The Queensland businesswoman with a sixth sense

FROM international trade to federal politics, psychic Julianna Suranyi believes she has the winning edge

It's a quiet Tuesday morning in Julianna Suranyi's stylish home office. Her leopard-print heels are propped on the step machine that sits between her desk and those of two young colleagues, who are engrossed in their computer screens.

A barefoot Suranyi leads the way through her modest Mitchelton house, in Brisbane's northwest, which she shares with her partner of 10 years Salvatore (Salvo) Sottile, 50, an Italian footballer and coach turned sports devel­opment director, and her son ­Dillon Howard, 19. Eldest son Rhys Howard, 21, visits regularly.

German shepherds Ash, Bianca, Simmy and ­Addison - all rescue dogs - relax in the ball-littered back yard as we make our way to the living area upstairs. As Suranyi settles cross-legged on the white leather couch, her black cat, Monkey, stretched out by her side, it's clear this is not going to be a typical interview with a Queensland businesswoman intent on global expansion.

Julianna Suranyi with rescue shepherd, Bianca.
Julianna Suranyi with rescue shepherd, Bianca.


As well as running a marketing, branding and corporate development company, Suranyi Fisher, for the past decade with business partner Nicole Fisher, also 46, Suranyi has, in the past two years, become chief operating officer and shareholder with Cantara Global, a social media, marketing and development company launching Aussie products into the lucrative Chinese and South Korean marketplaces.

The straight-talking Suranyi is used to defying stereotypes and flouting expect­ations. She's had plenty of practice as a psychic and profiler, and is now intent on leaving her mark on international trade and, eventually, perhaps, ­Federal Parliament. "I always get from people, 'oh, you're not what I expected'.

They ­expect the unsettled, kaftan-wearing, patchouli-scented stereotype," says Suranyi. "This (view) just belittles the ­psychic as a professional tool. It's ­really an adroit tool and skill that can give you an unexpected level of inside ­information you can apply to whatever it is you need to further enrich your decision-making.

"People expect you to have all the answers because that's the way anything in the industry is played out in the media. For me, it's not about having the answers, it's about understanding why or how something has happened."

Suddenly, she throws her head back and laughs. "If I had all of life's answers I'd be sitting in the Bahamas with pots of money and (actor) Chris Hemsworth. Er, sorry, Salvo!"


Julianna Suranyi with partner Salvo Sottile as part of the Scars are a Sign of Grace campaign for HeartKids.
Julianna Suranyi with partner Salvo Sottile as part of the Scars are a Sign of Grace campaign for HeartKids.





Take a few minutes to scour Google and you'll find ­articles reporting people such as late Apple chief Steve Jobs, Texan oil tycoon and political activist H. L. Hunt, auto mogul John DeLorean and fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg as each taking business advice and counsel from Zen masters, psychics or fortune-tellers.

A 2015 analysis by American business mag Fortune found top business psychics charge up to $10,000 a day for their guidance. No industry figures are available for the Australian psychic industry market, but a December 2016 IBISworld report found the US market was worth $2.1 billion, growing 2.4 per cent annually since 2011.

Indeed, Suranyi says her psychic abilities, combined with her business nous, were a key attraction for Cantara ­Global's Chinese directors.

"It's a natural part of Chinese business and a natural part of their life to get advice from someone in my field on things like, is it an appropriate time to create that business deal, when is the time to launch it, is that a suitable marriage, if so how is that going to work? It's also a huge part of the Arabic and the Asian culture, and it's quite an emerging part of business in India," she says. "My CEO (Charlie Wu) laughs because he's got a Global Chief Operating Officer, who also makes those decisions. I can feel when it's time to push and I can feel when it's time to retract."


Brisbane businesswoman Julianna Suranyi at China town. Picture: Annette Dew
Brisbane businesswoman Julianna Suranyi at China town. Picture: Annette Dew


Other clients include Sunshine Coast beauty and skincare company Quite Frankly Natural, Ipswich's Pet Dinners, organic spirit company, The Antipodes Gin Co and baby formula company, Little Treasures. The company recently added arms Cantara Football, a partnership with Italy's Genova International School of Soccer, to bring European football development to China, and Cantara Entertainment, a partnership with seven-time Grammy winning American music producer Gordon Williams, to expand Chinese musicians' reach in RnB, hip-hop and reggae.

Leaning back into the couch, Suranyi explains her ­intuitive process like this. First, she assesses all available ­information on prospective new products or business deals from a logical, economic and academic point of view, then "tunes in" to her psychic ability to see what extra ­information she can glean. This can present as an ­algorithm, an image, or instructions from one of her spirit guides. Her highest guide is Queen Elizabeth I (September 7, 1533 - March 24, 1603), who, Suranyi says, only intercedes on the most crucial matters.

"I can feel it and I know. I guess the psychic for me is just knowing; I know why I should be taking that step or why I shouldn't," Suranyi says. "There's one example that sticks in my mind. I was being asked if one company should acquire another company. It was a very big acquisition and, honestly, the numbers stacked up, but what I'm sensing, what I'm being told (by my guides), is an (imminent) marriage separation is about to become a grab for the company.

