Advisory Committee

Silke Bader – Publisher & CEO (LOTL Magazine)

Equality and inclusion may be commonly used words now, but they have been a part of my vocabulary since long before they became the zeitgeist.  I came to Australia from Germany in 1989 at the age of 21.  Whilst I was a human rights activist long before my arrival, with a degree in social work, I was ready to follow my passion for justice and start a career in the social sector.

Upon my arrival, I realised there was really very little infrastructure to assist the LGBTQI community so I created services and support groups especially for women which I operated for over 10 years.   With a goal of reaching a larger portion of the community, in 1999 I purchased Australia's only lesbian Magazine "Lesbians On the Loose (LOTL).  As the publisher, I have helped guide the lesbian community in Australia for the last 20 years by providing a magazine that represents a positive lifestyle, as well as offering resources and visibility for a minority in Australia's society.

Since 1990, I have sat on various boards including AGALTA, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and Zambi Wildlife Retreat, influencing board decisions based on business and community knowledge.  Additionally on a personal level, my partner and I fostered 2 children in 2005 and jointly fought for federal adoption legislation to be changed to allow same sex adoption. Due to my position as an established community influencer, Clover Moore’s office invited us to give evidence as one of 6 couples in the parliamentary enquiry on same sex adoption, which was later passed in 2006.

In 2016, I created an Awards Program called the Australian LGBTI Awards, which celebrates role models for our community, engaging Influencers, our Allies, Organisations and Individuals. The Awards are the first of their kind working with Allies to bridge the gap between the LGBTQI community and mainstream Australia. With an approximate reach of 50 million through mainstream media, we reach the average Australian household, hoping to break down barriers of misconception and judgments by celebrating the achievements in Sports, Politics, Individuals, Corporations, Diversity Champions, Allies and Community Groups.

I have also established myself in the USA by publishing the best lesbian magazine "CURVE Magazine" and in the last year, launched the New Zealand LGBTI Awards and the American LGBTQ Awards.

Outside of my work for the LGBTQI community, I am passionate about animal rights and am a founding director of Zambi Wildlife Retreat, based in Western Sydney. This charity is Australia’s only retreat offering a home for retired Zoo and Circus Animals. (Established in 2012).

When I first set stepped foot in Australia all those years ago, I would never have thought that my determination and passion for justice would result in a lifelong journey that helped shape Australia's LGBTQI community and future, assisted in changing a number of laws and allowed me to be a key influencer in creating an unique animal retreat, that will transform animal welfare in Australia, for many years to come.

David Freeman – Founder and CEO (H2coco)

David Freeman is an Australian entrepreneur who inspires to empower peoples lives towards making everyday healthier through his company H2coco (H2). David has expansive knowledge across multiple industries from architecture, construction, and hospitality, but at the same time, a strong passion for animals and wildlife.

In 2010, David Freeman expanded his entrepreneurial role into the FMCG industry by being the first Australian owners to launch into this young beverage category of coconut water. Since then, H2 has expanded into multifaceted health, and wellness brand and growth continue to grow ahead of consumer trends.

In 2014 David was awarded “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” from the Business Champions Awards and H2coco was awarded “Best New Product” of 2012 by Ad News Australia, “Best growth strategy” in 2014, “Beverage supplier of the year” and “Exporter of the year” in 2015, Telstra Business awards finalist 2016, “Innovator of the year” in 2018 and “Small Business Champion” in 2019.

David's passion for the care of all animals combined with his business and marketing experience will help bring strength to the Zambi advisory committee.

Debra Benn – Head of Risk Management (Private Company)

My parents first put me on the back of a horse at 2 years of age and it was then that my love affair with horses began.  This soon extended to all animals and my mother will attest to the amount of strays of all types that I would bring home on a regular basis throughout my childhood.  Not a lot has changed in that respect.  I still adore animals and it seems inevitable that I would end up assisting a charity that supports their welfare and wellbeing.

