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.

2022 board of directors

Carisa Wells


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.


Kate Ingham

Strategy and Policy Director

Kate has a background in the media industry, government and innovation advisory. She established Ki Media to offer path to money solutions for business, government and creative projects. She is a specialist in grants, tenders, feasibility studies and equity capital raising, having attracted resources for Telcos, Councils, Regional Development Australia, and numerous small businesses. Kate is also the principal of digital agency Seller Central Setup.

Kate’s passion is to facilitate the Southern Highlands diversifying its economic base, whilst maintaining the green between and lifestyle factors that make us love the region.


Shane Wellings

Co-Membership Director

While still at school Shane started his working career at Woolworths, developing a good work ethic and retail skills.

After completing school in 1987 Shane moved into a career in the heavy construction industry at Caltex Oil Refinery in Sydney.

In 1989 Shane commenced studies in Psychology, while at the same time working in several industries including hospitality, packing shelves, service station attendant all providing sales skills which are now used in is role with Action Hire.

Shane offers a wealth of knowledge to the chamber board and members.


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.

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).

Since 2018 Aaron has expanded his business model to include his passion for audio & visual with consulting and production services through Aaron Media Group. He also encourages the growth of youth initiatives in the Southern Highlands through The Wingecarribee Vocal Muster and is also a member of Highland FM bringing his broadcast and technical expertise to the station.


Simon Harris


Simon’s passion is Small Business – first and foremost. Applying this energy in supporting business leaders to build exceptional businesses. Simon has been presenting and coaching small businesses for over 20 years. As a former elite athlete in the National Basketball League in New Zealand as well as attaining a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Karate, Simon understands what it takes to perform at the top level.

James Fullord


James has been in the Southern Highlands since 2015, is an Associate Director for an organisational development business, has his own business management & executive coaching consultancy, and was responsible for the City+Sticks pop-up store.

In previous careers, James worked in a multinational as a national business’s General Manager and a Director of Programs & Operations for technology focused business line.  Prior to that he spent 17 years as an Infantry Officer in the British Army.

Outside work, James is the convener of Bundanoon’s Winterfest, a volunteer with the RFS and the proud ‘father’ of two miniature donkeys; (Freddie and Mr Percival).

Izabella Lane

Events Director


Mark Populin