Our team

Our team has been formed to bring cultural, creative and management expertise into the creative process. Our business is built on the fundamental understanding that innovation comes from collaboration. Gilimbaa’s great joy is in forming strong partnerships and working hand in hand with community and clients to achieve lasting creative impacts.

David Williams (Wakka Wakka)

Co-Founder / Director

As a proud Wakka Wakka man, and the Co-Founder and Director of Gilimbaa, David brings a lifetime of culture and connections to Gilimbaa. David was influenced by his immediate family and his Elders who encouraged him to use his creative skills as a tool to connect his culture to the wider community. With over 15 years as a cultural performer working locally, nationally and internationally, David uses creativity as an effective tool of 21st century cultural communication. David has a unique capability to walk in two worlds, influencing in the boardrooms nationally and internationally with the same ease as he connects with community.

David is also a board member of the Queensland Museum Network, chairperson of the Queensland Museum Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee, a member of the Microsoft Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Group, and Indigenous Advisory Group Member for the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art.

Amanda Lear

Creative Director / Managing Director / Director of Strategy

As Co-Founder and Managing Director of Gilimbaa, Amanda has spent the last decade leading the team, working with communities and clients to drive social change though community-focused creative strategy. As the 2013 Telstra Business Woman of the Year (Private Sector QLD), Amanda is a champion of diversity and inclusion, regularly speaking at conferences nationally and internationally on the power of community in the creative process, gender equity, human rights and her lessons and learnings as an entrepreneur. She is a member of UN Women Australia and one of the first Global Ambassadors for Rare Birds – Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs.

Michael Williams

Consultant and Advisor

Michael is a senior Aboriginal (Goorang Goorang, Warlmanpa, Yunkantjara, Pitjantjara, Eastern Aranda and Central Aranda) man who has had a long career in Indigenous affairs and education as Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies at the University of Queensland. As a consultant, he has undertaken work for the Queensland and Australian Governments, the Queensland Folk Federation and numerous not-for-profit and academic institutions throughout the country and abroad. He actively provides mentorship and guidance to individuals at corporate and private levels. Michael has held positions on senior boards, among them the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) as a Council Member (elected from the membership) and the Council of the University of the Sunshine Coast, where he also chaired the Indigenous Advisory Committee to the Vice-Chancellor.

Jack Tierney

Art Director / Illustrator

Gilimbaa’s Art Director and illustrator Jack thrives on leading and working with the team to deliver unforgettable creative outcomes time and time again. He has a Diploma of Visual Arts and a Diploma of Graphic Design/Advertising and his passion lies equally in design and illustration. Jack’s previous experience at some of Australia’s largest advertising firms has taken Gilimbaa’s creative capacity to the next level. Jack has a deep passion for community collaboration and this commitment shines through his strong creative vision and impeccable attention to detail.

Jo Penney

Studio Manager

Born-and-bred Londoner Jo worked with local communities as a youth worker before delving into the world of design and creative agencies in Sydney and, since 2017, has been soaking up the Brisbane sunshine and lifestyle. She has worked across a breadth of industries including arts and culture, health, resources, public services, banking and not-for-profit, and mastered graphic design before channelling her considerable energies into account and project management, and then taking up her busy and varied role as Gilimbaa’s Studio Manager. Jo’s big passion is leading and working with the Gilimbaa team to provide the perfect solutions for clients and to keep the wheels of our busy creative agency turning.

Jess Lucas

Operations Manager

Queenslander Jess is Gilimbaa’s Operations Manager and is inherently motivated by the simple goal of making things better. She does this by assessing and improving systems and strategies, finding new ways to help Gilimbaa’s processes run more smoothly, and by empowering and supporting people to use their strengths to succeed. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Interactive and Visual Design), and a several years spent in the user experience design, operations coordination and operations management fields, Jess brings a wealth of skills and experience to Gilimbaa. Jess’s ideas and energy are consistently fresh and positive ingredients of the Gilimbaa team.

Helga Weiss

Lead Project Manager

Helga has over 20 years’ experience as an advertising communication specialist with a solid background in traditional and digital communication. She has worked in senior strategic roles with major advertising agencies across Australia, managing communication programs for a range of corporate, retail, government and not-for-profit organisations.

She’s adept at initiating, leading and managing projects, no matter how large or small. Helga thrives on a challenge and is highly solution-focussed for Gilimbaa’s clients. She places a high priority on building relationships, by working closely with her team and clients to create an honest and collaborative environment.

Jo Callachor

Project Manager

Jo brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in a project management capacity since moving to Brisbane 15 years ago, and has worked on a wide variety of industries and subject matter for the Federal Government, including culturally appropriate campaigns for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences, large residential property developments, gambling, medicine, entertainment, retail and agriculture. Jo has held project management roles at a number of multi-national agencies in Sydney working on vehicular, aeronautical, telecommunications, FMCG and retail industries.

Jo’s extensive experience means she brings a fresh approach to developing and delivering culturally appropriate campaigns to Gilimbaa’s portfolio of clients.  Her passion is dealing direct with clients, building a great working relationship and making sure they have an excellent experience in the development of their campaigns. She does so by bringing calm and cohesion whilst keeping jobs running on time and on budget. Across the wealth of accounts Jo has worked on, she feels most connected with briefs that contribute to making the world a better place.

