Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team

Team members operate under our own policies & procedures, adopt & comply with the various Code of Conduct prescribed by the government departments on behalf of programs which are managed and delivered. We carry out an annual review of standards to ensure ongoing compliance.

Management Team

Chief Executive Officer

Graham Baxter

AssDipBus, GradCertMtg, FIML, JP

 

Graham has strong business acumen and is a highly experienced and qualified business consultant in all facets of business management including; Sales and Marketing, Financial and HR management, Strategic planning and broad range of Operational activities.

 

With more than 30 years hands-on business experience operating in retail, construction, hospitality and professional services; Graham’s skill and passion for business provides his clients with a clear direction for results.

Administration Manager

Helena Newman

With a strong customer service background Helena’s career moved to Administration Management in 2002.

 

Helena is the program manager for the AusIndustry Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) and is experienced in the financial management and reporting of government contracts. She is currently completing a Diploma in Business Administration.

Program Manager

Anja Livingston

Anja is a qualified teacher with over 10 years of secondary school teaching experience. For the past 15 years Anja has been working with schools, business and community sectors in developing partnerships, career development programs, event and project management, and delivering training and workshops to students, teachers, parents and community.

Coordination & Support Officer

Tracy Green

Tracy joins us from Queensland where she has worked as an Administration Assistant/Receptionist with the Education Department for the past 10 years.

 

She enjoys the customer contact and is happy to assist at any time. During her spare time, she enjoys travelling and most importantly spending time with her family. Relocating from Queensland with its beautiful climate she’s not too certain about a southern winter!

Business Team

Specialist Advisor

Andrew Campbell

Andrew’s 25 years as an entrepreneur, his experience across 5 different industries and his ability to listen. focus and motivate is why clients keep coming back.

 

From building a business to preparing it for sale, Andrew provides small to medium sized businesses with focused advice in key areas such as marketing, branding, human resources, leadership and financials. With an emphasis on strategic planning and implementation, he knows how to boost momentum in a business, just like he did with his own businesses, one of which he sold to an ASX-listed company, and another that won a national tourism award.

 

Andrew has co-authored two business books, has been a state business awards judge for 5 years and loves nothing more than developing a connection with business owners and helping them to a place where their business works not just for their customers, but also for themselves.

Business Advisor

Andrew Wales

Andrew holds a BSc (Honours) degree from the University of Wollongong.

 

Andrew has 22 years experience in business management and new startup formation and growth across Australia, Asia and the United States. Andrew has successfully built businesses from the ground up, and worked within and for consulting firms, export corporations, mining and industrial companies, IT companies, government agencies, environmental reporting firms, and retail and wholesale businesses.

 

Andrew has skills across a range of small and medium-size business disciplines, with a focus on new business establishment, marketing and branding, IP, sales, HR, strategic planning and management systems development.

Business Advisor

David Batson

David has been a Business Connect Generalist Advisor since 2017 and was private consultant and advisor for many years prior. He brings a wealth of experience to his clients from a various background including real estate, education, fire services and healthcare IT.

 

As an absolute business enthusiast, David is passionate about helping people start up and commercialise their business ideas, creating better pricing structures, strategic marketing, and business planning.

He in an expert at business models, business plans and helping businesses improve from where they are at.

 

David holds a Graduate Certificate in Business, a Graduate Diploma in Business, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and is a BECA Accredited Business Advisor.

Business Advisor

Deborah Sams

Deborah has over 30 years’ hands-on experience working with SME’s and large multinationals. She is a Jill-of-marketing trades and trends, master of some; has strong business acumen; a big picture outlook and a demonstrated track record of developing creative and strategic marketing campaigns across diverse industries.

 

Included in the above is ten plus years as an SME herself, where she managed her own Marketing / Public Relations Consultancy and worked with other SME’s in diverse sectors. Deborah’s areas of expertise extend to business development and retail management.

 

As a Business Advisor, Deborah offers a broad array of experience for start-ups and established businesses aspiring to perpetuate growth.

Digital Business Advisor

Hugh McKellar

Hugh has been fiddling with computers for about as long as he could walk. Today he is a general purpose geek.

 

Hugh has a degree in digital media. He has previously worked in product design and customer support for a software start-up specialising in the remote control of lighting, aircon and power management of bank branches around Australia and US. More recently he Hugh as been designed monitoring systems for some of Australia’s biggest roof top solar system on shopping centres.

