The Voices

Behind Project Leap are two women who had an idea. Sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it?

As we all know though, it’s one thing to have an idea; another altogether to bring that idea to life.

Meredith and Tara have collaborated professionally for the past nine years. Their sons played footy together, their daughters danced together and they have solved many of the world’s problems over bottles of bubbles – although one such bottle, a Gecko Valley Sparkling Mead, will always hold a special place in the pair’s hearts.

Like most of their great ideas, Project Leap came to them out of fantastic conversation over dinner at a restaurant one night. The idea was fleshed out, and the planning done over a yummy coffee while their kids ran amok at a water park in Gladstone (which is where they used to live and work and now serves as a brilliant half-way point between their respective bases of Mackay and the Sunshine Coast). The rest was put together thanks to the virtues of what they are still old enough to refer to as “modern technology” and there was no measuring the excitement that came with them each purchasing a fabulous new microphone!

Fancy, very cool, rather techy, makes-us-look-like-we-know-what-we’re-doing were just a few of the superlatives gushed over those new microphones! Such nerds!

Seriously though, the pair shares a love of family, solving the world’s problems over a glass of excellent wine, and random coffee catch-ups in airport lounges, hotel lobbies and you name it (whenever their Facebook location tags show they’re in the same postcode)…

But what brought them together is that Tara and Meredith share a passion for regional, rural and remote Australia and, moreover, the people doing innovative and incredible stuff in these locations.

And so, to give these ventures – and the people spearheading them – a voice, Project Leap was born.

So, who are these women? Read on…


Tara Jacobsen-Neven is an experienced entrepreneur, business strategist, facilitator, and collective leadership specialist. Tara has over 20 years experience in applying strategy to corporate learning and development, education, business growth and organisational development.

An expert in human and social capital development, Tara uses new insights into providing a strategic approach to building and executing social capital solutions to build more productive, resilient and change agile teams, organisations and communities.

Tara’s key fundamental philosophy is that we build human and social capital value in organisations by enhancing the way we structure our organisations and how we develop our people in order to best operate in the ‘wisdom age’. 

She has a number of years experience as keynote speaker and master of ceremonies across Australian industry conferences on subjects such as leadership, culture development, social and human capital value. Tara currently lectures in entrepreneurship at the University of the Sunshine Coast to postgraduate students and contributes frequently to a range of local and state publications and has recently co-founded the Podcast Project Leap.  Tara is currently writing a book on the invisible threads that connect people and how to use this for personal and professional development to enhance social capital value.

Tara holds a number of postgraduate and undergraduate degrees in business including a Master of Business Administration and will soon be commencing her PhD focusing on the Disruption and Integration of Artificial Intelligence to Business and the world of work.


Meredith Papas was born and raised in regional Australia and as 5th-Gen Mackay (in North Queensland) she is giving her two kids the same regional perspectives and opportunities.

Having worked in newspapers for the past 22+ years, Meredith is a story teller with a knack for going beyond the obvious. As she and Tara chat with their cast of incredible guests, Meredith will scratch the surface and then dive deep into the journeys, the triumphs, the heartbreaks and the motivations behind our country’s most innovative regional, rural and remote ventures.

A regional entrepreneur herself, Meredith also gets the challenges facing start-ups and longer-term ventures. Her business, iScribe Consulting aims at building the profiles and narratives of small to medium businesses, via social, digital and traditional media.

She has amassed a broad scope of experience as a writer, newspaper editor and publishing executive, while her community involvement is an impressive portfolio of board, committee and leadership appointments. As such, she is a specialist in high-level communications and engagement and an expert in disseminating key messages to a wide and diverse audience.

All this is matched by high-level academic credentials, with a Masters in Business Administration and she continues to pursue studies at post graduate level.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.