Welcome from the CEO
Welcome to REAL Impact!
The REAL Group began as I started creating brand strategies for clients. I realised that behind each brand was an individual who wanted to do something with their life and offer something to the world. The common thread with every brand I worked with all over the world was a connection to the human spirit and the need for a sense of community. As a result, a desire for social impact and commitment to solidarity has emerged as a centrepiece of our approach.
For me, it comes down to seeing the world as being made up of what visionaries want to do and can offer – and that thinking underpins all our brand strategies. It’s about finding the humanity in every brand that we look at. The move towards an exclusive focus on social impact investment and business development was born from this recurring experience that everything linked back to the human spirit.
When we build a brand, we look at how we can build social and economic value, which is empowering. REAL Impact is committed to leading the next generation of impact investment. Our unique approach cultivates both the supply and demand sides of the equation, addresses social and economic considerations in a holistic manner, and works across the private, public and third sectors in partnership to create a prosperous future for all, characterised by equity, sustainability and partnership.
We are reaching deep into that vital human spirit to elevate the way we do business globally, which will lead to what we call the ‘real economy’ – an inclusive, equitable and sustainable global economy that deals in real value, with real opportunity – and real impact – for all.
Everybody has something positive to contribute to the world. It doesn’t matter who they are or where they are born – everyone has potential. Our job is to unlock that potential and unleash a butterfly effect of social and economic impact. Some would say that this work is too difficult or complex. We believe it is possible, practical, sustainable… and smart business.
CEO and Founder
REAL Impact - Building brands for social impact
REAL Impact has been adding value for 25 years in brand & business strategy, global value-chain creation and international market entry with a considered approach for Fortune 500 brands Warner Bros Retail, Kellogg Global, four back-to-back Olympic Games, UN International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative and Australian retailer Myer.
The REAL Impact process is one of partnership. Our team of highly skilled professionals combine to provide a holistic brand and business approach that engages critical thinking, strategy, commercial design and the development of high impact supply chains®. Our community-driven process to social impact investment and business development is a fusion of tangible and intangible disciplines that converge throughout the process to forge outstanding results.
REAL Impact is currently in partnership with the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade innovationXchange and Pacific Rise, implementing our full value-chain system acceleration approach in Papua New Guinea to seed and accelerate the creative industry by leveraging traditional artisan skills for inclusive and sustainable development. Our plan is to scale REAL globally.
We all have stories to tell
Virginia Bruce -
CEO and founder
Virginia is an international brand & business consultant & entrepreneur. Over 25 years history successfully developing & implementing commercial brand & business strategies that yield tangible business results. Ms Bruce’s key strength is in developing business, brand design, marketing, supply chain solutions & extension strategies that enhance business values & create growth. Virginia's international reputation was forged through her key role in developing creative brand and business strategies for Warner Bros. resulting in growth from US$25m to US$6B in 6 years, Mattel, Avon, Disney, Kellogg, Audi, Volkswagen, Coca Cola, Network 7, Four (4) back to back Olympic Games, Two (2) Asian Games & other premier branded properties. She has opened, invested and operated offices in USA, Australia, Asia, China, Middle East & Europe. Since 2011 Ms Bruce has invested and seeded four social enterprises and become a pioneer in the Impact Investment for profit for purpose space.
Rhyan Stephens -
Rhyan has achieved global success in business turnarounds, crowd-sourcing, commercialisation, and M&A. With extensive experience in compliance and governance in private, non-profit and public enterprises in Australia and internationally, his knowledge base spans the FMCG, Retail, Start-up, Supply Chain, Medical Devices, Not-for-Profit, Social Enterprise and Manufacturing sectors. Appointments have included Managing Director, Advisory Board Member, M&A Lead, Commercialisation Director and Chief Commercial Officer
Marc Evans -
Marc’s expertise and experiences includes formulating the strategic direction of a $1B substantial business unit, leading the delivery of complex, mission critical IT programs in high pressure environments, turning around stalled programs, and stakeholder engagement. He also excels in managing the development and implementation of trading and settlements engines for high performance, high load systems, leading transformational change programs, delivering technology programs through the SDLC with an excellent understanding of all areas from requirements, through delivery to testing.
Marc earned his BSc Hons in Chemistry from Kings College London, an MSc in E-Commerce, Technology and Economics from University of London and his MBA from Warwick Business School.
Carolin Leeshaa is a thought-leader and values-driven change maker who combines her passion to create positive social impact, system-level change and purposeful cross-sector partnerships with her deep commercial acumen, social finance expertise and design-led leadership. Carolin has deep expertise in social impact, creating shared value, strategy and structured finance, transaction advisory, project & risk management gained over a decade across a broad range of asset classes and customer segments. Carolin strives working at the intersection of government social policy, markets and communities and has a experience working on societal challenges such as indigenous, economic empowerment, gender, healthcare, mental health, affordable housing and employment. It is this unique combination of skills, perspectives and empathy which enables her to think across systems and to add value through multiple lenses. Carolin holds a Masters of Business (Banking & Finance) and Social Impact post-graduate qualifications from the Centre of Social Impact, UNSW.
Chief Impact Officer
Before diving into REAL Impact, Mike served in senior executive roles around the world at the crossroads of civil society, social enterprise, education and international affairs as Founder and President of The Arch Institute, General Manager of the Worldwide Universities Network; director of The University of Sydney’s global engagement program; CAO at Franciscans International (a global human rights NGO), as a speechwriter in the UN system; and as Director, Peace and Justice Programs at Xavier University in the United States.
Mike earned his BA in English from Xavier University (USA), an MA in International Affairs from the American University of Paris, DEA in Economics and Social Sciences from the Institute Catholique de Paris, and his doctorate in International Relations from the Geneva School of Diplomacy, Switzerland.
Ruth Choulai -
Pacific Regional Manager
Building upon 16 years’ experience in developing, administering and project managing development programs for the benefit of communities in the Pacific Islands region, Ruth has engaged at the micro-enterprise and community level in the Creative and Tourism sectors. Over the past 9 years, Ruth’s engagement has been focused exclusively on the creative sector and engagement for the purpose of export to international markets. Ruth is passionate about engaging with creative producers who live and produce in the Pacific region and has facilitated multi-objective platforms that empowers the individual, the community of artisans, their personal and communal voice and their art practise.
"We love a good challenge"
/ Marc Evans - CIO /