The night before virtually interviewing ABV mentor David Campbell and mentee Moana Korikalo, a 6.5-scale earthquake hit Vanuatu. Despite being woken up by her home shaking in the night, Moana showed up on time to chat with us with a positive attitude. "That's who Moana is; she always follows through on her commitments," David remarked. 

As the Retail Head of BSP Financial Group Limited's Vanuatu branch, Moana guides clients through their business growth and steers them towards success. We matched David and Moana in May 2022 under BSP's leadership development program. Moana picked David for his impressive profile that showcased his extensive sales and business development expertise. On David's suggestion, they took a personality test to get to know each other. They found they were both 'protagonists'–the people who get things done. 

Moana has been with BSP Financial Group since 2010 and is now in her 7th year as the retail head of Vanuatu. She manages a team of 59 staff—each day brings something new. Moana's real love is helping people; she initially started as an executive assistant at BSP and, in her downtime, would head downstairs to help customers at the bank. She quickly realised an assistant role wasn't for her; she needed to be with a team. 

Moana embraced the chance to participate in the BSP/ABV mentoring program. Her main goal was to enhance her leadership skills, and with David's help, Moana has improved her confidence in leading her team. Moana's excellent communication skills are crucial to managing her multi-lingual team, who speak French, English, and Bislama. 

David travelled to meet Moana for the first time in September 2023. "It felt like reuniting with an old friend. We have become great buddies over the years, and I felt comfortable immediately. I know our friendship will continue after this program," said Moana. 

David met Moana's team at the bank and got to see the other side of his mentoring at play; "I asked the team for feedback on what was and wasn't working, and the level of candour was pretty refreshing", he said. 

Moana has led her team to great personal and professional achievements. She shared a heartwarming story of how proud she was that one of her branch managers passed her driving test after seven years of her writing it into her 'development plan.' 

Moana's leadership style has transformed throughout the mentoring program. Moana said, "My confidence and how I approach situations is so different, thanks to David's guidance. When people ask me how I've done it, I simply say, 'Meet my friend David.'" 

For an impressive span of more than 30 years, Bevan Sharp has been a dedicated volunteer of ABV.

His commitment has seen him complete over 60 assignments in 16 countries, contributing his time and expertise to invaluable projects across Asia and the Pacific, including in Cambodia, Vietnam, PNG, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Indonesia, Tonga and Fiji.

Bevan's wealth of professional experience and passion for supporting the communities he works with has seen him perform a varying range of roles including hotel management, tourism business development, staff management training, marketing development, business hub establishment, marketing, agri-tourism, and fundraising.


Bevan has let us know that the time has come for him to focus on his other commitments. His unwavering dedication for over 30 years to ABV has been incredibly valued and will be greatly missed. Thank you for your service Bevan.

Marcus Alexander is one of ABV's skilled volunteers working with our Nauru program to build capacity of local small-medium businesses. Marcus has always had a talent for spotting opportunities, making him perfect to help small businesses in Nauru. He discovered his love for retail and business while working at Woolworths, eventually making his way up the ranks in management. From here, he moved into business-to-business sales, selling everything from baked beans, baby food, tools, and homewares. B2B sales led him to work for Kincrome, where he sold hardware to Bunnings, which sparked his obsession for DIY and ultimately led him to start his own business, Codu, a premium textiles company.

Marcus and his blankets in MYER

Marcus’ business beginnings in textiles began when he travelled to Ukraine for a friend's wedding. Knowing his love for all things DIY, his friend told him about the world's largest DIY store in Kyiv. Here, he discovered beautiful woollen blankets tucked into a back corner, and immediately, his brain started ticking over.

Marcus knew that the Australian market had a high demand for woollen products, so he took a risk and had six boxes sent back home to try his hand at selling them. The blankets were a hit. After testing the market more and seeing success, he expanded into cabinetry, still using Ukrainian small businesses as his suppliers, which has become an essential part of his mission.

