Game changer – a visionary; someone who looks beyond conventional methods; conceives new strategies; works to transform their industry
You don’t have to look too far beyond our own backyard to discover someone in our local community who fits the above description. The Sunshine Coast is renowned for its innovative focus and is a breeding ground for many successful startup businesses. Not surprisingly, acclaimed futurist and demographer Bernard Salt described the Sunshine Coast as one of the most exciting business destinations in Australia. Our economic diversity, infrastructure and overall growth trajectory is attracting young entrepreneurs to create innovative businesses here that will see the bright minds of today become the game changers of tomorrow. Speaking of game changers, I recently caught up with some of the Coast’s brightest sparks from industries as diverse as fashion to politics to share their thoughts on who they believe has been a visionary in their industry. Joining me for a delicious lunch at Ba Vigo, Cotton Tree was Barbara Pease of Pease International; Judy Copley of Judy Copley Couture; Cindy Vogels of Racy & Lucky; Heidi Meyer, owner of Badderam Luxury Resort, Buderim; Jeanette Allom-Hill, COO with the Sunshine Coast Council;  and Olivia Sainsbury, executive officer with the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Seared scallops
Seared scallops, grilled chorizo, sesame and salsa verde


Who do you consider a game changer in your industry?

Judy: I can’t think of one person in particular, but to me, the youth are the game changers of today. They are the future. In terms of the design industry, I love the Australian designer, J’Aton Couture. Having said that, my work is art so I don’t like to follow other designers. I just like to be in my own little world and create for myself. 
Olivia: From a business perspective, internationally you have the likes of Richard Branson and Elon Musk but I like to think about game changers from a local perspective and we have so many here on the Coast. There is some phenomenal stuff going on and so many startups. Recently a local business designed a unmanned vehicle that goes into war zones rather than sending our troops in. For me that’s a game changer. We all drive a car every day but making it so it goes into new territory is such a niche. 
Jeanette: When I think of game changers I think about Councillor Steve Robinson who stood up and voted yes for Yaroomba. He said it was about doing what was right for the community and not his career. He is a glorious human being with great integrity. I really admire those who are brave and stand up for what’s right. Cliche as it may sound, the other game changer that comes straight to my mind is the Mayor Mark Jamieson. You read about what a great leader he is but the first time I met with him, I could clearly see he leads with a deep understanding and a love of the people and the region. It is an honour to work for someone like that. Seeing how important leadership and culture and women are to the way he leads is very inspirational. There are also many women I meet every day who give me strength. 
Barbara: I would have to say my husband, Allan Pease. He was an insurance guy who had the gift of the gab and he basically created the speaking industry in Australia and he absolutely loves what he does. Before that, people who spoke got cups or a certificate saying they spoke at a conference. He created the first tape of himself speaking, and it was so new he had to sell the recorder with it. He has always been a game changer. When Australia got hit with the recession, he and I just created all these other markets. We were never frightened to take risks because we had each other. We moved to England at one stage and made it our base while we were doing lots of speaking gigs in Russia. We also look for opportunities. For example, when we realised there was no professional recording studio on the Sunshine Coast, we opened one! We are also big fan of Elon Musk, in fact we own a Tesla and we absolutely love it. It’s the best thing! 
Cindy: I am in awe of eco tech fashion companies. There is one which has developed the technology to collect all the plastic from the ocean and turn it into lycra. And now I have actually got friends who have developed swimsuits from that product and it’s beautiful. Second to that are the Italian designers who have figured out how to make distressed jeans without the chemicals, they use air and pressure instead. The chemicals from the jeans industry are the most toxic, second only to the tanning industry. Both Judy and I are what you call slow fashion manufacturers. We are not contributing to mass wastage. From an artistic point of view, I love Toni Maticevski, his work is so dreamy. 
Heidi: Elon Musk, inspires me incredibly. As a developer of a seven-star luxury eco resort, I am succinctly aware that the words ‘environment’ and ‘sustainability’ are not usually synonymous with the words ‘luxury resort travel’. Sustainability is about protecting the places we love and there have been several game changing luxury resort groups who have inspired the vision for Badderam. These resort developers and operators have re-invented themselves in recent years inside of a new ‘environmentally conscientious’ luxury resort and spa market. They have banned plastic bottles in most properties, sought to reduce waste and consumption and are truly engaging within the communities where they operate existing luxury resorts and of course where they intend to place new luxury resorts. These groups, at the top end of the travel industry, are becoming leaders, setting a better example among industry peers, while still indulging their guests. It’s great to see.

grilled lamb pizza
Spiced and grilled lamb pizza, eggplant chips, rocket and tomato

Ba Vigo

Some restaurants have a reputation that precedes them, Ba Vigo is one of them –  for all the right reasons. Nestled in the heart of vibrant Cotton Tree, the Spanish restaurant has earned a name for itself as one of the best on the Coast. 
Owned by husband and wife team Nick and Louise Belton, Ba Vigo opened its doors 14 years ago to become a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike; with the couple’s love for Spanish culture and food evident from the moment you set foot inside the restaurant.  
On the day of our recent lunchtime visit, an inviting mix of Spanish music, eclectic recycled timber and a delicious aroma from the kitchen combined to create the perfect setting for a leisurely lunch with the girls. 
We enjoyed the long lunch menu, which included a mix of exciting share plates to tantalise the taste buds. Each dish was vibrant, colourful and rich in exotic flavours. Do yourself a favour and order the chocolate and hazelnut ravioli, you will not be disappointed. 
Chilled glasses of white and red sangria were the perfect complement to the delicious fare. 
If you love good food, good wine, great atmosphere and great service, make sure you put it on your list – the Spanish music will have you wanting to dance too! 
Ba Vigo
3/27 Cotton Tree Parade, Maroochydore
Phone: 5479 1000

Nick Belton
Nick Belton

On the menu:

• White sangria
• Spanish charcuterie
• Roast chilli, tomato and three cheese cocita
• Spice confit duck, roast pumpkin, burnt orange caramel and sweet potato crisps
• Seared scallops, grilled chorizo, sesame and salsa verde
• Sand crab and whitebait fritters, pickled chilli vinegar, roast garlic aioli
• Spanish tomato salad, queso iberico anchovies and salad greens
• Red sangria
• Sweet pickled beetroot salad, woodside goat’s curd, roasted hazelnuts, mint, rocket and pomegranate molasses
• Spiced and grilled lamb pizza, eggplant chips, rocket and tomato
• Chocolate and hazelnut ravioli, mascarpone and burnt orange caramel

Chocolate and hazelnut ravioli
Chocolate and hazelnut ravioli, mascarpone and burnt orange caramel