Peter Farrell AO, Chair
The founder of ResMed Inc, Dr. Farrell has been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company since 1989. He was previously the Vice President of Research and Development with Baxter Healthcare and the Foundation Director of University of New South Wales Graduate School for Biomedical Engineering where he remains a Visiting Professor.
Peter Kazacos has over 35 years experience in the IT industry, and is founder and Executive Chairman of Anittel Ltd, having spent 3 years building the company into one of Australia’s leading IT&C service providers operating outside the major metropolitan areas.
Mr. Kazacos is the recipient of the inaugural Australian Entrepreneur of the Year 2001 award in the Technology, Communications, E-Commerce and Biotechnology category. Mr. Kazacos was also inducted into the Hall of Fame for the 3rd Annual IT&T Awards in October 2004.
Michael's experience encompasses a broad range of other industries including banking, high technology plastics and medical device industries in Europe and Australia. Michael has advised and mentored numerous companies in operational, strategic and financial matters. A co-founder of Innovation Capital and Memtec, since 1992 Michael has been a director of ResMed, a world leader in the respiratory healthcare market.
Gary Zamel operates a private equity investment company, which establishes and invests in start-up technology businesses to take early stage research through commercialization to access global technology markets. The recent establishment of Nubian Water Systems to focus on solutions for water recycling and purification. Nubian is currently finalizing the commercialization of a unique grey water recycling appliance which will be marketed across the globe, to address the ever-increasing water-related shortages.
Studying commerce gave James Stevens a solid insight into business management, but it was the “street education” at his family-owned florist that inspired him to create what has become one of the world’s leading online flower businesses.
From 1967 till 2005, James’ parents owned the iconic flower stall at Sydney's Town Hall train station. It was their vast knowledge and understanding of customer needs and the flower business that inspired James to launch Roses Only in 1995 - a flower store in Sydney’s Chifley Plaza, comprising of a few phones out the back of the shop, targeting men unfamiliar with giving flowers as gifts. The Roses Only concept then grew to include a call centre in 1998 and in 1999 to one of the first online flower businesses, enabling time-poor customers to conveniently order after hours and at short notice and clearly positioning flowers as meaningful gifts for all occasions that can be quickly purchased and delivered.
James says the company's online evolution was at the same time as the explosion of web portals such as Yahoo!, OzEmail, Optusnet, NINEMSN and BigPond. “We realised that an online presence gave us an opportunity to stand out and differentiate our business. We wanted to dominate this new sales channel. Prior to that, we were part of a massively-fragmented flower retailing industry”.
“A big part of the business is based on the premise that there are a few times a year when men have an obligation to buy something for their partner whether it’s their birthday or anniversary and they are often time poor or simply don’t have a clue what to buy. No one ever objects to being given beautiful flowers and with the company’s signature product, the trademark gift-boxed long-stemmed roses,” he says.
Today, online sales account for 75 per cent of the business, and as of the 24 February 2012, our last bricks and mortar retail site was closed.
In 2005 The Only Group launched Fruit Only which provides a wide range of beautifully-presented premium fruit hampers. "The key is the presentation. It must be of exceptional quality and have the wow factor," he insists. In 2008 he added another dimension to the business with the launch of Hampers Only which delivers boutique-style gift hampers for all occasions, and in late 2011, Wine Only was launched.
As a natural innovator James contributes to many organisations such as the Sydney's Entrepreneurs Organisation, including a 12-month term as president. For the past five years he has also been on the advisory council for the UNSW Australia Business School, and separately on the board of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurial skills and innovation are essential to running any business successfully and we need to really support and encourage young entrepreneurs”, he says.
James is also passionate in his commitment to supporting charities as well as corporate and sporting sponsorships and believes in the principle of giving back. With two young children of his own, children’s charities are close to his heart and offers his time and energy to a number of worthwhile organisations such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Leukaemia Foundation of which he was a board member for almost a decade.