The Australian Rugby Business Network is a not-for-profit venture that connects business people with passion for rugby. The aim of the RBN is to create a vehicle that adds value to business people who love rugby so that they in turn are more likely to invest their time or resources back into game.
It is common knowledge that rugby people have a certain ethos and culture that translates into the business world. By providing such a platform, the RBN hopes to increase the ease with which the rugby community can connect, and in turn help one another out.
Our mission is simply to create the best rugby clubhouse in the world, where the game’s values of camaraderie, honesty, humility, community and bravery set the tone for long-lasting, productive and enjoyable relationships.
RBN events create value in a number of ways: attendees have access to network with guest speakers, who have some connection to rugby and/or business; business networking with other attendees; occasional promotion of attendees and their businesses; and attendees having the ability to grow state, national and global contacts through the RBN.
The RBN was formed in the UK in 2010 by Colm Hannon, with the intention to be the biggest rugby clubhouse in the world. The Australian RBN kicked off in mid-2012, and holds regular events in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Canberra, as well as having made an appearance in some other towns, such as Adelaide, Port Macquarie, Gold Coast and Orange.
Each city has an organising committee that arranges free speakers (globally recognised names in rugby) and free venues. Events attract between 30-150 attendees.
To our members, we want to be the best clubhouse in the world
Meet The Team
Adrian SkeggsNational Convenor, Australian RBN
Adrian SkeggsNational Convenor, Australian RBN×
As an ex-provincial rugby player with New South Wales, Queensland and Natal, and a brief stint with the Wallabies and some international coaching experience, Adrian has exceptional relationship-building and networking skills, with the ability to relate to people on all levels and maintain worldwide contacts. This is evident in his ability to identify new opportunities and capitalise on them.
In recent years, Adrian has capitalised on his network with roles in travel, branding, sponsorship management and sales, and is currently the Business Development Director for Thomas International Australia.
Rob FludeNational Communications and Technology Manager
Rob FludeNational Communications and Technology Manager×
Rob hails from Cape Town and he has worked as a Project and Business Analyst for some of the world’s leading financial, retail and e-commerce institutions, both here and in London.
Rob’s passion is sports media and he was a contributor and sports editor for The South African, appeared on radio, and penned his own column, Mind The Ruck. He was also Communications Officer for the Springbok Supporters’ Club UK. He is now the Communications and IT Consultant for The Final Whistle, a new enterprise that assists athletes with their transitions at all stages of their sporting careers.
Rob is also an avid traveller, having been to 42 countries. Rob and his wife currently reside in Melbourne.
Susan AndrewsBrand and National Partnerships
Susan AndrewsBrand and National Partnerships×
Susan is a passionate, analytical and strategic professional who possesses a unique combination of theoretical and practical knowledge of the communications arena which has been acquired over more than three decades working in diverse international and domestic markets.
Her particular expertise lies in developing and articulating the master narrative and consumer-centric strategies, reputation and issues analysis and management, stakeholder evaluation, strategy and engagement (internal or external), marketing communications strategy and execution, and market access strategies.
Rob McEwenVice President, and Host for North Shore RBN
Rob McEwenVice President, and Host for North Shore RBN×
Rob and his daughter, Claudia, founded an initiative called Wakeup, a foundation that teaches young people how to stay safe on a night out, focusing on violence, drugs and alcohol. Wakeup was founded after a violent assault on his son.
Rob represented the NSW Waratahs as a flanker, and following his retirement from rugby, founded McEwen Investment Services, who provide Financial Planning advisory services on the North Shore. Rob is a Certified Financial Planner and holds a Bachelor of Economics and Master of Business (Applied Finance).
Samantha Chambers-SkeggsSecretary, Host and Writer
Samantha Chambers-SkeggsSecretary, Host and Writer×
Samantha is a business owner, business transition coach, mentor, trainer, author and speaker. Samantha spent 20 years working for some of the world’s biggest brands including PricewaterhouseCoopers and Qantas.
Samantha holds a Commerce degree, is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and is Lean Six Sigma Black Belt accredited. Samantha is also an accredited master coach and is a member of the National Coaching Institute in Australia.
Samantha recently released her first book, Ditch The Ladder: Escape The Corporate Trap to help those transitioning from a corporate career to business ownership. Samantha has had articles published in the Business Chicks Latte magazine, Women’s Network Australia magazine and on the Australian Businesswomen’s Network website.
