Board Election

After undertaking a nomination process, the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) has received six (6) nominations for the three (3) available Member Elected Director positions. The names of the Nominees are listed below, along with their bio’s and responses to three questions about how they can contribute to the future sustainability of FAN and the growth of our members and the broader industry.

FAN has adopted an electronic voting system for the election of Elected Directors. Accordingly, members eligible to vote will receive an email, sent to their nominated email address, entitled “Notice of Annual General Meeting & Election of Directors“.

Please note, only current industry members are eligible to vote; affiliate members are not eligible to vote. Only one vote per industry member will be accepted. All votes must be cast and received by 5pm, Tuesday 12th November 2019. Click here to vote.

If you have any questions relating to the voting process please email [email protected] or call 0410 554 673.



Lauren Brisbane

Lauren Brisbane is the Director of QCamel on the Sunshine Coast, which was the first camel dairy in Australia to produce pasteurised camel milk. She was Chair and Founding Member of the Australian Camel Industry Association from 2010 – 2017 and advises both Federal and State Governments on the development of the camel industry. Lauren was the Queensland Board Member for Australian Women in Agriculture from 2010 – 2012 and is currently a FAN Board Member. QCamel was an inaugural member of GrowCoastal in 2017 and was chosen as one of Australia’s top 50 innovative agribusinesses by Food Innovation Australia Ltd in 2018. Lauren is passionate about the development of the camel industry as an alternate pastoral industry, its development throughout Indigenous Australia, and developing a world-class camel milk industry. Her expertise extends to camel dairy development, husbandry, breeding, land management, product development, marketing, sustainability and organic production.

Why are you interested in a Director position on FAN’s Board?

I would like to continue my FAN Board position to support the current work I am doing with EPIC Assist. The program assists our members to employ people with varying degrees of disability, who may not otherwise be considered for employment. Government assistance and support through EPIC makes it a valuable proposition for our members and an extremely valuable partnership for FAN. I would also like to continue to work with our management staff to assist in attracting more financial support through increasing sponsorship.

What experience would you bring to the Board that would benefit FAN’s members?

As a farmer and producer I feel I can add value to the Board with a unique perspective as a start-up, farmer, producer, innovator, tourism operator and small exporter.

What do you see are the key challenges and opportunities facing our food and agribusiness industry?

I think the two key challenges facing FAN are: 1) Moving from an industry based organisation to a large food and agribusiness cluster group. 2) Preparing to move primarily from FIAL support to financial independence. These challenges also offer very real opportunities to support our members through our unique partnerships.

Josh Donohoe

Josh is currently self employed running a Tours & Events business on the Sunshine Coast, which focuses on local produce and local stories. Josh has previously been employed in the not-for-profit sector in various roles including event management, fundraising and community engagement. Josh is an Event Manager with experience in organising large events with a strong focus on engaging a range of stakeholders.

Why are you interested in a Director position on FAN’s Board?

I believe it is a great opportunity to bring my skills, experience and passion to support the future growth and sustainability of FAN. There are many changes ahead for the greater region of the Sunshine Coast and I am passionate about contributing positively to this change.

What experience would you bring to the Board that would benefit FAN’s members?

With over 15 years experience working for various not-for-profits both in Australia and the USA, I can offer a broad set of skills and insight to the board. I have experience in fundraising for not-for-profit organisations and in my previous role with Local Government I was responsible for allocating funds to organisations. In addition to being an experienced Events Manager, I’m already connected to many of the food producers and breweries across the region and have a strong network of stakeholders. 

What do you see are the key challenges and opportunities facing our food and agribusiness industry?

I see sustainability being a key factor. Not only for FAN to continue to operate long into the future, but also for local producers to find sustainable practices whilst remaining profitable. This will bring challenges in securing funding and support. I can see however, many great opportunities to help grow the industry through wider exposure, especially in the tourism sector, and also through distribution and export of local produce.

Andrew Eves-Brown

I have over 25 years experience in the Food Industry from Factory Manager in the UK to COO at Gourmet Garden Australia, followed by CEO of COYO. My areas of interest are taking start-up businesses through the scale-up phase and then enjoying the benefits of scale.

Why are you interested in a Director position on FAN’s Board?

After being involved in the birth of FAN I took a break to focus on a scaling-up COYO. I feel it’s time to step back in and support the industry that supports my family and I.

What experience would you bring to the Board that would benefit FAN’s members?

I have been and remain an active member on a number of Boards. As well as reporting to Boards as CEO; ex-Chairman of FAN; ex-Director of Gourmet Garden; Chairman of OCADO and an Australia Advisory Board member for Naturo.

What do you see are the key challenges and opportunities facing our food and agribusiness industry?

Some of the biggest challenges are rising input costs, the power of the retailers, and plastic and its environmental impact. I also see great opportunities in the health and wellness space.

Sean McGowan

Sean’s professional success is built on strategic collaborative partnerships and networking. Almost two decades of experience in restaurant and venue management, boutique wine retail sales, multi-site management, and sales and marketing management have gifted him broad experiences and a keen eye for forecasting business development opportunities. Sean’s niche is the wholesale sales and marketing of Speciality Fairtrade Organic Certified Coffee. He currently revels in his role in the management team at Montville Coffee where his expertise includes sourcing and roasting speciality coffee, client acquisition, relationship management, marketing and training. Sean holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing/Music Industry Management).

Why are you interested in a Director position on FAN’s Board?

