Adelaide United announces the club's first advisory board

Adelaide United have established the club's first Advisory Board to 'professionalise the club and bring it closer to the South Australian community'.

The club announced the formation of the Advisory Board with the following statement:

Adelaide United Chairman and owners’ representative, Piet van der Pol, is pleased to announce the club’s inaugural Advisory Board, which will be an integral part of plans to professionalise the club and bring it closer to the South Australian community.

Chaired by Ian Smith AM, the Advisory Board is focussed on how Adelaide United can work more effectively off the pitch, rather than be involved with the club’s football operations.
 
“In compiling this board, I asked Ian to look at a range of issues including developing stronger national and international business networks, working with governments at all levels, doing more to involve women and girls in the club, and deepening our footprint across multicultural groups,” van der Pol said. 
 
“The board will be actively involved in profiling the club and throughout the season.”
 
The advisory board members, therefore, reflect those skillsets as well as bring deep experience in fundamental areas like law and finance.
 
The board is:

  • Andrew Culley – Managing Partner, Deloitte South Australia;
  • Khadija Gbla – Consultant in multicultural affairs, gender equality advocate;
  • Chris Keane – Director Strategy and Business Development, BAE Systems Australia;
  • Sonia Lefevre – Consultant in hospitality & entertainment;
  • Harry Patsouris – Lawyer, Principal Patsouris & Associates;
  • Rupert Pedler – Executive, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts;
  • Ian Smith AM – Joint Managing Partner, Bespoke Approach;
  • Marg Ralston AM – Consultant in sports administration and management; and
  • Jodie van Deventer – CEO Committee for Adelaide.
Photo by Matt Loxton of Sunday Mail

“During game days, we will connect with Adelaide United’s stakeholders, including sponsors and fans,” Ian Smith said. “All members of this Advisory Board are proud to be Adelaide United supporters, but do not profess to be football experts.
 
“We strongly feel that it is important to distinguish this and focus our work on developing Adelaide United more broadly in the community.
 
“The board can be expanded and refreshed as required and will also work with key stakeholders in developing the club and, as importantly, the sport more widely.
 
“I have already taken Football Federation South Australia CEO, Michael Carter, through the board’s objectives and hope we can work closely with the club community too.”
 
The board roles are unpaid and the only benefits will be that each member will be able to attend Adelaide United matches.
 
“There is so much opportunity for Australian football,” van der Pol explained. “In the wake of the World Cup and in the lead up to bidding for the women’s World Cup, it is clear that football has a moment in time in which it can drive home its natural advantages.
 
“Its global appeal, ability to bring people from all cultures and nationalities together, and its widespread support among both men and women and boys and girls are unmatched by other codes.
 
“The opportunities to grow the game are there and Adelaide United can be the lightning rod for this growth.
 
“The coaching staff and players in both the Hyundai A-league and Westfield W-league are superb ambassadors for the sport and our existing sponsors, members, and supporters more broadly are generous in giving their time and money to the club.
 
“We need to work with them all and we will,” van der Pol concluded.
 
Andrew Culley
Andrew Culley is the Managing Partner of Deloitte South Australia and has lived and worked in Adelaide for most of his life. In Adelaide, Andrew oversees two offices, 20 partners and over 200 professional staff providing services aimed at enhancing the economic prosperity of South Australia across both the private and public sectors including Deloitte Private family services, digital strategy & implementation, cyber security and Deloitte Access Economics in addition to the traditional compliance services. Andrew is also a senior Partner in Deloitte’s Technology practice with 15 years’ experience as a Management Consultant. His career spans across the manufacturing and industrial sectors and his portfolio of clients has included private businesses through to large corporations and government entities. He was the co-author of Deloitte’s influential reports on SA “Make it Adelaide” and is a passionate advocate for advancement of the South Australian Economy.
 
