Cynthia began her career after law school as a political officer with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She was posted to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as a diplomat, an experience which spurred an abiding love for the Arab world.
After completing a master’s degree in Middle Eastern politics at the University of London’s School of Asian and African Studies (SOAS), Cynthia crossed over to the private sector and became a management consultant. She completed consulting engagements with Adam Smith International, BearingPoint (KPMG consulting) and Grant Thornton in the UK, the United States, Iraq, Pakistan, the UAE, and Jordan.
Most recently, Cynthia served as the first female CEO of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a peak level trade organization in Australia, where she led a complete branding and strategic reorganization.
As Managing Director at Dearin & Associates, Cynthia specializes in business consulting services, business matching and government relations, with a focus on the Middle East & North Africa. She also lectures at the La Trobe Law School in Melbourne.
Cynthia commentates on topics associated with international trade, the Middle East and North Africa. She is the author of Camels, Sheikhs and Billionaires: Your Guide to the Business Culture of the Middle East and North Africa and the host of the Business Beyond Borders podcast. She speaks English, French and Arabic.
International procurement expert
Peter Evans is an international procurement expert and the founder of Mawson Global, a global procurement consulting firm. He has had extensive international experience in many areas of strategic business growth.
He has worked with senior executives with some of the world’s largest global supply chain experts like Walmart Stores International, Aldi Stores, Woolworths and also many Australian small and mid market businesses.
He has been responsible for the establishment and management of factories in China and Vietnam and sales teams in Asia and North America.
He brings real world experience and pragmatic, affordable solutions to help businesses “buy better” or “sell more” to improve their profitability in Asia.
Senior Consultant, Europe and the US
Luca is a management consultant and marketing professional with over 15 years experience in numerous sectors in Europe, the US and Australia. He founded and managed a luxury goods export business based in Florence, was Head of Marketing for an international jewelry company in Australia and is now General Manager of a Sydney based marketing consulting business. His main areas of expertise are sales and marketing strategy, strategic planning and execution, financial analysis, brand development and management, and cultural alignment. Although he consults across various sectors, his main expertise is in luxury and lifestyle goods/services
Luca holds a Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Politics, and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Southampton in the UK. He is also a recipient of the ECIS Award for International Understanding. His passion for strategic marketing is contagious and his knowledge and experience in international business are extensive.
Connect with Luca via LinkedIn.
Middle East Energy Specialist
Michael Barron has more than 25 years experience analysing, living and working in the Middle East and North Africa including engagement at the highest levels of government. He has more than 12 years experience working as a government and public affairs manager for the major gas company BG Group with assignments in Egypt, Oman and on the Gaza Marine project. Michael studied Arabic at the University of Edinburgh, including spending time in Cairo. He has also worked for Middle East Broadcasting, Control Risks Group and Eurasia Group.
At BG Group, Michael also gained experience in South East Asia. He was a member of the project team for Myanmar country entry from the first visit to the country through to submission of a successful bid for four blocks in the 2013 offshore license round. He also undertook a short term assignment in Bangkok providing government relations support for a proposed major business change and advocating for increased transparency in the upstream oil and gas sector.
Michael also has an in depth knowledge of transparency issues, particularly the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and EU legislation in this area. He managed this issue for BG Group, chaired an industry task force and served as an industry representative on the UK’s EITI multi-stakeholder group.
Michael has particular expertise in government relations strategies to manage complex issues such as country entry (and exit), major negotiations and disputes and navigating through complex political situations.
Stacey Martin is known as a strategic connector. She founded the Expat Advisors Community network for professionals with internationally connected clients, a platform for financial and professional services ongoing business engagement with Asia.
With a Wealth Advisory career spanning twenty years providing financial strategy and investment advice to Company Directors, executives and SME’s, increasing global mobility saw the development of a niche in cross-jurisdictional wealth planning. Her paper “How to maximise offshore assignments: Financial strategies for Australian expatriates” highlights issues to consider prior to departure, whilst offshore and importantly repatriating wealth for return.
Today, Stacey assists companies looking to do business in China to navigate culture, facilitate strategic connections and provide professional services introductions.
International Business Advisor
Jemima Riley is an international business and marketing consultant specialising in emerging markets, including the Middle East, China, and Indonesia.
She has worked across a range of international consulting projects, including food and beverage market access to Indonesia, investor relations and business development in China, and strategic business connections programs between Australia and the Gulf States.
She was the Project Director of the 2014 and 2015 Australian Arab Business Forum, and previously managed the NSW Chapter of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI).
She holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics from Macquarie University, and a Masters of Commerce, majoring in International Business from the Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.