Global Speakers


Karen Dwyer


Dwyer Law Ltd

Forum Chairperson

Karen’s been advising property development, infrastructure and construction businesses for over 20 years, buying property, financing, leasing, subdividing, selling — and, of course, constructing.
She’s acted for billion-dollar organizations in the past and her goal now is to level the information playing field for small to medium-sized businesses.

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Emma Telfer

Director, Culture & Strategy


Topic: Innovative Build-To-Rent-To-Buy Model: Why Assemble’s Model Could Be A Game Changer For Developers And Institutional Investors

Emma is Director, Culture & Strategy at Assemble, a private housing development business focusing on social and affordable housing. Emma leads all community engagement, CSR and impact, and brand and cultural initiatives across the business. A passionate urbanist and cultural leader, Emma is deeply interested in the role urban design and architecture plays in positively shaping our cities and in socially responsible housing development.

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Adrian Pisarski

Chief Executive Officer

National Shelter

Topic: Towards Affordable Housing: View From The Queensland’s Government $70 Million Build To Rent Pilot Project

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David Hill

Director, Alternative Investments – Australia


Panel Discussion: Where Are The New Opportunities For BTR development In Australia And New Zealand?

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Les Koltai

Managing Director

LS Global

Interactive Roundtable Discussion: Planning, Developing And Financing BTR Projects

Les Koltai has been involved in real estate and real estate funds management transactions for over 20 years. He advises on direct and indirect (fund to fund) commercial, retail, industrial and residential property investments, developments, sales and acquisitions, property joint ventures and commercial leasing (retail, commercial and industrial).

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Thomas Walkley

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Erin Living

Panel Discussion: Where Are The New Opportunities For BTR development In Australia And New Zealand?

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Sarah Witty

National Partnerships Manager

Homes for Homes

Topic: Innovative Funding Model To Increase The Supply Of Social And Affordable Housing

With a passion for everything property and investing, Sarah built a successful career in the property industry.

Intrigued with property investment, Sarah turned her interest to the money side of the industry upskilling her financial understanding before turning her skills to the banking industry. Time spent in the finance industry allowed her to obtain a unique understanding of how the industry works from behind the big bank doors.

After a successful career in both property and finance, Sarah looked to give back. Much to her delight, she discovered Homes for Homes.

As National Partnerships Manager, Sarah works to establish new opportunities within the Property Development and Banking industries. Sarah’s diverse experience allows her to have a unique understanding from all sides of property transactions.



Paul Savitz

Director, Operational Capital Markets

Savills Australia & New Zealand

Topic: Learning Lessons From How Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) Has Taken Off In Australia And Implications For BTR Sector

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Georgina Duckworth

Director Client Services/Marketing

Sentinel Real Estate Corporation

Topic: Case Study Of West Australia’s First BTR Apartment Community: The Element 27 BTR Project In Subiaco, WA

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Keith Lucas

Managing Director

Sentinel Real Estate Corporation

Topic: Case Study Of West Australia’s First BTR Apartment Community: The Element 27 BTR project In Subiaco, WA

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Manuel Makas

Managing Partner

Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills

Topic: Tax Planning, Legal Structuring & Funding For BTR

Manuel is the Managing Partner and Head of Real Estate at Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills. He has broad expertise in tax matters, with a focus on the real estate sector, funds management and infrastructure sectors.

Manuel joined the firm in early 2014 after working as a Partner at an international accountancy firm for over a decade. He specialises in real estate taxation and assists clients with creating managed investment trust (MIT) structures and listed property trusts. Manuel also provides advice to clients on debt and rights issues, equity raising, mergers and acquisitions, inbound and outbound investments, restructuring and IPOs.

Manuel is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and a Chartered Tax Adviser of The Tax Institute. Manuel is also a member of the Property Council of Australia’s Income Tax Committee and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Master of Taxation.

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Doug Winger

Portfolio Manager


Topic: Mirvac Strategic Case Study: Creating Australia’s First Institutional Build-To-Rent Investment Platform



Nick Lane

Executive Director and Founder

Passive Place

Topic: Case Study: Making Affordable Housing A Reality In Cities

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Marwan Rahme

Managing Director

Kanebridge Group

Topic: BTR Investment And Financing Considerations: Valuing A BTR Project

Marwan is the Managing Director and Founder of the Kanebridge Group, a construction and project management firm that specialises in residential and commercial development in the Western Sydney area. A qualified Quantity Surveyor and licensed builder, Marwan recently received a high commendation award for 2010 in the category for Commercial Buildings $1 million-$10 million from the Australian Institute of Building.



