Board Profiles

The Board of Commerce Ballarat is elected from within the membership and are highly experienced people.

Together they represent of a diverse range of industry sectors and combine a wealth of local knowledge, expertise and ambition for Ballarat and the region.

Our Board Members



Nick Thurlbeck
PFD Food Services

Nick has schooled and resided in Ballarat his whole life, however has spent most of his working career in Australian capital cities. For the last 4 years, he has been proudly working in Ballarat and enjoying every minute of it. Nick currently operates a significant regional business with 100 employees, across 3 sites in Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo. At 37 years of age, he brings insight and genuine understanding of Gen-X and Gen-Y business proprietors and their staff. With demonstrated success in varying roles across private business / public companies, as well as proven ability across multiple verticals including import & distribution, building products, and FMCG / foodservice, consulting, web and social media. Nick wants to contribute to the Ballarat region, its economic growth, and most importantly to promote local business.




Vice Chair

Hayley Coates
BJT Legal

Hayley is a business lawyer and Director at BJT Legal with a focus on commercial property and agribusiness. She is excited by the opportunities available in Ballarat and aims to assist the local business community to thrive. As a mum of two little boys, Hayley has no spare time.






Jamie Lockett
Findex Ballarat

Jamie is passionate about Ballarat and passionate about business. He is a principal at Findex Ballarat, and has qualifications as a chartered accountant and financial planner.  He has 25 years experience assisting small and medium businesses with their accounting, wealth creation and tax minimisation strategies. 



James Robson



James Robson 
On Tap Liquor Consulting & EDQ Town Planning

James is a dedicated small business owner being Principal Consultant and Director of both On Tap Liquor Consulting and EDQ Town Planning. He commenced his business journey in 2013 after holding a range of public sector roles across both state and local government with positions largely focussed on law enforcement and compliance activities across business. Having grown up in Ballarat, James attended primary and high school in the region and is a graduate of the Federation University Business School having completed his business degree in 2012. He has also since completed a post graduate masters degree in Town Planning through Deakin University. Although limited, James spends his spare time with his wife and two young daughters.




Cr Jim Rinaldi
City of Ballarat South Ward

Cr Rinaldi is self-employed. Having worked in a number of small businesses in recent years he brings strong financial skills to his role as Councillor, and a clear sense of the type of support required to sustain and encourage Ballarat’s small business sector.

Cr Rinaldi’s upbringing on a farm in Warrenheip has given him an intimate understanding of the changing and complex needs of the rural and agricultural areas of the municipality

An active and talented sportsman and an experienced coach, Cr Rinaldi has a focus on the continued improvement of sporting and recreational facilities in Ballarat. He believes Council should continue to work to maximise opportunities for residents to participate in a range of recreational activities; and that healthy and connected communities are the result.





Rebekah Foster 
Central Highlands Water

Growing up in a family owned Ballarat business for over 30 years, Rebekah has a strong understanding of the daily challenges our local retailers face equally balanced with firsthand experience of the satisfaction and incredible sense of achievement that comes with being a sole trader in our community. This together with extensive Local and State Government experience drives Rebekah’s passion for our beautiful city by nurturing its sense of identity to grow into a place of innovation and creativity while servicing our community and its visitors.
Susan Honeyman


Susan Honeyman
Honeyman & Paton

Susan moved to Ballarat in 1995, after growing up in Stawell where her parents operated a small business for 45 years. She has spent the past 23 years working in the manufacturing industry, until her recent appointment as the People and Culture Partner at ESTA Ballarat.

She holds graduate qualifications in both Business and Psychotherapy and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

She has a solid understanding of the challenges faced by the business community and over the years has been an active volunteer on a number of Industry Associations, Committees, Boards and Steering Groups as she has pursued her passion to make a positive contribution to the sustainability and growth of the local business sector.

She looks forward to sharing the skills and knowledge she has gained working locally, internationally and in both the private, public and corporate sectors and to the opportunity to expand her networks and to build new collaborative relationships.


Alicia Linley


Alicia Linley
Mitchell Harris

Alicia Linley is a Managing Director at Mitchell Harris Wines and has overseen the business excel from the startup phase to now. Through sound financial management and business development she has been able to elevate Mitchell Harris from more than just a winemaker and hospitality venue, into a genuine tourism destination for Ballarat. Alicia was recently named as a Victorian finalist for the 2019 Telstra Business Women’s Awards. 



Rob Croucher
GROW Ballarat

Rob is currently working as the Project Manager for GROW Ballarat, which is a Victorian Government Initiative aimed at increasing employment opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers. This position follows an eight-year career in recruitment, working in London, Hong Kong and Melbourne. Rob also set up and ran a UK registered charity (Edtaf) that provided local University scholarships to young men and women from Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Rob is particularly passionate about ensuring there is effective collaboration between the private and public sectors as we seek to maximise economic and social outcomes for both individuals and businesses located in Ballarat.

Rob first moved to Australia in 2015 after having met his wife Phoebe in London who was returning to Ballarat. They are now married and are expecting their second child in October 2020.



Fiona Murphy
Ballarat Health Services

Fiona is locally employed in the healthcare sector, with over 20 years’ experience in Human Resources and has a passion for building leadership capability.  She has worked for a variety of organisations, including large corporates, not-for-profits and public health; which has given her lots of different experiences and perspectives.  In addition to this, her husband is a local business owner, so she also has first-hand experience of the challenges for local small business operators.  

Although not born and bred in Ballarat, Fiona has been part of the Ballarat community for 5 years, and in that time has seen exciting change and progress and sees an exciting future for Ballarat and a future she wants to contribute to.