In 2023, Marcus joined the Nauru Private Sector Development Roadmap program, part of a four-year partnership between ABV and the Nauru Chamber of Commerce (NCC).  He worked closely with NCC Business Hub Manager Jennifer Harris and fellow SBP Susan Goldie to facilitate the Your Enterprise Scheme (YES) workshop series with short-term accommodation providers in Nauru.

Volunteers Liane, Matt, Marcus and Susan delivering workshop virtually

The YES Program, a business skills training program for small businesses, has been tailored into a modular workshop series focusing on a range of business sectors in Nauru, aligning with the private sector development goals of the Roadmap. After the initial workshop training, Marcus and Susan provided one-on-one sessions for the participating short-term accommodation providers. Short-term accommodation is crucial for Nauru to host events like the Miss Pacific Island Pageant, for which Marcus was prepping the businesses. "There is such huge potential there, and I loved meeting such a diverse group of participants," said Marcus.

Marcus is passionate about the importance of collaboration and innovation in driving positive change. Just as his business has opened doors for small suppliers in Ukraine, he constantly seeks new ways to help others.

Marcus has these words of wisdom to leave us with, "Real leadership is when you see those you are mentoring blossom. Be there as that set of safe hands and see how much they flourish."

"Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool. We all, as humans, learn through storytelling," - Susan Goldie.

Susan Goldie has dedicated her life to humanitarian work, including mental health education, better end-of-life care, poverty reduction, and economic empowerment.

Susan joined us as a volunteer in November 2023 and has started working with our Nauru team on capacity building of local small-medium businesses. Susan's work supports the Nauru Private Sector Development Roadmap program, a 4-year partnership between ABV and the Nauru Chamber of Commerce to help foster closer collaboration across private, public and community sectors in support of Nauru's National Sustainable Development Strategy.

A key opportunity for Nauruan small businesses was the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant, held in Nauru in January 2024. This important regional pageant celebrating Pacific cultures was a landmark event for Nauru to host, and many small businesses, such as vendors, sole traders, and goods and service providers, stepped up to the challenge. 

The previous year's Miss Pacific Islands winner, Josie Nicholas, advocated for increased youth involvement in sustainable tourism. This youth-led approach to building sustainable tourism resonates with the vision set by the Sustainable Tourism Working Group, established in 2023 as part of the Roadmap's implementation, to support closer collaboration between private sector, government and community stakeholders to achieve shared sustainable tourism goals. 

Susan played a crucial role in conducting workshops for local vendors, volunteers, and hosts in preparation for the Pageant. These hybrid workshops, a highly tailored iteration of ABV's signature YES Program, were co-delivered by Susan with another ABV volunteer, Marcus Alexander, along with Jennifer Harris, the Nauru Chamber of Commerce's Business Hub Manager. The workshops covered essential aspects of customer service, work health and safety, and financial tools to start and grow a business. 

Image: Volunteers Liane, Matt, Susan and Marcus facilitating workshops from online with Jenn Harris (Nauru Business Hub Manager)

One of Susan's unique approaches includes educating through her lived experience. "Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool. We all, as humans, learn through storytelling," she said. In her other community roles, Susan uses storytelling as a way to break down mental health stigma by delivering talks in schools and sharing her lived experience as a carer for someone with a mental health condition.  

Outside of ABV, Susan is a board member of a community-owned mortuary service that supports people who struggle to pay for their loved ones' funerals and connects local organisations to better serve their community's needs in times of grief and loss.

Beyond her humanitarian work, Susan finds solace in Taiko drumming, a mind, body, and soul workout she discovered during her first trip to Japan. "The drums can be so large that you need a crane to bring them in; it's an amazing art form. I leave the studio after drumming feeling so refreshed and clear-headed."

Susan was excited to join ABV and contribute to sustainable change-making. "The theme of all my volunteering is to build capacity and empower people, which very much aligns with ABV's mission, and that's what drew me to the organisation," Susan said. 

When asked what made Susan choose ABV, she said, "ABV is working in such a streamlined way; no one is indispensable, and people are valued. ABV continues momentum but never becomes the destination; they are the wind in the sails of the next community."

We feel privileged to have a volunteer with such diverse and meaningful experience. Thank you, Susan!

