Steve Horton | Chair
Steven Horton and his family have lived in the Southern Highlands for over thirty years.
For more than twenty years Steven and Laurel have operated retail businesses in Berrima.
Before opening Baytree in Berrima Steven worked for the NSW Government within the water industry as a Senior Manager Business Improvement. In this role he was tasked with improving both operational and administrative processes and implementing change management across the organization.
Steven is the Chairperson at Southern Highlands Chamber of Commence and Industry and the Berrima Court House Land Management Board.
Steven has been a volunteer firefighter for over 30 years and Captain and Senior Deputy Captain of the Burrawang Rural Fire Brigade for over 20 years.
Carisa Wells | Vice Chair
Carisa Wells is the CEO and Director of Regional Development of Regional Development Australia - Southern Inland and the Boss Lady at Unconditional Pty Ltd. Having relocated from Sydney in 2017 and with a background in business management and expansion, strategic planning, marketing and sales across industries such as health, retail, hospitality, and fashion she has quickly become part of the business community in the region.
Carisa knows how to build strong relationships quickly and has the uncanny ability to make connections at exactly the right time. She is a master networker, with extensive government, industry and community relationships, is an excellent communicator, and experienced board member. Carisa is a mother, author, public speaker, animal, arts and culture lover.
Growing up in Goulburn, Carisa saw Bowral as being an aspirational place to live. Bringing her daughter and chihuahua to the Southern Highlands and laying down roots is a dream come true. She is completely obsessed with the region and feels truly blessed to be in a position to assist with the economic and social development of the most beautiful place on earth.
Debra Blackah | Finance Director
I am a Chartered Accountant, and have been a principal at Oxley Partners in Bowral for over fifteen years. I provide a holistic service from accounting, taxation planning and finance needs and fulfill the Aged Care and Estate Planning advisory role for the practice.
On a personal note I am supported by my partner Ian Thorp and have one daughter, but very much care for all my Oxley family.
My enthusiasm in supporting other local charities like Wingecarribee Vocal Muster is one of my passions in life. In the past I have owned a golf driving range for 17 years and completed in the Australian Rally Championships and more recently have been involved in the Takata Airbag recovery program throughout Australia.
Peter Blain | Co-Membership Director
Peter has been involved in the finance business for the past 20 years; in 2001 together with Robyn they started their own business, Effective Finance Pty Ltd, this business now holds their own Australian Credit Licence. Peter is qualified in personal and all business finance matters. Peter helps self employed and small business develop and implement financial strategies for their ongoing financial requirements.
Shane Wellings | Co-Membership Director
While still at school Shane started his working career at Woolworths, developing a good work ethic and retail skills.
After completing school in 1987 Shane moved into a career in the heavy construction industry at Caltex Oil Refinery in Sydney.
In 1989 Shane commenced studies in Psychology, while at the same time working in several industries including hospitality, packing shelves, service station attendant all providing sales skills which are now used in is role with Action Hire.
Shane offers a wealth of knowledge to the chamber board and members.
Paul Samulski | Council and Government Liaisons Director
Paul Samulski has resided in Bowral since 2017, is a proud father of two with an Architectural and Construction background. Operating a local building company, he is passionate about employment, investment and economic growth in regional areas outside the major cities.“Having been self employed for 20 years, I am very well aware challenges and obstacles faced by small business owners like myself in particular by economic factors, regulatory authorities, state and local governments”.
Paul is also registered Justice of the Peace, making himself regularly available to members of the community by providing a voluntary service. Furthermore Paul is a foundation member and Vice president of the Wingecarribee Hunters and Anglers club as well am also a member of the Carnarvon Masonic Lodge in Moss Vale. “I am an advocate entrepreneurialism, less impost on small business as well as give younger generations employment opportunities to remain in the area for the future which I why I believe my contribution to the Chambers Board will be valued addition”.
Kate Ingham | Strategy and Policy Director
Kate has a background in the media industry, government and innovation advisory. She established Ki Media to offer path to money solutions for business, government and creative projects. She is a specialist in grants, tenders, feasibility studies and equity capital raising, having attracted resources for Telcos, Councils, Regional Development Australia, and numerous small businesses. Kate is also the principal of digital agency Seller Central Setup.
Kate’s passion is to facilitate the Southern Highlands diversifying its economic base, whilst maintaining the green between and lifestyle factors that make us love the region.
Charlie Fenton | Events Director