9 people driving creativity and innovation

Business Gold Coast | November 2017

The Gold Coast is a city with big personality and big ambition, powered by an energy that makes it one of Australia’s most vibrant communities.

People are attracted to it, and bring their own energy to produce a potent mix of creativity, innovation and enthusiasm. It is this vision and ambition that has built this great Australian city into what it is today.

Here are some of the key contributors to the city’s ambitious determination.

Margot Robbie, Actress

Confident, talented and taking on the world, Robbie is one of the brightest stars in a new generation of leading ladies conquering Hollywood. Like so many before her, she cut her teeth on the long-running Aussie soap Neighbours.

After three years hanging out at Ramsay Street she moved to Los Angeles, and hasn’t looked back since.

Her breakthrough role came opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, and she has gone on to star in big-budget hits such as The Legend of Tarzan and Suicide Squad.

Read Thor: Ragnarok on the Gold Coast

Amy Shark, Musician

Until her hit single Adore made the music industry put an asterisk next to her name, Amy Shark was known only to a handful of fans on the Gold Coast. Her story is a rock ‘n’ roll dream come true.

The indie pop singer-songwriter uploaded her demo of Adore onto Triple J’s Unearthed platform in 2016. The song soon made the rare jump to commercial radio, and a star was born.

Adore came in at Number two in last year’s Hottest 100 and she signed a worldwide recording deal.

Read Amy Shark blitzes nominations for the 2017 ARIA Awards

Harrison Norris, Cinematic Virtual Reality

Harrison Norris is a Virtual Reality expert who has worked on some of the film industry’s biggest productions, including Max Max:Fury Road and Suicide Squad.

Recognised as an exceptional talent from a young age, Harrison’s passion for the new world of VR has led to the creation of a groundbreaking new VR camera system, foregoing all
proximity limitations to capture live action performances in closeup.

At 19, Harrison used this new camera system to co-direct the official Suicide Squad VR experience.

Read How Harrison Norris cracked Hollywood

Louise Bezzina, Artistic Director

Louise Bezzina is credited with being the inaugural director and creator of the Gold Coast’s highly successful Bleach* Festival.

“The Gold Coast is the most exciting place to be working and making art right now,”she says.

“The sector is growing rapidly and the excitement and appetite from the locals for more interesting experiences grows every day.”

In her role as Artistic Director for Bleach* Festival, Louise is part of the creative lead team for the GC2018 Arts and Cultural Program. “I feel privileged to be part of this movement.”

Read Bezzina’s bold Bleach* vision

Nev Hyman, Philanthrocapitalist

Surfers know him as the guy who founded the FireWire surfboard brand.

Prime Ministers know him as the guy who has created a system to build low-cost, rapidly deployable, pre-fabricated homes, school class rooms, medical clinics and other community structures from recycled materials.

Nev Hyman is a surf industry icon who set up Nev House in 2009 to save the planet. He might just do it.

This year he’s won the Australian leg of the prestigious Pitch@Palace, and has established an investment arm in Europe to fund projects worldwide.

Read Emergency housing for the developing world

Greg Young, Business Director

Greg Young started Body Science International 18 years ago in the garage of his home on the Gold Coast.

Today it is Australia’s leading brand for sports and nutritional supplements, with an expanding range of hi-tech compression sportswear and about 50 staff.

Young says there is no better place in the world to run a business.

“It’s a region of boundless opportunity, with like-minded people striving for innovation and attaining best-in-industry excellence,” he says.

“It’s ingrained – the heart and soul of the Gold Coast is entrepreneurial thinking.”

Barry Lee, Architect

DBI Chairman and Director of Design Barry Lee has been responsible for the design of some of the Gold Coast’s most spectacular high rises including Soul, Q1 and Jewel.

“Our goal is to make a meaningful contribution to the city which is our home and to the many and varied other cities around the world in which we work.” he says.

Barry’s philosophy is to combine a focus on human quality of life and environmental sustainability with dynamic and expressive architectural forms, in an attempt to comfort and inspire.

Read A city’s evolution by design

Kiana Larkins, Artist

Emerging painter Kiana Larkins draws inspiration from her Aboriginal heritage and her affinity with nature.

“From the rivers of Katherine to the ocean of the Gold Coast, I have always been immersed in Mother Nature in all her glory and I find all my inspiration from these amazing places of
Australia,” she says.

Kiana says her paintings are helping her understand her culture.

“My art has stemmed from a deep place within me that is wanting to learn more about my culture and myself.”

Tom Tate, Mayor

If the Gold Coast is a true reflection of Australia’s youthful drive and energy, then its Mayor Tom Tate is a great example of the can-do spirit that is transforming the city into an economic and cultural powerhouse.

A successful businessman, he is unashamedly pro-business and pro-Gold Coast. A civil engineer by trade, he is a father of four and can speak fluent Thai and Laotion.

His philosophy is is simple: “Business growth, job creation and strong families are all linked together. I try to give this message every chance I get,” he says.

For more about the transformation of the city, visit Business Gold Coast.

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