The Pioneera Story
It all started when...
Danielle Owen Whitford, Founder and CEO of Pioneera, spent more than two decades working for large corporations across telecommunications, finance and insurance. She loved helping customers and developing people in her teams. However in 2016 Danielle unexpectedly found herself experiencing burnout, which led to the realisation her purpose was to help prevent others from going through the same experience. Which is why she created Indie!
Meet the Team Behind Pioneera and Indie
Our people are our superpower. We're grateful to work with some of the best minds in technology, psychology and leadership.
Danielle Owen Whitford
Danielle is a former corporate executive with more than 20 years of leadership experience across operations, retail, customer service and large-scale transformation. She turned her burnout experience into Indie, an AI bot for mental health support.
Brian leads Product at Pioneera. An experienced technologist with years in commercialising technology, he makes sure our product delights our customers!
Alex is an Engineering Manager with over 25 years' experience in software development, team management and leadership with a solid engineering foundation. In his free time, he loves to travel.
Manu Jo Varghese
Manu is an experienced Full-Stack Engineer with a huge passion for Machine Learning and Drone Programming. Manu is also an avid cricket player.
Emily is an experienced Product Designer, passionate about solving user problems with empathy. She brings a positive energy and creative mindset to any team she works with.
Danny is deeply passionate about growing the field of Psychology research, particularly in social and progressive fields. He loves cooking, listening to music and playing board games with friends.
Chanie Hyde is a Digital Marketer with a passion for helping tech startups make data-driven decisions and is focused on helping Pioneera achieve stellar growth.
Arnold is a Full-Stack Engineer with over a decade of experience in software development. In his free time fishing is his life; he loves being on the sea!
Ivan is a highly experienced web and mobile developer with more than 7 years of expertise in UI/UX development. Outside work, he enjoys reading articles and learning new technologies and spending time in cafés.
Partners & Advisors
We have teamed up with leading industry experts passionate about Pioneera’s mission to increase wellbeing in the workplace.
A behavioural psychology specialist who consults on behavioural challenges and opportunities facing businesses, governments and social organisations. After discovering Indie, Kris became an instant advocate of Pioneera’s mission and Indie’s thinking and supports the team on their journey.
Dr Michelle McQuaid
She is sought around the world for her playful approach to translate cutting-edge research in positive psychology and neuroscience into practical actions to help people and workplaces to thrive. A best-selling author with more than 25 years of global leadership experience in organisations of all sizes, she works with boards, leadership teams, managers and employees to help them move beyond their fears, improve their resilience and wellbeing, and build authentic and productive connections so they can do the best work of their lives.
Lynn Crawford is a Professor in the John Grill Institute for Project Leadership and Director of Education in the School of Project Management at The University of Sydney. She has worked extensively with leading corporations and government agencies, assisting them in project capability development through global knowledge networks.
Mike has managed and built successful startups for over 25 years. Mike now helps other entrepreneurs - like Danielle and her Pioneera team - build high-growth businesses by assisting with raising capital, developing winning sales strategies and building talented management teams.
Alicia is Associate Professor of Marketing in the Newcastle Business School at the University of Newcastle. She has expertise in understanding factors that motivate consumer attitudes and behaviour and has published in leading international Marketing journals. Alicia is enthusiastic about conducting engaged and impactful research that is of value to end users.
Sarah is an Associate Professor of Ethical AI and Work in the Macquarie Business School at Macquarie University. She works with philosophers, economists, computer scientists, marketers, and organisational psychologists to examine how the use of artificially intelligent technologies shape what people do in their jobs, how they experience their work, and how AI can be used to make work and workplaces better. Before academia she worked in human resource management and organisational development roles, so doing research with practical impact is in her DNA.
Kruti has more than 13 years of experience in mobile technology development and has managed development teams at various product companies. In her free time, she loves to lift weights, play sports and loves puppies of all kinds.
Dr. Alicia Aitken
Alicia holds a PhD in stress & coping and founded several tech start-ups before transitioning to corporate where she’d held several executive roles. She was the first Chief Project Officer at Telstra, the Head of Investment Management at ANZ and currently holds the role of General Manager Strategy Delivery at ANZ. She sits on a number of advisory boards including Cloudfloat, Joyous and the Office of Projects Victoria.
Nathan brings over 20 years of experience in developing and managing teams and businesses across the product and operational lifecycles. Nath has 15 years in executive leadership positions and is an accomplished people manager, developer and leader with extensive change management experience.
Nish Chandran brings 26 years of experience in technology and leading high-performing teams, across various domains including financial services, payments, insurance, international banking, risk management and cyber. Nish is passionate about understanding the impacts of mental health in corporations and how technology may be used effectively to deal with this issue.
Chloe is a Director of Product People Science at Culture Amp, a leading employee experience platform. Chloe holds a Masters in Organisational Psychology and Bachelor degrees in both Science and Commerce. In her current role, Chloe leads the product people science and research practice and works in collaboration with Culture Amp’s growing data science, design and UX research teams - to bring in behavioural science and research to inform product innovation.