Who We Are

Established in 2013, the Committee for Greater Shepparton (C4GS) is a not-for-profit, member-funded advocacy organisation.

The cross-sectoral network represents more than 120 influential businesses, community organisations and statutory authorities.

As an informed commentator and credible advocate, the Board and Executive Team behind the brand represent the economic, social, environmental and cultural interests of the region.

Working as an impartial peak business and community group, the framework creates a think tank, uniting Greater Shepparton business leaders.

Guided by four strategic pillars, the C4GS drives the vision for a positive future.

Our Board

Our Board and Executive Team drive and deliver the strategic outcomes for the Committee for Greater Shepparton.

046 Committee for greater Shepparton 1-3-22

Leigh Findlay

Board Chair

Leigh is a Director of Shepparton based engineering firm CAF Consulting employing over 30 people.

Leigh grew up in Shepparton before leaving to study Civil Engineering at Monash University and worked across various civil infrastructure development projects in Melbourne. In pursuit of large-scale project experience five years was spent in the United Kingdom on Motorway and Airport Development – notably Terminal 5 Heathrow which bought him back to Melbourne Airport where he led various landside and airside development projects for APAM. Project Finance was key to infrastructure development which led Leigh into further studies and an investment banking role with Citigroup.

An opportunity to come home to Shepparton and join the family business presented in 2009, which Leigh initially committed to for 2 years. The work and lifestyle opportunities were too good to pass up in Greater Shepparton where Leigh and his family have immersed for the long term where he plays an active role in the community, holding positions on various community industry and community groups including Committee for Greater Shepparton and the Shepparton Festival.

029 Committee for greater Shepparton 1-3-22

Sarah Thomson

Deputy Chair

Sarah Thomson is the General Manager of Commercial (Chief Financial Officer) for Goulburn Valley Water.

She moved to Shepparton in 2017 and has been delighted about the community she found here. She passionate about ensuring that the region is prosperous, a terrific place to live and continuing the culture of strong, diverse and inclusive leadership in our community.

Sarah started her career at Deloitte and has worked for Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation, World Vision, Burnet Medical Research Institute and most recently WaterAid Australia. Sarah is currently a Board Member of THREE (Towards Human Rights for Everyone Everywhere) Foundation and was previously an Audit Committee member at the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre. Sarah is a Chartered Accountant, she has Bachelor of Economics and Asian Studies (Australian National University) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

031 Committee for greater Shepparton 1-3-22

Lesley Hart


Lesley is a principal lawyer and director of Dawes & Vary Riordan Lawyers. She was one of the inaugural Law Institute of Victoria Commercial Tenancy Law Specialists (1999-2015). She heads the firm's Property and Retail Leasing Group and practices extensively in Commercial and Agricultural property transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and property related Water Law issues. Lesley's advises high wealth individuals, property developers, business owners, agriculturalists and government bodies. She also plays a key role in the management of the law firm.

After five years the pull of a country lifestyle brought them to Shepparton where they purchased and developed an irrigated croppingfarm in their spare time while working as lawyers. They love the rich and varied lifestyle they now live.

Lesley's commitmment to the region and keen sense of community has seen her serving in many roles including currently as Chair of the Committee for Greater Shepparton, as a community representative on the Goulburn Valley Highway Bypass Action Group and as a co-ordinator of Dawes & Vary Riordan's volunteering and scholarship program with Wilmot Road Primary School.

Lesley has a Bachelor of Arts (English), Bachelor of Law, Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (College of Law NSW) and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (UTS). She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jane Macey

Jane Macey

With a passion for rural and regional development, Jane enjoys her current position as Principal town planner with Spiire in Shepparton. Jane forms part of the consultant team at Spiire, assisting in a wide variety of land development projects and strategic land use assessments. She also oversees the business’ Town Planning and Urban Design Practice Area across Spiire’s six offices.

Prior to Shepparton Jane lived and worked in Melbourne, where she was born, Bendigo and Mornington Peninsula, as well as internationally in Dublin, Ireland. Jane now lives with her husband Damian on their family dairy farm near Cobram, along with their three daughters. Jane enjoys being part of the local community and actively participates on the St Joseph’s Cobram Primary School Advisory Board and with the Cobram Junior Tennis Association.

Jane was also part of the 2018 Fairley Leadership Program cohort. As part of the C4GS she looks forward to advocating for progress and positive recognition of what our local area has to offer.


Andrew Mann

Andrew Mann is the General Manager - Australian Operations for AC Foods. He is responsible for the operations of the Australian business including growing, packing and sales.

Andrew moved back to Shepparton in 2008 with Rabobank, after having studied a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Melbourne University at Dookie College and then working with National Australia Bank in Shepparton.

