Paul Bernasconi

Paul Bernasconi, MAppFin, GAICD

Paul’s private advisory work augments his extensive global financial markets background having worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Tokyo, New York and Sydney throughout his investment banking career.

With over 25 years’ experience with institutional banking, specialising in currencies and financial risk management, he also has a strong business development history. His client relationships have spanned multi-national and domestic asset managers, sovereign wealth funds, private and public investment funds, corporate treasuries, financial intermediaries, not-for-profit organisations, unlisted companies and high net wealth individuals

During his career he has also had senior involvement in graduate and intern recruitment programs, mentoring roles and actively participated in community and charitable giving initiatives.

Paul holds a Masters of Applied Finance from Macquarie University and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

“I was honoured to join the CRBF Board to help realise Cooper’s  vision of changing the current trajectory of sarcoma. Setting that seemingly Herculean goal was typical of a lad who was raised to relished a challenge, involved those about him, and pursued a sense of justice, despite knowing those efforts were only likely to benefit others. That sense of mateship, good humour and selflessness were the pillars of friendship between Coops and one of his great sporting allies and adversaries; my nephew Matt Jones.
I am proud to be part of pursuing Cooper’s mission in his absence, on behalf of his dear friend, my nephew Matthew,  and in the shared hope of preventing others from ever walking in such pernicious footsteps. “

Matthew Lawrance (Retired)

B.Com (Accounting), FCA, MBA (Executive)

Matthew is an experienced senior corporate executive with success in leading businesses in CEO, CFO and COO roles. He has successfully delivered strategic business outcomes in listed companies within the financial services, retail and airline industries over the past 25 years.

Most recently, Matthew spent 14 years with NAB in senior roles across the Banking and Wealth businesses. Prior to joining NAB, Matthew occupied senior Finance roles at both Woolworths Ltd and Qantas Airways Group. Matthew started his career in professional services at Ernst & Young, specialising in Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency.

In addition to his voluntary Board role at CRBF, Matthew currently is the Chairman of two other companies, one a software development business and another specializing in logistics and shared services. Matthew also sits in a voluntary capacity on the Committee of Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club. Whilst at NAB, Matthew was a Director of the Financial Services Council.

Matthew first met Cooper, aged 6, through sport at the Easts Bulldogs Junior AFL Club. Matthew coached some of the teams that his son and Cooper both played in.

As a parent across both AFL and cricket seasons, Matthew knew Cooper well and always admired his courage and willingness to “compete to his best” whenever given an opportunity. Cooper was extremely talented at everything he participated in and was often sought after to back up for another game if the age group above needed extra numbers…which he would always be up for…and be able to hold his own across all age groups!

Matthew is committed to continuing the inspirational work started by Cooper himself through the   CRBF, with its unwavering commitment to Sarcoma Research, Awareness and Patient Support.


Jennifer McAsey

Jennifer McAsey has been a journalist for more than 30 years, working in print, broadcast media, film and as a lecturer and communications specialist.

She began her career in Victoria, working for the ABC and then for The Age, before being transferred to Sydney to work as the newspaper’s bureau chief.

She spent two years lecturing at Western Sydney University, and then more than 15 years as a senior journalist at The Australian newspaper, working as a feature writer, section editor and later specialising in sport. She has won numerous awards for her coverage of sports including the AFL, athletics and netball.

In 2009 Jennifer was appointed General Manager, Communications, at the Swans, utilising her expertise to enhance media coverage of the club.

For the past five years years she has been a freelance researcher and writer, and most recently wrote the coaching memoir for former Sydney Swans coach, Paul Roos.

Michael Furlong

Michael Furlong BA LLB (University of Sydney)

Diploma of Law (College of Law), Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales

Professional Experience:

October 1995 – Present Corporation Head Solicitor/General Legal Counsel -The AUTORE Group of Companies.

The Autore Group is a vertically integrated South Sea pearling corporate group which was established as an international wholesale pearl merchant business operating out of Sydney in 1991.

In 2004, The Group expanded its operations to include South Sea pearl farming when it established P.T. Autore Pearl Culture, an Indonesian entity, operating various pearl farms in Indonesia, mainly on the islands of Lombok and Sumbawa.

In April 2006, the Group purchased an Australian South Sea pearling group, the Clipper Pearling Group which operated various open sea pearling leases and associated pearl hatchery operations in the Kimberley coastal region with offices in Broome, Western Australia.

In 2007, the Group became involved in both the manufacture and wholesale and retail sale of its own range of bespoke South Sea Pearl jewellery and for some 3 to 5 years the Group operated retail stores both in Australia (Sydney and Broome) and Macau and through retail partnerships with.

In April 2006, the Group purchased an Australian South Sea pearling group, the Clipper Pearling Group which operated various open sea pearling leases and associated pearl hatchery operations in the Kimberley coastal region with offices in Broome, Western Australia.

As the Group’s General Legal Counsel since 1995, having been its external solicitor since 1992, I have seen and been intrinsically involved with and in its development as one of the world’s leading pearling businesses. The legal work I have been required to oversee runs the full gamut of commercial legal practice with particular emphasis on contractual negotiation and drafting, trade practices and trade marks law, administrative and employment law, Australian and international commercial law, commercial litigation and pearling law (Australian pearl producers and their operations are governed by specific state and territory-based legislation).

“I first met Cooper in about 2007 when I was the club cricket coach of his older brother, Mitchell. Cooper would attend the team’s training sessions and was keen to join us despite the 3 year age differential. Cooper was initially a little tentative but with some encouragement, not much was necessary, he was soon participating as if he was a fully-fledged member of the team. It was clear from the start that he was a talented young athlete who coupled his talent with a raw enthusiasm, both to prove his worth and also to try to get under his brother’s skin and prove his worth.

Initially, I was concerned to ensure that Cooper’s involvement did not put him in any physical danger but those concerns were soon assuaged by his ability to hold his own against boys significantly older and more physically developed. It was an early indication of his competitive spirit and determination and it wasn’t long before I recruited Cooper to play for us when various rep players were unable to play club matches in light of their rep cricket demands.

Cooper never shirked from the challenge, whether in the field or with the bat. He was always up to the challenge and was a very welcome addition to the side. For some 3 or 4 seasons, Cooper was effectively a member of the team and on a number of occasions it was his contribution that got the side over the line. Cooper was one for whom stepping up to the plate was never a problem. The bigger the challenge, the greater delight in seeing if he could meet it. He mostly did.

Cooper’s competitive nature and desire was impossible to miss but it appeared to be positively based and healthy as opposed to being self-indulgent or merely driven by ego. He was a team player and wanted the team to do well, not just himself. These were characteristics deeply imbedded. He was a great example to us all as was his courage in the face of a much bigger challenge, one which claimed him ultimately but not without a fight.

His battle was an incredibly difficult one which he bore with grace and fortitude and his desire to do what he could to assist others similarly suffering was a further indicator of his thoughtfulness and staunchness. Impressive! When an opportunity presented itself to me to see if I could assist, there was no way I could not agree to try to step up to the plate and do my bit. If, in any way, my contribution can make the lives of fellow sufferers a little better (and hopefully considerably better), I will be very happy to be working in Cooper’s shadow and re-tracing his gutsy steps.”