Image: Susan and her daughter hosting the Vinnies Community Sleepout in Western Sydney.

Image: Allan and Shirley in their Woodend Rotary uniforms.  

For most of their lives, Allan and Shirley have done everything together. Their lifelong partnership intertwines with work, volunteering and their enthusiasm for travel. Through volunteering, they have travelled across the Pacific to the Soloman Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji with Australian Business Volunteers and other international agencies. 

"Allan found the assignments, but I always went with him. We are the Coles 2 for 1 special," says Shirley. 

Image: Allan and Shirley with the President of the Indigenous Business Council Fiji and his staff 2016. 

Their first ABV assignment was in Vanuatu in 2006, where they helped two small businesses start up. This experience led to their passion for helping small businesses, which continued for the next two decades. In 2017, the Vanuatu Department of Industry asked them to develop a Strategic Plan for the Manufacturing Industry in Vanuatu.  

This project led to further assignments in 2021/22 to create a Manufacturing Standard of best practices for safety and financial reporting to help businesses grow and become legitimate. Since 70% of Vanuatu's income comes from tourism, the region must build resilience against inevitable travel disruptions by developing other core industries. 

Image: Presentation of attendance awards to participants of the Business Training course we ran for the Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in 2017. 

When they aren't volunteering, Allan and Shirley have plenty to do on their leafy five acres in Woodend North in the Macedon ranges (70 km from Melbourne). Between gardening and maintenance, Allan loves picking up and trying new musical instruments.  

They have devoted their lives to serving their community. Allan has been a member of Rotary for 33 years, the last 12 with the Rotary Club of Woodend, while Shirley has been a member of the Red Cross for 10 years, with 7 years spent in the Emergency Services; she is also an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Woodend. 

Currently, they are working on a disaster resilience ABV assignment to help develop a business plan for the Compost Club in East Gippsland.  

"We are taking it slowly, giving the innovator time to make changes. It's a step-by-step process, but we are getting there," says Shirley.  

The Compost Club aims to reduce food waste by providing educational programs about composting and sustainable practices. Building community organizations and small businesses is crucial to creating a more robust local economy more resilient to natural disasters. 

We are grateful to have volunteers like Allan and Shirley in our ABV family. We feel incredibly proud that they recently received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) at the Australia Day Awards.  

Our ABV volunteers have given over 10,444 days of volunteering work during the last four years of our Disaster Recovery programs in NSW and VIC. This is equivalent to more than 41 people working full-time over three years. 

Image: Picture of students outside the new school the Woodend Rotary built in a remote village in Vanuatu. Allan and Shirley travelled to Vanuatu in February for the opening.  

Are you feeling inspired to give back? Whether it's volunteering locally or abroad, your contribution matters. Take the first step today by expressing your interest in volunteering with us at Volunteer - Australian Business Volunteers (abv.org.au)

Meet Emi Weir, one of our inspiring ABV Skilled Volunteers who has donated her expertise for over a decade. Emi's nomadic spirit has led her to new opportunities around the globe—starting in her early twenties, she moved to New York, where she sold tour packages for Aus Travel. Although challenging, she found solo travelling a fulfilling experience; she says, "I went to New York without any plan, but I think my Australian accent and confidence secured me the job, and I loved it." Over her career, Emi appreciated flexibility to follow her own path, "When I asked to for time off to go backpacking, they said yes, and when I came back, and I was promoted to set up the national operation."

In 2014, in search of a new challenge, Emi travelled to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Vientiane is known for its relaxed vibe and Buddhist temples along tree-lined boulevards on the banks of the Mekong River. Shortly after her arrival, Emi was asked to support the business operations of the Laos Disabled Women's (LDW) Centre through Australian Business Volunteers (ABV).

In groups of 30, women with disabilities would join the LDW Centre for nine months, building confidence and life skills. A lot of the women were victims of the Polio virus, which, if not treated properly, can result in paralysis. "These women faced great challenges—many were denied schooling and weren't accepted in their villages. They came to the Centre and saw girls who were like them and who were happy to be like them. Seeing their transformation was a deeply moving experience."