Simon Carmichael (Quandamooka)

Project Manager

Simon is a proud descendant of the Quandamooka people.  He is passionate about celebrating and sharing culture as a means to build Reconciliation.  He is highly experienced in unpacking projects with a cultural lens and crafting outcomes of cultural significance. Simon’s diverse project management experiences spanning over 10 years across various sectors and government agencies have equipped him with a sharp and versatile skill set.  He seamlessly drives project development and delivery at both a macro and micro level, and has a strong grasp of strategic processes that will ensure your project meets its time, cost, scope and quality parameters.

Paul McBride

Writer / Business Development

Originally from Northern Ireland and now an adopted Queenslander, Paul has been a writer and editor since 2011 and has been published in a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and websites throughout Australia and overseas. He holds a Master of Communication and Bachelor of Journalism and Public Relations, and has experience writing for a range of industries including health, education, design, consulting, insurance, real estate and government. He has also worked as an in-house copywriter, content editor, freelance writer, and music journalist. Paul brings a unique blend of corporate and creative experience to the Gilimbaa team, as well as a keen eye for detail and a commitment to exceeding clients’ expectations.

Jill Robinson (Bundjalung)

Account Executive

Jill is a proud Bundjalung woman from northern New South Wales who is passionate about storytelling through film. She is an award-winning filmmaker and has completed a Bachelor of Film and Television at Queensland University of Technology. She has worked in remote Indigenous communities all over Australia and has a singular knack for sourcing and engaging interview subjects and portraying their stories in a sensitive and compelling way. Adept in all aspects of photography and videography, from costing to location scouting, talent wrangling, directing, project management and organisation, Jill brings a unique skillset and a rich abundance of experience and know-how to the Gilimbaa team.

Niqui Branchu

Senior Designer

Niqui is passionate about innovative design solutions and joined Gilimbaa as a creative with over 15 years in the advertising and design industry. Throughout her career she has held senior positions in both advertising agencies and corporate in-house art departments. She has worked in Brisbane, Sydney and France with international brands over a variety of sectors – specialising in brand development and rollout as well as creative campaigns.

Jenna Lee (Larrakia)

Senior Designer / Artist

Jenna is a proud Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri woman with a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design and Fine Art from the Queensland College of Art as well as postgraduate qualifications in Museum Studies from the University of Queensland. As one of Gilimbaa’s lead artists, Jenna’s creative practice is strongly influenced by her heritage, as she draws on the rich artistic practices of her ancestors. Jenna specialises in Aboriginal artwork and design, particularly investigating new methods and technologies to celebrate her culture in the modern day. Jenna approaches each project with energy and enthusiasm, delighting in finding a unique and tailored approached to every creative brief. Jenna was the 2019 recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts young and emerging Dreaming Award, recognising her emerging contribution to Aboriginal fine art through her personal art and curatorial practice, and was a finalist in the 2019 John Fries Award.

Tarni O’Shea (South Sea Islands / Butchulla)

Graphic Designer / Artist

Tarni is strongly inspired by the role of design in representing her Aboriginal and South Sea Islander heritage. Drawing inspiration from the world around her, Tarni explores new ways of visual storytelling, creating meaningful work which continues to strengthen her connection back to her culture.

Col McElwaine

Graphic Designer

Col is a passionate designer and illustrator who works with an equal focus on digital design and illustration. He has a wealth of experience working for a number of agencies in Australia, Scotland and England. Working across disciplines has allowed Col to collaborate with clients on work ranging from community projects to global brands on projects ranging from UI, digital, packaging, editorial and large-scale murals.

Paula Hardie

Graphic Designer

Proud Brisbane local Paula directs her energies and design skills toward socially responsible projects and research. Paula’s undergraduate education in Design Futures (Visual Communication) affords her a radical view on the world which emerges in her critical design practice and current Master of Design Research. As a design researcher with interests in decoloniality, social innovation and sustainable futures, Paula’s work adds to the momentum of designers working to progress social, cultural and environmental justice. With experience working in the not-for-profit, social enterprise and academic sector—and a passion for facilitating local events for critically-thinking creatives—Paula’s connection to Gilimbaa manifests as a reciprocal exchange of culture and creativity.

Kieran Simpson (Wakka Wakka)

Junior Designer

Ipswich-born Kieran is a proud Wakka Wakka man, an alumnus of the Design Tracks program and Gilimbaa’s Junior Graphic Designer. With a diverse range of skills, drive and versatility, Kieran can turn his hand to a variety of creative tasks within the studio, including design, social media and copywriting. He holds formal qualifications in screen and media, and has experience working in Indigenous radio and leading and setting up large-scale cultural events. Kieran’s skills and enthusiasm bring an energy and dynamism to the Gilimbaa team.

Elisa Jane Carmichael (Quandamooka)

Artist-in-Residence

Elisa belongs to the Quandamooka people of Minjerribah, North Stradbroke Island and is passionate about nurturing and preserving her strong connection to the sand and sea, Yoolooburrabee. Elisa has exhibited as an artist nationally and internationally and joined the Gilimbaa team as our artist-in-residence. She spent the last year in Alice Springs working on the Connecting Waves project.