Faiā announces first official Advisory Board Member

Faiā is proud to introduce its first official Advisory Board member, Steve Barnes. The Advisory Board will help guide Faiā’s management team to make sure it stays at the forefront of trends, builds a sustainable business model, and is held accountable. The Advisory Board will also help guide Faiā towards being an irreplaceable resource for community and economic development over the next decade.

Steve Barnes had a few words to share:

Tell us a bit about your career history:

After completing a journalism degree, I spent about ten years in journalism and corporate communications roles, including working at major Australian media organisations and two United Nations agencies. I became interested in organisation and management issues, so did an MBA and joined management consulting firm Accenture, where I worked for around ten years mainly in financial services. Since then I have continued to focus on financial services and technology at MLC and NAB and five years as COO at fin-tech IRESS. I am now working at the Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund.

What ultimately led you to decide to be part of Faiā’s advisory board?

I worked with George at IRESS and have always been impressed by his energy and entrepreneurial spirit. I am excited to be able to contribute in a small way to helping George and the team at Faiā grow and develop the business. I find it rewarding when I can offer value to others by sharing my experience and insights. It is also a great opportunity for me to keep learning.

What are you most passionate about?

In terms of where my spare time is actually spent, I would have to say reading, podcasts, watching cricket and Rugby (both of which I used to play). In terms of aspirations, I like spending time in nature such as hiking in Patagonia (a couple of years ago) and New Zealand (in January).

What’s something most people might not know about you?

There are many things. I have had a diverse career. I played a small part in helping save Africa from New World Screwworm fly, which is a parasite that attacks cattle and other mammals. It mainly effects the Americas, but a small infestation was discovered in Libya around 1990. If the pest established a foothold it could have spread across Africa with disastrous impact on domestic animals and wildlife and an estimated cost of more than $1 billion a year. I worked on a project that flew 1.5 billion sterilised flies from Mexico and released them in Libya. The sterilised flies mate with the wild flies, but the eggs they produce do not hatch. The Libyan infestation was eradicated; the sterilised flies eventually die off and there is no lasting impact.

What would you like to see more of in the world over the next decade (2020-2030)?

What I would really like to see is finding ways to attract more smart people to solving important social problems. Our society creates great rewards for successful commercial innovation and entrepreneurialism, but there are many areas where the economic models don’t work to attract talented people (perhaps this is where Bitcoin comes in). I have no idea what the answer is – maybe the equivalent of national service but focused on working in a social business for a year. And the other thing I would like to see: a better winning streak for the Wallabies!

I am excited to be able to contribute in a small way to helping George and the team at Faiā grow and develop the business.


Steve Barnes is an ASX 200 c-suite executive with strong commercial, operational and business transformation experience across financial services, fintech and consulting. He was previously a management consultant at Accenture, COO at global fintech IRESS, and is currently working with Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, Future Fund.

His experience and expertise includes: Business transformation; Global operations management; Due diligence and merger integration; Customer experience; Business strategy; Growth strategy; Information security / cyber security; ISO 27001 certification; workplace change; Online services / digital services; banking; Wealth management; Financial planning technology; Wealth management technology; Platforms; Program, project and portfolio management; Change management; Organisation design / operating model design; Technology led change programmes; Corporate communication; Journalism; Saving Africa from the New World Screwworm fly.

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