"Everyone said, no, no, no, that's not happening. I say to my client, just step back for six weeks. What happens is, the wife of the owner of the company my client is trying to ­acquire find outs about an affair and puts a freeze on every asset. I then told my client to give it two years. That (company) came back up for sale, all has been settled and he got it for $3 million less, without all the headache."

Business has long been in Suranyi's blood, growing up in middle-class Sydney as the fourth of five children born to Hungarian father Ference (Fred), 79, and Australian mum Ann, 75, who manufactured kangaroo leather products. It's where Suranyi's primary ambition lies; for the moment, at least. "I love trade; I love anything in economics and ­business. There are a few key things I've wanted to achieve in my life and one of them was to have an inter­national ­trading company. I would also like to own a soccer club, ­because I see it as a way of being able to develop ­community, which is important to me."


uranyi’s highest guide is Queen Elizabeth I (September 7, 1533 - March 24, 1603), who, she says, only intercedes on the most crucial matters.
uranyi’s highest guide is Queen Elizabeth I (September 7, 1533 - March 24, 1603), who, she says, only intercedes on the most crucial matters.




Suranyi cannot recall a time when spirit has not been part of her daily life. Born with pulmonary stenosis in 1972, she was one of the first people in Australia to ­survive groundbreaking open-heart surgery to replace a damaged valve at a time when so many children born with congenital heart disease died. Her second surgery two years later made newspaper headlines in Sydney. CHD is still the biggest killer of children under one - four babies die every week in Australia - but survival rates have improved to the point there are now more people aged 16 years and over with CHD than younger. ­Suranyi's third heart valve replacement was in 2014, and today she feels as strong as ever.

"I've seen spirits all my life. I can't remember a point when they have not been there. Spending so much time in and out of hospital when I was younger, I learnt to be quite insular and they were part of that, in the sense I never had any fear or worries. There were quite a few times when I would see a nurse or sister in the hospital and only later ­realise they were actually (a) spirit."

Her psychic ability is well accepted by family and friends, with mum Ann also a practising reader and dad Ference and each of her siblings possessing varying levels of intuitive ability. Suranyi shrugs off disbelievers but learnt the hard way about treating her skills - and people she shares them with - with respect.


Julianna Suranyi with Chinese beauty blogger Eva
Julianna Suranyi with Chinese beauty blogger Eva


She tells the story of dressing up as a gypsy fortune teller for her Catholic high school fete, where an insightful reading left a disbelieving teacher upset and suspecting gossip.

"Sister Patricia, my beautiful principal, said, who am I to say whether (your ability) is right or wrong, however you haven't used it with respect and responsibility. You can wield your words to cause effect or you can wield your words for danger. That was the biggest and best lesson of my life, and absolutely modified the way I approached things from then on," she says.

Suranyi built a public profile working on-air with several Brisbane radio stations as a psychic, having insights printed in magazines and newspapers including The Courier-Mail, and appearing on national TV shows including The Morning Show, The Circle, Today and Mornings with Kerri-Anne. Having long run Soul TV online, she's now also developing an international television series.

She also outlines a career working with NSW and Queensland police and criminal lawyers on cases, starting when a school friend's police officer brother asked for help to locate a missing boy. She says this led to her working on several high-profile murder cases.

Suranyi openly acknowledges the difficulty journalists like me - believers, sceptics or otherwise - have in verifying such a career path, given law enforcement agencies are reluctant to comment on such claims. As predicted, the Queensland Police Service could not provide any information.

Suranyi says this confidentiality, though understandable, was the main motivation in her decision to focus on her business interests. "I said (when I left), it's not that I want to use what I'm doing for media (coverage) - I've always been discreet - but I don't want to have to deny what I'm doing."


Julianna Suranyi has her eye on a future in federal politics. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Julianna Suranyi has her eye on a future in federal politics. Picture: Mark Cranitch.




After seeing the challenges Australian entrepreneurs face in accessing international markets, Suranyi has set herself a seven-year timeline to enter Federal ­Parliament as an Independent.

A one-time member of the NSW Young Liberals, ­Suranyi says she's been approached several times to run at state level but is not interested. She wants to serve where she believes she can best effect change.

"We recognise ­Australia is so behind the ball when it comes to really being able to get our products into different marketplaces, and being able to develop. One of my passions is removing red tape. I really want to go head-to-head with organisations like Austrade and places I feel are misdirecting people, therefore wasting money and pushing them out of the market.

"I have a very strong strategy in what I want and how I want to do it. I'll keep rolling out that strategy because what I want for my career, both on and off screen, both in and out of business, is to actually support Australians. I feel Aust­ralia needs to support Australia, and really the psychic is part of that tool base. It allows me to really choose my ­battles in that respect."

Asked how she thinks Queensland voters would react to a psychic as a political candidate, Suranyi is blunt. "I don't think they'll give a shit, so long as they know they're doing their job."

With that, Suranyi gracefully unfolds from the couch and leads the way back downstairs. A long afternoon of spirited meetings awaits.