Mark Paddenburg


Mark has a demonstrated track record in creating value by connecting ideas, people and capital. His focus is on entrepreneurship, business development and improving innovation capability for startup and high growth companies.

As CEO of the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast (IC), Mark and his team are currently assisting over 30 startup and high growth companies. In previous roles, Mark assisted a range startup ventures including Firewire, Dascom (now owned by IBM), (now owned by Flight Centre), Tracknology, Venture Commander and Storey Bridge Climb. Mark has also assisted a range of larger companies such as Unisys, Lockheed Martin, Digicel Pacific, Youi, Sandvik, ABB, Talisman Energy, IBM, Air AsiaX whilst Manager at Invest Queensland.

Mark helped introduce the Business Pitch Competition, Startup Weekend and Boardroom Briefing events to the IC calendar and also helped establish the CoderDojo program on the Sunshine Coast.

Mark has also worked in a range of business development roles in Australia, the UK and China with Shell, Peregrine Capital, The Office of Economic Development for the City of Brisbane Ltd and he also played a key part in establishing Australia TradeCoast (1992-98) and the ourBrisbane portal (1998).

Mark is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a member of the Sunshine Coast Business Council and was President of the Brisbane Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1995. Mark has completed a Bachelor of Commerce (double major – Business Administration and Information Systems) at Griffith University and Graduate Certificate in Management at the University of Queensland.


Mel Messina

Operations & Service Manager

Having come from a family business environment from start up to exit, Mel understands the entrepreneurial journey and what it takes to run successful, growing businesses in a highly competitive environment.

Mel has further had the opportunity to work with a variety of organisations (i.e. A.L.M. Industries, Iplex Pipelines, Fletcher Building, Sodexo, Rio Tinto, ACSN – Australian Cyber Security Networks) from successful start-ups with limited resources, to leveraging resources in fast growth mid-size companies, to ASX / NZX listed corporates (20K+ employees).  Tact, diplomacy and successful stakeholder engagement have been Mel’s core competencies across this range of sectors involving anything from working with national energy authorities and standards bodies, to national retail/commercial stores, to international mining industry and more recently with coal face experience in cyber security awareness and translation for directors, executives and communities.

Very fortunate to start his career as a young man in positions of responsibility, Mel has well-honed, broad-based management and operational skills. This skillset includes a track record in technical (manufacturing) design and innovation, with automation, robotics design and implementation; and, leading a sizeable team in high risk, 24/7, heavy industry environments. Mel’s technical know-how is enhanced by his business acumen with a long track record in complex, international supply chain disruption, process design, negotiation and engagement alongside product development, branding, marketing and major account retail distribution experience.

Deb Profile

Debbie Marshall

Events and Marketing

A passion for people, collaboration and exceeding client expectations is what drives Debbie Marshall. Debbie has a well established reputation as an experienced sales and marketing professional with more than 20 years’ experience.  Being well- suited to the Tourism and Hospitality industry, Debbie rose to the Executive Committee of Hyatt Hotels International as Director of Marketing at a very young age. Apart from exceeding revenue expectations at a number of Hyatt hotels and responsible for  event management at the hotels, Debbie was selected to represent the hotel industry on the Perth Convention and Exhibition Board and the Western Australian Tourism Board. She was an integral part of the bidding team and won major events for Western Australia such as the World Triathlon, Johnny Walker Golf Classic, Australian Tourism Exchange and Rally Australia.

Debbie was also a selected delegate for the American Chamber of Commerce on a trade mission for the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas where she secured major Oil and Gas Industry international conventions and delegations for Western Australia.  In addition to this trade mission Debbie represented Hyatt Hotels at all major national and international trade shows and sales missions to key international markets including Asia, New Zealand, UK, Europe, United States and Japan where she gained valuable global industry experience.

It was raising a family that changed the course of Debbie’s career in the Hotel Industry. During this period she engaged in several entrepreneurial activities concurrently after 10 years of successful property investing. These activities included owning and managing a commercial fishing fleet, trade marking and building a franchise brand of seafood retail stores in various shopping centres, development of a number of medium density apartment complexes and commercial refurbishments throughout the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Debbie is renowned for finding creative solutions to achieve successful business outcomes, a strategic thinker and possesses good planning skills.  Debbie believes you should not be restricted by what is considered normal or traditional, pay attention to your gut instinct, be  innovative and you need to stop yourself to always look at the big picture.

Lynn Profile

Lynn Graham

Client Services Coordinator

Educated in Northern Ireland, Lynn gained a National Diploma in Business & Finance, Travel & Tourism after which she commenced employment in the public sector, working in the Department of Training & Employment. She later took a career break and moved to America where she became an au-pair before working for a major printing company.

Upon her return to Northern Ireland Lynn resumed her position within the public sector and worked at the local Job Centre until she had the smart idea of immigrating to Australia with her husband Paul and two children, Chloe and Cora in 2008.

In Australia, Lynn previously worked in the wine industry in logistics before she decided on a career change and joined the team at the Innovation Centre as Client Services Co-Ordinator.

Lynn brings a fresh approach and happy personality to the Innovation Centre and now knows all our members very well, as she now provides them with administrative and organisational support.

In her free time Lynn likes to experience live theatre and concerts, and isn’t afraid to travel for the right show.

Grow Coastal will be delivered by Tara Mei, Founder of Kitchen Table Projects. Tara has international experience in launching and scaling innovative food businesses.

As a foodpreneur herself, Tara is passionate about turning ideas into a reality. Since launching London’s first retail incubator in June 2015, Tara has supported over 500 food and drink brands from startup to scale up through ground-breaking business bootcamps, incubator and accelerator programmes and building retail pathways for emerging producers to access national retailers. Tara has also developed an unrivalled international network of industry experts, food producers, distributors and buyers, with events attended by hundreds of food community members.

Want to find out more about Tara or about the Grow Coastal program? Email her