enterprise in Vietnam. The social enterprise www.karibon.com was a genuine start-up – from invention through to sales. I thrived on the challenge and gained a huge amount of experience in start-up business development and management.

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Inspiration

My inspiration comes from the people of the Wheatbelt and my business partners. The people of the Wheatbelt demonstrate such resilience and passion for their land and the people around them.

My business partners, Maz, Hans, Jim, Vicks, Chris and Stuart are all incredible people that aspire to make the world a better place: A world where food is made without harming its surrounding environment; a world where kids want to farm and have fun in the Wheatbelt; a world where people from different backgrounds can come together and share experiences.

The desire to start a business that offered social, environmental and financial returns has been burning inside me since I finished my first job in Sri Lanka. I saw that government and donor programs often achieved good short-term outcomes, but the projects rarely continued to make traction over the long-term. I’ve worked in a number of developing countries on projects that applied market-based approaches to make communities healthier. After spending more than 10 years away from West Australia it was time to return home. I realised my knowledge and skills could be used to make positive change in my own community – the Wheatbelt.

I married into a family that has been farming in the wheatbelt for 4 generations. I know the knowledge and skills I have gained overseas can be used to make positive change in my own community – the Wheatbelt. My wife and I are committed to raising our young family on the family farm in Narrogin.

Wheatbelt residents and farmers, people seeking nutritious, clean and ethically produced food, people seeking investment opportunities that have a positive impact on communities and landscapes.

Our ambitions are big and diverse. We are trying to develop a solution to an immense social, economic and environmental challenge. It is a challenge that only innovative thinking and practises will solve.

My vision is that in 20 years time, the Wheatbelt towns are full of shops, and people from Perth travel to the region to experience new cultures, great food and celebrations. The landscape is revegetated and people can see the land has more trees and wildlife. People from across the world come to the Wheatbelt to see and enjoy our unique birds and marsupials.


Jim Mackintosh – Non-executive Director

Commonland senior investment manager, with science background, embraces a holistic vision of 4 returns.

Background

A scientist by training, I stumbled into the world of finance back in 2004 and found myself working in a variety of deal related roles in New Zealand, the UK and the Netherlands. With over 10 years corporate finance experience, and working as a former Director in KPMG’s Deal Advisory practice, I now work in a project development and investment strategy role for WOA shareholder, Commonland. I represent Commonland on the WOA Board.

Over the course of my career in finance, I found myself drawn to two things: start-ups and sustainability. WOA fits the bill on both fronts.

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Inspiration

I am inspired by WOA’s ‘people-first’ strategy and how the Company has embraced the 4 returns approach with equal focus on generating inspirational, natural, social and financial returns.

WOA’s holistic vision for regenerating communities, based on sustainable business cases that actively contribute to restoring ecological biodiversity, is a source of inspiration for me, and the entire Commonland team.

The highlight of my work is the interaction with the WOA team; current Wheatbelt communities, and the potential, new community members, such as the humanitarian migrants that WOA hopes to bring to the Wheatbelt. I feel energised after every conversation when I see the passion people have for the social and natural landscape of the Wheatbelt.

The challenge is always one of balance. In an ideal world, each activity that WOA undertakes would provide outstanding outcomes on each of the 4 returns. However, reality is often different and certain activities may provide higher outcomes on one or two returns rather than all four. But this is also the beauty of the WOA model where, when all activities are considered together or holistically, we really see the evidence of all 4 returns being generated.

One insight I have gained is that you need to be present in a community in order to influence and effect change in that community. This presence is not just about living in a particular location but also being socially and economically ‘invested’ in the future of a community. For WOA, in the first instance, this means being a landowner.

I would like visitors to WOA’s website to really understand that WOA is not just a business. We are not just focused on nature, and we have more than just social goals. We are all of the above, and hope to inspire others to cooperate and work with us, in whatever way, to create the highest outcomes on all 4 returns, for the entire Wheatbelt.

Photo of Wide Open Agriculture Team Member - Jim Mackintosh

Photo of Wide Open Agriculture Team Member - Stuart McAlpine

Stuart McAlpine – Non-Executive Director

Wheatbelt farmer and champion for change: Committed to the environmental and social restoration of his region.

