The Friendlies Conference 2018

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The annual Friendlies Conference brings together representatives of Friendly Society owned pharmacies and their associated stakeholders.

The Friendlies Conference 2018 will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney on 6 September 2018.

The theme this year is Profit For Purpose. Presentations will cover the importance of mutuality in the Friendly Society Pharmacy model as well as looking at the challenges and opportunities within community pharmacy in Australia.

The program includes some expert speakers in the areas of pharmacy business, governance and mutuality and is a great opportunity to gain some new knowledge and ideas for your Friendly Society.


Speaker Profiles

Peter Saccasan
National Head of Business Advisory (Pharmacy), RSM Australia

Peter Saccasan is a Director and National Head of Business Advisory with RSM Australia Pty Ltd. He is responsible for national management of the pharmacy services of the firm, leading a team of pharmacy specialists who understand the retail pharmacy industry.

With a background in the SME market and 15 years of pharmacy experience, Peter seeks to provide a complete business service for pharmacy owners, with a focus on sustainability.

Peter is also a national director of the Australian College of Pharmacy and a columnist in Retail Pharmacy. In addition, he speaks regularly at pharmacy conferences and lectures in pharmacy management topics at university.

He is responsible for providing business and tax advisory services for a wide variety of pharmacy clients. Through his extensive experience and knowledge of the pharmacy industry, Peter provides sound advice and innovative solutions around all areas of pharmacy business, including managing cashflow, strategy and advice, structures, finance and valuations.

Peter was the principal advisor to a large pharmacy group acquiring seven pharmacies in one line. He continues to act as principal advisor to the group which has since doubled in size.

Felicity Crimston
Director, Pharmacy Division, Pitcher Partners

With over eight years experience in management and accounting roles, focusing largely on the pharmacy market, Felicity works closely with her clients to identify and provide solutions on a range of tax compliance, financial structuring, accounting and commercial matters. Being in touch with the latest industry trends and government regulations, she assists clients achieve their strategic goals and develop their businesses to achieve market leading results.

Geoff Carter
Managing Director, Strategic Governance Group

Geoff Carter MAICD MAIEF is the Managing Director of Strategic Governance Group Pty Ltd – a privately-owned consulting business established in 2001 that specialises in corporate board and director enhancement services including governance practice advice, facilitation and training, governance policy development and design, strategy formulation and board and director performance evaluation services.

Strategic Governance Group assists corporate entities (companies, incorporated associations, co-operatives, statutory authorities, etc) to optimise board and director effectiveness and enhance governance execution to enable better organisational performance, efficiency and value.

Geoff has worked with hundreds of private sector, not-for-profit and government-owned organisations undertaking, among other things, the following: • facilitating governance (and company director) workshops • governance practice advice and troubleshooting • corporate entity constitution development and reviews • governance charter and policy development programs • risk management and compliance systems development • strategic direction formulation workshops • governance framework appraisals • board and director performance evaluations • board remuneration reviews

Geoff works with the Australian Institute of Company Directors as a ‘core’ facilitator conducting governance education programs, tailored in-board-room governance training and briefings and governance information workshops and seminars.

Geoff is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors [MAICD] and a member (and Director and Public Officer) of the Australian Institute of Enterprise Facilitators [MAIEF], Chair of the Queanbeyan Development Board and has previous experience as a Director, Company Secretary, Public Officer and Chairman with a range of other corporate entities.

Geoff has previously managed a Business Enterprise Centre, Business Incubator and a Group Training Company and has undertaken international business development projects in China and Japan. He has also authored a number of practical papers, articles, programs and training curriculum dealing with governance and business/organisational management issues.

He also has several tertiary business and training qualifications. In a previous life Geoff has a background, qualifications and experience as a practitioner and a business manager and owner in the horticulture and (radio) broadcast industries.

Narelle Hooper
Governance Expert

Narelle Hooper is an advisor, author and director who helps organisations that do good work, do better in the New Economy.

She is Editor in Chief of Company Director Magazine, the voice of 40,000 members of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She’s also a member of the Table of Ten at, the world’s most human online knowledge-base for the stuff you need to lead (and work with) people. She is a non executive director of The Ethics Centre and Documentary Australia Foundation.

A respected media commentator and sought after facilitator, Narelle brings warmth, practical perspectives and energy to the groups she works with.

She’s a compelling MC and event curator with a knack of communicating authentically and effectively with diverse audiences leaving them with insights they can use.

Narelle was founding co-chair of the national Australian Financial Review – Westpac Women of Influence Awards and former editor of the Financial Review’s award winning BOSS Magazine. During more than two decades in business journalism, she has interviewed hundreds of CEOs, national and global leaders to discover their defining leadership lessons and gain insights on where they go right and wrong.

Narelle grew up in country NSW, in a family of five kids, who ran a dairy farm and the local pub while her mum also worked night shift as a maternity sister. Being the first in her family to go to university has made her a deep believer in the power of education to transform lives.

She is curious about the world, people and ideas –  interested in everything from architecture and design  to science, technology, health and wellbeing and spreading the word on what makes strong, sustainable communities tick.  She’s an occasional guest on ABC TV’s The Drum and contributor to Human Company and Qantas Magazine.

Jan Bowe
Chair, Combined Dispensaries Friendly Society

Jan Bowe is a Principal Consultant and Head of Brisbane with Bendelta. She is a specialist in both strategy and organisation design. Jan’s expertise spans strategy analysis, formulation and facilitation as well as organisational solution (structures, systems and roles) design and implementation. She excels in tightly aligning solutions with the strategic positioning of her clients to support the achievement of their strategic plan.

Jan has extensive corporate skills and broad industry experience, encompassing banking and finance, media, mining and health. Her considerable senior executive experience encompasses corporate strategy, organisation design, change management and operations management.

Prior to joining Bendelta, Jan ran her own consulting practice, specialising in organisation design, strategy and coaching, working largely in the media sector. Jan’s previous experience includes senior executive roles with the Commonwealth Bank, Suncorp-Metway, Rio Tinto and the NRMA.

Jan is an experienced Non-Executive Director and currently holds directorships with QT Mutual Bank and Friendly’s Pharmacies Group.

Jan holds both an MBA (Melbourne Business School) and a Bachelor of Health Administration (UNSW).

Melina Morrison
CEO, Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals

Melina Morrison was appointed the inaugural CEO of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) in July 2013. The BCCM formed in
2013 following a national campaign Melina led in 2012, to raise awareness of the contribution of co-operative businesses in the Australian economy.

From 2010-2013 Melina headed the national Steering Committee and Secretariat that oversaw Australia’s International Year of Co-operatives
(IYC) campaign. She is a founding director of the cooperative businesses advocacy organisation, Social Business Australia, established in 2009 to
increase recognition of the added value of member based business in the national economy.

For the last ten years, Melina has headed media campaigns for peak coop bodies including the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). Melina
wrote and produced the flagship ICA Digest (2006- 2012) and was on the international media team for the ICA in 2012 as the world celebrated
the International Year of Co-operatives. Furthermore, she developed the message platform for the ICA’s 10 year plan, Blueprint for a Cooperative
Decade. She is also an associate of media firm, Sommerson Communications, which developed the strategy for the global digital case
study site Melina is a graduate from the University of Tasmania.

Previous Conferences

Click on the links below to see the program information and presentations from previous Friendlies Conferences.

4-5 September 2015: Adelaide

9-10 September 2016: Hobart

8-9 September 2017: Brisbane