2019 AGM & Board Nominees

AGM Details

Date: Tuesday, 19 November 2019, 4.00pm. Drinks and nibbles to follow.
Venue: Canberra Business Chamber, Level 3, 243 Northbourne Avenue, Lyneham


Nominations for Election to the Board of Directors (3 Persons to be Elected)

Russel Avis

Russel Avis

Raised in Canberra, Russell is best known for his position as General Manager of Summernats Car Festival, Australia’s largest Automotive Lifestyle event and Canberra’s most successful event.  Russell understands how hard it is in small and medium size businesses to stay on top of current and future developments in the industry. Added to this is his experience in dealing with large organisations, governments and international trade, giving Russell an excellent understanding of business in the ACT.

Russell has a proven history of working with companies to increase profitability and productivity within a planned timeline and managing risks, often working to develop a business plan that will include key indicators for success and return profitability. These positions have allowed him to work overseas in the Middle East, Malaysia and the USA along with nationally in Australia.

In his role as General Manager of Summernats Pty Ltd for the past 8 years, Russell has been instrumental in the redevelopment and re-invigoration of the Summernats event, brand and business. During his time in this position the event has seen growth in excess of 35%, and the development of new events and business in multiple states throughout Australia.

Russell has worked intensively with Government agencies and private businesses to develop key relationships, allowing the business to deliver an economic impact of over $32 million in the Canberra and regional economy each year.

Coming from a small Canberra family business and progressing a career to engaging with Government agencies on all levels, Russell has the experience and attitude to represent you and your business into the future. Russell believes that we need business representation as a whole and Russell will be able to serve your interests in the ACT Business Community as a board member of the Canberra Business Chamber.


Keith Cantlie

Keith has lived and worked in Canberra for nearly 35 years, working across the private and public sector prior to establishing his own business Cantlie Recruitment Services Pty Ltd (www.cantlie.com.au) in February 2005. Originally, operating from the front room of their house, Keith and his wife Anne have built a highly successful executive and specialist recruitment consultancy which delivers services across private/industry, educational and the not for profit sectors. Cantlie has built a brand which has earned a reputation as a “trusted adviser” in Executive and Specialist Recruitment across Canberra and the region.

Keith plays an active role in the Canberra community, demonstrating his commitment to supporting Canberra’s growth by working hard to attract specific talent to the city and region and is also key supporter of the Canberra community sector by providing funds and in-kind support to key local organisations such as Lifeline Canberra and St Vincent De Paul Canberra and Goulburn. Additionally he plays an integral role in supporting the growth of the St John Paul II College based in Gungahlin where he is currently the Community Council Chair.

Along with Keith’s contribution to the community sector he has been actively engaged in the business sector, working to ensure Canberra continues to be a place for business and in growing the diversity of our economy. He is a committed supporter and contributor to the Canberra Business Chamber and has been Deputy Chair since 2017.

Keith is passionate about Canberra and the region and really sees that it has a talented future and is at the cusp of bigger and better things, with many local business taking their products and services to the nation and the world. Keith believes that it is now our opportunity to build on this success through industry collaboration and clearly understanding and working to remove the constraints in our economy that may hamper the growth or further investment in business in Canberra and the region.

Keith is a registered employment agent in the ACT and holds an Associate Diploma of Business in Management. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Human Resources Institute.

Suzanne Gearing

Suzanne Gearing

I am passionate about supporting innovation and SME’s, am in a position to form strong ties with the agriculture sector, and as a member with an indigenous (Butchulla) background I would like to explore the potential opportunities of developing mutually beneficial relationships with Canberra Indigenous Business Organisations.

Recent Employment History

  • 2019 – current: Bragging Rights Events, Director/Owner – Event Strategist
  • 2016 – current: Mongarlowe Gourmet, Director/Owner – Gourmet Food R&D and production.
  • 2012-2019 Freelance. Contracts included:
    • Mona Farm – Luxury Accommodation and Event Venue. Developing and implementing tourism, accommodation, event, marketing, major works and business strategies.
    • Resonate Research – R&D. Governance principals, R&D processes, obtaining patents and negotiating sale.
    • Emerald Grain/Sumitomo – grain trading. Implementation of acquisition strategy.
  • 2008 – 2012 Executive Assistant providing high level support to CEO’s/Boards: QR National/Aurizon – Logistics. Grove Farm – Agritourism.