The women were employed to craft items from recycled paper, like earrings and bracelets, to be sold in the Centre's shop. With Emi's background in tourism, she realised the promising prospects of the Centre being near the famous 'Friendship Bridge' that connects to Thailand. Emi established partnerships with tour companies to incorporate the Centre into their itineraries, bringing in busloads of visitors. Over the next decade, the Centre evolved from a small initiative into a thriving enterprise and, to this day, operates, now offering tours and paper crafting workshops.

Above: Paper crafting at the LDW Centre, Emi Holding Earrings 2014.

In 2016, Emi relocated to Savannakhet—a province in southern Laos. She started another ABV assignment to write a business plan for Sengsavang, a versatile establishment housing a restaurant, tailoring service, and hairdressing facility. "Local factory workers would take their lunch there and then have their hair washed, which was a popular service, and during wedding season, they'd teach the local girls how to sew." Emi later employed Sengsavang tailors to produce Ikats (a dyed textile) for her business, Ma Té Sai. Emi's business is a social enterprise that proudly follows a "from the village for the village" ethos, co-creating items with village artisans.

Emi pivoted to virtual volunteering in the last few years, and her latest ABV assignment was helping disaster resilience in Southeast NSW by writing a strategic marketing plan for a First Nations organisation and assisting Aruluen Hall with event marketing.

Emi's diverse skill set has been invaluable to ABV over the past decade, and we're profoundly grateful for her expertise. Reflecting on her years with ABV, Emi said, "I love the diversity of what ABV offers; I identify with its spirit of resourcefulness."

LDWD Centre Group photo.

Paper products from LDWD Centre being sold in Singapore.

Do you have the business skills to give back and change lives? Express interest in volunteering with us.

Our Skilled Volunteers, Liz Reece and Tamara Dytor, made the most of their time in Papua New Guinea. They immersed themselves in the experience of volunteering overseas, taking the opportunity to join in with the local culture before facilitating the Your Enterprise Scheme (YES) Program—helping local entrepreneurs and small businesses grow their skills for business success. "The YES course participants were a delight to work with, nutting out the local challenges and best business models together," said Liz. 

Liz has volunteered for ABV since 2015, so she was the perfect partner to help Tamara feel comfortable on her first assignment. Volunteering overseas can seem intimidating, but you can feel safe and confident with local guidance and the support of your volunteer buddy.

Reflecting on the trip, Tamara shared she feels grateful for the opportunity to learn from Liz, the Apeketon team and the course participants, "It was wonderful to exchange knowledge and be part of something truly unique. I'm looking forward to my next role with ABV."

Are you feeling inspired to give back? It's a new year of possibilities, and countless opportunities with us need your business skills! Whether it's volunteering locally or abroad, your contribution matters. Take the first step today by expressing your interest in volunteering with us at Volunteer - Australian Business Volunteers (abv.org.au)

Our partner, Newmont, supports this program and the Apeketon Business Hub.

Jennifer Harris, our Nauru Business Hub Manager, facilitated a tourism workshop with our skilled volunteers Matt and Liane, which focused on empowering young people and supporting sustainable tourism growth in Nauru.

Considering the impact on the environment and local economy is crucial for the small island nation that has become the focus for many 'bucket list' travellers. The Private Sector Development Roadmap supports community-led, sustainable tourism development that celebrates Nauru's unique culture and history.

This initiative is part of our Private Sector Development Roadmap implementation, delivered in partnership with the Nauru Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and British High Commission Solomon Islands.

These young entrepreneurs will receive ongoing mentoring support through the Hub and ABV's skilled volunteers, in collaboration with the Youth Mentor Group Enterprises (YMGE), one of the community groups formed out the network-building activities of the Roadmap's Sustainable Tourism Working Group.

We look forward to sharing updates on the progress of these young entrepreneurs as they build their entrepreneurial skills and take the lead in Nauru's developing tourism industry!

Last week, Anna Durward had her first face-to-face meeting with her mentee, Camari Turagarua on Likuri Island. They have been working together since early 2023. Camari, the Chief Operations Officer at BSP Life Fiji, joined the program to enhance her leadership, management, and strategic skills. She expressed her gratitude for the mentorship program, stating, 'I've learned so much, and I am so grateful to Anna – she is like a sister to me.'