Its been an honour to serve on FAN’s board for 2 years. FAN’s a proven platform for collaboration, and continues to entice members to explore growth and innovation through building connections. I’m excited about FAN’s future journey and enjoy representing the members in this capacity forever consciously questioning, have we the board correctly understood our members needs, and are we delivering on this? I’m committed to supporting FAN to establish a sustainable organisational model so we can deliver on its purpose, mission and values for years to come. I’m grateful to work so closely with FAN’s exceptional operational team.

What experience would you bring to the Board that would benefit FAN’s members?

Over the past 2 years, FAN has assisted me to build a stronger capacity to govern a NFP, and the training opportunities provided continue to strengthen my ability to conduct due diligence on the Board and meaningfully contribute as a Director. As FAN’s Chair of the SAP (Strategic Advisory Panel) and a Board member, I have spent time working closely with the operational team, members and sponsors and have a strong level of rapport and trust. I will look to continue to strengthen these relationships in the interest of serving the members and the organisation.

What do you see are the key challenges and opportunities facing our food and agribusiness industry?

I believe that knowledge sharing and capacity building are two of the key pillars that can strengthen the Food and Agribusiness Industry. Collaboration is the key to solving complex issues such as freight, and elevating regional awareness. Our greatest challenge may be our greatest opportunity… setting a Gold Class Standard that our region is credited for in the way we grapple with the complexities of Climate Change, remaining vigilant, responsible, innovative and progressive. This challenge will open endless regional, national, and international opportunities to grow our businesses, our network and our region.

Mel Messina

Mel Messina is currently Operations Manager at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, a University of Sunshine Coast company. Mel has over 30 years experience in Advanced Manufacturing and a high-growth family business that successfully exited to an ASX-listed corporate. Independently, Mel is on the ISCS Mentor Panel where he has worked with a number of organisations on manufacturing engagement, design and utility improvements, and unlocking supply chains through simplifications and sector know how. Mel’s specialisations include polymers, processing, design, troubleshooting and QMS, strategy and strategic initiatives, international supply chains and contracts, HR, and workplace relations and safety, including cybersecurity considerations. Independently, Mel is a FAN member and actively engaged in agribusiness commercialisation and AgriTech that supports that process.

Why are you interested in a Director position on FAN’s Board?

I saw the amazing work done growing FAN to what it is today after meeting Emma and team through the ICSC GrowCoastal program. As a result, I decided to independently join FAN two years ago after re-engaging with our small-scale family farm. Committed to continuous learning in this sector, which engages across other sectors in achieving its outcomes, I believe the FAN model can provide that broad learning and cross sectoral community engagement. In this context, I hope to have the opportunity to bring my cross functional skills and experiences to the board to the benefit of FAN’s valued members.

What experience would you bring to the Board that would benefit FAN’s members?

A range of management skills/experience: Waste Management. Circular economies (Recycling) – “maker unmakes” design methodology especially towards packaging. Value add from waste in all processes. Carbon footprint reduction. Sustainable energy and water resources. Major National Retail and Commercial outlets – Marketing, Sales, Contract Negotiations, Logistics. Advanced manufacturing – including Agricultural. International Trade – export and import. Digital footprint for increased productivity and quality assurance overlapped with Cyber security. Evidence-based/ data driven decision making. Understanding/empathy for the culture of smaller to medium size businesses rapidly growing and everyday pressures, as well as larger organisations, including how they may work together.

What do you see are the key challenges and opportunities facing our food and agribusiness industry?

Challenges Waste Management e.g. packaging Reduction e.g. growing, producing, logistics Micro and macro-economic landscape changes impacting local and international trade Elevated consumer and regulatory expectations Digital adoption and collaboration CSR proofing operations (e.g. climate change, animal welfare, sustainability) Challenges potentially represent opportunities e.g. Sustainability: R&D in food and food processing toward meet socio-political, and socio-cultural expectations New, and enhanced existing, collaborations via digital platforms and technology toward growth, efficiencies Working in closely with its membership, sponsors and supporters, and partners, FAN appears well positioned to genuinely understand the changing landscape, and work collaboratively in unlocking challenges and developing opportunities.

Christine Stephenson

Christine is a highly experienced enterprise architect specialising in the fields of Enterprise Architecture and Business, IT Strategy & Management. With industry sector expertise that includes strength in mining, airline, travel, tourism, health and government she has managed a broad spectrum of projects, for global organisations and government agencies. Her strengths lie in communicating complex concepts in simple, easy to understand ways, based on the audience she is working with and the outcome being sought. She is a professionally certified Enterprise Architect (TOGAF®), and holds a Bachelor of Information Technology, Master of Business Administration and a Doctor of IT Management.

Why are you interested in a Director position on FAN’s Board?

I have had a very successful career in large corporate organisations and have chosen to return to our family property, Bellidowns and pay my success forward by contributing to the success of others.

What experience would you bring to the Board that would benefit FAN’s members?

I have practical complex problem solving skills using modern management methods to simplify the way business is run. I bring innovative ideas and thought leadership to the table to help support members and FAN achieve its vision.

What do you see are the key challenges and opportunities facing our food and agribusiness industry?

Inadequate government policies make it very difficult for farmers to make a living off the land. I have experienced first hand the difficulties the agricultural industry is facing which has a direct impact on the cost of Food Service business. There are great opportunities for the Food Services and Agricultural industries to work together to support the livelihood of many. Innovative thinking will break down barriers and costs of doing business by having the right mix of people working together.

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