Our Team

Meet our team

We are a small team with diverse industry experience. Our collective skill-set covers all aspects of the food and agribusiness value chain; from research and product development to packaging and exporting. Our practical experience is coupled with a passion to see the Australian food and agribusiness sector grow.

Dr Mirjana Prica
Managing Director

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Managing Director, Dr Mirjana Prica, is an enthusiastic visionary who focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation to deliver commercial value. Mirjana sits on boards and advisory groups for cooperative research centres, universities, research and industry organisations, where she leverages her 20+ years of research and commercial experience in materials, minerals, food and agribusiness. Currently, Mirjana is leading FIAL, a national and industry-led organisation, established by the Commonwealth to drive innovation and market initiatives for Australia.

Managing Director, Dr Mirjana Prica, is an enthusiastic visionary who focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation to deliver commercial value. Mirjana sits on boards and advisory groups for cooperative research centres, universities, research and industry organisations, where she leverages her 20+ years of research and commercial experience in materials, minerals, food and agribusiness. Currently, Mirjana is leading FIAL, a national and industry-led organisation, established by the Commonwealth to drive innovation and market initiatives for Australia.


Vicki Wright
General Manager Operations

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Vicki is a senior executive with experience across listed organisations, public sector and start-ups. Her industry experience covers agribusiness, retail, membership organisations, recruitment and government departments. She is a passionate leader with an innate ability to quickly identify inefficiencies and implement cost effective solutions to ensure teams focus on value-add activities which deliver benefits for all stakeholders. Vicki’s technical abilities include marketing strategy, investor relations, media relations, recruitment and administration. She holds a Bachelor of Business and a Master of Business Administration.

Vicki is a senior executive with experience across listed organisations, public sector and start-ups. Her industry experience covers agribusiness, retail, membership organisations, recruitment and government departments. She is a passionate leader with an innate ability to quickly identify inefficiencies and implement cost effective solutions to ensure teams focus on value-add activities which deliver benefits for all stakeholders. Vicki’s technical abilities include marketing strategy, investor relations, media relations, recruitment and administration. She holds a Bachelor of Business and a Master of Business Administration.

Dr Barry McGookin
General Manager Innovation

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Barry is an innovation manager with 30yrs in the food manufacturing industry and has held senior technical, innovation and commercial leadership roles in companies with key food manufacturing companies in Australia. An inventor by nature, Barry has created new products & processes for domestic, Foodservice and export markets, while leading innovation culture development within companies. While a member of a range of national advisory teams, Barry is now leading initiatives to strengthen the Australian innovation culture and capability to help companies find increased success both domestically and overseas and better connect the Australian research and manufacturing sectors.

Barry is an innovation manager with 30yrs in the food manufacturing industry and has held senior technical, innovation and commercial leadership roles in companies with key food manufacturing companies in Australia. An inventor by nature, Barry has created new products & processes for domestic, Foodservice and export markets, while leading innovation culture development within companies. While a member of a range of national advisory teams, Barry is now leading initiatives to strengthen the Australian innovation culture and capability to help companies find increased success both domestically and overseas and better connect the Australian research and manufacturing sectors.

Rod Arenas
General Manager Commercial

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With more than 10 years of buying and category management experience, Senior Executive, Rod Arenas has extensive industry knowledge of both the local and international food and agribusiness markets. He has worked with industry heavy-weights. He is an expert in emerging trends, brand and product management and product development. He brings a combination of commercial qualifications – postgraduate in International trade focusing on global trading. Rod has a wealth of experience in e-commerce and management in both imports and exports at large FMCG organisations within retail, shipping, international trade documentation and banking including ANL, MSC, JP Morgan and ANZ.

With more than 10 years of buying and category management experience, Senior Executive, Rod Arenas has extensive industry knowledge of both the local and international food and agribusiness markets. He has worked with industry heavy-weights. He is an expert in emerging trends, brand and product management and product development. He brings a combination of commercial qualifications – postgraduate in International trade focusing on global trading. Rod has a wealth of experience in e-commerce and management in both imports and exports at large FMCG organisations within retail, shipping, international trade documentation and banking including ANL, MSC, JP Morgan and ANZ.

