Renee Smart is the Director of Think Smart Concepts and works across numerous roles focussing on the development, implementation and execution of innovative programs, which support social capital and capability in people, business and the community.
Born in Port Pirie in regional South Australia, Renee grew up riding her bike around the streets and recalls the sense of freedom it gave her. With an older brother that had a love for BMX bikes, she still remembers the day he was expecting a new pair of forks for his upcycled bicycle, only to be surprised with a brand new Mongoose BMX. They would ride all day until, the street lights came on, then they had to get home.
Renee’s first introduction to business was having to help at her mum’s hairdressing salon during the school holidays from the age of 6. She remembers the ‘business’ talk that would occur across the dinner table and terms such as ‘stock control’ and ‘shelf life’, none of which made any sense until later in life.
Her first job was working as a Retail Assistant and then in a fast food chain, while at High School. Her career journey has been a winding path through Hospitality, International Travel, Recruitment and Management. The only constant has been her love of learning and the understanding of how critical skills development and knowledge is.
The combination of experience in sales and recruitment, with a passion for learning led Renee into the Vocational, Education and Training sector where she was able to share her enthusiasm for skills development and support others on their learning journey.
Renee identified with Lighthouse Youth Project’s ability to genuinely engage young people and help them realise their unique potential through such programs, and consequently joined the team to share her knowledge, experience and passion.
Richard Verco is the Managing Director of Rawson Verco Need, an Accounting and Financial Advisory business, employing a team of 40 staff, located not far from Adelaide’s leafy parklands.
Born and bred in Adelaide’s western suburbs, being one of four brothers meant Richard spent many a day riding bikes all over Adelaide. They all kept to that all important ‘rule’ of the times – be home for dinner! Some of his best childhood memories involve these whimsical, bike filled adventures. Without knowing it at the time, Richard soon discovered how riding can give a sense of freedom and provide huge health and social benefits.
Richard’s first introduction to business was watching his father run the family butcher shop in Seaton. Upon completing schooling, Richard initially worked in the banking sector before moving into the Accounting profession.
Through his role as a financial advisor Richard is able to fulfil his desire to help people. This can range from assisting someone to get out of a tough financial position, to buying or selling a business. It was in this role that Richard discovered Lighthouse Youth Projects.
“The accounting profession has been good to me and I have learnt a lot about people and business in my time. I feel I have something of value to give back to community, so when Jamie and Ryan asked if I would be interested in becoming an Advisory Board member for LYP I immediately jumped at it. “
Richard is excited and humbled to hold this role – his aim is to help steer the business aspects, so as to leave Jamie, Ryan and their fantastic team to focus on their real passion….. to get out there and ride shoulder to shoulder with as many people as they can.
Justine is an active volunteer board member of Impact100SA, a personal property rental and development manager and runs a busy house with three active children while keeping herself fit, healthy and sane with her love of running and anything outdoors.
Born and educated in Adelaide, Justine is a keen adventure traveller with a constant desire to learn and grow often travelling with her husband and children to third world countries to help where she can while educating her children about other peoples lives. She has experience in start-up, big business, and philanthropic entities having worked in Adelaide, Sydney, London, and Melbourne through her career. Justine has held roles across stakeholder management, stakeholder engagement, communications, project management, pricing, strategy, commercial/financial management, event management and most recently board management and strategy. She is well placed to manage diverse and complex programs and work within a multitude of environments while trying to make a difference where she can.
Justine understands the importance of bringing people on the journey, and leads empathetically and compassionately while placing value on a team approach whilst maintaining a commercial and/or sustainability focus. She is able to clearly establish requirements and put the right mechanisms in place to achieve innovative and successful ideas.
Justine is currently working for herself in the property market while volunteering in the philanthropic sector including sitting on the board of Impact100 South Australia since 2014 as well as actively supporting charitable organisations in Australia. Justine is a strong supporter of philanthropy in South Australia particularly around helping young people of our community to help them achieve their full potential and break the cycle’s that cause long-term issues and actively supports the growth of philanthropy in Australia.