MEET THE TEAM

David Weston, CEO APPco

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - My first job after graduating from the Uni of NSW with a Diploma in Information Management (before the internet), was as Librarian for the Society of Australian Genealogists, looking after its extraordinary collection of historical reference works and biographies. The Society is still located in a beautiful old sandstone home, “Richmond Villa”, in Kent Street, The Rocks. It was a wonderful place to work and a great intro to working in Sydney.

2 - As a result of this association with the “Genies”, I applied for and received a Bicentennial grant to produce and publish a book about Rookwood Cemetery, the largest Victorian cemetery in Australia—its history, design, architecture, as well as stories of some of the people buried there. It sold more than 20,000 copies!

3 – I’m not sure if I should even admit to this, but (as a very young man) I trod the boards as an amateur thespian, for the local repertory and musical societies in my home town. Great memories!

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - Family
2 - Good friends
3 - The ocean
4 - Travelling to new destinations
5 - Opera

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

To spend some time living overseas.

Direct: 02 8117 9590 | Email: david.weston@appco.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ david-weston-0b169914/

Megan Haggan, Digital Editor

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - I collect Glomesh. I thought my Mum’s gold Glomesh evening bag was the height of sophistication in the 70s, and later started buying them at op shops and markets. I’ve now got a pretty big collection of handbags, evening bags, clutches, wallets, coin purses, and even a cigarette case (which is sadly too small to fit my phone into). Yes, I like disco too. And flares.

2 - I was once a Girl Guide. This was very much not my idea, and I responded by being the worst Girl Guide in the history of the organisation. I think I got two badges the entire time I was there (one of which they eventually gave me without my having earned it at all… I think it was out of exasperation). I do not know how to tie fancy knots or put up a tent, and I am not prepared.

3 – I waste far too much time playing computer games and am a complete Fallout tragic.

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - Cheese
2 - Rainy days
3 - My Kindle
4 - My Kindle’s charge cable
5 - Red lipstick

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

I used to have a habit of not finishing about 80% of the books I started, so in an effort to make myself finish them, I started setting myself a goal of reading 100 books a year. I’m doing the same this year (I usually make it. Just.)

Mobile: 0422 399 858 | Email: megan.haggan@appco.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-haggan-49409859/

Nicole Samuels, Business Analyst & Office Manager

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - Ocean – swimming in it, smelling it, seeing it – this leads me to thinking about my next cant live without
2 - Summer
3 - My 3 beautiful daughters + Hubby of course
4 - Exploring new destinations
5 - My garden

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

Seachange to Sunshine Coast, Qld

T: 02 8117 9521 | Email: nicole.samuels@appco.com.au

Jan Decomps, Marketing Specialist

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - As a student I loved working on theatrical productions - not treading the boards but stage-managing. Some of my (very talented) peers have gone on to become well-known actors and comedians.

2 - I spent eight years working in the waste management industry - it was, and continues to be, more fascinating than people imagine.

3 – My degree was in French and I have a post-grad diploma in French to English translation; not very useful in Australia ☹

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - Loved Ones
2 - Tea (OK, wine then tea!)
3 - Books
4 - The colour green
5 - Yoga

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

To deliver more and more mental health first aid training (when I grow up); and to move up from the beginners’ lane in swim squads!

T: 02 8117 9522 | Email: jan.decomps@appco.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jandecomps

Fiona Duke, Sales & Marketing Manager

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - I’m addicted to bargain hunting in charity shops! I have some fabulous finds from clothes and toys to books and furniture. I’m mindful of the environmental benefits of reusing and recycling, particularly given the textiles industry is one of the biggest contributors to landfill.

2 - Although I passed my driving test in my late teens I used public transport to get around until I eventually bought my first car at 30 years old - a Nissan Micra nicknamed Fred Flintstone!

3 – My father’s cousin was a former Gaelic footballer from County Cavan, Rep of Ireland, named PJ Duke. He is 124 in the 125 greatest stars of the GAA. He died in 1950 at just 25 years old. In his home village (Stradone) where both PJ and my father are from, the football pitch is named Duke Park and a monument stands in PJ’s memory.

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - Family
2 - Friends
3 - My passport
4 - Caffeine
5 - Exercise

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

Maintaining an attitude of gratitude 😊

T: 02 8117 9520 | Email: Fiona.duke@appco.com.au

Eben Hale, Web Developer

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - As an infant, I nearly died from myocarditis.

2 - I saw Pink Floyd at the Sydney Entertainment Centre when I was 13 years old.

3 – I worked as a Day Care Dad in my early twenties.

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - My son’s smiling face
2 - Music
3 - My customised Fender Strat
4 - Laptop
5 - Fast Internet connection

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

To be able to do the splits when I am 50

Email: eben@bmweb.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/eben-hale-80599a43/

Chris Brooker, Editor

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - I spend vast quantities of the day composing various lists, mostly in my head: 100 greatest albums by obscure artists, 50 favourite EPs, 20 Harry Potter or Game of Thrones characters who were ill-served in the movies/show, 20 great left arm wrist spin bowlers, 10 favourite fantasy/science fiction worlds/planets, complete list of Roman Emperors or Kings of England – those sorts of things.

