Tony McBurney, Chair

Tony-McBurneyTony established Integrated Design Group in 1999 after previous experience in both the public and private sectors, including his role as a Senior Architect at HPA / Mirvac and as an Associate at Stanton Dahl Architects.

Tony has a long-standing dedication to the community and housing design, with the goal of bringing the benefits of good architecture to ‘the common man’.

Natalie Egleton, CEO, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Natalie joined FRRR in 2012 and was appointed CEO in November 2015. As CEO, she is responsible for shaping FRRR’s strategy, designing new programs and developing and nurturing new funding partnerships. In her previous roles with FRRR, she was responsible for managing natural disaster recovery and preparedness programs as well as those addressing social innovation.

Before joining FRRR, Natalie consulted with Matrix on Board, working with numerous not-for-profit organisations in program evaluation, undertaking research analysis and developing business plans. She also worked with clients to develop financial policies and procedures, strategic plans, organisation reviews, service mapping, feasibility studies and governance models.

Natalie has also held in-house roles at Evolve (Typo Station) and at ANZ Banking Group, implementing projects that made a tangible difference to the lives of people living in rural, regional and remote Australia.

Dr Fiona Haslam Mckenzie, Professor, Centre for Regional Development – University of Western Australia

Professor Fiona Haslam Mckenzie has a varied academic background, including a Ph.D. in political geography, researching the socio-economic impacts of the restructuring of the Australian agricultural industry. Over the last two decades her focus has been the socio-economic impact of the Australian staples economies.  Fiona has extensive experience in population and socio-economic change, housing, regional economic development and analysis of remote, regional and urban socio-economic indicators.  She is currently researching the socio-economic impact of different regional workforce arrangements and uneven economic development in Western Australia.

Fiona was educated in Australia and the United States.  Prior to her current role, she was the Western Australian Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, served as the Principal Research Leader of the Regional Economies – Enduring Community Value from Mining program from 2012 to 2015 and subsequently appointed as co-director of the Centre for Regional Development at the University of Western Australia in 2015. Fiona has served on several government and private sector boards, undertaken work for corporate and small business sectors and has published widely.

Alex Smith, CEO, R.DA Northern Rivers, NSW

Alex Smith comes to RDA Northern Rivers with a diverse range of experience. He spent 20 years with IBM where he held a range of management positions, including overseeing government relationships in Australia, Canada and the US. This and other roles have provided him with an ability to initiate and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, government and industry.

For over 20 years he has been a resident here in the Northern Rivers where he has been a farmer, a small business owner and manager, including as Northern Rivers manager in a national agriculture supply organisation. His involvement in several local economic development projects and discussion groups prior to coming to RDA Northern Rivers has given him a broad understanding of the issues and opportunities in the Northern Rivers.

Kerry Grace, CEO, RDA Mid North Coast, NSW

Kerry’s career commenced in the advertising and marketing industries, where she worked in a variety of roles in Sydney, Australia. Simultaneously she launched a start-up events and artist promotion agency which she ran throughout Sydney for over six years.  Kerry returned to the Nambucca Valley with her family in 2003 and established her business Evolve Network, a values based consultancy service.

Kerry was featured as a ‘returner’ (i.e. someone who  in the 2014 Regional Australia Institute Report “there’s no place like home” Kerry is a strong advocate of regional living.  “With the city only a short flight away and access to online work, so many opportunities have been opened up to regional Australians, the quality of life, environment and lifestyle really make it a beautiful place to raise a family.”

She has a strong social conscience and the opportunity to commence working in the education industry, particularly with ‘at risk’ groups in 2000 turned into an ongoing relationship with the not for profit, training and employment sectors. Throughout this period she coordinated eight Work for the Dole programs, working hands on with the participants and has delivered learning experiences for hundreds of people across many communities throughout the East Coast of Australia (with a particular focus on her home region of the Mid North Coast of NSW).

With a commitment to lifelong learning, Kerry holds an undergraduate degree in Business, is a graduate of the School for Social Entrepreneurs (2011) and The Coaching Institute and has attended numerous entrepreneurial development activities including the Eilte 500Mastermind program (Brisbane) and Awesomenessfest (Phuket).

In her role as CEO of RDAMNC, Kerry aims to contribute to the organisation’s vision of a Mid North Coast that embeds a culture of “innovation, opportunity, inclusion and economic prosperity”.  Kerry is a strong advocate of opportunities in economic development for people throughout the region with a particular focus on the region’s priorities of Indigenous communities, youth and the ageing population.


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