Leadership, Coaching, Slavery, Supply Chains, Venture Capital, and Family: A Conversation with Revel Gordon

Revel Gordon is one of the featured speakers at the QUT Leadership Coaching Conference: Crossing Boundaries on 22-23 November in Brisbane. In the world of executive coaching, Revel is established as an expert executive and team coach working with organisations like Google, Atlassian and Novartis. He has also made a significant contribution to the ICF as Director of External Stakeholder Engagement. (We first met at an ICF Conference on the Gold Coast where we had a very lively discussion about coach accreditation.) I asked Revel what he is going to share in his presentation in November. He traversed issues around how executive coaching has matured and the implications for the industry – in a volatile economy. We changed up a gear when Revel shared how skills he acquired through deep engagement with high level coaching have proven to be gold when crossing into new territory.

Revel’s new world is in entrepreneurship: specifically, in technology, supply chains … and helping change the world. He and his wife Jamila, who Revel describes as ‘a force of nature’ have been following their passion in their start-up company Lumachain, which is using Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and blockchain to provide greater transparency to global food supply chains, while helping to eliminate modern slavery in the process.

decorative imageThey’re a dynamic team. Jamila is the CEO & Founder. She is a former Qantas Chief Information Officer and global IBM executive and brings leadership, corporate experience and resilience stemming from her refugee’s journey to success after a childhood in war-torn Somalia. As Head of People & Culture, Revel carries his broad corporate and business knowledge, coaching expertise and passion, as he finds elite talent to bring into the business, and acts as coach and sounding board for Jamila.

Lumachain is working with some of the world’s largest food businesses, and recently completed a $3.5 million capital raise led by top-tier Venture Capital fund Main Sequence Ventures. They have built world-first deep tech with scientific partner, the CSIRO, and Microsoft is their global technology partner, with whom Lumachain shares a common passion for tech-led innovation and a deep desire to tackle global inequality.

The essence of Revel’s presentation will be to draw on his knowledge and experiences and use his story to explore the reality of the future of work – one characterised by rapidly advancing technology, global connectivity, and rapid change. The landscape also carries with it a wake of human problems that governments are seemingly powerless to overcome. We talked about how coaching at its best taps into values and is deeply concerned with the human condition. For Revel, he has found a way of making a difference through the company – and looping back to his coaching to engage a heightened sense of commercial acumen. His boundary-crossing gives him greater impact in both worlds as he draws energy from one to inject in the other.

I’ve talked with many entrepreneurs who often seem older than their numerical age – and weighed down by long hours, fickle finances, clashes with partners, and general overwhelm. Early in the conversation, Revel paused and said with lightness and joy, ‘I’ve never had so much fun in my life’ (while noting the 5am starts and the juggling of coaching, Lumachain, and family). I then asked him if he has a coach (hoping he would say yes). He does – René Nathan. René is a pioneer of coaching in Australia and helps to ground Revel in both his coaching practice and the exhilarating Lumachain journey.  She is also his mum. In this family, mum can coach the son and the son can coach the wife! How many families get away with that?

As we talked, Revel talked about his concern that if he shared this passion and excitement, it might land the wrong way for the audience. He is acutely aware of just how blessed his life is right now and how few people get to take a journey like this. He is deeply grateful. His concerns reminded me of some coaching assignments with American executives who come to Australia and confront the ‘tall poppy syndrome’. For me, it was just a pleasure to get a taste of Revel’s world that traverses, the pressures and pace of entrepreneurial ventures and a carefully constructed professional grounding in high-level executive coaching. I look forward to welcoming Revel to the Conference and gaining some insights for forging my own pathway.

For information about the Leadership Coaching Conference “Crossing Boundaries”  highlights read more.

QUTeX Leadership Coaching Practice


Geoff is a highly experienced coach, educator and author who has coached and facilitated leadership development across many industries and countries. Until 2019, Geoff was Director of Leadership Coaching at the QUT Graduate School of Business. He now divides his contributions between different projects and organisations. Geoff’s research and coaching includes exploring how paradoxical thinking assists people to engage with complex organisational challenges, particularly in culturally diverse contexts. In leadership development, Geoff’s focus is on introducing coaching as a mindset and methodology including the eFIRE coaching approach. Geoff is the Australia-New Zealand Field Mentor for Ford Motor Company’s global Consumer Experience Movement. This work gives special attention to shaping customer centric cultures. Geoff holds a PhD from the Australian National University and is Adjunct Professor with the QUT Graduate School of Business in Brisbane. He is accredited in a wide range of leadership development instruments. Geoff is part of the Association for Coaching Global Advisory Panel.

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