Maria MacNamara | CEO, Advance.org


Maria is a strategy, business development, engagement and communications specialist with experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She has specialist expertise in policy, politics, professional services and digital transformation.

For over 25 years, Maria worked with some of Australia's leading legal and accounting firms and is known for turning around underperforming teams and delivering double digit growth.

Looking to broaden her sector knowledge, Maria joined the office of Senator The Hon. Arthur Sinodinos AO, the former Assistant Treasurer, Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

Maria also worked in the public sector initially contributing to the launch of a greenfields agency (Workers Compensation Independent Review Office) in NSW and more recently, headed up the strategy, communications and engagement for the Turnbull Government’s Digital Transformation Agency.

Maria is an active participant in and supporter of the Australian innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. She sits on the board of the Spark Festival and the International Women’s Forum (Australia). Maria is also on the Advisory Board of Startup Muster and the China Australia Millennial Project and mentors the founders of six startups.

She founded her own startup professional services practice, Ash Street Partners which she has since exited and was a co-founder of digital transformation company Hypereal.  

Maria was selected to participate in the inaugural Women Leaders' Trade Mission to Israel led by Lucy Turnbull and Jillian Segal. She co-founded the Awesome Women’s Project, the Ecosystem Leaders Lunch and is a SheEO Activator. Maria has been judging the Finnies since 2017 and the Regtech Awards since 2019.

She was recognised in the 2018 International Women's Day Showcase, was a nominee in the 2018 Women of Influence Awards and was the winner of the Startcon Community Most Valuable Person Award in 2018.

Maria a founding member and Non-Executive Director of the Montessori Children's Foundation and was a Non-Executive Director of Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury. 

She has been married to James for 28 years, and is mother to Seamus, Owen and Áedán.

 
 
 

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