Our Team

Young Business Mind Awards is aimed at empowering the next generation of creators and innovators in the Hunter Region.


The Hunter Young Business Minds Awards (HYBMA) was inaugurated in 2017. Aiming to create a program to connect and energise the next generation of creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders (NextGen) in our region, it was driven by business leaders who saw the importance of building greater relationships and connections between industry, business, educators, parents and young people.

Supported by the Department of Employment and Workforce Relations through their Hunter Futurepreneurs Program, HYBMA aimed to provide unique, practical learning and personal development experiences by creating an innovative CoLab environment where NextGen leaders take control and are supported, encouraged, and mentored to deliver the program outcomes and results. 

In 2024, Career Links took over the management of the competition and awards. The Career Links CEO, John Purcell is a founding board member of HYBMA and since 2017, a yearly sponsor of the program. Career Links has extensive networks within the education sector, within industry and business through their existing programs and events including the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Career Expo, the Work Placement ProgramYouthlinksYAKKA, the Future Choices Disability Expo and the Mini Electric Vehicle Challenge

the founding board

From 2017 to 2023, the Founding Board was made up of experienced members of the business community. Their combined skills and experience include every aspect of working in organisations at management and board level, within government, industry, corporate, small business and start-up enterprises. Many of this original team continue to support HYBMA through their networks and passion for the project. 

Cheryl Royle


CEO, Fine Line PTY LTD & Hunter Entrepreneurship Facilitator

Bob Hawes

Board Member

CEO, Hunter Business Chamber

Suzie Leask

Board Member

Associate Director, Australian business Lawyers & Advisors

thumbnail_John Sahyoun
John Sahyoun


Vice President, Mid Coast Business

John Purcell

Board Member

General Manager, Career Links

Tricia Martin

Sub Committee - Chairperson

CEO, Virtual Intern

Olivia Hugget

Sub Committee - Program Design

CIRT, Operations Coordinator

Mathew Shillock

Sub Committee - Sponsorship

CEO, Aim Machining Solutions