Carolyn Cameron
​General Manager Food Sustainability

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Carolyn has over 40 years of experience in environmental and strategic planning as an academic, consultant and public sector manager for state and national governments. She has worked in six states and territories, including rural service delivery roles with the NSW and Victoria state governments. She established the Victorian Department of Primary Industry’s Practice Change team, using research and extension science to improve land management and production practices with primary producers. More recently Carolyn was a Senior Executive with the Commonwealth Department of Environment, leading teams to undertake strategic environmental assessments and regional sustainability planning across the country. Since 2015 she has been a senior consultant on complex environmental management projects, applying her skills in policy analysis and interpretation for state governments and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Carolyn has over 40 years of experience in environmental and strategic planning as an academic, consultant and public sector manager for state and national governments. She has worked in six states and territories, including rural service delivery roles with the NSW and Victoria state governments. She established the Victorian Department of Primary Industry’s Practice Change team, using research and extension science to improve land management and production practices with primary producers. More recently Carolyn was a Senior Executive with the Commonwealth Department of Environment, leading teams to undertake strategic environmental assessments and regional sustainability planning across the country. Since 2015 she has been a senior consultant on complex environmental management projects, applying her skills in policy analysis and interpretation for state governments and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Mark Barthel
Special Advisor Food Waste

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Mark joined the FIAL team in July 2019 and brings with him a successful 25-year track record of driving sustainable innovation in agri-food; and supporting the development and implementation of sustainable food systems. This includes over 15 years’ experience in quantifying and preventing food loss and waste in the UK, Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. 

During this time, he has implemented over 50 research and innovation projects with food and drink companies and advised the boards of companies like Tesco, Sainsburys, M&S, Walmart, Cooperative Foods, Danone and Nestle. He has been an advisor to the United Nations since 1996 and continues to advise UN Environment on food systems and behaviour change-related issues. Mark’s roots were in the international finance: covering international foreign exchange and commodities markets and fraud and anti-fraud programs.

Mark joined the FIAL team in July 2019 and brings with him a successful 25-year track record of driving sustainable innovation in agri-food; and supporting the development and implementation of sustainable food systems. This includes over 15 years’ experience in quantifying and preventing food loss and waste in the UK, Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. 

During this time, he has implemented over 50 research and innovation projects with food and drink companies and advised the boards of companies like Tesco, Sainsburys, M&S, Walmart, Cooperative Foods, Danone and Nestle. He has been an advisor to the United Nations since 1996 and continues to advise UN Environment on food systems and behaviour change-related issues. Mark’s roots were in the international finance: covering international foreign exchange and commodities markets and fraud and anti-fraud programs.

Dr James Krahe
Innovation Manager

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James is an innovation manager experienced in the food manufacturing and food service industries. Holding roles in technical, innovation, nutrition and regulation roles in Australian and multinational companies. He has experience in launching new household name brands and reinvigorating existing brands for new market and customer opportunities. James is a passionate supporter of innovation in the Australian food and agribusiness landscape.

James is an innovation manager experienced in the food manufacturing and food service industries. Holding roles in technical, innovation, nutrition and regulation roles in Australian and multinational companies. He has experience in launching new household name brands and reinvigorating existing brands for new market and customer opportunities. James is a passionate supporter of innovation in the Australian food and agribusiness landscape.


Charles Li
Market Development Manager

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Charles Li currently holds the position of Market Development Manager at FIAL. He uses the insights gathered through consultation with the food industry to develop programs and initiatives and help the businesses to establish knowledge and capabilities, create connections, and increase food & beverage export and domestic revenues.

Charles Li currently holds the position of Market Development Manager at FIAL. He uses the insights gathered through consultation with the food industry to develop programs and initiatives and help the businesses to establish knowledge and capabilities, create connections, and increase food & beverage export and domestic revenues.

Sam Oakden
Food Sustainability Manager

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With a background in on-farm environmental programmes and policy development, and working experience of both New Zealand and Australia, Sam brings an in depth understanding of agriculture, dairy and food production to FIAL. Sam is passionate about agriculture and enhancing our natural environment and is continuously seeking solutions for sustainable food production.

With a background in on-farm environmental programmes and policy development, and working experience of both New Zealand and Australia, Sam brings an in depth understanding of agriculture, dairy and food production to FIAL. Sam is passionate about agriculture and enhancing our natural environment and is continuously seeking solutions for sustainable food production.

Sharing Knowledge

We provide valued insights stakeholders from across the agri-food value chain need to make informed decisions.



Building Capability

We design and deliver industry-led workshops to equip food and agribusinesses with the capabilities and skills to capitalise on growth opportunities.



Creating Connections

We connect food and agribusinesses with the research expertise, funding and export markets needed to harness opportunities.