 

Outside of the office Hugh has a passion for cycling and writing about cider, just not at the same time.

Specialist Advisor

Jacquie Tewes

Jacquie has 20 years real-world experience working with SME’s and multinationals. She has a background in HR, senior commercial roles in the B2B sector and adult education. Her areas of expertise include client relationship management, business development, HR and event organisation.

 

As a volunteer with the Yass Valley Business Chamber and the Chamber of Women in Business, Jacquie demonstrates her passion for supporting the business community.

 

Jacquie holds a BA in Management, Cert IV in Training and Assessment, with Diplomas in HR and Business Administration. She has knowledge and experience running a business from start-up, coaching and facilitating a breadth of programs.

 

Jacquie enjoys the country lifestyle, good wine, books and movies.

Digital Business Advisor

Kaye Keogh

Kaye is a Digital Specialist with strong skills in project management, coaching, consultation, and facilitation of digital marketing.

 

With experience spanning more than fifteen years across multiple business sectors, she has supported hundreds of businesses to improve their online presence and increase their business profitability and efficiency.

 

She combines her knowledge of web design, eCommerce, SEO, email campaigns, social media, and data security to provide unsurpassed support and successfully deliver exceptional solutions for our key clients.

Business Advisor

Kris Laird

Kris has over 10 years small business experience in HR, with 5 of those years operating online.

 

Along with a Diploma of Management, Kris has over 10 years experiencing in managing ski lodges. She has knowledge and experience in the tourism and hospitality industry with an understanding of operating a seasonal business in regional Australia. Kris is internet savvy with skills in social media, apps and website development.

 

She has a strong sense of community and networking as evident in her volunteer roles as a Councillor, Chamber Secretary, Volunteer Ski Patroller, Ladies in Business facilitator and guest speaking roles.

Business Advisor

Narelle Blackadder

If you’ve worked in the Recruitment Industry, then you’ve likely heard of Narelle Blackadder. Her list of credentials is extensive in both recruitment and mentoring.
From Blue Collar to the Boardroom, Narelle is well respected in all areas. Starting the Blackadder Recruitment Company Pty Ltd in 1999 she developed a blue-chip client list in a very short period and her reputation was second to none.
Most recently Narelle has been the Managing partner of Blackadder Partners which includes website design, mentoring individuals and business, and private recruitment services.
Throughout her career Narelle has demonstrated a passion for excellence and supporting people to achieve their goals.
A Justice of the Peace and a supporter of Non-profit organisations, Narelle volunteers extensively.

Entrepreneurship Facilitator

Randall Walker

Randall loves working with individuals and businesses to realise their full potential. Through this program Randall looks forward to utilising his more than 20 years business development and consulting experience to help local entrepreneurs make the transition to self-employment and establish, pivot or expand a successful and sustainable business. Randall has worked with many Top 200 Australian companies, across diverse sectors, to improve performance within teams. He has specialised in strategy, destination marketing, economic development, hospitality and tourism management, education, training and teambuilding. He has worked on projects with three of the world’s largest accommodation brands.

 

Randall has formal qualifications including a Master of Business Administration (Strategic Marketing) and Certificate IV in Assessment & Workplace Training. He has enjoyed working with Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre (SRBEC) to develop and deliver Innovation and Entrepreneurship master classes, and is excited to now be delivering, along with the SRBEC team, this new Australian Government program which will make a positive difference in the lives of entrepreneurs.

Digital Business Advisor

Robyn Simon

Robyn has more than 20 years’ experience working with start-ups and established businesses in the retail, tourism, manufacturing and creative industries. She is an avid studier of key trends (local, national and global) and describes herself as a “solutions architect” who loves exploring innovative ways to help her clients market their products and services, especially through social media.  Robyn works alongside small business operators in the Northern NSW area from Coffs Harbour to Tweed Heads, both on a one on one basis and through the delivery of digital workshops.

Digital Business Advisor

Tanya Creer

Tanya holds a B.L.Arch (Honours) from the (UNSW), Cert 4 Film Producing (Metro Screen) , Cert in 3d Animation – (New York Film Academy) and Cert in 2d Advanced Animation (AFTRS).

