About

Board members

Our board members bring the Victorian Chamber years of business and industry expertise from a variety of sectors.


 
Karyn Sobels

Karyn Sobels

President

Karyn Sobels was appointed President of the Victorian Chamber on 14 November 2019, following three years as Deputy President. Karyn has more than 30 years’ experience in the Retail, Telecommunications and Banking sectors.

Karyn is a founding Director of the Australian Business Growth Fund and a Board Member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where she Chairs the Economics and Industry Committee. Other Directorships include publishing company Riskinfo, the Telstra Licensee Association, University College and business advisors SKS Hub Pty.

As a business owner and Chair of Victorian Chamber’s Small Business Taskforce, she has a significant appreciation for the challenges and opportunities faced by SMEs. Karyn holds a BA, a Masters in Commercial Law and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Adrian Kloeden

Adrian Kloeden

Deputy President

Adrian Kloeden is an independent Director and Chairman. He is Chairman of the Hancock Victorian Plantations group of companies and the Aquasure group of companies. He is also a Vice President of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a Director of The Smith Family. He is a senior executive leadership coach in companies, government, the professions and NFPs.

Adrian’s management experience covers a wide variety of industries, including forestry, agribusiness, manufacturing, distribution, retail, research and development, brand management, technology, e-commerce, defence and tourism and transport. He has held CEO or leadership positions in large and small public and private companies and a government related organisation and has operated in many regions of the world.

He graduated in science from the Australian National University and holds a master’s degree in business from the London Business School. He has an Honorary Doctorate from Deakin University and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 


Don Rankin

Don Rankin

Immediate Past President

Don was one of the founding partners of Pitcher Partners and the National Chairman of the Pitcher Partners Association for 11 years.

Don sits on the board of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was its President for three years. 

With over thirty years’ experience advising private and family businesses across a broad range of industries, he specialises particularly in assisting clients in the management, growth and evolution of their business. 

Don is on the Board of listed Technology company Hansen Technologies LTD.

Don sits on the Advisory Boards of a number of large and medium private and family businesses. 


Helen Fairclough

Helen Fairclough

Helen returned to her hometown Melbourne from California to join the award-winning Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) four years ago as the Director of People, Culture and Improvement. Her role involves implementing the venue’s people and culture strategy, partnering with the business to focus on talent acquisition, talent management, and employee services as well as driving business improvement and innovation. 

Prior to MCEC, Helen was the Manager, Human Resources Strategy and Talent Management for the Downstream and Chemicals division of Chevron Corporation in San Ramon, California. 

With 30 years of experience as a HR professional, she has worked in a vast array of industries. Helen has Board level experience as a member of the Australian American Chamber Commerce Board (San Francisco, USA) and a Member of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board.  


Brian Negus

Brian Negus

Brian is the Chairman of the CICA (Collaborative ITS Consulting) Group, and the Immediate Past President, and Ambassador/Board Member of Intelligent Transport Systems Australia. He is also a Board Member of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and he holds qualifications in Civil Engineering, Transport and Traffic Engineering and Executive Management. Brian is an Ambassador for the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Brian is an experienced professional and Board member with a demonstrated track record in the transport and smart technology sectors. He was presented with the ITS Australia, Max Lay Life Time Achievement Award in 2018 and inducted into the International ITS World Congress Hall of Fame in 2019. Brian is skilled in project and business planning, transport operations management, smart technology applications, project management, and Government and stakeholder relationship management.

Brian brings over 50 years of government and private sector experience to these roles which draws on his senior management positions as General Manager, Public Policy at RACV, Deputy Director of Public Transport in Victoria, Regional Director at VicRoads and General Manager of Port Planning at the Melbourne Port Corporation.

Brian has been a member of the Rotary Club of Templestowe since 1985 and served as Club President, Assistant District Governor and Chair of the District Community Services Committee. He is currently Co-President and Director of Marketing for the Club.


