Newsletter 03/2017

Chairman's Message

Chairman Message

Dear Members

Welcome to the first AusBG newsletter for 2017.

For those who missed our 2016 AGM click here for a review of this and other recent events.

In 2016 AusBG’s impact was achieved through 26 events, (12 Knowledge, 12 networking, 2 Diplomatic) with 1,930 people in attendance. We successfully launched the AusBG 50club which, led by new AusBG employee Megan Willis is a showcase of Australian Businesses in the UAE with operations in Abu Dhabi. Are you an Australian owned or headquartered business in the UAE? If so, click here to let us know and become a part of the club.

2016 saw us host the very successful Taste of Australia dinner which was a celebration of Australian Arab cultures merging, with Chef Tarek Ibrahim cooking an Australian feast at the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel Al Maryah Island. We launched the first of the Australian Business people awards at this event and Michael Haddin received the people’s choice business Person of the year award and Etihad was recognized for bilateral business and trade contributions.

Another initiative that AusBG co led last year was the creation and launch of ABMA . ABMA is the association of all Australian Business groups in the Middle East. The group comprises of six member regional groups currently and has the participation of Austrade on the committee. Several years ago, AusBG members told us they would value a common portal that displays all the regions events and a common platform to link all the business groups. Check it out now.

A new year brings a new AusBG Board. We welcome warmly Linda Fitz-Alan – CEO Abu Dhabi Global Markets Courts, Wissam Moukahal – Chairman Macquarie Capital Middle East, Quentin Masson – ATS ME and Mounir Sankary - Austrade. We very sadly say goodbye to David Hackett, Emma Cullen, Daniel Taylor and Moksha Watts and thank them deeply for their support and contribution.

We make a special recognition and congratulations to David Hackett who has recently joined Trade and Investment Queensland as Senior Business Development Manager. David has served on the board for 5 years and as Deputy Chair for the past 3 years. His contribution and great Australian UAE spirit has been a joy to work with and he will be missed on the board dearly – we do look forward to working with him and team QLD in his new role. We also thank Emma Cullen for her great contribution to our social media and marketing efforts last year. Whilst she was only on the board one year her energy and contribution exceeded that and will also be missed.

AusBG values knowledge and connection and is committed to giving this to you through our events and existence. We also value the power of community and belonging, to that, we extend a hand out to you and ask for your suggestions and ideas for events that you would like to hear about or be a part of. If you would like to assist creating a specific event or even speak at one, we would love to hear from you. Please reach out to us at

This newsletter coincides with International Women’s Day 2017 #BeBoldForChange. We are a proud Board with 30% females represented. By considering our own backyard, the UAE and its history, we see that innovation and development would not have occurred without the country and leadership’s ability to #BeBoldForChange. Embracing diversity, meant the UAE could reap the benefits of a mixed group of international advisors and co-creators, and together with the UAE Nationals, created the country; the infrastructure, economy, education, health care that makes our home today, in only a tiny 45-year period.

As we embrace or lead change, it is important to acknowledge that “being bold for change” and opening the door to diversity is not usually easy. Someone said to me only last week; “Diversity…ah yes… that is that thing that looks really good… until you taste it”. What change are you prepared to be bold with and embrace this year? Can your business afford not to? As Henry Ford said “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”

#IWD #2017 #BeBoldForChange

This is a great Segway to His Excellency Arthur Spyrou’s message to members which includes a reflection on his first year in post and highlights the Australian Government’s AU MENA initiative next week which has the never more appropriate theme, “Collaborate to innovate”.

As always, we thank our sponsors whom are Australian UAE business community contributors. Etihad Airways, Victorian Government and Spinneys. For sponsorship enquiries please contact

See you at our next event.

Best Regards,

Ellecia Saffron

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