 

Tanya has worked in Media and Marketing for 24 years in various positions including; Art Director, Creative Director, Senior Brand and Design Manager, Senior Animator, Director of Photography, Motion Design & Digital Designer.

 

Tanya has a strong background in content production for newspaper, radio, television, film, signage and all digital platforms including web design. Tanya has worked for a wide range of corporate, commercial, government & charity groups as well as a small to medium sized businesses. Notably – Channel Nine, Channel Ten, SBS, Seven Plus, ABC, Foxtel, Westpac Corporation, Department of Veteran Affairs, Mitre Ten, Newscorp, Hopscotch Films & a wide range of small to medium sized businesses.

 

Tanya has been at the forefront of marketing trends and strategies in the digital arena as it has transformed over the years. She is passionate about small business survival in current trends.

Specialist Advisor

Anton Pemmer

Everyone in life has their passion – that certain something that gets them out of bed every day. Ask a million people what theirs is, and you might get a million different answers. For me, it’s simple – it’s People.

Meeting with people, working with people, helping people, and mentoring people.

My name is Anton Pemmer, and I’ve had the good fortune of creating and then presiding over Australian businesses that have grown from small beginnings to become successful, thriving entities that employ many people.

With a track record of successful business establishment and management, I have deep knowledge and experience of preparing businesses for global trade. Developing and growing teams to take on new challenges in an ever-changing world.

We live in a world where business is evolving more rapidly than at any other time in history. The key to nurturing economic growth for many countries lies in playing to key strengths while trading with partners around the globe that are complementary to Australia while embracing diversity and combining key skills that are on offer.

Whether you’re involved in public service or private enterprise – the world is becoming a smaller place to trade with and conduct business. While I have a number of engagements in the ACT, such as mentoring ANU students, serving on the board for School Sport ACT, and being an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra – I’d be happy to discuss how your organisation can benefit from the world of trade, investment and team building for a strategic approach to constant improvement.

Bin Trim Program Manager

Peter Gordon

Peter Gordon JP

Peter Gordon is an experienced Business Facilitator and Advisor with 27 years in the Business Advice Industry and 39 years in business in total. He is a practitioner who understands business from a hands-on perspective and is an experienced, well-rounded, business adviser, business skills trainer and workshop presenter. This is done with passionate enthusiasm and Peter has always enjoyed making the business journey an easier road for his clients.
Peter’s businesses have included Fuel Depots, Service Station/Truck Stop, Gift Shops and for 20 years Peter’s Company, Something Ventured Pty Ltd, delivered Business Advice and training. This included 5 contracts with the ACT Government including the delivery of Canberra Business Advisory Service
Peter’s experience includes: –
• Professional Business Facilitation, Training and Advice.
• Business Consultant and Broker.
• Tutor for Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) Workshops and Business Consultant.
• Tutor of business advisors in the APEC business program
• Board member of the Australasian Institute of Enterprise Facilitators (AIEF)
Peter’s qualifications include: –
• NSW Justice of the Peace (Since 1986)
• Foundation Member Australasian Institute of Enterprise Facilitators (AIEF)
• Certificate IV of Registration Business Agent (Business Broker)
• Certificate IV in Business Facilitation
• Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment

Specialist Advisor - Tourism

Karen Dempster

Karen is a highly skilled tourism & marketing professional with over 25 years experience. She has worked in both the public & private sector across accommodation, transport, tour operators & attractions, including many years of private business ownership, equipping her with the knowledge & experience to provide one-on-one advice & assistance to businesses in the tourism sector. Karen is a strategic thinker that targets all facets of managing a business with the objective of growing destination, brand awareness, revenue & customer engagement. With many years of business management experience & delivery of training programs relating to this sector, Karen is an asset to any business requiring advice & assistance in the tourism field.

Business Advisor

Dales Whyte

Dales Whyte’s career and his success is achieved by utilizing the many skills gained in a diversity of business ownership and management roles along with his successful ability to interact with people from all levels. Dales ability to ask quality questions, drill down & understand the needs of small business has enabled him to provide advice & assistance to many hundreds of small businesses across a diversity of industries. His ability to communicate to customers is beyond question with many years in radio, sales & marketing, making him a skilled & valuable advisor to regional businesses.

