The Pioneera Story
It all started when...
Danielle Owen Whitford, the 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. Unfortunately, Danielle unexpectedly burned out in 2016. Burnout led to the realisation that her purpose was to help others prevent burnout whilst still being excellent at their job. She knows what's possible, and that's why she created Indie.
Meet the Team Behind Pioneera and Indie
Our people are our superpower. We are 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 & Engineering. An experienced technologist with years in commercialising technology, he makes sure our product delights our customers!
Tahnee is an experienced all-rounder with many years of experience building, leading and developing teams across various departments, and extensive experience in Strategy, Operations & General Management. She is a people-focused leader who is passionate about the role that people play in the success of any business!
Chris is an experienced sales leader who is instrumental in creating the structure and processes for Pioneera's next phase of growth. He loves spending his weekends getting out into the fresh air on the bike!
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.
Jay is our Senior Engineering Team Lead and brings a wealth of experience in Software Development. He is a problem solver at heart and a fast learner. He loves to create and be part of a fun work environment!
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.
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.
Glenn 'devalias' Grant
Glenn is a full-stack, polyglot developer with an acute interest in the offensive side of security. When not hacking and coding, Glenn can be found snowboarding the peaks of Japan, cruising on his longboard, climbing cliff faces, and exploring all of the wonderful experiences life has to offer.
Chloë is a dedicated Research Officer with a passion for mental health awareness and gender equity in research. In her free time, she likes to play chess, practice yoga, and go on hikes.
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.
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.
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.
Project F is working towards a world where women are flourishing in tech alongside men at every level, where organisations are thriving because of it and where there is no gender gap to mention.
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.
Anna has extensive strategy, marketing and corporate affairs experience at the most senior levels of a wide range of technology companies. She is a previous founder and is currently Executive Director for the Australian Finance Industry Association. Anna is a mentor and is passionate about working with startups, using technology to solve problems and the power of purpose-led brands.
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.