Background

I have 35 years of experience in Agriculture, with 26 years of managing a mixed farming enterprise. I was Co-founder of the Liebe Group and inaugural President. I remain an active member of the Group and sit on several of their committees.

I instigated the Regional Repopulation Plan with Dalwallinu Shire and Chaired the Regional Repopulation Advisory Committee.

In 1999, I was WA No-Till farmer of the year, and in 2015, received a Soil Health Champion Award.

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Inspiration

WOA aligns strongly with my passion for Agriculture and my vision for how agriculture can be sustainable into the future.

Successful food production will ultimately be only sustainable with an integrated approach that encompasses the vision of WOA. Delivery will only be successful by working collaboratively with other like-minded and passionate stakeholders to continue to develop this vision, and then demonstrate this in operating farming systems.

The most challenging aspect will be creating a model that can truly encompass horizontal and vertical integration of production and supply, to reward all stakeholders. Not only do the human resources involved along the supply chain need to directly benefit, also returns must provide environmental and social benefits for the future. We need to come to terms with the concept “that to take we must also give something for the future”, Only by committing to this principle, can we provide hope, and truly inspire others to share our vision.

Food production needs to allow for a continued improvement in the health of the ecosystem. As farmers, we need to recognise that to not maximise production in the short term, will maximise production in the future.

New natural based systems will provide an opportunity to build a resilient business model that provides tremendous opportunities for participants.

I hope people will be inspired by the WOA vision, and want to be part of the foodbelt shift, either as a participant or a recipient of the benefits of the model. This could be environmental, social, or by consuming the produce knowing that it has been grown in a way that provides a maximum opportunity for a healthy tasty experience.

My personal goals include, to save the Buntine School. I hope to reignite the community with the production of food, in an innovative way, which provides an opportunity to reinvigorate the wheatbelt.

Over the next decade, I hope to revitalise as many communities as possible across WA with the WOA approach to food production.

We are real people and we care about our community, our environment and the quality of the food we eat. We have a vision to share that opportunity with as many people as possible.


Vicki Bryant – Chief Financial Officer

Passionate foodie seeks new opportunity to bring her financial management skills to achieve long term, social and environmental outcomes.

Background

I am a Chartered Accountant with 18 years’ experience in the profession across many finance and accounting fields and multiple commercial sectors.

Inspiration

I turned my focus to the Not-For-Profit sector, 18 months ago after becoming aware that working in an environment where the sole focus was to improve financial returns was motivating me less and less. At that time, I wasn’t aware that there were enterprises in existence who set both financial and non-financial returns, and nor that this was a growing area. When the Wide Open Agriculture role came my way, I can only describe it as a dream come true. Show More
I embraced the opportunity to apply my commercial skillset to, not only a start-up business, but a business genuinely looking to create additional returns of social and environmental gains. We are bringing hope to rural communities! The highlight so far has to be working with such a highly intelligent and skilled, but yet humble, and supportive team. It is a breath of fresh air after the corporate working environments of which I have been a part. My biggest challenge is, and will remain, becoming familiar with the Agricultural Industry. Luckily I have a passion for food to keep me inspired!
Photo of Wide Open Agriculture Team Member - Vicki Bryant

sam

Sam Wright – Company Secretary

 Sam Wright is experienced in the administration of ASX listed companies, corporate governance and corporate finance.

Background

He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, and the Chartered Secretaries of Australia.

Mr Wright is currently a Non-Executive Director and Company Secretary of ASX listed company, PharmAust Limited. He is also Company Secretary for ASX listed companies, Buxton Resources Limited and Structural Monitoring Systems plc. Mr Wright has also filled the role of Director and Company Secretary with a number of unlisted companies.

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Mr Wright has extensive experience in relation to public company responsibilities, including ASX and ASIC compliance, control and implementation of corporate governance, statutory financial reporting, and shareholder relations with both retail and institutional investors.

Lydia Fee – Company Secretary

Background

Lydia Fee has over six years corporate experience and currently holds a position Straight Lines Consultancy who provide company secretarial services to a number of companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Lydia is involved in the administration, financial reporting, compliance, corporate governance and marketing of these companies.

Lydia holds a Bachelor of Public Relations and Marketing as well as a Diploma in Business Legal Studies. She has also completed a Certificate in Governance Practice at the Governance Institute of Australia.

lydia