2 - I’m distantly related, by marriage, to Freddie Mercury (mother’s cousin married to his cousin, or some such tenuous link. No, I’m not ethnically Parsee, but my mother’s cousin married into that community).

3 – My ultimate dream is to inherit an aristocratic title and castle

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - My phone
2 - Craft Beer
3 - Apple Music
4 - Various music magazines
5 - Fantasy/SF books, movies & TV

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

To avoid hassles as much as possible

Direct: 02 8117 9540 | Email: chris.brooker@appco.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-brooker-53732354/

Sheshtyn Paola, Journalist

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - I have a strange obsession with deer. This explains why I have one tattooed on my forearm, and two small impalas on my wrist. I also have several artworks of deer by various artists all around my house and on my work desk. I just think they're neat.

2 - My name is the phonetic spelling of the Swedish pronunciation of the name Kerstin, which is their version of Christina. My dad is Swedish/British and clearly he decided he wanted to give me one of those “unique” names.

3 – I started out my journalism career in music writing before somehow finding my way into health journalism. I’ve now just completed my Master’s in Public Health.

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - My lovely husband
2 - Sunshine
3 - Books
4 - Exercise
5 - The colour pink!

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

To continue learning Japanese.

Direct: 02 8117 9542 | Email: sheshtyn.paola@appco.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheshtynpaola/

Mike Mata, Sales Consultant

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - For someone who has forged a career in advertising sales, I grew up intensely shy. Until the age of about 10 or 11, I would struggle to speak or even make eye contact with a stranger. My school teachers would laugh or at least never believe what I’m doing today.

2 - I’m a closet obsessive compulsive neat freak! Though my work colleagues would vehemently disagree. But at home I can be quite neurotic. And because I’ve been working from there more often it’s really starting to show.

3 – I’m 44 years old with my own family but deep down I’m still a Mama’s Boy. I left home (USA) for good at 18 but will not go a week without speaking to my Mom at least twice.

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - Family - you can’t have favourites so I’ll take them all.
2 - Food - cooking has gone from basic means of survival to a fulfilling hobby.
3 - Travel - probably one of the best things I’ve done at an early age. Full of education and life experiences.
4 - Sport - American, Australian...I love it all.
5 - Beer and banter with good friends - though not as often as in years gone by, the laughter and stories over the years are priceless.

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

To be the most excellent version of myself and to work hard to give my children the opportunities that I had at their age.

T: 02 8117 9525 | Email: mike.mata@appco.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mike-mata-24028977/

Tracy Duff, Production Coordinator

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - I was on the 1999 Australian Women’s Dragon boat team which competed in the World Championships in Nottingham UK, a lifetime ago.

2 - I can, and do, drive just about anything - motorbike, jet ski, boat, quad bike, tractor, small truck…manual car (a dying art these days).

3 – Reversing a trailer is a skill that I have not yet mastered. It just doesn’t make sense!

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

Firstly, my smart phone, especially the shared calendar. It’s the only way to manage my schedule, the kids, family and social commitments (and of course work). It is all colour coded, shared and kept up to date as any good production person’s calendar would be. Next my two cats and my two dogs, love them! There are two kids, but they were just edged out by the dogs who give a fair bit more affection these days than the teenagers. If the teenagers cleaned up their own mess, they might have made it on the list.

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

My personal medium-term goal is to support my kids through high school, and hopefully still be on speaking terms at the end of it. A semi-professional medium term goal is to restart Airbnb hosting with our holiday house on the Hawkesbury River.

Direct: 02 8117 9590 | Email: tracy.duff@appco.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracy-duff-2bb5a756/

Debra Gardner, Database Administrator

Tell us three things most people wouldn’t know about you

1 - I love Bikram yoga. I love the heat - it keeps me fit and mentally focused. I've found nothing else like it! It's 26 hatha yoga postures and two breathing exercises designed to work every muscle, tendon, ligament, joint and internal organ in the body. It’s a 90-minute session in a room heated to approximately 37 degrees. Needless to say, it gets hot!

2 - I host international students. Having studied Japanese to university level, I have enjoyed hosting many Japanese students; it's been a great way to introduce the family to different people, experiences and cultures. I've also hosted a Chinese student for three years, and an Italian student for a few months. We haven't had a bad experience yet!

3 – My father, Ron Thomas, is an author of several books with around six more waiting to be published. His novels are fiction woven with interesting historical events. Reading his books is a way to enjoy a novel while learning something at the same time. Many of his current books are set in Australia (Solly's Way trilogy, Dark Angels) but in the forthcoming novels (from 2020 onwards) he ventures further afield to places such as Japan and Belgium.

What are five things you couldn’t live without?

1 - My family and friends
2 - Good food and red wine
3 - My backyard with herbs, vegies, chickens and the dog
4 - Bikram and walking
5 - Books in general, and especially those on the gut, genetics, biochemistry, methylation and health

Share your professional and/or personal medium-term goal

Continue to encourage my brother-in-law (Swimdean) who is attempting to do the seven big ocean swims (Oceans 7).

It includes the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar. He has achieved all but Cook and Tsugaru Straits so far. The whole family travelled to Hawaii to support him on his Molokai swim and we may also join his upcoming Cook Strait swim in New Zealand. He is raising money for Seafarers.

Direct: 02 8117 9510 | Email: debra.gardner@appco.com.au

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