Robert Van Stokrom

Robert van Stokrom

Robert was elected to the Board of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in December 2014. He is also the current Chair of the Victorian Chamber Audit & Risk Committee, and Chair of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board. Robert has also been a member of VCCI Executive Council for 17 years.

Robert is the CEO and an owner of DFP Recruitment and brings with him a wealth of experience from senior Executive roles within Listed Multinational companies and Private Industry.

Robert spent 23 years in the pharmaceutical industry, firstly in technical and logistics roles then senior Executive positions which resulted in involvement in projects in China and the Asia region. Robert then moved to manage businesses in Recruitment before becoming an owner at DFP. As the CEO of DFP for 17 years, he has grown the business through organic expansion and further acquisitions from 3 to 16 offices nationally. The firm has won several industry awards and is well recognised for its unique culture, client retention and candidate care. After the consolidation of some further acquisitions the business has recently been partially acquired by the Will International, a major Japanese listed HR firm.

Robert is a Life Fellow of the RCSA, the peak body for the recruitment and staffing industry in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, Robert was also the National President of the RCSA and a Board Director for 10 years. Robert has served as local Government councillor for the city of Knox, he is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Certified Professional of AHRI.

Robert has for 10 years chaired a young Entrepreneurs group providing coaching and mentoring for up-and-coming business stars. Robert is also a part time musician, races an Historic Touring Car, collects and repairs classic cars and enjoys his MC duties and conference presentations. Married to his wife Leonie they are parents and grandparents to many. Robert holds a Dip Business and a Grad Dip in Logistics from Monash. 


Kylie Warne

Kylie Warne

A trusted advisor, executive, Board Chair and Non-Executive Director with over 20 years experience in driving growth, bringing the voice of the customer into the boardroom and using data to drive decisions.

Kylie is independent Chair of the Regional Development Advisory Committee (RDAC), the Victorian government’s peak regional development policy advisory body and a board member of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She is particularly passionate about regional economic growth and prosperity.

Kylie founded award-winning marketing and communications consultancy, Brand Bureau, in 2006, followed by martech startup, GetSetGo, in 2018.

She brings a wealth of knowledge in transforming organisations through the power of effective governance, marketing and branding, stakeholder relationships and innovation.

Kylie was the Victorian Government’s inaugural Chair of the Barwon Regional Partnership and, prior to becoming Chair, a member of RDAC.

She’s a Life Member and the longest serving President of the Geelong Chamber of Commerce, where she served as a board director for ten years.

Kylie has also held non-executive director positions with the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Bannockburn and District Connected Communities and Volunteering Geelong.

She was a member of the Victorian Government’s Expert Advisory Panel for Rural and Regional Students and an advisory committee member of the Federal Government’s Geelong Region Jobs and Investment Taskforce.

Kylie enjoys politics, swimming, camping and, most of all, raising her two beautiful sons.


Jeremy Blackshaw

Jeremy Blackshaw

Jeremy has recently been appointed as MinterEllison's International Managing Partner. Prior to this, he headed the firm's Mergers & Acquisitions practice and was the Melbourne Office Managing Partner. 

He has extensive corporate practice, advising in multiple jurisdictions across industry sectors such as energy, infrastructure, financial services, health and consumer brands, and energy. 
 
Jeremy is a director of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chair of Linden New Art, Inc. He has lectured in takeover law and regularly presents on legal issues.


Carlene Wilson

Carlene Wilson

Carlene joined the University of Melbourne as Director, Policy and Government Relations in March 2015. Carlene has extensive experience managing corporate affairs across the corporate, government, and non-government sectors. Carlene was previously Manager Public Policy at BHP and prior to that, she spent 10 years at ANZ Banking Group as the Senior Manager Government and Regulatory Affairs. 

She has also worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Australia’s Embassy in Washington DC. Carlene began her career as a policy adviser to a number of ministers in the NSW State Government in the portfolios of health, education, youth affairs, and training. 

She has served on the Board of the Early Learning Association Australia and joined the Board of the Victorian Chamber in 2021. 

 

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