Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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National Steering Committee

Ashley Bland

Director, Constructive Energy

Applying his skills, knowledge, networks and passion for environmental stewardship, his best work days are spent inspiring and assisting others to improve their environmental impact. He look for win-win scenarios that deliver benefits to people, the planet and the local economy. Operating predominantly in the energy space at present, he also has ecological knowledge and a history of self-improvement with the aim of being an effective leader.

Ashley grew up on an organic farm in central NSW which is where he learned to observe the natural world and the impacts that human choices have on it. Ashley left the farm to complete a B. E. (Natural Resources) and landed a role as Environment Officer at a remote mine in NW Queensland. This became a pivotal experience for him learning about both landscape rehabilitation and Aboriginal culture. It was while working for CVA as Regional Manager for Canberra and SE NSW that he met his life partner and they decided to travel the world.

Returning to Australia he again worked with CVA at a more strategic level and then took on a role with Skillset to co-manage construction of the Flannery Centre - an $8.5 million training centre and office complex built to highest sustainable design principles. During this time Ashley was also selected to complete the Australian Rural Leadership Program, an awesome, 18 month, life enhancing program aimed at developing leadership skills for Regional Australia. After that was done he stayed on with Skillset to build a business out of sustainability, providing services to clients and communities that helped them with everything from energy efficiency to culture change. Ashley now runs his own company, Constructive Energy, which is the vehicle for a range of consulting and business services, a major core of which is to support the growth of the Green Homes Group. He looks forward to the day when building green is the norm, right around the world.

Simon Boughey

Chief of Staff to Madeleine Ogilvie MP

Simon Boughey

Simon Boughey is currently the Chief of Staff to Madeleine Ogilvie, the Independent member for Clark in the House of Assembly in the Parliament of Tasmania. He was the Chief Executive Officer for Cherry Growers Australia for 6 years and has worked and been involved in community and regional development since 1981. He was the National President of Greening Australia from 2000 to 2003and was a Senior Adviser to the Minister for Primary Industries and Water in Tasmania for several years. He holds a BA in Geography and Psychology, a Graduate Diploma of Recreation Planning in Natural Resources Management and Honours in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies. He has been involved with SEGRA since the Kalgoorlie Conference in 2009.

Kate Charters FGIA, FCIS

Director, Management Solutions (Qld) and Founding member of SEGRA

Kate Charters

Kate is a Director of Management Solutions (Qld), a professional development and training company with particular focus on regional public policy issues and their implementation. She is a founding member of Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia, (SEGRA), recognised as the most credible independent voice on issues affecting regional Australia.

Kate is the principal author of the annual SEGRA communiqué “Speaking up for Regional Australia“and co-editor of “Regional Advantage and Innovation: achieving Australia ‘s national outcomes,”Springer, Germany; Kinnear, S. Charters, K. Vitartas, P (Eds.) 2013.

Kate has recently been appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Institute of Land Water and Society, Charles Sturt University.

With extensive experience at senior levels of government in both service delivery and policy development roles, Kate has a strong interest and understanding of the interaction of government, business, the non-government sector and the community in shaping and responding to public policy agendas.

Regional Development and Public Policy Expertise

Kate’s expertise in regional development and public policy is evidenced by opportunities to deliver presentations at national events with high standing delegates, these include:

  • addressed Senior Federal Public Servants across multiple departments regarding key issues affecting regional Australia as a respondent to a presentation by head of OECD Regional Development Policy Division, Dr. Joaquim Olivera Martins. 2017 Speaking up for Regional Australia
  • opening address at the Heart 2020 Highfields briefing session that included the elected representatives for each of the Federal, State and local electorates associated with the region. (2017)
  • Keynote Speaker at the Etheridge Shire Council Regional Economic Development Forum. Senator Matt Canavan opened the forum (2016)
  • opening address on Regional Australia and Public Policy at the RDA South West and Darling Downs (2016)
  • speaker at the RDA National Forum Canberra (2015)
  • Keynote speaker at the Regional Economic Development Forum (WA) on advocacy in regional Australia (2014)
  • address the national EIDOS conference as a speaker on Dynamic Capabilities in Regional Australia (2011)
  • address the national EIDOS conference (2012) on the outcomes of the National Regional Summit which Kate chaired in 2009.

View Kates CV (PDF)

Dr Jen Cleary

Chief Executive Officer, Centacare Catholic Country SA

Jen Cleary

Dr Jen Cleary is the CEO of Centacare Catholic Country SA, a social services agency providing services across regional, rural and remote South Australia. She holds an honorary position as Associate Professor in the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide.

Jen is recognised for her leadership in regional Australia and joined the SEGRA National Steering Committee in 2013.

Sharni Foulkes

Business Adviser, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Sharni Foulkes

Sharni is a Business Adviser at the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Director of the LoKal Hub (Business Incubator and co-working space), Director of the Dream Big Aboriginal Corporation and Vice Chairperson for Goldfields Women Building Business. Sharni works with small businesses, start-up’s, entrepreneurs and stakeholders and provides governing advice around policy, legislation and reporting. Sharni writes submissions and reports to state and federal government based on demonstrated need. She Influences future programs and grant funding opportunities which Enhance the capabilities and opportunities for small business owners with a focus on key topics such as cash-flow, digital platforms, planning and research. Sharni works to collaborate and facilitate strategic growth and successfully executes projects that add value and significance to the economy of the Goldfields region and wider Western Australia. Sharni Builds and manages on-going relationships with stake holders including: mine managers, procurement, community, ministers, law enforcement and government representatives.