Current Committee Memberships

  • Founder/Chair; Braidwood & Villages Business Chamber
  • Braidwood & Villages Tourism Association
  • Steering Committee; RDAACT Food in the Capital

Other Memberships

  • Institute of Leaders and Managers
  • Meetings and Events Australia
  • Canberra Convention Bureau

Other Relevant Experience

  • Guest Presenter; SBS University Series: SME Business Strategies
  • Business Consultant & Grant Preparation Assistance for SME’s; BNE Small Business Advisory Services
  • Committee level involvement and fund-raising support for numerous charities.
  • Founder and sole financial supporter of “Wagging Tails” a support option for men over 60 in the SENSW rural region who are feeling the effects of isolation and depression.


  • Semi Finalist; NSW Regional and Community Awards, Customer Service
  • Semi Finalist; NSW Regional and Community Awards, Business Achievement
  • Winner; SBEC/QPRC Business Excellence Awards, Tourism and Hospitality
Don G

Don Grgic

I believe I can provide a practical contribution to the Canberra business community and the Chamber because of my experience and understanding of small business and my diverse background in several industries over a 30 year period.

After finishing my tour with the RAAF Royal Australian Air Force I immediately engaged in small business.

I commenced in the construction industry providing technical services and computer cabling installation contracting. I then established myself as an industry trainer in the same field with Technical Skills Australia Pty Ltd. This lead me into a roles as senior project manager with Telstra, Qantas and other major corporations.

I then saw an opportunity in the retail industry and moved to grow the then largest independent furniture store in Canberra including importing goods from around the globe.

I have now established and operate small business support service called Business Boost Centre which has recently become a national award winning bookkeeping practice and inclusive employer. We service clients on a national basis but employ locally in Canberra.

With this wealth of experience as Director in multiple entities and in operations, team building, hiring, training, sales and governance over many years, I believe I bring a real practical and grass roots understanding of the issues affecting small business in Canberra today.

I have also been involved with the Phillip Business Community as past Vice President and now Treasurer in an effort to engage with and support other small businesses.


Hrvoje (Hal) Hancevic-Grabic

Known as Hal. ** I make things happen. **

Long time in business – I held many roles from leadership to IT technical. I prefer a mix. Client/member focused. Very keen on good governance, true fairness, data sovereignty and risk.

I enjoy empowering individuals in communities and help them grow. Clubs that I manage grew in size and satisfaction. The biggest achievements in this area are not just my own but achieved with help of passionate volunteers.

Currently, I am a small business owner, IT Solution Architect at ForwardIT & L3 & Projects and Account manager (now part of ASI Solutions), Member of the Board of Directors at Australian Mensa, Kippax Toastmasters Club President and more. Last year I delivered a project on a national level that was presented to a Prime Minister as a success of a panel and organised a conference for an NFP that I am associated with. I managed several teams which won in various competitions. In past, I owned two small companies overseas and was employed in those involved with very large clients (oil/petrol, refineries, banks…). Throughout my career, I experienced various roles and had clients of all sizes, from small to Federal Government. I got educated in Australian Institute of Company Directors (Company Directors course with pending assessment), recently certified for Risk management and much more.

When not working, I enjoy volunteering. I rarely make it official, but I have assisted NFPs, start-ups and even larger entities for the benefit in business or for the benefit of a community. My network is wide, and I use it often to connect people and businesses.

I am passionate about sailing, photography and nature. You can listen a podcast that I started with my friend on AI and technology and I am starting a YouTube channel.
More: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hrvojehancevicgrabic/


Carrie Leeson

Carrie Leeson is the CEO of Lifeline Canberra and experienced business development professional and GAICD. Carrie has provided her expertise in numerous boards and advisory councils appointments, including as Executive Director and President of the Health and Productivity Institute of Australia (HAPIA), and Director of the Canberra Early Morning Centre. Hailing from South Africa, Carrie holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Natal, and is completing Masters of Business Administration from Queensland University of Technology.

In 2018 Carrie was named the Canberra Women in Business Public Sector Woman of the Year, and was the ACT finalist for the 2010 Telstra Business Woman of the Year awards.

Scott Leggo

Scott Leggo

Scott Leggo is the owner and co-founder of the Scott Leggo Gallery, a Canberra based Australian landscape photography business. He is the former Head of Strategy for Helmsman International and previously worked as a management consultant for some of the world’s top management consulting firms including Booz and Company, Strategy& and PwC. He was a trusted advisor to senior executives in government and the private sector here and overseas.

