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Account Associate - Media and Communications

Natasha EricA recent graduate in Public Relations and a former copywriter, Natasha has joined the SAS group as our Account Associate.
Before joining the SAS Group, Natasha worked for a design agency that specialised in building and creating authentic brands. As the lead copywriter, she was responsible for the execution of tone of voice, content strategy, brand story and brand personality. She also worked for a clean beauty company as a marketing assistant, maintaining and creating relationships with real time consumers through multiple social media channels.
Inquisitive and analytical, Natasha believes in the power of the written word to move the masses and build relationships.
In addition to her MBA in Public Relations she has also completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, minoring in Criminology.

Graduate Analyst

Hugh Forbes

Hugh joined the SAS Group in 2022, and works to apply his high-level communication, project management, research, and analytical skills to support the firm’s Directors and Consultants in the delivery of SAS Group services.

Hugh’s role includes the regular monitoring, analysis, and reporting on client businesses, industry trends, and relevant government and opposition policies and legislation. Hugh also specialises in preparing briefings and reports for clients, Ministers, Advisors and Departmental Executives; and assists in servicing client relationships directly at functions and events.

Prior to joining the SAS Group, Hugh interned with the Queensland Government, working directly with the Minister for Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

Hugh has completed a Bachelor of International Studies (International Relations and Spanish) and is currently working to complete his Honours program.



Senior Consultant

Winston Harris Headshot

Winston Harris joined the SAS Group in 2017, bringing high-level skills in public policy and administration, strategic development and management, and people and stakeholder management with a strong understanding of the value of personal relationships. It’s a broad mix of experience gained across more than 25 years working in politics, small business and for non-government organisations.

Winston has worked as a Chief of Staff and Adviser in Federal and State Ministerial offices, with portfolio responsibilities in agriculture and fisheries, financial services, and the small business sector. Winston also worked for the not-for-profit peak organisation for the commercial fisheries sector, the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) and also served as the Queensland representative on the national fisheries peak body, the National Seafood Industry Alliance (NSIA).

This background gives Winston a unique understanding of both the public and private spheres, which he uses to help achieve the best possible outcomes for clients of the SAS Group.

In his spare time, Winston volunteers for several NGOs that support those in need.   Winston is currently undertaking his Masters in Business Administration (MBA).


Bernie Ripoll Headshot

As a former Member of Parliament and Assistant Minister under the Gillard Government, Bernie played a leading role in far-reaching Australian financial sector reform.

A Member of Federal Parliament from 1998 to 2016, Bernie served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer with responsibility for Financial Services, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and other agencies within the Treasury portfolio.

As chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, his work led to reforms culminating in the Future of Finance Advice legislation aimed at restoring trust in the industry.

Bernie also served as Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Small Business and Sport. He represented the Commonwealth as the alternate delegate to the Asian Development Bank and has led a number of official parliamentary and government delegations.

Bernie is a non-executive director with Allianz Retire+, the Financial and Energy Exchange FEX Global and a committee member with the Conexus Financial Superannuation Awards. He holds Board and Chair responsibilities with digital advice platform Map My Plan and Biogas energy developer, Utilitas Group, and sits on the Board of the Self-Managed Super Funds Association. He was a director for not-for-profit medical practice Inala Primary Care for a decade.

Bernie is a former electrician by trade and has a Bachelor of Business in Marketing from Queensland University of Technology.

Senior Consultant

Nino Lalic Headshot

Nino is a policy and communications specialist with nearly a decade of experience working for local, State and Federal Governments. Nino has worked as a policy and media advisor for two Premiers, State and Federal Ministers, Members and Senators.

Working initially in the Queensland Government for four years, Nino served in a policy role, briefing Ministers on public policy, contentious media issues, communications and messaging in the Premier’s office.

After more than three years working for a senior Minister and Senator in Canberra, Nino returned to work in the Queensland Premier’s media team until he joined the SAS Group in March 2017.

Nino has been involved in two dozen campaigns in Queensland and across Australia for the Australian Labor Party and has a particular interest in grassroots campaign techniques developed in the United States and the UK, and how these can be customised to the Australian context.

Nino’s experience and deep understanding of the parliamentary, departmental and political process of the Queensland Government and the Federal Government, including the complex workings of the Senate and its crossbench, have been especially valuable for state and national clients. 

Nino speaks three languages and studied a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and International Relations) at the University of Queensland.

The SAS Group is your trusted partner for government, media and corporate engagement.