MEET OUR TRAINERS

Graziella Thake

ceo

Graziella brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in governance and leadership to the Optimisation Hub’s program development, training and research activities. With a Masters in Psychology, and having worked as a forensic, organisational and sports psychologist, Graziella has solid experience in the fields of mental health and leadership. Having worked with change and development in over 22 multinational organisations, 12 sports, and spent time as a facilitator and global speaker for corporate, government, community and sporting organisations, Graziella’s dedication to high-performance and resilience education for individuals and teams is a valuable asset. As a leader, she brings a dynamic energy, passion and commitment to client and organisational outcomes.​

Ben Gollings

master trainer

Ben is well known in both 15s and 7s rugby with a career well heeled over 12 years in professional rugby and staggering appearances at both Olympic and Commonwealth Games representing and captaining the UK. Gollings is best known for his time with the England national rugby sevens team. Ben is a dedicated master trainer specialising in coaching training and the development of athletes across both the men’s and women’s forums. He currently trains the rugby 7s and works as an athlete educator. His passion for coach development and women’s professionalism has driven him to help serve the global athlete sector with our prevention programs.​

Paul Hutchinson

master trainer

As a master trainer Paul brings huge experience in sports spanning 40 years. Paul played semi-professional rugby league for 13 years and developed a passion for trying to help people be the best they can be, particularly athletes. He has worked with ASADA in a role that brought him face to face with some of the world’s best performing athletes. As a master trainer Paul’s experience brought him to The Optimisation Hub as he sought to carve work in the area of mental resilience and core educational programs as the gap and the necessary asset for sport in the modern era of professionalism. Paul has worked closely with the Brisbane Broncos in establishing an internal education program to assist young players in making favourable life choices.

Amelia Kuk

master trainer

Amelia is an athlete who made her debut for the PNG Women’s 7s team when she was 18. She switched to rugby league in 2016 and made the QLD women’s team. She played two matches for the Australian Jillaroos in 2017 and played in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup for the PNG Orchids. Amelia played for the Queensland Maroons in the first ever Women’s State of Origin and recently signed with the Brisbane Broncos for the upcoming first ever Women’s NRL Competition. Amelia is a master trainer specialising in athlete lifespan, well-being for women and athlete development education. Amelia’s passion for athlete education and the Pacific makes her one of our leading master trainers.

Dr Deidre Anderson

master trainer

Deidre has worked across senior Executive positions requiring exceptional leadership and change agent capabilities. After 4 years as Deputy Vice Chancellor at Macquarie University, Sydney, with a further 8 years prior as Executive Director of Sport, in 2011. Deidre began her position as Deputy Vice Chancellor Students and Registrar at Macquarie University, Sydney where she was responsible for the overall student administration, wellbeing and student life.

As Athlete Services Director at the United Kingdom Sports Institute (UKSI Deidre successfully integrated an elite sports program incorporating all home countries of the United Kingdom. The process involved enhancing the systems, people and technology required to ensure that UK athletes competed successfully on the international arena.

Dee is an active an avid trainer who is a wonderful depth in our team having spanned years of expericne in seeing what does and doesn’t work in sport. Dee is a committed advocate of mental health and a committed team player at The optimisation Hub working both nationally and internationally bringing her humour and energy to team work we do.

Pandora Fruean

master trainer

Pandora is leading the way in the support of women’s sport. As a master trainer with the Optimisation Hub, Pandy is both an advocate of development and a dedicated trainer spending the time necessary bringing her credibility and experience to her work with youth and development of athletes performance. Pandy is experienced in sports governance, management internationally and working with the Pacific Islands with a real passion for sports and women. Her experience spanning 30 years has set her course to build mental resilience for athletes and within sport as her dedicated focus to high performance teams.

Glenn Warry

master trainer

Glenn is a specialist in Advocacy, Learning & Development and Wellbeing Strategies for talent within sporting organisations, corporations and learning institutes. He has worked within high-performance sport environments over the past 30 years providing support to elite athletes, coaches and referees.
Glenn spent 12 years in AFL Club management roles, and then 5 years as a Player Agent, prior to gaining further tertiary qualifications in Elite Athlete Counselling & Workplace assessment. The past 15 years
Glenn has been at the forefront in progressing national holistic development and wellbeing programs for professional athletes and coaches, establishing and managing inaugural programs for Rugby Union (ARU/ RUPA) and Football (A-League & Matilda) players, referees and national team coaches. More recently his work within football involved facilitation of FFA national team high performance strategic planning and the formation of Football Coaches Australia (CEO since February 2018).