After completing two degrees I began working in the finance industry where I have held various positions over the past 20 years.  My current role is Head of Risk and Marketing at an award winning Aggregator where I have worked for almost nine years.  My skills I would say are multi-faceted and include identifying and creating tactical solutions for gaps in strategic growth, risk detection and mitigation, production and implementation of processes, Governance control, event management, budget management, sales, media relations and the development and branding of internal and external marketing and communications.   

My spare time is more often than not, spent with animals.  I am very passionate about the thoroughbred industry and currently have six horses.  It was this passion that led me to learn more about their physical and emotional wellbeing.  That is, I have been a qualified Equine Bowen Therapist for over 10 years and in my spare time have worked performing treatments in numerous stables and agistment properties across Sydney.  It didn’t take long to understand the owners need help too so I became a qualified Human Bowen Therapist and have been treating people for over 8 years as well.  This learning has since extended to Aromatherapy in which I hold a Master Diploma of Aromatherapy, Certificate in Aromatherapy for Horses and a Certificate in Aromatherapy for Pets.

I have been a devotee of Zambi Wildlife Retreat since not long after they were founded in 2012 and I am honoured to be an Advisory Committee Member.  Hopefully my range of skills and passion for animals will assist in supporting this amazing charity.
Prof. Charlie Teo AM, MBBS, FRACS – Founder (Charlie Teo Foundation)

Charlie Teo is truly a global neurosurgeon. In demand across all continents for his willingness to offer surgery to those who have been given no hope, he has appointments in Australia, the USA, India, Vietnam and Singapore.
As passionate about teaching as performing surgery, Charlie has been awarded Best Teacher awards in both the USA and Australia and devotes 3 months of every year instructing and doing live surgery pro bono in developing countries. He established a fellowship program that attracts over 600 applicants every year and has trained and mentored neurosurgeons from many of the leading universities world-wide such as Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Duke and Harvard Universities and the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Prof. Teo strongly believes that a surgeon’s responsibility to his patients shouldn’t end after surgery. In keeping with his desire to find cures for recurrent brain tumours he has raised over $20 million that has been used to fund research scientists both in Australia and abroad. He has done this through the Cure for Life Foundation, the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation (Charity of the Year 2016) and currently the Charlie Teo Foundation.

His efforts were recognised in 2011 when he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his pioneering efforts in the development of minimally invasive techniques in neurosurgery, in 2012 when he was invited to give the Australia Day Address to the Nation and in 2013 when he was the first non-politician Australian to address the US Congress on the need for more funding for brain cancer research. Incidentally, Prof. Teo has been named the Most Trusted Person in Australia for the last 6 consecutive years.

Charlie is a father to four beautiful daughters and supports the rights of girls and young women in impoverished countries such as Cambodia and India through various charities including his own Teo Family Foundation. He is a Patron for Voiceless, an Australian based charity that is dedicated to reducing cruelty to industry animals.
Warren Duncan – Founder & Managing Director (Everest Property)

With an impressive real estate career spanning two decades, Warren Duncan’s expertise and professionalism have secured him a reputation as one of the best property people in Sydney and has an excellent industry standing and reputation.

During this time Warren founded a number of real estate companies in Sydney, growing these businesses into hugely successful ventures.  

Combining years of experience and relentless enthusiasm for real estate and animal conservation Warren, has been a long-time advocate for animal conservation in Africa and Australia. Warren was born in Africa and before he could walk he was in the African bush with his family surrounded by the Big Five.

An advocate for elephant and rhino protection efforts across Southern Africa and has broadened his reach to large cat conservation. His love and passion have only grown for animals and especially big cats and he brings this local and international experience to Zambi Wildlife Retreat.

With Warren’s vast understanding of the needs for wild predators along with his vast expertise in business Warren has joined Zambi Wildlife Retreat Advisory Committee as Chairman.
Carolyn Deigan – Principal & Director (CLS Legal)

Carolyn has over 35 years of extensive experience acting for a broad range of corporations and private clients. She is an expert in property and property development and is an experienced commercial litigator. She has been involved many major Supreme Court, Federal Court and Court of Appeal cases.

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