Non Executive Director, startup investor & property developer

The erosion of our institutions has many impacts and consequences but at a macro level, it exacerbates our widening equity gap.


Making shit simpler and better


“My professional life has been a bit of tapestry. I’ve done a lot of different things – I’ve owned and operated McDonald’s Franchises, worked in banking, had a stint in sales and have been developing property for a couple of decades. Currently (among a few things) I’m on the Board of the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, the federal agency responsible for dealing with the response and recovery to flood, fire, drought and other natural disasters. I’m also a board member at Junction Australia, which provides housing and social services in order to empower youth and adults towards their own self-determination. I’m also the Chair of the Real Estate Institute and I’m about to invest and run a tiny home business. Property is probably the epicentre of my activity and influence – my father was a building contractor so it runs in the DNA.

One of the benefits of wearing lots of hats is that I’m always meeting interesting people from different backgrounds, experience bases and industries. This is helpful and inspiring for me because I have always believed that diversity and creativity are key to solving the wicked problems of our time. 

As a society, I feel we are not asking the right questions. A more ambitious Australia will need its constituents to demand our political and corporate leaders maintain the integrity of our institutions. The erosion of our institutions has many impacts and consequences but at a macro level, it exacerbates our widening equity gap. For example, we’ve got a major housing problem in this country which has been decades in the making and there is little will or action to address the structural problems that underpin it. There is limited, meaningful civil discourse around the issue and if we do not address the housing and homelessness crisis looming at some point it will become intractable. 

Access to shelter, economic opportunity, healthcare and education are core Australian values and as a society, we must demand the preservation of those foundational values.

I think the last couple of years has been a catalyst for even greater inequity – there have been glaring winners and losers as a result of the pandemic. But there have also been a lot of wonderful learnings – the importance of mental health and wellbeing and the need for improved work-life balance have been positive takeaways. Working remotely has been an illuminating reminder that our individual and collective identities are much deeper and richer than what we do for a living or the work we perform. The pandemic has increased our appreciation of this. 

I’m excited that  s p a c e  provides me with the opportunity to come together with people I wouldn’t normally meet who are equally passionate about having an impact on the future. I hope I can bring lived experience across a number of different domains and empower and encourage young  s p a c e  cadets to be uncompromising in their commitment to their values and ideals. If we want sustainable and enduring change, we each have to live what we wish to see. 

My personal contract with myself is to wake up every day and try to ‘do better’ however my day unfolds and whether that is working on myself or collaborating with others on projects that drive impact.”

*Interview and write-up –  s p a c e  storyteller, Sian Gooden