Prior to that he was a diplomat with the Department Of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where he led international engagement efforts in trade and regional security. Previous to that he was an Air Force Officer, who saw wartime service in the Middle East.

Scott is a strong supporter of the Canberra community. He is regularly engaged to support the growth of local businesses and actively supports local charities. As a small business owner, Scott is acutely aware of the challenges of growing a business alongside juggling family and other personal commitments.

Scott will be a valuable member of the Board, adding to the skills needed. Specifically, his experience of devising and implementing governance and strategy for public and private projects worth tens of billions of dollars each, will make him a highly effective member. Equally, having worked with senior levels of government and big business, in addition to his own small business, he will offer unique insights into managing businesses of all sizes.

With 25 years experience as a respected leader and advisor, Scott will be a constructive voice and represent the interests of all Chamber members, irrespective of their size. An influential person who exemplifies integrity, Scott will be a worthy addition to the Board. He will bring passion, relationships, fresh perspectives and innovation to the governance of the Canberra Business Chamber.

Michele Robinson

Michele Robinson

A Chartered Accountant and dedicated finance executive with more than a decade of experience in the Retail Industry and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). Currently I am the Finance Director of Capitol Chilled Foods Australia based in Griffith ACT, employing more than 70 people in the manufacture of dairy beverages and distribution of more than 700 food and beverage products to customers in the ACT and regional NSW.

Previously I was based in Sydney working with Australia’s largest retailer, Woolworths Group, for more than 11 years across multi-faceted businesses and cross-divisional projects. Senior roles in my career with Woolworths have provided an extensive range of experience and demonstrated skills that I would bring to the Canberra Business Chamber. My experience includes working in Supply Chain & Network Optimisation with major infrastructure projects totalling >$250M, implementing strategies and leading teams to deliver best practice in inventory management, Commercial Finance for Supermarkets business partnering to deliver sales and return on investment, Information Technology with the enhancement of the customer contact centre platform and re-design of in-house services and more recently the E-Commerce business within Endeavour Drinks Group, with the growth in BWS Online and acquisition of Jimmy Brings Pty Ltd and the national expansion of the businesses.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, a Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting and have been a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (CAANZ) since 2012. I have served as a NSW Young Chartered Accountants member, advocating for professionals, raising awareness of relevant topics and hosting networking events.

Originally from Cootamundra, I am passionate about local business and regional growth. What I would bring to the role is my extensive finance and retail experience gained with Woolworths Group, a passion for customer service coupled with a strong sense of community.

Craig Wagstaff

Craig Wagstaff

I’m honoured to hold the position as General Manager, Canberra FM Radio – operator of two commercial radio stations HIT104.7 and MIX106.3. As a commercial broadcaster, my responsibility to our team and the business covers strategic, operational and financial leadership ensuring profitability via a committed focus on audience, business and government engagement and regulatory compliance, all underpinned with community/charitable involvement as a responsible corporate citizen of the Territory.

Growing up in Canberra, being educated at St. Edmund’s College and the University of Canberra, I’m a vocal and passionate advocate for our city, it’s skilled people and dynamic business community. I’ve worked in Canberra for nearly 18 years interspersed with a further near-decade in Asia & The Middle East.

A key pillar of my professional experience (and current role) is the premise of working with a diverse team, a wide range of Canberra firms, business representatives and industries along with the ACT Government in developing growth strategies, marketing and communication campaigns covering brand establishment, management, growth and tactical applications. My positions have given me the great privilege to establish a strong network locally and elsewhere – which I’m extremely appreciative of.

I’m chartered with our stations’ enhanced engagement with the ACT Government and the Canberra Business Chamber – including the recent partnership to increase awareness of the Chamber to grow membership via the strong audience that both stations hold.

As a father and husband, I recognise that family is paramount. Together with my wife and two daughters, we enjoy travel, sport, music and learning – from various quarters and many influences.

I submit my nomination enthusiastically and energetically, with ideas to enhance what the Chamber does and to create new opportunities for members. I offer-up my time and perspectives during an exciting phase for the Chamber and the city’s business sector.

Current Directorships Held: Nil

Tertiary Qualifications: Bachelor of Commerce-Management (Marketing Major) – University of Canberra