Matt Lanigan

Managing Director

Rent Converters

Topic: Affordable Build Model: Case Study On How Rent Converters Helps Make Homeownership More Accessible For More Australian

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Mark Fischer

Managing Director & Global Head of Real Estate


Panel Discussion: Where Are The New Opportunities For BTR Development In Australia And New Zealand?

Mark is a co-founder of Qualitas and leads the Investment team, which is responsible for deal origination; execution and analysis; and asset management. Mark has been active in real estate private equity and banking for 16 years and has invested in excess of $9 billion of transactional value, across asset classes including residential, commercial, industrial logistics, multifamily housing and retirement living.

Prior to Qualitas, Mark was a member of the Babcock & Brown Real Estate Group where his focus was on investments in Australian developments and specialised asset operating platforms in the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore. His other experience includes working at ANZ as part of the Property & Construction Finance team including debt raisings for REITs and project financing for residential and office developers.

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Rhys Williams



Topic: Build To Rent And UKO Co-Living: The Future Accommodation Model

Rhys Williams and Alex Thorpe are the co-founders of UKO Co-Living which is Australia’s first Co-Living operation.

Rhys and Alex pioneered the extended stay furnished accommodation market in Sydney, Australia. They commenced trading a single apartment in 2002 and grew to a portfolio exceeding 400 keys under the Furnished Property brand with a mix of freehold and leasehold assets offering flexible furnished rental accommodation to the extended stay market. This lead to a move into the hotel market where they established a national network of hotel brands under Veriu Group including  Veriu Hotels & Suites in 2015 (384 keys) and the Punthill Apartment Hotels (804 keys) in 2018. Rhys and Alex have successfully raised capital and joint ventured with publicly listed developers and fund managers  such as Folkestone/Charter Hall where they have delivered a $50 million 144 key micro apartment hotel at Green Square in Sydney which will be marketed as Australia’s first micro apartment hotel.  They also recently completed a $15 million conversion of Wentworth House in Surry Hills into a 112 key hotel.  Rhys and Alex have now returned to their rental accommodation roots with the development of the UKO Co-living brand where they are set to carve out a significant transformation of the rental accommodation market in Australia. UKO has successfully delivered two Co-Living sites in the Sydney in 2019 and will open an additional four sites in 2020.  Rhys and Alex are firm believers that the rental market needs to change to meet the needs of the millennial renter and key worker. They believe that efficient micro apartment design with connected communal areas can improve affordability without having to compromise on lifestyle.  They also feel that rental accommodation should offer a greater sense of community providing renters with the ability to make social and professional connections in order to combat the rise of loneliness for modern renters. With their roots firmly entrenched in the rental accommodation market, complimented by their experience in hotel development, design and customer service Rhys and Alex are perfectly positioned to transition the Co-Living concept into the Australian market.

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Hanna Ebeling

Chief Executive Officer


Panel Discussion: Where Are The New Opportunities For BTR Development In Australia And New Zealand?

From traditional banking with HSBC to impact investment in the Philippines, Hanna brings a global practice lens to Sefa as Chief Executive Officer. She is on the board of Woodville Alliance, and works with the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership to improve collaboration between government, private sector, and philanthropy. At home you’ll find her preparing dehydrated meals for her next bushwalk or studying for her Australian citizenship test.

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Natasha Sarkar


CBRE | Structured Transactions & Advisory Services

Topic: New Zealand’s Residential Market’s Immaturity. A Problem Yes, But A Development Opportunity Too, Including Build To Rent

Natasha Sarkar re-joined CBRE New Zealand in 2020 as Director of Structured Transactions & Advisory Services after a period in the UK specialising in Build-to-Rent (BTR) where she valued and consulted on major projects as the asset class grew to be one of the most dynamic areas of the property industry. With the goal to facilitate major BTR development as a lever to improving housing supply in New Zealand, Natasha is passionate about championing BTR as a viable and competitive asset class. Determined to overcome the barriers to its acceleration – she is now seen as an invaluable partner to clients on their BTR journey. Natasha leads CBRE’s BTR valuation and strategic advisory capability in New Zealand and has direct experience in value add on BTR developments from inception through to a stabilised investment position, having valued market leading schemes across the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

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Chris Efthimiou

Commercial Director

Erin Living

Topic: How Technology Can Influence BTR Projects

I am a technology sales professional with 10+ years of experience who has lived through a lot of the common pain points in apartment living, both internationally and locally. I’ve been with Erin Living since inception and my role at Erin is to drive the new business strategy, primarily by educating the market on the importance of high quality resident technology in apartment living and why it will be a crucial element of the way we live moving forward.

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