Meet your new Executive Team

Posted: 20 October 2023

Meet your new Executive Team

Dear Members,

It is with a deep sense of honour and responsibility that I begin my term as the 68th president of the Townsville Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber is not built upon an individual but on the collective effort of a special group of volunteers, partners, supporters, and advocates, who, with unwavering dedication, have contributed to our continued success.

At our AGM this week Kevin Booth from NQAV became Deputy President and we welcomed Megan Colwell from First Things First Wellness Centre to the board. 

I would like to acknowledge our immediate past President Michael Falconieri, Partner at Wilson Ryan Grose who left the board after 12 years of service, Damien Keyes from Keyes and Co for his time on the board, Chris Rockemer who now moves to Immediate Past President, for his commitment to the chamber over many years, and to Ross McLennan who has been acting CEO in recent times. 

Although my commitment to the Chamber over the last couple of months has meant significantly fewer billable hours in my own business the Australian Impact Group and Cyber Sense, I have gained a strong sense of excitement for what can be achieved over the next two years.

Reflecting on my own business journey, it's been a whirlwind of experiences spanning three decades in business in IT, cyber security, and digital transformation. I recall the initial days of my career at AIMS and Price Waterhouse (PVW as it is now).  I left Townsville at the young age of 20 for many years to pursue business opportunities in Sydney, Melbourne and overseas. A couple of businesses sold, an IPO, more than one month worrying where payroll was coming from, dam payroll tax. When my first daughter was starting high school, I returned to Townsville and one of my first and foremost steps was to reacquaint myself with this chamber. 

The Townsville Chamber of Commerce represents more than just coffee and casual chats. It is about forging real, deep connections. It's not merely about networking; it's about networks. It's about knowing who to call when challenges arise or when you seek a word of advice.  Being truly apolitical, our stance allows us to function as an independent voice, ensuring genuine representation without bias. 

As the capital of Northern Australia, Townsville stands on the precipice of unprecedented opportunities. The horizon provides prospects in emerging sectors such as critical minerals, advanced manufacturing renewable energies, sports, and simulation, complemented by the sustained growth in traditional areas such as health, education, defence and tourism. Yet, the path ahead is not without its hurdles – from workforce availability, escalating costs, youth crime housing challenges and affordable travel connecting regional areas we have a lot to work on. 

I pledge that the Townsville Chamber of Commerce will stand steadfast in representing our members. We'll advocate relentlessly, address challenges head-on, and collaborate with all levels of government. Together, we'll harness the immense potential our region holds, laying the groundwork for a future brimming with opportunities for our coming generations. 

There's an adage I often reflect upon: "If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together. At our AGM it was my pleasure to announce the appointment of our new CEO, Heidi Turner. 

Many of you will already know Heidi, she is well-connected having operated a marketing business in our region for over 14 years. She has consulted, coached, and advised hundreds of organisations across many industries during that time and is well known for hosting innovative events that bring people together. 

It was clear during the recruitment process that Heidi matches my passion and vision for the role that the Chamber plays in maximising opportunities for our business community. And so it is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to forging a collaborative partnership with Heidi and the entire board ensuring that together, we steer our Chamber towards greater heights and achievements for the benefit of all members.

As we embark on this new chapter, let us remember the power of unity, collaboration, and mutual support. Together, as a chamber, as a community, we will not only reach new heights but also ensure that the legacy of this organization continues to thrive for years to come.

Thank you for entrusting me with this role. I am committed to serving you all, and I look forward to our shared success.

Miranda Mears