Speaker Profiles

Derek Sams (Solicitor)

Derek is a solicitor working predominately in the areas of Estate Administration and Estate Planning. Although, he also assists with Estate Litigation matters from time to time.

He has extensive experience in banking and financial services. Derek also holds qualifications in financial planning and more recently has had over three years of trust and estate management experience with an ASX-listed corporate trustee.

Derek has a strong background in gaining a deep understanding of clients’ personal and business structures, listening to their goals and concerns and formulating strategies and recommendations whilst communicating complex information simply.

Derek holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Southern Queensland and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law. He was admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2022.

Emma Nisbet (Special Counsel) 

Emma is a Special Counsel and works in the areas of estate administration and estate planning.

Emma brings to her clients a focus on practical outcomes with prompt service delivery and a genuine willingness to understand their situation. Emma’s in-depth understanding of estate administration and estate planning, as well as her ability to understand diverse and complex scenarios are of real benefit to her clients. Furthermore, Emma enjoys estate and business succession planning, including strategies to mitigate potential taxation implications.

Emma holds a Masters in Law from the Queensland University Technology (QUT), and was admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland in November 2008 after completing a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts at QUT, and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at QUT.

Emma presents for the Queensland Law Society in the areas of estate planning and will drafting, and previously in the area of asset protection and tax. Emma is also a guest lecturer at QUT and the Queensland Law Society in various areas of Succession Law.

Before joining the firm, Emma practiced in the areas of Succession Law, Corporate Law, Tax and Superannuation Law and Trust Law. Emma is a member of the Queensland Law Society.

Kate Varcoe (Special Counsel)

Kate Varcoe has been practising for over 17 years in estate litigation, estate planning and estate administration. Her clients include high net worth individuals, primary producers, international residents, lawyers, accountants and business owners.

Kate has been involved in many high profile estate disputes. She has acted in a range of proceedings relating to the validity of wills, interpretation of wills, Family Provision Applications, removal of executors, trust disputes and disputes concerning Enduring Powers of Attorney, among others.

Before joining the firm, Kate spent several years working in medium to large law firms where she focused on structuring and planning for individuals and commercial enterprises and estate litigation. In more recent years, Kate has worked predominantly in estate litigation.

Through Kate’s breadth of experience, she is able to provide de Groots’ clients with holistic solutions to their litigation, administration and financial planning needs, while understanding that each client’s circumstances are always unique.

In 2019 Kate was recognised by legal benchmarking website, Doyle’s Guide, as one of Queensland’s Recommended Wills, Estates & Succession Planning Lawyers.

Marcus Barnard (Managing Director)

As Synergy Business Finance’s Managing Director, Marcus is your go-to expert for all things finance.

Hailing from the heart of western Queensland, Marcus embarked on his educational journey at Nudgee College for high school before pursuing a Bachelor of Business in Property Studies at Gatton College.

With a career spanning over 25 years in the banking sector, Marcus has been the trusted financial partner for clients across Queensland and northern New South Wales, consistently delivering exceptional results.

His banking career soared as he ascended to the roles of State Agribusiness Manager and Regional Executive. In these capacities, he oversaw a large team of commercial and agribusiness managers, not only in Toowoomba but throughout the broader Queensland region.

In 2022, a transformative year for Synergy Consolidated, Marcus became an invaluable addition to the Synergy Business Finance team. As our financial landscape evolves, Marcus collaborates with our team of Finance Managers and Finance Officers across various lending sectors, including residential, equipment, commercial, and agribusiness.

Angie Barnard (Managing Director)

As Synergy’s Managing Director and a business adviser, Angie spends most of her time working directly with clients on their business.

One of her greatest skills is strategic business thinking and planning. Angie looks at the whole picture (business goals, personal goals, current position) and works to get her clients thinking strategically about what they need to do to get from where they are now, to where they want to be. This isn’t just financial goals. She’s passionate about clients having a business that works for them and provides balance.

Everyone says they offer advice but rarely do due to fear. Angie doesn’t shy away from giving advice, and her enthusiasm to work with clients and help them achieve their goals means advice and strategy is what she does each and every day.

Before joining Synergy Accountants in 2010 and subsequently taking over as Director in 2019, Angie owned a successful accounting practice in Brisbane.

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