Our Team in Australia

Our team in Australia is small and almost completely voluntary.

This small focused team has managed to give over 21,240 business loans totaling over $1,137,817 to 5000 women aged from 18 to 91 years old and impacted on the lives of over 25,000 dependents.

Here are some of the key people.

Brian Keen. Founder & Chairman

Brian Keen Brian lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland; he arrived in Australia from Malawi in 1975 with his Malawi-born wife Prue and their two daughters; he was born in Uxbridge on the outskirts of London and emigrated to Blantyre, Malawi in 1966 where he soon started his own building construction company.

Whilst living in Blantyre Brian relished the opportunity to travel widely throughout countries in the region and grew to appreciate the special nature, resilience and humour of the people from ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’.

It was whilst researching a suitable charity to which he could contribute effectively from Australia that he learned of the MicroLoan Foundation (MLFUK); he immediately appreciated the wisdom of the approach and the methods that the organisation employed and in August 2007 Brian was fortunate to be able to visit the MLFUK head office and meet most of the team, including Chairman Peter Ryan and a number of the Trustees.

The seeds of a sound relationship were quickly formed and Brian has now established MicroLoan Foundation Australia (MLFA). Brian looks forward confidently to expanding MLFA’s strong and motivated team to complement the rapidly growing international organisation that he holds in such high respect.

“I believe this is a wonderful project and am putting all my support behind it and I appeal to you to do the same. Just by subscribing for our free newsletters you will be helping the cause of these women and their families in need.”

Brian is the Chairman of MLFA and is focused on supporting the Australian team in achieving their objectives, with a particular focus on sourcing new volunteers and fundraising.

Clive Hughes. CEO & Development Director

Copy-of-CH v2 Clive is a Chartered Accountant who has been the Finance Director of a number of private and publicly listed companies over the last two decades, and, until recently, was the CFO of a property investment company based in Sydney. He is married with two young children and lives in Freshwater Sydney.

Before emigrating from Wales in 1984, Clive travelled extensively, and he particularly enjoyed his time in south east Africa where he felt that the people had a positive and balanced attitude to life. He has been drawn to the concept of micro finance as a way to give people the tools they need to create the life they want, rather than create the life we believe they should have.

Clive travelled to Malawi in June 2009, and was hugely impressed by what MLF was achieving in the country, both with respect to benefits to our clients and the efficient manner in which the local operation was being run. Further details of his visit can be found on our Home page in the article “Our first office is open!”

Clive is our CEO and Development Director, and has been responsible for much of our initial set up, and a good deal of our fundraising in New South Wales.

Liz Keen. Director

Liz Keen Liz was born in Malawi in 1974 but her family migrated to Western Australia soon after she was born. She travelled back to Malawi in 1994 and was amazed to find herself deeply connected to the country she left as a small baby.

After returning to Australia, Liz moved to Sydney. She worked in 2SER Community Radio and ABC Radio News before breaking out to work as a freelance radio and print journalist.

Liz currently lives on the mid north coast of New South Wales with her partner and their three young children. She is on the board of MLFA.

“I am excited to be part of MLFA. It makes sense as a way of helping people in a long term, physical way.”

Chris McArdle. Director

Chris McArdle Chris McArdle is the Principal of McArdle Legal, a Sydney law firm specialising in Employment, Contracting, and Anti Discrimination Law and is on the board of MLFA. He has been in practice for 20 years, and is accredited as a Specialist in Employment and Industrial Law by the Law Society of NSW.

Prior to entering practice, Chris served as a judicial officer as a Commissioner of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW.

Chris – like many in his profession, despite the reputation – has served on a number of volunteer and charitable bodies during his time in legal practice. He tells us that he has developed a passion for the work of MLF due to its aim of helping without patronising, and its emphasis on self sufficiency and dignity.

Chris lives in Sydney with his wife Mary Anne, and they are both keen minders of grandchildren. Chris provides the secretariat to MLFA and his firm provides the Sydney premises. This is in accordance with our philosophy of keeping overheads to a minimum, and ensuring that all Gift funds get to their intended recipients.

Sebastian Bryks. Director

Sebastian Bryks Sebastian Bryks is a manager at Hall Chadwick, a national Chartered Accounting firm who specialise in a broad range of business, audit and insolvency services. He has been part of the team at Hall Chadwick for over 8 years and is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.

Sebastian is on the board of MLFA.

“With so many charities today providing short term hand outs to those in need, the MicroLoan Foundation has presented me with a unique opportunity to utilise the skills attained in my industry to provide underprivileged communities with long term financially viable and economically sustainable development solutions.”

David Bateson

david-bateson David is director of Brisbane publicity and email marketing agency NewsBusiness. He has a background in sales and marketing, having worked for large corporates in the UK in national and international roles. He moved from the UK to Sydney in 2000 – just in time for the Olympics. David is responsible for PR and looks after the website for MLFA.

Apart from Kirsten, all directors and staff at the MicroLoan Foundation in Australia are volunteers, and monies raised are transferred directly to Malawi to fund the expansion of the loan book of our Mulanje office.