Khadija Gbla
Khadija Gbla was born in Sierra Leone, spent her youth in Gambia, and as a teenager moved to Australia. She uses her cross-cultural heritage to promote understanding in both directions. She discovered that she had a unique talent: the ability to translate across two very different cultures. Khadija was a peer educator for South Australia’s Women’s Heath State-wide program, where she talked to health professionals about female genital mutilation. She’s advised on policy through South Australian Government Minister’s Youth Council, to organise camps and activities for newly-arrived refugees and to raise awareness about sexual and mental health. She has represented Australia in the international arena at the Harvard National Model United Nations, Commonwealth Youth Forum, and Australian and Africa Dialogue. She is a noted speaker.
 
Chris Keane
Chris is Director, Strategy & Business Development, BAE Systems Australia and was actively involved in BAE Systems being awarded the contract to build the fleet of new Royal Australian Navy fleet of frigates. He is a results-oriented leader with a proven track record of leading teams to deliver high performance outcomes in challenging market environments. With a career history spanning the Government, Political, and Commercial sectors, Chris has experience in strategic and business planning, business development, program management, M&A, and corporate and political advisory roles. He works with internal and external stakeholders at the highest level both in Australia and internationally.
 
Sonia Lefevre
Sonia is a consultant in the entertainment and hospitality sector. She is a forward-thinking business leader with the commercial acumen and business skills needed to deliver returns within highly competitive or new markets. Awarded as an industry leader with strong disciplines in sales and marketing, public relations, and operations leadership. A trusted consultant in the hospitality and entertainment field she worked previously in Australia and overseas with the Langham and Hyatt groups. Sonia oversaw the acquisition and refurbishment of Sydney’s Langham Hotel in The Rocks, which is now regarded as one of the best city hotels in the world according to Conde Naste Traveller Magazine.
 
Harry Patsouris
Harry is an experienced lawyer and very active member of the community through a variety of organisations, including within the Greek diaspora and legal profession. He chairs aged care provider, St Basil’s Homes. He has been a Board Member of the Multicultural Communities Council of SA and worked with Federal and State governments. Harry has analytical and strategic skills, with a keen focus on risk management. He has extensive financial and management experience gained from involvement in a broad range of business and investments.
 
Rupert Pedler
Rupert works with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a New York based global investment firms. Rupert is responsible for KKR’s investments in Australian Venue Co. and Sundrop Farms, as well as being focused on the consumer, retail, and telecom sectors. He joined KKR in 2015 from Greenhill & Co., a boutique US investment bank, and graduated from Bond University in 2013 with a combined degree in Law (Hons) and Commerce (Finance). Rupert was born and raised in Adelaide, graduating from St. Peter’s College in 2008 and now living in Sydney.

Marg Ralston AM
Marg has worked at the highest levels in media, government and sports administration. She was the first woman appointed as a sports editor of a major metropolitan paper in Australia. She was appointed Sport Editor for one of Adelaide's two major newspapers, The News. During her watch, elite, amateur, and local sport, and in particular women's sport, received strong media coverage. Marg continued her involvement in sport including 11 years as Executive Director of the Australian Olympic Committee/SA Olympic Council from 1992 to 2003 and as a ministerial advisor in the South Australian Government. She now advises leading sportswomen, particularly post their professional careers as they transition into new roles.
 
Ian Smith AM
Ian Smith is Joint Managing Partner of Bespoke Approach, an Australia-based corporate advisory firm. He is a Senior Adviser for Washington-based strategy firm, Albright Stonebridge Group. He is also the United Kingdom’s Honorary Consul in South Australia. He is Chairman of Barefoot to Boots, an NGO that assists refugees through the provision of resources to camps and settlements, and is actively engaged in refugee advocacy. He is Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Adelaide and a board member of Developing East Arnhem Limited, overseeing the economic rejuvenation of one of Australia’s most isolated regions.
 
Jodie van Deventer
Jodie van Deventer is CEO of the Committee for Adelaide. She has had four successful careers in: the media, industry groups, the public sector, and running her own business. A leader and strategic communicator with proven management skills and a commercial focus, Jodie is an expert in stakeholder engagement, branding, and strategy development. In addition, she is on a number of Boards and Committees including Crime Stoppers SA. As the CEO of the Committee for Adelaide, she is committed to working across the community to make Adelaide a city of economic prosperity, cultural diversity, creativity, and social vitality with a world-class built environment.