About / Our People

Our People

Be.Bendigo exists to provide a range of information, support and programs to assist, develop and grow our broader business community. We are member based organisation with a commitment to developing our business so that we can continue to add value for our members, partners and stakeholders.


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Nick Carter,
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

Nick has spent over 20 years in the Banking Industry with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Leading in many parts of the sector, Nick has wide-ranging experience in most disciplines of banking and leading large-scale businesses and transformation programs.

Nick led the bank’s Retail Banking division and Community Banking network for five and a half years, growing this business significantly as well as working through a large-scale productivity transformation during the COVID period.

It is from here, that in the early part of 2022, Nick stepped into the role of General Manager, Digital for the group. Much of the last 18 months have been spent on building a BEN Digital strategy, designing a new operating model that will take BEN on a path to a more modernised digital bank, and assisting Up/Ferocia in transitioning formally into BEN post the group acquisition in Sep 2021.

Nick is a passionate leader of people, and whilst customers and partnerships are the central vehicle to shared success, people create and enable this to happen.

Nick believes with this formula, and the balance of a shared value profit and purpose-driven culture, organisations, businesses, and teams can be great!

Outside the banking arena, Nick has been involved in a number of private investments in the hotel industry and has successfully grown hospitality businesses in both Melbourne and regional centres. Alongside this, he has actively been involved in a number of community-based Boards and Councils and is currently the Chair of Be.Bendigo.  

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Eve Ritchens,
Eve Digital

Eve is a marketing and communications professional who has lived in Bendigo for 12 years, calling it home after moving here for university.

Backed with a degree in strategic communications, her background includes a digital marketing agency, a professional services firm and most recently marketing manager at Red Energy Arena until taking the leap into self-employment.

In 2023 Eve started Eve Digital, a marketing and communications agency that works with businesses to elevate their brand in a professional yet creative way.

In addition to serving as Deputy Chair for Be.Bendigo, she serves as Director and Treasurer for The Skill Engineer, a not-for-profit running programs for young people to ensure equal education opportunities in regional areas including Wangaratta VIC, Central Coast NSW and Broome WA.


She has been involved with Bendigo Young Professionals Network for some years now and encourages local businesses to get their younger team members involved. 

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Lachlan Edwards,
O’Farrell Robertson McMahon

Lachlan was appointed as a casual board director in July 2023.

Lachlan is an experienced commercial lawyer, a director at O’Farrell Robertson McMahon Lawyers in Bendigo and company secretary of Red Energy Arena (Bendigo Stadium). Lachlan has a passion for working with Bendigo businesses to help them succeed and has a background working with not-for-profits in the community sector.

Lachlan grew up in the NSW Riverina and after finishing university in Melbourne, saw Bendigo as a regional city with the most potential for growth and personal fulfilment. Lachlan and his family chose Bendigo as their home in 2019, and as a young professional has since benefited from developing his professional skills through Be.Bendigo’s programmes – the Rob Hunt Leadership project, Mentor Programme, partner breakfasts and many after 5’s.

Professional Qualifications & Admissions

2011 – Admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court

Bachelor of Laws, La Trobe University

Bachelor of Media Studies (Journalism), La Trobe University 

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Michael McKern,
McKern Steel

My business – McKern Steel – is a family setup that has been located in Eaglehawk since 1976. In 1992 we changed the focus of the business to become more of a steel fabricator. In that time, we have become the largest supplier of structural steel to the largest residential builders in Victoria.

We are located over 3 sites in Eaglehawk and currently employ around 80 local people in a variety of roles including welding, production, transport and administration.

Over the next few years, we are targeting further growth and employment numbers as our sector grows across the state.

We also have set up our own Foundation which supports a variety of organisations with the main criteria being youth and healthy and active programs.


Our school fruit program is the largest in the region supplying fresh fruit to most schools in the COGB and supporting over 10,000 school kids weekly. We also sponsor numerous other initiatives including the Children’s ward at the hospital, the junior golf program at Bendigo Golf Club and provide scholarships for the Bendigo Sport star’s future athletes.


Damien Palmer,
AFS & Associates Chartered Accountants

Damien is a Partner at AFS Chartered Accountants, one of the largest accounting and advisory firms in regional Victoria. Damien has over 20 years of experience in providing advice to businesses.

Damien is a Chartered Accountant, Registered Tax Agent and Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Damien joined AFS after working with EY (Ernst & Young), Melbourne as a Senior Consultant in its Corporate Tax division, and prior to that, with HLB Mann Judd, Melbourne as an Accountant within its Business Services division.

Damien advises his clients in relation to a range of matters including tax, business management, structuring and restructuring, business sales and purchases, valuations and succession planning.

To help support his community, as well as being a Director of Be.Bendigo, Damien is Council Member and Treasurer of School Council for Bendigo South East College, and Council Member, President and Treasurer of School Council for Kennington Primary School. 


Lauren McLean,
Coliban Water

Lauren has over 25 years of experience in the communications and media sectors, with a strong focus on strategic corporate communications, media relations, incident communications and customer, community and stakeholder relations., with 19 years of experience in the water industry.

