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Account Associate - Media and Communications

Michaela Groom Headshot

Michaela has a Bachelor of Creative Writing from the University of the Sunshine Coast, majoring and minoring in Communications and English. She joined the SAS Group in 2017, and has become an integral part of the team.  She works across the business supporting the SAS Group's directors and consultants, and provides assistance to a wide range of clients.

Michaela works with the SAS Group’s Media and Communications team supporting clients with their interations with the media, media monitoring, media release research and distribution, feature article drafting, and monitoring and updating client communications and media plans.


Principal Consultant

Ben Hindmarsh City Background

Ben Hindmarsh is a highly respected political professional, with extensive experience in government administration, public policy, issues management and campaigns spanning 20 years working in state and federal politics.

As the former Federal Director and CEO of the National Party of Australia, Ben is trusted by Federal Ministers, Members and Senators.  He is skilled at devising and implementing campaigns and as the Party’s Federal Campaign Director oversaw the highly successful 2019 Federal Election Campaign.    

Ben has deep insight into the machinery of government and strategic policy development having worked as Chief of Staff to the Victorian Deputy Premier, Senior Adviser to two Deputy Prime Ministers and Chief of Staff to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.


Managing Director, HLB Chessboard 

Peter BishopPeter is the founder of HLB Chessboard and has been involved in the accounting and finance industries for 20 years.  As a chartered accountant, Peter has worked for Deloitte and was Principal in charge of Corporate Finance in Queensland at Crowe Horwath.  Peter spent many years in the investment banking industry in Sydney and Brisbane. He has completed many transactions up to $135m in his career from dual track exits, mergers and acquisitions and takeover defences to capital raisings and proposed IPOs.

Peter has a depth of experience in private equity, agribusiness, health and services.  He regularly acts as lead adviser to boards through corporate transactions. Peter sits on the UQDI Advisory Board and is chairman of the UQDI Foundation Board.

Peter is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Member of FINSIA, Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors and adjunct fellow of the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute.

Senior Consultant 

Lisa Palu Headshot

Lisa is an advocacy, policy and communication professional with more than three decades of experience across government and industry. Her wide experience managing complex policy issues and passion for advocacy enables her to help clients influence outcomes to achieve their business and corporate objectives.

Formerly an Extension Agronomist for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Rural Reporter for ABC Radio, Lisa became an inaugural graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program in 1994. Lisa has worked for industry associations including the Queensland Farmers Federation, Timber Queensland and the NSW Farmers’ Association, and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO (Livestock Industries).

During the past 20 years in politics, Lisa has served as Principal Advisor to the Queensland Premier and Chief of Staff to the Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works. She has been a policy advisor to the Queensland Minister for Primary Industries, the NSW Shadow Minister for Agriculture, the Queensland Shadow Minister for Education and Training, and the Queensland Shadow Minister for Police, Fire, Emergency Services and Shadow Minister for Corrective Services. She was State Secretary of the National Party in Queensland.

Lisa was President and Vice-President of the Rural Press Club of Queensland (2008-2013) during a period of strong growth for the not-for-profit organisation.

She holds an honours degree in Agricultural Science from The University of Queensland.


Ashleigh Nolan Headshot

Ashleigh joined the SAS Group in 2011 and now leads the firm’s event management division, providing clients with complete end-to-end event management and co-ordination services.

Event support services for SAS Group clients include stakeholder engagement and communication services, sourcing speakers and masters of ceremony, co-ordinating marketing and social media campaigns, organising fundraising, website development and database management, registration services and on-the-day staging.

Ashleigh also works with the SAS Group’s Directors and Senior Consultants to provide government relations services with a focus on building client brand awareness among key influencers and decision makers.

With a current focus on the health and education and training sectors, she specialises in providing background research and analysis on policy, legislation and media issues, preparing briefing reports and presentations for local, State and Federal Government as well as stakeholder engagement.

Ashleigh has held many roles at the SAS Group, including Executive Assistant to Directors the Hon. Larry Anthony and Peter Costantini, and Client Service Analyst.

Prior to joining the SAS Group, Ashleigh worked as a swim coach and in marketing for various sporting organisations.

She has a Bachelor of Business majoring in sports management and marketing from Griffith University.

The SAS Group is your trusted partner for government, media and corporate engagement.

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