The Proteus Leadership Story - 1993 - Current. Our Company Timeline
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Our Story

In 1993 around the confines of his dining room table, entrepreneur, educator and author, Des Penny, founded Proteus Enterprises Pty Ltd.


In 1993 around the confines of his dining room table, entrepreneur, educator and author, Des Penny, founded Proteus Enterprises Pty Ltd.

Leaving behind a senior Human Resources Management role, his passion led him to want to create a better way to learn, lead and manage people. So, right in the middle of a major economic downturn, he entered the world of small business.


Initially the business was called Des Penny and Associates, but in the year 2000 Des recognised the need to take the focus away from himself and put it onto the business and so the name was changed, and Proteus Australia was formed. With an insatiable passion for growth, Des again changed the name of the business to Proteus Enterprises Pty Ltd and a strategy to open centres right across Australia commenced, culminating in the opening of centres in five major cities.

After incredible growth within the business, Des again looked at how the Proteus message could reach more people and not be restricted by physical centres. The name was again changed to Proteus Leadership and that is how it remains today.

All of these changes have helped Proteus to grow its brand in the marketplace, however we continue to operate under the parent company, Proteus Enterprises Pty Ltd.

Commencing initially within the Health Sector, in 2000, we realised that we needed to diversify to grow. So, we expanded our marketing and now Proteus has clients right across the country in a diverse range of industries.

Right throughout this journey, Des was supported by all four of his children, who at some time all worked within the business, and some still do.

Around this same time Richard Dore joined the company and has had a great impact on growth and on the quality of our programs and delivery. Richard was appointed Co-CEO in 2019.


In 2015 Proteus commenced its international arm of the business scheduling programs across the Asia/Pacific region commencing in New Zealand.

Now Proteus is recognised as one of the premier leadership and management professional development companies in the country, winning many awards for service and business growth, with Des also winning personal awards for business leadership and entrepreneurial leadership.

The business expanded to Education and Training, Online Learning, an Events arm, a bookshop and produced many publications through its own publishing and graphic design arm, including the Proteuslife magazine and the Optimistic Disturber blog.


In 2020 COVID hit. Like everyone else, change was forced upon us. Proteus took a major hit and if it hadn’t been for the leadership of Des & Richard and the dedication of a small group of staff, the business would have ceased to exist.

But not only has it survived, it has thrived!

Within 3 ½ weeks Proteus pivoted to become one of the most respected virtual, professional development and coaching companies in Australia.


In 2021 we also commenced virtual training across New Zealand, USA and the United Kingdom.

We now have three regional centres in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne that service the whole of Australia, along with 7 virtual studios.


In 2022 Proteus opened a brand new office and studio in Noosa to help service the growing demands of Northern QLD.


2023 is a year of growth and in demonstration Proteus kicked the year off with the opening of the North Sydney office.

Proteus will also be conducting programs throughout Asia in 2023, commencing in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The Future

The future is so exciting, and we can’t wait to respond to, and initiate, opportunities that continue to Create Great Leaders globally.

Right throughout all of the changes, the Proteus mantra – To Create Great Leaders, has stood firm, because that is, and will always be, our purpose.