Specialist Advisor - Digital

Melinda Charlesworth

Melinda has over 30 years of business experience across a vast majority of industries and is uniquely qualified to provide advice & assistance to clients in the Wollongong region with a particular focus on improving digital business systems and eCommerce solutions. Melinda is a current business owner and has expertise in building websites and is well versed in shopify, WIX and word press and understands the importance of ensuring a seamless integration between a business shopfront and it’s eCommerce applications. Melinda understands the challenges associated with the current global pandemic and the impact on business and is keen to find ways to assist business owners to pivot their business and find opportunities for success and growth.

Specialist Advisor - Cyber Security

Sasha Hajenko

Sasha is a talented cybersecurity professional, with over 20 years of experience in the IT sector. He has provided operational support, project management and delivery, strategic advice, and consulting services to a diverse range of industries across businesses of all sizes, from micro-businesses and startups, NGOs and NFPs, to SMEs and organisations with 1000+ staff across multiple sites around the globe.

His passion is combining his business acumen and technical skills to address cybersecurity with a holistic approach, making sure that cyber risks to any business are addressed with the most appropriate measures in line with regulatory requirements and best practices.

Sasha joined the SRBEC team to provide cybersecurity advice, expertise and education to SMEs on the importance of cybersecurity to their business.

Digital Business Advisor

Liza Lyttle

Inspired by the success of her parents’ Engineering start-up, Liza has helped a diverse range of small-large (ASX listed) businesses through the implementation of her conventional and Digital Marketing/Communications strategies.

With over 25 years experience, Liza has held leadership positions within health giant, Blackmores Ltd and global communications firm, Burson-Marsteller (now Burson, Cohn & Wolfe). She has been a Director on a Northern Rivers Business Chamber, an accredited Business Trainer/Coach and an award-winning Business Project Manager.

Liza has qualifications in Business Management, Marketing and PR, with a keen interest in health and society, she also has a Master’s Degree in Primary Health Care.

If you are in the Far North Coast of NSW from Tweed to the Richmond Valley, she’d love to hear from you.

SPECIALIST ADVISOR - ACCOUNTING

Rachael Kennedy

As a strategic thinker and problem solver, backed by many years in medium size businesses, Rachael brings many skills to the table to assist your business.  She is passionate about planning and ensuring that businesses have the right financial structures, systems, and processes to ensure they are able to use their financial information to identify issues and take corrective action.  She is an expert in accounting, finance, budgeting, business plans and helping owners identify process improvements.

Rachael owned a license for a Post Office for over 3 years and has firsthand knowledge of the issues facing small business.  She has held several senior and executive finance roles in mining, telecommunications, and service industries. She has a broad, varied, and technical skill set on which she can draw to assist your business.

Rachael has been a Chartered Accountant for over 30 years, holds a BA in Commerce and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As a Business Advisor, Rachael offers a financial focus on your business to ensure it is profitable, compliant, and efficient.

Rachael volunteers with Moruya Surf Life Saving Special Nipper Program and has trained as a Fishcare volunteer which operates programs to support fishing in NSW. To relax, she enjoys bushwalking and fishing.

Youth & Education Team

Work Placement Coordinator

Carissa Mills

Carissa attended Macleay College in Sydney studying hospitality and management. She then worked in retail for 15 years, 3 of these as a manager. She then owned a successful restaurant for 5 years.

Work Placement Coordinator

Charne Moorby

Charne has been providing work placements for the local students of our region for over 5 years.

With an extensive background in Real Estate, Charne has utilized her networking and relationship skills to successfully foster many school and industry partnerships.

As a mother, an active volunteer of local junior sport and former Rotarian overseeing the Youth Exchange Program in her patch, Charne has a passion to see young people succeed.

Pathways Coordinator

Jae Lear

Jae grew up on the Central Coast and in January 2017, moved to the Snowy Mountains for a lifestyle change after spending several years living, working and travelling around the world.

 

Jae has a range of professional skills in various industries in Australia and internationally, including youth services, education and training, employment services, recruitment, health and fitness, government, retail, warehousing and the trade industries. Jae has more than a decade of leadership experience through management and senior positions in varied industries. Prior to moving internationally, Jae ran a part time business in the complimentary health and fitness sector.

 

Jae has completed over 80 accredited, non-accredited and professional development courses and training, including diplomas, certificates, qualifications and licences in various industries and is continuing his education and training to grow personally and professionally.

