BOARD

Our Board

We initiate informative business seminars and networking events. These events allow interaction with other local business owners and often feature guest speakers in areas such as leadership, business development, marketing, motivation and OH&S, which help support and encourage our members in their business.

2023 board of directors

Carisa Wells

Chair

Carisa Wells is the CEO and Director of Regional Development of Regional Development Australia – Southern Inland and the Boss Lady at Unconditional Pty Ltd. Having relocated from Sydney in 2017 and with a background in business management and expansion, strategic planning, marketing and sales across industries such as health, retail, hospitality, and fashion she has quickly become part of the business community in the region. 

Carisa knows how to build strong relationships quickly and has the uncanny ability to make connections at exactly the right time. She is a master networker, with extensive government, industry and community relationships, is an excellent communicator, and experienced board member. Carisa is a mother, author, public speaker, animal, arts and culture lover.

Growing up in Goulburn, Carisa saw Bowral as being an aspirational place to live. Bringing her daughter and chihuahua to the Southern Highlands and laying down roots is a dream come true. She is completely obsessed with the region and feels truly blessed to be in a position to assist with the economic and social development of the most beautiful place on earth. 

Debra Blackah

Finance Director

I am a Chartered Accountant, and have been a principal at Oxley Partners in Bowral for over fifteen years. I provide a holistic service from accounting, taxation planning and finance needs and fulfill the Aged Care and Estate Planning advisory role for the practice.

On a personal note I am supported by my partner Ian Thorp and have one daughter, but very much care for all my Oxley family.

My enthusiasm in supporting other local charities like Wingecarribee Vocal Muster is one of my passions in life. In the past I have owned a golf driving range for 17 years and completed in the Australian Rally Championships and more recently have been involved in the Takata Airbag recovery program throughout Australia.

 

Aaron Thorp

Data and Digital Director

Aaron Thorp has been working with computers for nearly 30 years with experience in many disciplines from software, apps, and web design and development, networking and hardware, to robotics, 3D printing and IoT. He also provides consulting services helping to bridge the gap between owners and their IT contractor’s “tech speak” as well as helping them to evaluate and understand and manage the technical requirements in their business including designing and implementing Automation and AI tools.

Aaron achieved a Bachelor of Information Technology from Western Sydney University in 2005 and has grown several successful businesses. He continues to support these businesses through his role as a director and senior developer of ADEN Works (Business Management Software).

Neville Hesford

Director

Neville Hesford is a Bowral lawyer and Managing Director of the Stacks Southern Highlands office. He has experience in commercial transactions and leasing, property law, wills, and deceased estates.

Neville provides comprehensive advice to clients giving them options for their circumstances, so they can make informed decisions. He is known for his timely advice when clients need it most. Neville has acted for property developers, including for vacant land and staged strata projects.

Neville is an efficient worker who takes a holistic approach to his clients’ affairs and identifies any areas of legal exposure. He is an active member of the local legal community and serves on the committee of each of the Berrima District and Southern Tablelands Law Societies. When he is not at work, Neville enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, participating in his church and his local table tennis and soccer sports groups.

Ross Muller

Membership Director

Ross was raised in the Southern Highlands, before leaving to attend university. He has worked in financial services and as a financial adviser for over 12 years. This has included time working for large superannuation funds and in the banking sector.


Returning to the Southern Highlands in early 2021, he opted for a career change and started his own tourism business “Vino Rosso Tours”. Vino Rosso Tours provides Food and Wine Tours around the Southern Highlands.


Ross also sits on the Wingecarribee Shire Council Economic Reference Panel. He lives in Burrawang and sits on several local committees (including the Burrawang Easter Market Committee).


He is passionate about the Southern Highlands and loves to share the fantastic businesses, experiences and locations with people as they visit the region. Ross joined the board of Business Southern Highlands to help make our region a great place to work and visit.