Benjamin Connell – President
Director, Emerge Business Advisory – Belmont
Benjamin Connell is a Director and co-owner of Emerge Business Advisory. Benjamin works with local business owners on a constant basis so he has a good understanding of the challenges faced by businesses in the Lake Macquarie area.
Benjamin was the President of Belmont Chamber of Commerce during the setup of Lake Macquarie Business Limited and is a very passionate leader in this area. He has joined the Board of Lake Macquarie Business to assist all businesses in their efforts to promote Lake Macquarie as a provider of world-class services and products.
Benjamin’s experience in local business will be a valued asset to the new Lake Macquarie Business organisation.
Kris Leck - Vice President
Principal, Catalyst Project Consulting
Kris brings over 20 years’ success as a project construction management professional in the Australian commercial construction industry. Kris has been involved in the management of over $1B in projects and lead a team of over 20 design and specialist consultants.
Kris has extensive experience as a Director of Newcastle NOW Limited, Newcastle’s Business Improvement Association, Director and Chairperson of Renew Newcastle and Sergeant at Arms and Past President, Newcastle Business Club.
Kris is a Lake Macquarie resident and a family man and is passionate about the development of Lake Macquarie to ensure his children’s future.
Director & Company Secretary
Suzie Leask - Director & Company Secretary
Senior Associate at Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors
Born and bred in Lake Macquarie, Suzie is a trusted advisor to local and international business owners and is passionate about assisting businesses to find commercial solutions to legal problems while proactively maintaining compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Her uniquely commercial approach stems from her experience working at an international law firm including a secondment to Singapore and as in-house Legal Counsel for a global gaming company with responsibility for subsidiaries across Asia Pacific.
Suzie is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, an Associate of the Governance Institute of Australia, active member of the Rotary Club of Lake Macquarie, Women Lawyers Association of NSW Newcastle Chapter Committee, Finalist for the 2014 Hunter Business Chamber Young Business Executive Award, Finalist for the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW Community Legal Centres Awards (2013-2015) and is looking forward to utilising her Corporate Governance and legal expertise to benefit her local community.
Joanne Jarvie - Director
Commercial and Financial Manager, Solar Power Australia
Seven years ago Joanne joined her family business in Warners Bay as the Finance and Commercial Manager.
Joanne is passionate about small business and loves that every day brings a new challenge. Her key objective is to have an impact on reducing carbon emissions through promoting the use of renewables – particularly solar power.
Joanne is part of the team that won the 2016 Excellence in Innovation Award at the Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards. Joanne holds a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Certified Practising Accountant.
Fred Roberts - Director
Owner, Channel Direct Home Loans
Being self employed for most of his working life Fred knows the importance of businesses working towards their future goals.
Fred is passionate about community and recently established Fight Cancer Home Loans as a mortgage brokering business that financially contribute to the Cancer Council NSW on your behalf. Every mortgage, refinance, purchase, investment loan, SMSF all mean money to the Cancer Council for it to continue its research and support.
Fred was the Treasurer or Swansea Business chamber. Fred has a Diploma in Financial Services/Mortgage Broking, Cert IV Financial Accounting and is a Justice of the Peace.
Harry Balding - Director
Community Manager, Dantia Smart Hub
Harry’s role at Dantia allows him to facilitating co-working in the Lake Macquarie region as a means of developing the area’s economy. Harry works closely with startups and SME’s who are looking to scale up their operations by providing low-risk, high-value workspaces so they can do what they set out to do.
Harry general specialties lie in marketing, strategy, community development, sales and business, events and public speaking. Harry has a Bachelor of Communication, Journalism and Related Programs from Newcastle University.
Gordon Maxwell - Director
Operations Manager, Belmont 16's
A native of Scotland, Gordon has been involved with tourism for over 30 years and has previously sat on a number of Tourism Boards both here and in the U.K.
He holds the position of Operations Manager at the Belmont 16ft Sailing Club, this following General Manager & Regional General Manager roles in the U.K & Hunter region & a Director of Sales & Marketing role at Hunter Valley Gardens.
He is a passionate advocate of the visitor economy & all that it brings to the region in terms of employment & amenities for the local population.
Bob worked for QBE Insurance for 37 years in various management roles at Adelaide, Wollongong, Port Moresby, Port Vila, Newcastle and Sydney.
Currently a Director of Rapid Solutions and Business Growth Centre, Bob has been involved with other NFP Boards, Newcastle Community Transport, Hunter Community College and Wheeling & Able.
An Honorary member of Newcastle Rotary Club, having served as President on 2 occasions, he is interested in community events.