The Board

Ted O’Brien

Ted is Founder & Chairman of Generation Innovation.

He is a community leader, an experienced company director and brings over 20 years of blue chip commercial experience in Australia and across the Asia Pacific.

Ted is committed to the Sunshine Coast. He has a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship and a strong track record of community service.

He has a Master in Economics (London School of Economics); Master in International Business 1st Class Hons (University of Melbourne); Bachelor of Arts (University of Queensland); Asia Pacific Fellowship in Chinese Mandarin (National Taiwan Normal University) and he is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Sophia O’Brien

Sophia is a Director of Generation Innovation.

She teaches law at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She is admitted to practice in the legal profession and brings experience as a litigation lawyer. Previously, she lived and worked in Beijing, where she studied Chinese language, law and politics at Peking University while also working at the North Asia desk of International Crisis Group.

Sophia holds a Bachelor of International Relations and a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours. She won the University Medal and was awarded the Commonwealth Government’s Prime Ministerʼs Endeavour Award.

Sharee McBlane

Sharee is a Director of Generation Innovation.

Sharee has over 20 years’ experience within large commercial entities, statutory authorities and small privately-owned businesses. She has worked across a range of industries including finance, disability, banking, tourism, property, utilities, health, education, and agribusiness. 

Sharee has a passion for implementing collaborative business improvements.  Achieved through understanding all functions and aspects of a business to maximise the link between business strategy and the achievement of operational outcomes, based on solutions that deliver efficiencies and improve the customer experience.  She has an analytical yet personable nature, combined with exceptional planning and organisational skills.

Sharee completed an MBA in 2015 specialising in management and international business.

Shane Cunningham

Shane is a Director of Generation Innovation.

Shane teaches on the Sunshine Coast and is passionate about developing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within the younger generation.

Prior to teaching, Shane spent twenty years working for and consulting to some of Australia’s largest and most complex commercial businesses on the strategic application of technology.  During this time he was involved in a number of start-up and high-growth businesses, leading and managing all aspects of business development.

Shane also served in the Royal Australian Air Force.  Over ten years he completed undergraduate, graduate and pilot qualifications; accumulated almost 2000 hours of military flying experience; and was exposed to the highest levels of strategic and operational planning whilst serving as the Aide-de-Camp to the Air Commander, Australia.

Shane has a Bachelor of Science from UNSW; a Graduate Diploma in Teaching; and is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy, RAAF College and RAAF Pilots' Course.

Dean Craven

Dean is a Director and the Treasurer of Generation Innovation

Dean has built extensive experience of delivering enterprise-wide transformational projects for international businesses for over two decades. This work has taken him around the World and immersed him in many cultures and nationalities along the way.

Dean’s key focus is on the numbers…. strategic and financial planning…. and then delivering the changes necessary to make the numbers work. Living on the Sunshine Coast for the past 6 years, he is now focused on helping early stage businesses, particularly with young founders, to establish and grow sustainable businesses that can contribute to the local and national economies.

Dean qualified as a Fellow Chartered Management Accountant over 35 years ago, and holds an Executive MBA from Loughborough University Business School.

In addition to his Generation Innovation role, Dean is a panel member of Queensland Government’s Mentoring for Growth (M4G) program, is an executive member of the USC Animal Ethics Committee and has also joined the Mentoring panel of the prestigious Fashion Capital in London, where he will provide support to designers and tailors in the early stages of their careers in the fashion industry. 


Zoë Sparks

Zoë is a Director and the Company Secretary of Generation Innovation

Zoë Sparks has owned her award-winning travel, conference and event management company – Spectacular Events Pty Ltd – for the past twenty-three years. Her experience in small business is not only as a business owner but also as a franchisee, Board and committee member (companies and not-for-profit organisations) and volunteer. In its current form, Zoë’s business is dedicated to all aspects of group and event travel, conference and event management and delivering professional and personal development and reward and recognition programs to businesses and people who are keen to excel in all areas of their lives.

Zoë is currently a Director of Visit Sunshine Coast, a member of the USC Tourism Taskforce and CEO & Founder of SHINE Business Women. She holds a GAICD qualification and is currently working on her Masters, having recently graduated with a Graduate Certificate of Leadership from Deakin University. Her business is a Sunshine Coast ‘Excellence in Business Awards’ – Hall of Fame inductee, and she has authored five business books.

Recognised twice as a QLD Telstra ‘Business Woman of the Year’ finalist and also a winner of Sunshine Coast Outstanding Business Woman of the Year, Zoë has a proven track record for success and achievement.

Zoë is passionate about small business, leadership and reward and recognition. She also relishes her role as a mother to young men (aged 20 and 18). 


Sandra Brodie

Sandra is a Director of Generation Innovation

Sandra Brodie represents the next generation of young leaders. She has been described as an enabler, a connector and a catalyst for change.

Graduating from RMIT with an Entrepreneurship degree, two prestigious university awards and a successful entrepreneurial events-based start-up, she was scouted by the CEO of Deloitte Digital to help drive digital innovation in a conservative professional services firm.

Having successfully helped Deloitte build an online education business from the ground-up, Sandra turned left and headed for the Guatemalan jungle, where she spent a year studying and living in a remote community.

The years that followed saw Sandra bring her unique experience, vision and talent for innovation to world-class organisations including CSIRO, RMIT University and Swisse Wellness, as well as to supporting start-ups and community-building initiatives.

After moving to the Coast and spending two years as Head of Strategic Engagement and Special Projects at leading aerospace tech company HeliMods, Sandra is now focused on supporting innovation, growth and social impact in the community sector, taking on a new role Head of Business and Growth at award-winning For-Purpose organisation, the Compass Institute.