DR ELENA KELAREVA
In 2017, Elena traded in a decade-long technology career in Melbourne for a fresh start in Warragul, to pursue her passion for bringing digital innovation to regional communities. Hence, GippsTech was born.
In the years since, she has grown the company to over a dozen employees, working across digital, web, software, innovation, strategy, creative, consulting, and program delivery. Elena has been the instigator and driving force behind our Startup Gippsland and Work My Own Way programs; she founded and grew Binary Shift into a leading regional innovation conference; and she co-founded the Herd Coworking Space in Warragul to create a hub for the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators.
Elena holds a PhD in Computer Science from the Australian National University and has worked for over ten years in large-scale digital product and software development. Prior to starting GippsTech, she spent 3.5 years at Google as a Product Manager for the Google Maps Web APIs. In 2018 she was selected as one of 3 finalists for the Regional Development Victoria Leadership Innovation Award. Elena is also a mentor at the Melbourne Accelerator Program and has helped many startups and small businesses develop and execute their digital product concepts.
Elena sees GippsTech as an extension of her personal commitment to build communities, foster growth, and create employment opportunities for digital and innovation professionals beyond the cities. GippsTech is a social enterprise, with a commitment to reinvest half of the company’s profits back into the community.
Head of Programs
Stephen was born and raised in Gippsland, growing up on a farm near Omeo. As the Head of Programs, his role is to design, develop, and deliver the Startup Gippsland Program.
Stephen is a passionate consultant and entrepreneur with an impressive resume. His career has been diverse, from partnering in a restaurant business, to playing in a band, to working as an executive for AirServices Australia, where he managed a team of 2,500 individuals.
Stephen’s real excitement for innovation and startups began when he became involved with Canberra Innovation, where he mentored and invested in startups for 4 years. Since then, he founded Snowy Advisory, a consultancy business he shares with his wife. After facilitating for the Startup Gippsland Program in 2020, he is excited to be a part of the team.
Head of Digital Strategy & Engagement
Rob has always been fascinated by stories: why and how we tell them, and the relationship between the teller and the audience. As a kid, he invented imaginary universes for his friends to play within. Professionally, it has led to a career full of tangents - music journalism, indie film acquisitions and development, and producing branded content. Most recently, Rob has worked as a strategist across brand, content, and digital. Throughout, the focus on developing narratives and understanding audiences has been a constant.
Over the past decade, Rob has delivered strategy, content, and digital assets for a range of ASX 500 companies, not-for-profits, SMEs, and government clients. At GippsTech, Rob heads up strategy, user experience, and digital work for our clients, while managing our marketing team and providing creative direction for our web projects. He’s committed to making world-class brand, content, and digital services accessible beyond the big agencies.
As a facilitator and a sounding board, Brenna helps businesses looking to tap into new ideas, ways of thinking, and develop problem-solving skills from within their teams. When she isn’t fronting GippsTech’s innovation consulting projects, you’ll also see Brenna teaching and supporting entrepreneurs within the Startup Gippsland program. Having worked in 6 countries, she is passionate about championing the value of local knowledge in a global world, and bringing her international experience to Gippsland.
With an MBA and Masters of Not-for-profit Management from the University of Oregon, Brenna specialises in business model design, marketing, impact metrics, fundraising, and change management for startups and SMEs.
Working in our Innovation team, Natasha is the glue that holds Startup Gippsland, Work My Own Way, and our other programs and innovation projects together. From administration, to event and program coordination, to marketing support, she’s always behind the scenes ready to support her team and program clients.
Working for companies such as Hallmark, Simplot Australia, and Allans Billy Hyde, Natasha has over 10 years’ experience in administration and customer service. She excels at helping clients and the people around her achieve outcomes, and she has a passion for using these skills to help local businesses and communities.
Coworking Space & Events Manager
Sarah works to create a happy culture both within our Warragul HQ and online, and ensures all Startup Gippsland and Work My Own Way events run without a hitch. She is a people person at heart, and is passionate about creating an inclusive and thriving community at The Herd.
Sarah has a Diploma of Screen and Media at SAE Institute, and 4 years’ experience in radio sales and production, marketing, media, and advertising. She uses her industry experience to coordinate and market social and networking events, and help Herd members and program participants to grow in their work and businesses.
Content Marketing Specialist
Zoe brings a background in personal transformation coaching and writing to her content work for GippsTech, Startup Gippsland, Work My Own Way, and our clients. She’s adept at making connections with her subjects and unlocking the “why” behind a brand or a story.
As a published author of “Uncage the Lion Within”, and with 5 years’ experience in blogging, content creation, and freelance writing, Zoe is well versed in delivering messages to a variety of audiences. She is always looking for ways to refine her skills or test out new ideas in service of delivering better messages and stronger voices for our clients.