In her spare time, Samantha has trekked 27km for cancer research, cooked with top Sydney chefs and CEOs for the homeless, and currently mentors young entrepreneurs and chartered accounting graduates. She has also completed a marathon and jumped out of a plane!
Wayne is a leading expert in lazer-focused business strategies. He is currently a Corporate Advisor to Axstra Capital in Sydney.
A qualified journalist, he has interviewed world champion athletes, politicians, pop music legends and highly regarded international celebrities and from listening to them, he knows what it takes to achieve ultimate business success. A well-published writer (and former editor/editorial director of numerous well-respected Australian Magazines and websites), Inspirational Corporate Speaker and lover of all things business, Wayne is a business consultant with a difference.
Combine all of this with a decade of small business ownership, over two decades of business education, a sound tool box full of well-proven processes and keen relationships with a myriad of business investors and you have the complete recipe for unfathomable results.
Andrew WawnAssistant Treasurer
Andrew WawnAssistant Treasurer×
Andrew is an Investment Adviser & Partner with Wilson HTM, a privately-owned boutique Investment Advisory firm. His role is to manage investment assets on behalf of Private Clients, and he works with a Certified Financial Planner who provides strategic and holistic financial advice to our clients.
Andrew is the President of the Rotary Club of Sydney Cove, which is the only Rotary Club in the world that regularly meets on a boat; on Sydney Harbour. The Club has 90 members. He also sits on the St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill Old Boys’ Committee.
Gavin LawlessConvenor, Melbourne RBN
Gavin LawlessConvenor, Melbourne RBN×
Gavin is a former Super Rugby player, having represented 3 South African franchises (Sharks, Lions, Bulls) between 1996 to 1999. He also represented South African Barbarians in 1993 and South Africa A in 1996.
In 1991 at the age of 21, he spent a season with the then French Rugby Champions, Begles Bordeaux, but returned to South Africa in 1992 and quickly rose up the ranks to make the Western Province Currie Cup team that year. When rugby turned professional in 1996, Gavin was offered a contract to play for the Lions, and was the team’s leading points-scorer in both the Super 12 and Currie Cup that year. Gavin was lured away in 1997 to join the Sharks and he scored an incredible 50 points (including 4 tries) on debut against the Otago Highlanders, which is still the world record for points scored by an individual in a first-class rugby match.
Gavin migrated to Australia in 2000 and since he never played full-time professional rugby, he has spent the last 23 years in Sales, Marketing and General Management roles. Gavin was the Australian VP and GM of Avnet Technology Solutions for 6 years, and he subsequently bought into an energy Management consulting firm in 2012.
Gareth Lee-BellConvenor, Perth RBN
Gareth Lee-BellConvenor, Perth RBN×
Gareth currently works for the WA Public Transport Authority as a Project Manager on several IT-related projects. Before he and his family emigrated to Perth in 2014, he spent a number of years in the UK, working for both Transport for London and Crossrail on major IT transformation projects.
His rugby background began on the school playing fields of Zimbabwe as a 12-year old. Following high school, he made the transition to club rugby with Kadoma and Old Hararians. Upon arriving in the UK, it did not take him long to find kindred spirits, namely London Scottish “B” social team, based at Richmond RFC. He was elevated to captain of the team for a few seasons, but after 6 years at the club and too many aching bones, he stepped back and focused his attention on his career and family. Gareth is married with three kids, and resides in Ocean Reef in the Northern Suburbs of Perth.
Matthew PayneHonorary Solicitor
Matthew PayneHonorary Solicitor×
Matthew is a Partner at TressCox Lawyers.
Matthew has practised in Corporate and Commercial Law for over 10 years and has worked on a diverse range of matters in his fields of expertise. Matthew’s primary areas of focus are his outsourced legal counsel practice and private client practice. In his outsourced legal counsel practice, Matthew acts as in-house counsel for SMEs that have a small internal legal team or no internal legal team. In his private client practice, Matthew provides a range of services to individuals and families, including estate, wealth and business succession planning; trusts; superannuation; conveyancing; employment law and general legal advice. Matthew’s clients include a range of small- and medium-sized companies, high net wealth individuals and families, businesses, directors and officers, trusts, professional associations and medical colleges.
Matthew is a Director of Disability Services Australia Limited, a Director of the Rotary Club of Sydney Cove, a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), a director and company secretary of a number of private companies and a member of the Appeals Panel of the New South Wales Suburban Rugby Union Judiciary.