 

Jae was the Technology & Business Services Student of the Year at the TAFE NSW Gili Awards in both 2020 and 2021. Jae is the first person to ever receive a TAFE NSW Gili Award in consecutive years.

 

Jae has a wealth of experience in assisting people transition into employment, education and training and is driven by the outcome from seeing people achieve their goals.

Pathways Coordinator

Mindi Smart

I grew up in the rural town of Camden NSW in a farming family. I have been donning the boots from a very young age to get amongst  the action and have come to know what hard work is through life on the land. Although my personal career is now in a very different direction I still fit in as much time as I can to help on the family farm and I still greatly support the agricultural industry. My Dad always taught me “there is no such thing as can’t” and I continue to live by this theory.

 

I currently enjoy living the country lifestyle in the rural, picturesque Hilltops Shire. Since moving to the area 6 years ago, I have developed connections and a built a strong reputation in the Employment Services field. I have really enjoyed networking and building relationships with locals, community groups and businesses to support the continued growth and development of the local work force. I have established solid relationships with training providers and stay up to date with future courses and industry opportunities. I use this knowledge to help promote further skill development of locals, therefore increasing employment opportunities for them, while at the same time it also keeps a flow of suitably trained people ready to work for local businesses. I personally have utilised further education to increase my skill level as my career has evolved. I have completed certificates in Business Administration, Aboriginal Culture as well as Employment Services and other industry related courses.

 

I believe young people hold the key to our future and I am excited to now be in a position to be helping our youth to find their unique pathway in to their life’s journey.

Pathways Coordinator

Shane Connelly

Shane was born In New Zealand but immigrated to Australia in 2011 seeking new Horizons and fresh challenges. He spent 12 years as a professional Firefighter in the New Zealand Fire Service while simultaneously juggling a Professional Rugby career in Japan and the United States. Moving up the ladder, Shane eventually achieved the role of Station Officer by the time he hit 30.

 

Shane has owned his own business where he worked closely with the community using Boxing as a medium to build relationships, provide support and mentoring individuals experiencing difficulties in navigating life’s challenges. He has worked at Bega valley high school supporting students within the Special Education department and recently finished with NSW national parks and wildlife where he was managing an offshore island and Firefighting when requested.

 

Shane has a background in Professional development and qualifications from a broad spectrum of Industries. He brings managerial experience, along with a proven track record of service to the community, providing mentorship, development, facilitation, support and construction of community-based programs.

 

Shane has a diverse background in professional training and experience. He believes investing time and building relationships in conjunction with knowledge and a professional approach to his role, is the equation for optimal outcomes for his clients, regardless of their chosen pathway for personal development.

Work Placement Coordinator

Frances Lomas

Frances commenced her career in Local Government in Bombala, a small rural community in the Snowy Region of NSW.   Over the course of the next 10 years, she completed studies in business and human resources before moving out of the region and into the not-for-profit sector, in and around the ACT.

Since that time, Frances has continued to work within the NFP sector, primarily in management roles covering the areas of governance, human resources, risk management and executive support. Having held the role of Company Secretary for many years, she holds robust governance and compliance skills. She has provided human resource advice and training, mentored and coached early career graduates and became an accredited mediator.

In 2019, Frances left the corporate world and returned to her home roots in Bombala. She is passionate about providing support and resources for senior students to transition into early career options, particularly in regional and rural areas where infrastructure and access to services are limited. She is a registered Yoga teacher and balances her love of yoga with her career.

Consulting Team

Bin Trim Assessor

Geoff Pryor

Geoff Pryor has a strong and successful background in advising upon, developing and managing strategic planning and research-based sustainable development processes for a broad range of organisations, in both the private and public sector.

 

Geoff is a leading exponent of community and regional development and addresses a wide range of sectors including local sustainable business growth. He has many years of Australian and overseas experience in regional development processes, working in both the public and private sectors. Specifically he has a deep understanding of the issues of waste stream management in the public, private and non-government sectors.

Bin Trim Assessor

Alex Northey

Alex has worked in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Industry for over 20 years in a manufacturing, supply and retail capacity, even owning his own IGA for 7 years and recently made the decision to become a Waste Consultant so that he was part of the solution v’s being part of the problem. Alex enjoys bringing innovation to the Waste Industry and is currently working on an Organic Pasta Straw solution as a replacement for plastic straws.