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Barooga, New South Wales, 20–22 August 2019 2019

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.

Kate Charters AGIA, ACIS

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:

View Kates CV (PDF)

Simon Boughey

Consultant, Boughey and Associates

Simon Boughey

Simon Boughey was the Chief Executive Officer for Cherry Growers Australia and is now consulting through his company Boughey and Associates. He has worked and been involved in community and regional development since 1981. He was the National President of Greening Australia from 2000 to 2003. He was the 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 and is a member of the SEGRA National Committee.

Dr Jen Cleary

Chief Executive Officer, Centacare Port Augusta 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.

Cassandra Hughes

Regional Manager, St John Ambulance, Great Southern

Cassandra Hughes

After a move to the country in 2008, Cassandra was appointed Manager Business Development at the Shire of Cranbrook in WA. She has developed a deep passion for regional development and for the growth of regional economies to support population growth and rural sustainability. Since 2008, Cassandra has worked with local business and the wider regional community on developing the strength of the economy in both Cranbrook and the region. She now holds the position of Manager of Economic and Community Development covering a wide portfolio of activities from business development, art and culture, health and education and strategic economic development. In 2013, Cassandra was also responsible for the coordination and delivery of the suite of Integrated Planning and Reporting documents and prepared both the Strategic Community Plan, Corporate Business Plan and Community Engagement Strategy for the Shire of Cranbrook leading the community consultation processes and preparing the documents.

Cassandra has a business management background working across a diverse range of industries and roles. She has been a consultant to small business for 20 years and has written a plethora of strategy, processes and procedural improvement plans. She owned a food manufacturing business for 6 years employing 10 staff, has worked in mining, hospitality, retail and industrial manufacture.

Cassandra holds a Bachelor of Business, with a double major in Management and Industrial Relations. She currently holds a number of board and committee positions including, Gilliamii Centre Inc Committee - Chair, SEGRA National Steering Committee, RDA Great Southern Committee, Hidden Treasures Tourism Group Committee, Lower Great Southern Water Reference Group, Lower Great Southern Hockey Association - Membership and Development Director.

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.

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