Working as an Executive at Coliban Water, Lauren leads accountabilities that include corporate communications, community relations, customer support and experience – including digital platforms and products, development services and stakeholder initiatives.

Lauren is a passionate advocate for customers and supporting communities; understanding the importance of building strong relationships and ensuring the best possible experience when engaging with Coliban Water.

Lauren holds a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Management (Mktg), Diploma in Project Management and a Certificate in Public Participation, Community Engagement (IAP2). 


Hayley Tibbett,
Indulge Chocolates

Hayley is the owner and founder of Indulge Fine Belgian Chocolates which she established in December 2008.

Hayley has worked previously within the fitness, finance and insurance industries which has provided her with a much varied prospective on business.

Her experience gained over the past 20 years of involvement in the food manufacturing and retail sectors in Bendigo, combined with her passion for hospitality and tourism, has given her a unique insight which she brings to Be.Bendigo.

Hayley believes that there is room for all types of businesses to network and collaborate in Bendigo and surrounds to make our region stronger and to provide a unique experience for all in area.

Casual Director

Cameron Olsen,
Bendigo Health

Cameron Olsen leads the Finance and Resources division of Bendigo Health.

Cameron has worked in the health sector for a number of years, holding executive roles in other health services within the Loddon Mallee region before joining Bendigo Health in 2021. 

Cameron is a Chartered Accountant with significant experience in financial management and corporate services as well as risk and compliance.  He has led many large capital projects provided through both state and federal funding.

Prior to joining the health industry Cameron was an auditor responsible for various large-scale government industry audits including public hospitals.  He is currently working on the final stages of completing a Master of Business Administration.

Cameron holds a Bachelor of Accounting, a Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting (GradDipCA) and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA).


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Rob Herbert

Rob commenced as CEO at Be.Bendigo in February 2022, having previously held Senior Business Management roles in a career spanning 35 years in the Finance Sector.

Well-known to the Greater Bendigo business community, Rob has supported thousands of business owners and operators via mainstream business banking and specialist services to the Pharmaceutical and Aged Accommodation sectors.

Rob has seen a lot of change whilst leading teams across local, regional, state and national jurisdictions.

Rob enjoys connecting with local businesses and stakeholders to best understand their needs and how Be.Bendigo can advocate for better business outcomes, in order to make our community a great place to live and work.

Outside of work, Rob has 4 adult children and has had a long association with a number of community and sporting groups across Regional Victoria. Rob is currently a Director of the Bendigo Junior Football League and Life Member of the Strathfieldsaye Cricket Club.

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Josh DeAraugo

Josh has oversight of the Bendigo Business Excellence Awards along with our external event partner, Tough Cookie Marketing/Lost Cause Events.

In addition to this, Josh takes care of the communication and marketing  for Be.Bendigo.
Working with members, partners and external stakeholders to promote local business happenings along with Be.Bendigo messaging. 

As part of our communications, Josh puts together our Annual Report and other internal documents.

Josh also organises and oversees our events.
This includes our After 5’s, Partner breakfasts and any other special events.

Outside of work, Josh is a musician who regularly performs on weekends.

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Member Marketing Manager

Tiffany Gil

As a Member Marketing Coordinator at Be.Bendigo, Tiffany passionately oversees membership growth and executes dynamic marketing strategies across social media and our website.

Tiffany also works on various engaging projects, such as our Be.Bendigo podcast initiative, the Bendigo Business Stories podcast.

Tiffany thrives in enhancing brand visibility and fostering community engagement to expand our Bendigo Business Community reach and influence.

Outside of work, Tiffany volunteers with Zonta Bendigo an organisation close to her heart advocating for a better world for women and girls, teaches French once a week, listens to lots of podcasts and loves going away to discover new places on the weekend.

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Rob Stephenson

Rob’s role encompasses development of Be.Bendigo advocacy positions in response to member issues and analysis of government policy and data. He is also responsible for Media-related communications, development of proposals, submissions and advocacy papers, and seeking external grants to facilitate development and support programs.

Rob is a qualified accountant, with broad experience during more than thirty five years employed in professional roles in Bendigo. His roles have included public accounting, non-bank finance and member-service sectors, and university management.

He is involved in a range of Community Boards and organisations, with a focus on Leadership Development, Learning and Education and Governance and Risk Management.

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Alisha Kent

Alisha takes care of all the administrative needs of Be.Bendigo including board and committee minutes, Payroll, Invoicing and general day-to-day tasks.

Alisha also oversees the Rob Hunt Leadership program and the Mentor/Mentee program.

Outside of work Alisha runs her own children’s party business, is involved in community groups and loves her indoor plant collection.


Get an insight into the driving ideals behind Be.Bendigo. 


These are what we focus on and aim for.

To Engage, Collaborate and Advocate.


The Bendigo Chamber of Commerce and Industry was constituted in 1886 with the vision to be the single voice of the business community for the City of Greater Bendigo.


Be.Bendigo drives connections, developing leadership and business capacity for a stronger community and more prosperous local economy.


Each year Be.Bendigo publishes its Annual Report, outlining the organisation’s performance during the financial year in review.