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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

Systems and Knowledge Portal Manager

Both sets of Cathy’s grandparents were farmers in northern NSW – growing beans, corn, watermelons and bananas … but the personal hort. bug did not catch her until later in life.

Cathy completed a BA in Communications and worked in software development and marketing in Brisbane, before adding Business and Finance post-graduate Diplomas to her education satchel. Joining the dot.com boom in the USA, Cathy moved into multimedia development, and technology interface design for enterprise learning. She managed international training systems for Mercury Marine, General Motors and John Deer and then extended this role into Asia with clients such as Sony and Malaysian Airlines. She returned to Australia to complete her Doctorate in social research and worked as a lecturer for Southern Cross University’s Social Science and Education faculties.

During several years as a part-time macadamia farmer in Wollongbar, Cathy completed horticultural management courses at Wollongbar TAFE and 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). She sees the ‘co-operative’ as an effective democratic business model for collaboration and brings a high level of software design and delivery expertise to the Farming Together team.

Tina Kelly

Expert Support Case Officer 

Tina is based in the heart of the Northern Rivers NSW, but travels country-wide for marketing projects! She has worked in advertising and market research agencies as well as client-side marketing positions and she uses that experience for her clients. Tina has worked on global accounts for Ogilvy & Mather and BBDO in Bangkok, and spent time in London & Sydney as a market researcher.

She is currently chairperson of the Northern Rivers Food Marketing Committee and is unashamedly passionate about great food, wonderful wines and life itself.

Tina grew up on a small macadamia holding in Uralba, and has collaborated with iconic farmers – Charlie Arnott and Glen Morris – true pioneers for the rural sector.

Her strengths are being able to connect a product or concept with the consumer in a meaningful way and being able to relate easily with clients very quickly.

Roz McMahon

Expert Support Case Officer 

Roz was raised on the family farm in Northern NSW producing Angus cattle. A passion for all things agriculture led to her employment as a Laboratory Technician with NSW Department of Primary Industries where she gained analytical chemistry and field research skills. She then specialised in essential oil chemistry.

In 2009 Roz completed an Economics Degree (University of New England) on a scholarship from the Northern Co-operative Meat Company. She joined Southern Cross University Plant Science in a quality assurance role to facilitate commercial and research activities relating to medicinal plants and complimentary medicines and honed her expertise in complex shelf life studies.

Roz joined Farming Together in 2018 and now spreads time between the family farm and engaging with farmers to help realise their potential.

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.

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.

Sharn Gilmour

Sharn grew up on an old pine plantation in a small coastal town above Newcastle. A love of the outdoors, open spaces and community drew her to higher education in Environmental Science (Forestry) and Resource Management. Sharn sees people as the critical link in helping the environment and worked as the Forestry Student Liaison Officer. Sharn has lead students to Indonesia (looking at sustainable tourism) and has been published in the Journal of Heritage Tourism.

Her interest in communicating information saw her work as an Engagement Officer in the Arid Lands of South Australia, where she worked with pastoralists to understand their Natural Resource Management (NRM) needs and connect them with services. Sharn has also supported new NRM members with training in governance, community engagement and project management.

Moving back to the east coast, Sharn found that her interest and passion lies in working with the farming community, which lead her to the Farming Together Program.

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.

Simone Blom

Farmer Groups Project Case Officer

Simone Blom grew up running through the vineyards of her grandparents boutique winery in Victoria. Through this engagement with the outdoors, Simone developed a passion for the natural environment that led her to studying Environmental Science at The University of Melbourne. During her studies, Simone became involved in Marine Education and on completion of her second degree in teaching, worked for more than a decade with the education branch of the Department of Primary Industries (now Fisheries).  At this time, Simone also worked as the Head of Science and the Sustainability Officer at a high school in regional Victoria.

Simone has lived in the Northern Rivers for the last five years and has been employed in a variety of teaching, research assistant and project officer roles at Southern Cross University. Simone completed Honours in Environmental Education in 2016 and has recently received a PhD scholarship. Simone also works with the education branch of the Australian Academy of Science working with pre-service and in-service teachers.

Mindy Greenwood

Expert Support Officer & Research Collaboration Co-ordinator

On a small holding out of Lismore, Mindy and her family (2 kids, 1 husband and 2 rescue greyhounds) are learning how to farm beef cattle and honey. Mindy has an Honours degree in Environmental Science (Monash University) and a strong interest in research.

Mindy worked in Quality Assurance and technical administration with Southern Cross University’s Plant Sciences prior to joining Farming Together. Before that she was a Project Manager with Trees for Survival, New Zealand, assisting school children to plant trees and rehabilitate at-risk farmland.  Mindy has undertaken post-graduate studies in fire ecology in Victoria and has studied mutualism between a small mammal and a carnivorous plant in Borneo. Mindy’s research was published in PLoS ONE and she provided footage for David Attenborough’s Kingdom of Plants. Mindy has also lived and worked in Darwin and Arnhem Land, in policy and program delivery.