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About The Program

Our Team
Lorraine Gordon

Project Director Lorraine Gordon is a beef producer from Ebor in NSW. She has had an extensive career in agricultural leadership. She is a former NSW Rural Woman of the Year and CEO of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Mid North Coast.

The co-initiator of the successful Ebor Beef Co-operative, she has presided on the Small Business Review Panel of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Board of Studies at the University of New England, Charles Sturt University’s Consultative Committee and three regional tourism boards (New England North West, South Coast, Mid North Coast).

Previous positions have included Business Finance Manager and Regional Agribusiness Manager with Westpac Bank, Director of the Graduate Network of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, and Executive Director of Economic Security for Women. She is also a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and was an award winner in the 2002 Telstra Business Women’s Award.

Her qualifications include advanced diplomas in corporate governance, tourism and agriculture, and an MBA from UNE majoring in project management. Lorraine is currently completing her PhD in ecological economics (grazing systems in northern NSW) through UNE.

Dr Cathy Byrne

Expert Services projects officer Dr Cathy Byrne had grandparents growing watermelons, beans, corn and bananas in northern NSW. During several years as a macadamia farmer in Wollongbar, Cathy completed horticultural management courses at Wollongbar TAFE.

She was involved in collaborative efforts: to harvest, de-husk, sort and sell nut and experimented with orchard floor soil health and ground cover (including using crushed oyster shell and microbial soil spray). Cathy worked in the USA and Asia as a project manager for large internet based learning systems and returned to Australia to complete her Doctorate in social research.

Cathy also has a list of general and academic publications and holds a Masters of Arts, a BA in Communications and Graduate Diplomas in Financial Management and Education.

Andrew Jamieson

Expert Support team leader Andrew Jamieson has more than 25 years of experience in agriculture managing sheep and cattle properties in western Queensland, northern NSW and Victoria.

Andrew is from Brisbane, having more recently worked as an agribusiness consultant. He had senior management positions in corporate advisory. He continues to work with number of farms on advisory committees assisting with board governance and works closely with regional accountants and advisors in the rural sector.

He studied at UNE with qualifications in finance, business management and financial administration, is a qualified accountant, member AICD, fellow IPA and a qualified wool classer. He has expertise primarily in rural business management, strategic planning and governance. Skills and experience include beef cattle, sheep and wool, grain, hay and cane production.

He is a graduate of Resource Consulting Services and Low-Stress Stock Handling and was previously an AFL football coach and marathon runner.

Debbe Allen

Administration assistant Debbe Allen grew up on a small holding in south-east Queensland and was a keen horsewoman, having won awards in show-jumping and dressage.

Now, she farms beef and melons on a 154ha holding in northern NSW and is introducing commercial-scale medicinal honey production. Her working background includes seven years running her own small business, also employment at an agricultural machinery dealership, doing contract management at a central Queensland radio station and assisting construction project managers at the University of Queensland.

She has worked in the finance industry as a junior financial planner and in merchandising/sales, as well as trades assistant and a kennel worker. She holds a Diploma in Financial Services. She is a fully-qualified first aider and holds certifications in OH&S, training and assessment and in electro-technology.

Amanda Scott

Farmer Groups Project team leader Amanda Scott grew up helping on an uncle’s sheep farm south of Sydney. This led her to study agriculture through high school and university and work on a number of farms across NSW.

Drawn towards education, she completed an honours degree in primary education specialising in science. She became a mathematics teacher and worked in the field of mathematics assessment at the University of NSW while also running a part-time business. In 2007, was the winner of the Rotary Bright Sparks Program Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award and in 2016 secured two New-Colombo Grants from DFAT.

She holds a Diploma of Management, a Certificate IV Marketing and a Diploma of Gemmology. She is a Justice of the Peace and is undertaking a PhD in Collaborative Networks through SCU.

Susan Webster

Communications team leader Susan Webster is a Victorian from a dairy background. Her Melbourne-based agency has been operating for 20 years producing ag-publications including Dairyweb, a daily national news service.

She has been media manager for Dairy Australia, a regional media manager for Agriculture Victoria and a ministerial speechwriter, as well as executive officer for Agribusiness Gippsland, a region where she retains some farming interests. She co-established and edited a chain of B2B newspapers in the UK, while her background in daily newspapers in Australia and in the UK earned her numerous awards, including a citation in the Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

She served nine years as associate editor of New Idea and – as editor of Financial Planning magazine – she won the Bell Award for best national client publication. Her other awards include multiple Australasian Reporting Awards and numerous awards for her fiction writing, including a scholarship from the British Society of Authors.

She holds a Diploma of Project Management and was a finalist in the 2015 Women in Industry Awards.