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Meet The Board

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GEORGIE SOMERSET

Chair

Georgie is a rural leader who grows beef at Durong with her family. She established her first business at the age of seventeen, setting her on a career path that has focused on rural and regional communities ever since.

 

Georgie is a connector of ideas, networks and people, as comfortable in the cattle yards as she is in the boardroom, using her well-honed skills to navigate the road in between.

 

Georgie is General President of AgForce Queensland, deputy chair of the Royal Flying Doctor Service - Queensland Section, and also serves as a director for the ABC, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and the National Farmers' Federation.

 

As founding Chair of Red Earth Community Foundation, Georgie seeks to invest in her regions’ future for generations to come. A believer in investing in people and lifelong learning, she invites all to come on the journey to create an even better future for all!

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CARL RACKEMANN

Director

Carl knows a thing or two about harnessing the power of community through his role as patron of the annual South Burnett Relay for Life fundraising event.  While the rest of Australia knows him as a handy cricketer, Carl’s local reputation is based around his agricultural business and his outstanding commitment to the local branch of Relay for Life, which has raised over $1M for the Queensland Cancer Council to date under his patronage.

 

He cites his decision to return to his childhood farming roots over a potential coaching career in international sport as the only rational choice.  That decision allowed him to share time with his family and friends in a rural community setting, where he began creating the connections and networks that would lead him to Red Earth.

 

Carl understands the long-term value of Red Earth Community Foundation to the region and sees a future where the South Burnett has developed a healthy community confidence and high level of self-reliance.

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SCOTT MCLENNAN

Director

Born and spending his early years in the South Burnett, Scott has always had a distinct passion for all things related to life in regional and rural Queensland. Once university life in Brisbane was completed Scott began a 12-year journey working throughout the entire state, in relieving and education roles in every major (and many minor) hospitals in regional Queensland.

 

Scott has now over 35 years experience in the Medical Imaging field. In more recent times he has focussed on the delivery of Radiology services both in his own business interests, as a consultant and mento for other like-minded professionals in the regional Australia private and public sector.

An enthusiastic proponent for espousing the benefits if professional health careers (or any careers for that matter) Scott has very recently collaborated with a number of universities to provide positive career pathways for high school and university students who hail from the country. He sees the untold potential in many bush kids, who often possess hard work ethics and community values.

Scott has a love of his young family, and enjoys his precious spare time with them, on a golf course (sometimes in different parts of the world) and on a push bike. The French and Italian Alps and the wines and champagnes from those countries are a particular delight.

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BELINDA GANGEMI

Director

Belinda’s memories of growing up on a farm in the South Burnett highlight the value of connections made from community engagement whilst displaying an understanding of both the challenges and rewards of rural life and primary production enterprises.

After a 25-year career in rural and remote education Belinda seized the opportunity to remain in Kingaroy to develop her knowledge and utilise her skills to lead the expansion of an agricultural company.

 

During this experience she has realised the value of inter-generational weaving and is committed to building supportive, strong, and resilient teams Belinda believes the greatest outcomes are achieved if we harness strengths and provide opportunities to develop weaknesses.

 

She views Red Earth Community Foundation as a driver to foster vibrant communities providing an investment in Burnett Inland for generations to come. As an alumnus of the Red Earth Community Leadership program Belinda is passionate about providing such opportunities to allow individuals to embrace leadership within their own lives – at individual, family, community, or corporate governance level.

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ANDREW BRYANT

Director

Andrew is employed as a Learning Manager with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, designing and delivering leadership programs. Outside of that full-time role, Andrew also provides workshop facilitation (leadership, emotional intelligence, suicide prevention) and hosting/MC services.

Andrew was a resident of the Burnett for a total of 35 years, and still reside in the Wide Bay Burnett. Andrew believes the Burnett Inland is underestimated; in the level of potential its people and resources have that are yet to be developed. Andrew still cares for the inland Burnett, as it gave him a great start in his professional and leadership journey, and would like to continue to give back, and see it increase its level of influence across the state and nation.

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GRACE CAMPBELL

Director

Grace is a director at an agribusiness-focused accounting firm in Bundaberg.

 

With a love for agribusiness and sustainability, she envisions thriving regional towns and businesses. Her passion lies in supporting the next generation of agribusiness owners, fostering sustainable practices, and guiding financially sound decisions for enduring success. Grace's expertise extends beyond conventional accounting; she navigates taxation legislation specific to primary producers, crucial for prosperity into the future. Proficient in various accounting programs, analysis tools and farm production software, Grace advises clients on innovative solutions for business growth.

 

Grace's adventures have seen her with roles in the remotest parts of the Kimberley, Gulf and Western QLD. Balancing her professional role with her personal life and cherishing moments with her young family, you will find Grace in the garden in her spare time.

 

To Grace, Red Earth Community Foundation is a proactive force that promotes connection to the community, ensuring long-term sustainability as a thriving region that will benefit future generations.

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JOHN CAREY

Deputy Chair

John is a highly skilled engagement professional with proven experience in building and nurturing long-term relationships and networks that facilitate long term outcomes for individuals, community organisations and industry, particularly in rural and regional Qld. He has enjoyed a diverse career encompassing banking and finance, public service, local government, and is currently a long term employee in the energy sector.

