O’Brien will take over the role in April from Pandora Shelley, who completes her successful eight-year career at Fishburners in March to pursue overseas opportunities.
O’Brien’s most recent role has been with ACON Health, as company secretary and head of strategic and business planning functions, commercial operations, finance, HR, IT, risk management, and marketing and fundraising. Established in 1985, ACON works to end HIV transmission among gay and homosexually active men, and promote the lifelong health of LGBTI people and people with HIV.
Prior to joining ACON, O’Brien spent a decade at YWCA NSW as director of Marketing.
“Nicole received unanimous support from our board as the right person to lead Fishburners into its next decade, as we support and champion the interests of our diverse community of Australian entrepreneurs.
“She has enormous passion for improving lives and communities and has worked to create a powerful impact with social enterprises in the not-for-profit sector since 1989. Nicole is also very accomplished in creating financial sustainability in the non-profit sector, commercial services, strategy, governance and risk, and marketing and fund-raising.
“We were thrilled with the overwhelming interest and response to the Fishburners role. It’s a testament to the impact Fishburners has had both in Australia and internationally since it launched in 2011, and we have enormous gratitude to Pandora for her contribution to building such a powerful community brand in her many leadership roles over the past eight years.”
O’Brien said she was looking forward to applying her leadership skills to foster the growth of start-ups, enabling them to create their own success stories.
“Start-ups are critical to Australia’s ongoing economic success and global competitiveness, they bring innovations that improve lives, generate employment and contribute to our wealth,” she said.
“Fishburners has such a generous and authentic commitment to helping inspire, nurture and grow Australian startups. I feel incredibly privileged to be joining the Fishburners team and to be given the opportunity to play a role in guiding and supporting our vibrant start-up community.”
O’Brien joins Fishburners after what the company says has been a record-breaking year of growth.
“With a talented and expanding team, the Fishburners membership has grown significantly, supported by the expansion of new offices in Brisbane, Sydney and the launch of Fishburners virtual platform. Fishburners also boasts numerous partnerships established or strengthened with the community over the past 18 months, including Google for Start-ups, Jobs for NSW, Brisbane City Council, UTS, Optus and Chartered Accountants ANZ,” Fishburners said.