He joined AC Foods in 2019 to project manage the development of a 500 ha citrus orchard at Barooga along with Investor management.

Andrew is currently a board member of Murray Dairy and was previously a board member of GMLLEN. He has also lectured in Agriculture at La Trobe University in Shepparton.

He was part of the 2014 Fairley Leadership Program cohort. Andrew is passionate about careers and opportunities in agriculture in our region and the flow on effects to communities that this creates.



123 Committee for greater Shepparton 1-3-22

Damion O'Callaghan

Damion is Managing Director of CPE Construction in Cobram and Guthrie McGoldrick Consulting Engineers based in Shepparton.

Damion grew up in a farming family in Ouyen (Northern Victoria) before completing a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the University of Melbourne. After several years working in construction project management in Melbourne and other regional areas of Australia, Damion purchased CPE Construction in Cobram in 2003, he has managed the business since that time.

Damion’s wife, Natasha grew up in a farming family in Shepparton, before shifting away from the area for education and work. The couple now live in Shepparton with their three young children. Natasha owns and operates a local business in the healthcare industry.

Damion enjoys community involvement including previously being President of the Grahamvale Primary School Council and currently on the Shepparton Junior Tennis Association Committee. One of Damion’s passions is helping develop career opportunities for young trades and professionals in the Goulburn Valley region.

131 Committee for greater Shepparton 1-3-22

Sönke Tremper

Sönke Tremper is the co-founder and director of Giz A Break Limited, a registered charity that wraps health promotion into an off-road touring format. He is also the owner of Primary Projects Pty Ltd, a management consultancy that focusses on partnering with community and healthcare organisations.

He is passionate about combining his governance, population health and business management skills to achieve sustained benefits for our community. Sönke is a non-executive Director of Murray City Country Coast GP Training and volunteers his time as the chair of Goulburn Valley Medical Workforce Fund.

He is a graduate of  the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds tertiary qualifications in public health and commerce.

He lives in Dookie with his wife Louise and children Anneliese and Johan. In his free time, Sönke loves off-road touring with his family and friends.

Executive Team

Linda Nieuwenhuizen 800x1000

Linda Nieuwenhuizen

Chief Executive Officer

Linda commenced as CEO of the Committee for Greater Shepparton in February 2022.

Linda moved to Melbourne in 1990 for university and started her career with Australian Wheat Board as an economist working in on a wide range of international trade and domestic policy issues. The desire to travel saw Linda relocate to the UK working in financial services with Zurich International. Linda returned to Melbourne in 2000 where she took on roles with South East Water and then with CPA Australia in its policy and advocacy areas in tax, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.

In 2007, Linda, her husband Paul and their pre-school children relocated to Shepparton to be closer to Linda’s  family’s dairy farms at Boosey, and Linda took on a Senior Communications and Stakeholder Relations roles with Goulburn Murray Water, Manager of Governance and Communications with Moira Shire Council, and most recently was Head of Communications and Future Business with Apple and Pear Australia. In 2016, Linda was appointed to the Board of Goulburn Valley Water and is currently the deputy Chair.

Linda has a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) from University of Melbourne, Graduate Diplomas in Agribusiness (Monash University) and Corporations and Securities Law (University of Melbourne) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Fairley Leadership Program (2014) and International Association of Public Participation (IAP2).

Linda’s husband, Paul works in logistics at SPC and together they continue to enjoy the regional lifestyle while supporting the sporting and other aspirations of their three children.

Linda is passionate about the careers, opportunities and ongoing innovation within Australian agriculture, and the dynamic, progressive and resilient regional communities, businesses and economies they create.

Jodie Fleming Profile Photo

Jodie Fleming

Stakeholder Relationship Manager

Jodie has predominantly worked as a journalist for the past 28 years in all aspects of the media including print, radio and television.

Before moving to the Greater Shepparton region in 2009, Jodie worked at credit rating’s agency Standard & Poor’s as an editorial manager, a free lance reporter on Optus Vision and editor of industry newsletters The Insurance Record and HR Benchmarking.

She was the editor of the North East and Goulburn Murray Farmer and Southern Farmer newspapers for four years before becoming a reporter on WIN News in Shepparton.

Jodie was most recently the Senior Media and Communications Advisor at GV Health for the past three and a half years where she led all communications for the health service and the community during COVID 19.

She was appointed as Stakeholder Relationship Manager for the Committee for Greater Shepparton in December 2020.

She has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Journalism from Deakin University and graduated from the Fairley Leadership Program in 2020.

She is passionate about community leadership and has held many leadership positions in the Dookie community including President of the Dookie Primary School Council for seven years and committee member, coach and umpire at Dookie United Football Netball Club for nine years.