During their time together, they enjoyed the Fiji Day festivities. Camari had made Anna a sulu chamba, which she wore during the celebrations (pictured here). Anna thoroughly enjoyed the traditional dancing, especially the lively dance competition in the evening, which she took part in judging.

Reflecting on her experiences, Anna says, 'I learned so much and feel I have a new family in Fiji. If something feels a bit off in your career, if you're feeling lost, seeking more meaning, wanting to be of service, considering a career change, or aspiring to co-create real impact in communities, I highly recommend volunteering with ABV.'"

Evelyn (Eve) Moolenburgh has been volunteering with ABV since 2019, working alongside ABV staff and those of our partners throughout the Asia Pacific region. Born in Perth and now living in Sydney, Eve's life has been shaped by diverse experiences, both in Australia and abroad. From her time in Nauru supporting sustainable tourism development with ABV and our partner the Nauru Chamber of Commerce to her dedicated role as a community firefighter, Eve embodies the spirit of giving back.

Let's take a look into Eve's inspiring volunteering story and her impact as a changemaker:

Volunteering has been an important part of Eve's life since her early years. Inspired by her mother's 45 years of service to Meals on Wheels, Eve has continued to make a positive impact through volunteer work. "From my days as a Brownie and Girl Guide to now, volunteering is so important to me. First, I did 'Cents for Service,' sweeping up the leaves and pathways for elderly neighbours; then, it was volunteering at the local hospital and running fundraising at the school to build a new library. Now it's community firefighting; and business volunteering with ABV," Eve shares. The rewards of volunteering extend far beyond the tangible outcomes, as Eve has forged lifelong friendships and witnessed the transformative power of helping others.

For over 20 years, Eve has dedicated herself to the role of Team Coordinator in her local Community Fire Unit. Although her suburb is surrounded by bushland, active firefighting situations have been rare. Nevertheless, Eve's role extends beyond fighting fires; it encompasses educating her community about fire safety and helping them prepare for potential hazards. "Ensuring our suburb is fire-ready and raising awareness about fire safety measures is crucial. Our collective effort contributes to a safer community," Eve emphasizes.

Eve's volunteer experience is complemented by her 40+ years' business experience, including working as an insurance broker in London and later starting her own thriving consulting business with 10+ staff in Sydney supporting organisational change, leadership development and making businesses successful through their people, with many clients in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Accolades include an Inbound Tourism Emerging Leader talent program which won "Best Talent Program" in 2016, a program still running. 

Among Eve's numerous volunteering assignments with ABV, one of her most cherished experiences took place in Nauru, where Eve discovered a country brimming with warmth, creativity and the huge potential of its young people. Collaborating with ABV staff and our partner, the Nauru Chamber of Commerce, Eve has worked with a wide range of local stakeholders to help lay the groundwork for a private-sector and youth-led sustainable tourism industry. Through her work with ABV, Eve not only learns about different cultures but also has the opportunity to inspire -- and be inspired by -- local changemakers, supporting them to drive new opportunities with their communities. 

When she isn't occupied with her professional commitments, Eve finds serenity in her beloved hobby of kayaking. Living near Sydney Harbour has provided Eve with the perfect playground to embark on kayaking adventures with her son and husband. One of her most memorable kayak adventures was recently navigating Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands with her husband.

Reflecting on her ABV volunteer work predominantly in the Pacific region, Eve shares that, "One of the most significant lessons I've learned is about different approaches to time." It has been an enlightening experience for Eve, who has found that investing the time to listen, learn and adapt her approach to each country's own unique rhythm allows more time for reflection and enables you to embrace a more present and mindful approach to life.

In Eve's words, "There is twice as much to be gained from being a volunteer; not just the fruits of fundraising and the sight of a brand-new library at the local school but the friends and people you meet and the reward of seeing someone else benefit and thrive."

Image: Eve is pictured with Nauru Business Hub Manager, Jennifer Harris.

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