Maria Vella-Galea

master trainer

Maria Vella-Galea Brings a well-rounded, very committed and experienced background to her work with the Optimisation Hub in the EU, UK and also Australia. Maria is an experienced Marketing and Public Relations consultant heralding over two decades of experience. Maria has made it her mission to promote sports, not just for the elite pool of athletes that Malta is developing but to the public in general. Working extensively with sporting organisations, Federations and Clubs giving them due exposure to develop the sport as well as to lobby towards more take up in sports by the general public and encouraging sport as a means of physical and mental well-being. Maria is an Executive Director with the Maltese Olympic Committee and forms part of the Technical Commission lead by the Director of Sport. She brings something very unique to the collective team with much of her time dedicated to helping athletes to succeed outside of and within sport. Maria carries a compelling business and athlete centred presence making her a unique leader in sport.

Melanie Roche

master trainer

Melanie is a 4 time Australian Olympian with over 20 years
experience in leadership, building High Performance Teams, developing team strategy and maintaining a winning
performance. Melanie was a professional softball athlete who focused many years on preparing and competing against the best athletes in the world. Throughout her Professional Sporting Career Melanie has developed a myriad of invaluable and transferable personal and interpersonal skills that strongly bind her responsible work ethic to the workforce. The sporting world is a performance world where accountability is of utmost importance and her passion for people really spreads when she works with the athlete populations.

Charlie Riechelmann

master trainer

Charlie is part of a respected cohort of athlete trainers with a history in one of the worlds most respected rugby teams: the All Blacks. He brings with him his culture, ethics and compassion for youth development and support of the Pacific. Born and raised in Tonga, he believes in striving for excellence in everything he does, and reached a personal pinnacle when representing New Zealand playing for the All Blacks in 1997 and 1998. After dedicating more than ten years to a professional rugby career (both in New Zealand and overseas) Charlie is one of our specialist master trainers in youth development support and coaching support.

Alipate Carlile

master trainer

Alipate is a well respected name in AFL SA; he has established himself as a committed athlete and community contributor who played 167 games during 11 seasons with the Port Adelaide Football Club. Alipate works to help elite athletes leave their chosen sports as thriving people who can achieve well in every facet of life. He is committed to multicultural and indigenous support and has become a strong part of the Optimisation Hub athlete education team. Alipate is driven by his firm belief that all athletes have plenty to offer outside of their sports in everyday life and that they can positively contribute to society.

Ramone Close

master trainer

Ramone started as a professional athlete in Football (Soccer) which gave him global cultural exposure, developing his professionalism, appreciation of diversity and interpersonal skills. Returning to Australia he gained insight into the public sector, health, manufacturing, general logistics and sporting industries which has given him the ability to quickly understand the needs of clients and provide informed support across recruitment solutions and strategy. Ramone wants to increase the participation of indigenous players in the sporting world game. Seeing more indigenous players succeed in Australia or overseas would make him extremely proud.

Ian Shotton

master trainer

Ian has been involved in sport for as long as he can remember. Throughout his career with Education Queensland Ian has filled a number of roles in 3 different schools in Regional Queensland. First and foremost he has been a classroom teacher, responsible for the development and delivery of curriculum in the areas of Health and Physical Education, Science and Maths. In this role he has also been responsible for the health and wellbeing of students, not only by creating a safe and inclusive environment in my class, but in the school community as a whole. Ian has experience in the planning and development of educational curriculum for the implementation in Secondary school environments.

Elda Gjoka

master trainer

Elda has a strong experience and professional background in the Olympic Movement, and also in the Corporate World. She has been working 7 years as Head of Media & PR of Albanian National Olympic Committee, and later on she has been the strategic Advisor and Consultant to the Kosovo National Olympic Committee and the Executive Board. An 11 times ex-National Champion in Table Tennis for Albania, she was the National team Captain in Mediterranean,. European, and World Championships in 1992-2005. Also an expert in International Relations she has been in some of the most high profile personalities of the world sport and Olympic Movement as an official PR and Interpreter on behalf of Kosovo and Albanian NOC.

Daniel Medd

Specialist Master Trainer for baseball Softball Cricket and Junior coaching

Daniel has a broad range of people driven experience and is the operational excellence driver in any environment. His ability to coach and mentor has lead him to outstanding reviews and accolades as both a coach , coach mentor and athlete educator. Daniel has been at the forefront of initiatives around youth coach development and player development seeking to ensure that grass roots sports as well supported as professional sport. Daniel is an asset to any training environment with a unique ability to bring any audience young or old with his . Daniel has a self-confessed passion for youth player development and also developing grassroots coaching structure. During the past 30 years, Daniel has been involved with several sports in both a playing and coaching capacity. Over this time he has developed a mindset and attitude that has led him on route to becoming a mentor to other coaches beginning their journey down a similar path.

Daniel spent time as part of the NSWIS training program along with many representative duties during his playing career. These experiences helped carve a path to achieve the standards and expectations that Daniel strives for within his coaching capacity.

In the ever-changing world we live in, whether its sporting or corporate, Daniel understands the need to evolve with it, and adhere to the necessary facts surrounding both mental and physical aspects of coaching. This is where Daniels experience in managing operations crosses paths with his ability to coach. Daniels most recent achievement has seen him become a major contributor to the starting up and running of both a Baseball and Softball Academy Training Program based in NSW where he works with players of all ages and abilities.

OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Graziella Thake

chief executive officer

Graziella brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in governance and leadership to the Optimisation Hub’s program development, training and research activities. With a Masters in Psychology, and having worked as a forensic, organisational and sports psychologist, Graziella has solid experience in the fields of mental health and leadership. Having worked with change and development in over 22 multinational organisations, 12 sports, and spent time as a facilitator and global speaker for corporate, government, community and sporting organisations, Graziella’s dedication to high-performance and resilience education for individuals and teams is a valuable asset. As a leader, she brings a dynamic energy, passion and commitment to client and organisational outcomes.​

Damian Kelly

partnerships manager

Founder of International Student Athlete Pathways with twenty years domestic and international experience identifying and creating content, program development and strategic partnership opportunities in sport, entertainment and business. Introduced to sport and business in Australia at local community grass roots level, an aspiring semi-professional athlete, junior development officer, state and national champion coach and sports administrator culminating with roles in commercial development, sport and venue operations on the Organising Committee for the Sydney Olympic Games. Continuing on a career pathway to Europe and the United States taking key leadership roles in commercial development evolving into a successful entrepreneur and business owner working across almost every continent in very competitive multifaceted cultural, socio economic and political environments operating investments in sport, destination travel and tourism, hospitality, energy, logistics and retail distribution.​

David Hayse

Chief financial officer

David has over 20 years experience in a the accounting and taxation industry. Prior to that, David worked in the finance industry with a top tier bank. Compliance and advisory for small businesses and larger corporate groups is David’s main focus area with emphasis on taxation and accounting standards. Clients include family businesses through to listed and unlisted public companies across industries including hotels, property, IT, finance, manufacturing and motor vehicles. David is an ASIC registered self-managed superannuation fund auditor. David also presents to the Bond University Practical Legal Training program in the area of taxation on property and commercial transactions.

When David talks of his babies, he’s talking about his motorbikes. A keen motorbike enthusiast, he has a couple of classic Ducatis stored in his garage. He’s also a father of three girls, the youngest of whom shares his passion for two wheels.

Dr Kirill Micaleff Starfrace

CHIEF medical officer

Founder of International Student Athlete Pathways with twenty years domestic and international experience identifying and creating content, program development and strategic partnership opportunities in sport, entertainment and business. Introduced to sport and business in Australia at local community grass roots level, an aspiring semi-professional athlete, junior development officer, state and national champion coach and sports administrator culminating with roles in commercial development, sport and venue operations on the Organising Committee for the Sydney Olympic Games. Continuing on a career pathway to Europe and the United States taking key leadership roles in commercial development evolving into a successful entrepreneur and business owner working across almost every continent in very competitive multifaceted cultural, socio economic and political environments operating investments in sport, destination travel and tourism, hospitality, energy, logistics and retail distribution.​

Teams and CULTURE

Working in Teams Requires:

  • Leadership actions and behaviours to achieve common goals
  • Broaden Influence with your stakeholders
  • Constant developing of others and yourself
  • Develop and design your team identity
  • Shape and Contribute to a legacy

Facts about motivating and performance in teams

  • We can be harder and tougher on ourselves or oblivious to how we affect others.
  • Mental toughness doesn’t mean mental and communication disconnectedness
  • Successful high performance is collaborative and often is exemplified by high levels of contribution and supportive communication
  • High performance is lead through the way we deal with people and how we deal with ourselves .
  • Be a transformational performer, not a transactional member of any team.
  • Without doubt, there are ways of improving morale and motivation, and that drive can come from within you…

Whether you are beginning, elite or transitioning through your sport, your performance will be improved from knowing yourself better. Working with a team you learn about the 3 D’s: DISCIPLINE, DEDICATION and DEVOTION to the challenge of working in group and the elements that grow great culture and capability building for incremental performances. This program is packed with tools to grow culture, leadership, transformative skills, and broader stakeholder engagement. There are integral skills in building a competitive and collaborative culture that becomes addictive to be part of and many want to follow. Belonging is an element we all thrive for.

ADVISORY BOARD

John Driscoll

Prime Accounting and Business Advisory Pty Ltd and ex Brisbane Bronco

Frank Wang Guan

Chief Political Correspondent CG1N CNN America – Ex Elite Footballer

John Foley

Founder Crypto-Gold, Barrister

David Hayse

CA WMS chartered accounting partner

Lional Quartermaine

Indigenous Services. Australians first Chairman of an Indigenous Organisation

Dr Sarah Kelly BCom, LLB, MBA, PhD

Associate Professor School of law, Board of Brisbane Lions

Grantley Stevens FCA CTA

Nexia Edwards Marshall Partner, SA Advisor to AFL

Dr Santitarn Sathirathai

Director Head of Emerging Asia economic.

Angela Richardson MA Org Psych .AURIZON

former Qld Police; UQ Dept Psychiatry; DFAT (Washington DC); AICD