Having grown up in rural Queensland, John possesses a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in regional areas. He brings a blend of strategic thinking, care and compassion and practical application of his expertise and experiences to Red Earth and has been instrumental in many of the initiatives that are helping the Burnett Inland create solutions and pathways towards their preferred future. 

John is Stanwell’s Stakeholder Engagement Manager (Southern Qld) and the Deputy Chair of Red Earth Community Foundation. He is also a board member of Regional Development Australia, Wide Bay Burnett.  

John’s extensive experience, combined with his passion for regional development, philanthropy, and sustainable energy, sees him dedicating his time and energy to being part of the Red Earth team helping build better futures for everyone.

In addition to his professional roles, John is also a civil marriage celebrant, allowing him to play a meaningful role in supporting hundreds of couple’s progress their relationship to marriage.

His vision for Red Earth is growing a substantial corpus that enables the Burnett Inland to fund its preferred future.

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ANDREW ZERNER

Director

After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Rural Management through the University of Queensland, Andrew returned to the family farm where he ran a successful dairy operation with his parents near Murgon.  Later, this operation was converted to a beef enterprise allowing Andrew to work both on and off farm, where he worked part-time for local agribusinesses including developing and implementing Quality Assurance programs.

 

Today, Andrew and his wife Katie continue to live on the family property and run a commercial beef trading enterprise, where Andrew follows his passion for Regenerative Agriculture by profitably increasing soil carbon with cattle via grazing principles. This first-hand experience is valuable in Andrew’s role as a consultant for RCS Australia, working with farming clients across Australia, using knowledge and appropriate management to reduce inputs and improve profitability and balance in people’s lives.

 

Andrew sees Red Earth as a critical component in building vibrant farms and communities; where people are happy, healthy, secure and at peace; where people feel supported and connected and the next generation has wonderful opportunities to create wealth and then pay it forward themselves.

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BOBBY-LEIGH REDGARD

Director

Bobby has always had a passion for helping people, this passion was enriched when she met her husband and his family. They have been great advocates for their community of Mundubbera for many years, they taught her the importance of everyone having equal opportunities and rolling up your sleeves to lend a hand is not for praise or recognition but just to lend a hand.

If you are counting the hours of community service you do, you might just be in it for the wrong reason. Bobby has carried this in personal and professional life. Bobby’s own family taught her hard work and education is the key for moving forward.

 

​All these attributes makes Bobby passionate about the Red Earth Leadership program, because a good leader, no matter what level or title, is able to bring out the best in people working together to achieve the same goal.

 

As a Community Service Coordinator, Bobby is usually on the front of seeing people at their worst, whether it be during financial struggles, grief or a surprise change in circumstance. She takes great pride in being able to navigate people through these times with empathy and respect but most of all allowing them to choose the right path for themselves.

 

Bobby is a strong advocate and believe projects need to be community driven to allow our communities to have greater ownership within the project. She likes to remind the community during all events, the Monto Neighbourhood Centre isn’t hers, it is theirs, and if they want to see something, come in to discuss as she has an open-door policy to all.

Bobby has seen this with events such as flood and drought within the North Burnett, all communities come together to pick up the pieces and start again. The resilience of the Burnett communities is unlike any other, they work well to achieve their goals and are passionate about their small communities.

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ELIZABETH BEAVIS

Director

Elizabeth Beavis has lived and worked in the South Burnett Region since 2010. She was Operations Manager and Engineering Manager at Stanwell's Tarong Power Station, before taking the role of Site Manager for GE at Coopers Gap Wind Farm (the largest in Australia at the time).

 

After two years in that role, she started as Portfolio Manager - Renewables for Worley Power Services, responsible for the operations and maintenance of multiple wind farms across Australia.

 

Elizabeth has leveraged her background in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Coal Gasification, to become a respected leader in Australia's power generation industry.

Elizabeth is passionate about mentoring and leadership as the key to developing people to meet their full potential, both at work and in the community.

 

Before becoming a Director at Red Earth, Elizabeth also volunteered on the Kumbia Memorial Hall Committee to organise the monthly market, where she sells handmade soap and honey.

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DONNA DIGBY

Director

Donna is passionate about showcasing the best of regional Australia: the strength and perspective of local people, the places and working with others to create a vibrant future and thriving regions. She values authenticity, inclusion, collaboration and creating a positive impact.

 

Donna embodies a people-centred, place-based and purpose-driven approach. For the past two decades, Donna has worked with local people in Victoria and the NT to inform, shape and achieve their futures.

 

She is an inclusive and community focused leader that believes we can achieve richer outcomes for our communities when we create spaces and opportunities to draw on the ideas, experiences and expertise from within our community as well learning from other communities in Australia.

 

Donna is driven to support community leaders to reach their leadership potential by drawing on their lived experience, creating pathways for leadership development, building networks, mentoring and attracting investment to facilitate this.

 

Donna is the current NT Chair – Agrifutures Rural Women’s Award Alumni, Board Director of Red Earth Community Foundation and Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, Australian Institute of Company Directors and has completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science with Honors.

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