Sharni is a well rehearsed professional who is enthusiastic, energetic and passionate. She always has a smile spread from ear to ear and often influences a room with a decision. Her negotiation and relationship building skills are outstanding. Sharni’s knowledge of regional Western Australia and her ability to champion for the regions excels in comparison to most professionals. Sharni works well in a team, leading a team and independently. She has an array of contacts and established relationships with independents, ministers and stakeholders across a variety of industries and sectors.

Sharni is a stand out professional who has become well known in recent times due to her drive and successful outcomes of executed projects throughout W.A.

Prof Rolf Gerritsen

Research Leader, Central Australia, Charles Darwin University

Prof Rolf Gerritsen

Rolf Gerritsen has a doctorate from the Australian National University (1980). He is currently a Professorial Research Fellow, at Charles Darwin University. Rolf has taught at various universities, other than at Charles Darwin University the longest period being a decade at the Australian National University in the Graduate Program in Public Policy. He has also worked as Director of the Australian Centre for Regional and Local Government Studies for five years, as a Ministerial staff member at both the National and Territory levels, and ran his own research consultancy for a number of years. Between 2002 and 2006 he was Director Social/Economic Policy in the Chief Minister’s Department in the Northern Territory.

Before joining Charles Darwin University, Professor Gerritsen was the “Outback Livelihoods” Professorial Project Leader in the Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre. Rolf’s principal current research interest is regional development, with a focus on disadvantaged, remote and Indigenous areas. His secondary research areas are sustainable development, government policy and service delivery. He is the author or co-author of four monographs, over 100 academic publications, as well as about 60 consultancy reports, regional plans, strategic plans, etc.

While a consultant, Rolf specialised in remote areas regional development. During this period he conducted numerous regional development projects for the Barwon-Darling Alliance (a coalition of the Murdi Paaki Regional Council of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the local government Shires along the Darling River in New South Wales), the Capricorn Regional Organisation of local government Councils in Queensland (a structural integration exercise), and the Cue Alliance (of local government Shires in the Murchison River catchment in Western Australia), as well as for State and Federal government agencies like ATSIC.

Professor Gerritsen is currently President of the Australia and New Zealand Council of the Regional Science Associations International, the principal national and international regional research organisations for regional studies.

Rod Macdonald

Co-Founder, Community Broadband Networks

Rod Macdonald

Rod is a Co-Founder of Community Broadband Networks, based in Geelong. Over the past decade Rod has been interested in innovation and the application of new technology and has worked to assist the establishment of new industries within the Geelong region. In particular, he is working to encourage the growth of technology based employment, digital inclusion and digital literacy, across the community. He holds a Bachelor of Business from the University of Southern Queensland. Rod served as a councillor at the City of Greater Geelong from 2004 - 2016. In that time he served a term as Deputy Mayor and has held a range of Portfolios including - Planning, Economic Development, Knowledge Economy & Education, Major Projects and Veterans Affairs. Rod served in the RAAF for over 12 years and after completion of his military service worked in manufacturing management within the Geelong region. Rod was the City of Greater Geelong representative on the board of the Australian Smart Communities Association for 5 years and has served on the board of Technology Geelong.

Rod has been a member of the SEGRA National Steering Committee since January 2011.

Jodi Sampson

Managing Director, Jodi Sampson Services (JSS)

Jodi Sampson is recognised as a proud Gomeroi Man from North-West NSW. Jodi was raised in “Two-Worlds” in Moree and has an entrepreneurial spirit that runs deep, provides leadership, Coaching & Mentoring and role models the cultural values of his family and ancestors.

Jodi’s career spans across all levels of Government, Non-Government, Peak Bodies and Community-Based Organisations. Jodi’s engagement has seen him hold specialised roles and conducted cutting-edge strategic activities to provide access and participation of First Nation People to programs & opportunities that seemed unreachable.

Having a transparent respect & cultural integrity for the oldest living and recorded cultures in the world today, Jodi brings a “shared vision” to his work and has the unique ability to connecting the dots.

Jodi has been a co-founder and facilitator of Regional Employment, Training and Economic Development Models to encourage, support and grow First Nation Enterprises on the North Coast, New England North-West of NSW and parts of QLD by collaborating. Jodi’s success in his strategic approach of providing a regular “one-stop-shop” of all Service Providers in one place, has been due to fostering sustainable relationships by consulting & collaborating with key Community, Government and Non-Government Service Providers of Employment & Economic Development – including IBA, Micro-Finance/Philanthropic & Banking Institutions, Department of Industry, Premier’s Department, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, RTO’s/TAFE and University Schools of Business.

Jodi holds skills, experience & qualifications as an Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid Instructor, a Mentor & Coach (Life & Business/VET), Business Governance (held Community Director roles), Aboriginal Enterprise Development Officer (AEDO – NSW & QLD), Business/Organisation Strategic Planning (continuous improvement), Community Development Officer (NFP/Local Government – Asset-Based Community Development), National Indigenous Leadership (FACHSIA).

Jodi has a number of success stories of First Nation Entrepreneurs and graduates of the Vocational Education & Training Sector having coached & mentored them to their desired goals/outcomes of the individual/group.

Jodi is also has experience as a seasoned Community Engagement specialist and has conducted front, middle and back-end engagement and activities involving the most vulnerable (including Indigenous People and PWD re. NDIS).