About us

Our Board

The Business Hunter Board guides and oversees the activities of the organisation. Board members are drawn from a diverse range of businesses and industries across the region, contributing a wealth of insight and experience. 

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Lauren Eyles

President

Lauren Eyles is an MBA-qualified Executive with a passion for growing businesses, people and communities. A qualified coach, she empowers leaders and teams to connect with their purpose and design and achieve compelling goals. Lauren has held executive leadership roles across the tourism, ports and utilities sectors through times of transformation. She has led communication and established strong stakeholder relationships across New South Wales, gaining support for organisational strategies and ESG initiatives. She holds an MBA (Distinction), qualifications in project management, coaching and change management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Glenn Thornton

Senior Vice President

Glenn Thornton is the General Manager, Northern NSW at TSA Management. Having recently worked at the Port of Newcastle and overseen the development of a masterplan for the proposed Container Terminal, Glenn has decades of experience running projects and organisations in the Hunter region and across Australia. His professional career has included infrastructure work in the transport, energy, water and environment sectors in both project management and project advisory roles. Glenn is passionate about the Hunter region and looks forward to making a strong contribution in the business and general community. 

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Holly Martin

Vice President

Holly Martin is a successful and practiced marketing expert with almost two decades of experience helping companies and professionals to become more engaging to their audiences through effective marketing. She runs a successful boutique marketing business, The Marketing GP, that has helped startups, small businesses, family businesses and multi-nationals seeking to lead their industry. She is a past President (2018) of Newcastle Business Club, and has board experience across a range of not-for-profit organisations such as the Hunter Academy of Sport, ConnectAbility and Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation. Holly is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.      

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Tony Rhodes

Immediate Past President

Tony Rhodes is the owner and CEO of Mullane Group, which provides a range of trades services. Tony began his plumbing apprenticeship with H.L Mullane at the age of 15 and bought the company from the Mullane family 20 years later, after working through management and leadership roles. Tony is also a founder and part-owner of Prophase, an electrical contracting company, and The Mullane Foundation, a registered charity providing hands-on help in communities without access to clean water, sanitation, shelter or electricity. He is a past president of both Newcastle Rotary Club and Newcastle Master Builders Association and has served on advisory boards for SIDS and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.   

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Hennie du Plooy

Director

Hennie du Plooy is the Chief Executive Officer of Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) and was Hunter Business Chamber President from 2018-2020.  Hennie has led PWCS through periods of strong growth and expansion as well as a material downturn in the coal industry requiring adaptability to cost pressures and customer demand for efficiencies. Hennie’s key interest is advancing the mutually beneficial relationship between local business and the Hunter community. Having a strong track record of positive community engagement, his contribution to Business Hunter has been to focus on how current strengths can be leveraged in the interest of sustainable economic growth that improves all aspects of the region's wellbeing. 

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Natalie Mitchell

Director

Natalie Mitchell is the Business NSW representative on the Business Hunter board and a director of both organisations. A Commerce graduate, Natalie is the founder of Capital Office Business Solutions, which provides advisory services to businesses in regional New South Wales. Her career in business management includes accounting and finance roles with Arthur Andersen, AGL and Dairy Farmers and leading sales and software design and implementation teams in Tokyo, Singapore and Chicago. Natalie is passionate about promoting and developing businesses in regional Australia and chaired Business NSW’s Regional Presidents’ Forum. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors   

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Peter Lawrence

Director 

Peter Lawrence has been working in the accounting profession since 2004, advising private and family owned businesses in the Hunter. As a Partner at Pitcher Partners, Peter is passionate about supporting businesses to take a holistic view and plan for long term, sustained success.. Peter’s experience spans a number of industries including property, construction, infrastructure, telecommunications, retail, hospitality and health.  A key area of interest for Peter is addressing the skills shortage which is impacting every industry in the current environment.

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Seamus Burke

Director

Seamus Burke is a partner of Sparke Helmore, a national law firm which started in Newcastle in 1882 and now has more than 870 people in nine offices around Australia, including Newcastle and Muswellbrook. Seamus is part of the Workplace Group where he advises employer clients in relation to all aspects of the employment relationship, including employment law, industrial relations and safety. Seamus grew up in Newcastle before spending time working in Sydney and London. He has a specific interest is the provision of equal employment opportunities within local businesses to maximise the potential of our home-grown talent for the future of the Hunter region.

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Ashleigh John

Director

Ashleigh John is a Solicitor and Director at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors and chairs its Board.  Ashleigh graduated from the AICD Company Directors course in 2021 andhas a particular interest in supporting SMEs in Newcastle and the Hunter, particularly following the disruptions and challenges of 2020 and 2021.  As a casual academic at the University of Newcastle, Ashleigh is also passionate about maximising the advantage of the links between the University and the local business community and drawing on the international reputation of the University for the benefit of businesses in the region.

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Genelle Scotts

Director

Genelle Scotts is the Business Support Officer at Bengalla Mining Company and is a deeply dedicated Community Relations Professional with a stellar record of successful outreach to a wide variety of community demographics. As Secretary of the Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce, Genelle is passionate and active in assisting to improve and strengthen the local business environment and promoting the interests of the local business community. Genelle’s focus as a board member is to strengthen the communication and relationships between the local Chambers of Commerce and Business Hunter.