Board of Directors
CHAIR – Peter Fitzpatrick AO, AM (Mil) FSAE, GAICD, JP
Peter Fitzpatrick is widely respected and recognized for the outstanding contributions made during his professional life at the helm of two peak bodies as the Chief Executive Officer for the legal profession and the motor industry. Prior to this Peter had a distinguished 20 year military career, including service with the elite Special Air Service (SASR) Regiment as an Australian Army Officer, taking early retirement with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In 1997 he was a strategic adviser to the then Prime Minister, John Howard.
For five years he was a coach and mentor of a group of 18 high performing CEOs committed to leading profitable and effective companies. He is currently a director on eight Boards, chairing six. The boards are a mix of for profit and not for profit organizations. He is Chair of a transport company board, a start-up company in the agricultural sector, a consortium of 10 organisations operating in the youth at risk area.
He is the Chair of the Bravery Trust, a national organisation which provides financial and education support to veterans from the Navy, Army and Air Force who are in serious need and to widows and children of the fallen. He is also the Chairman of the National SAS Association and is the Chair of a new organisation that he has helped to set up to provide support to victims of domestic violence in rural and remote regions. He is an adviser and Patron to a number of other veteran and mental health organizations. He provides training as well as strategic and governance advice in the corporate sector, not for profit organisations and to the indigenous community.
He was previously a director and chair of the audit and risk committee of REMCO, the regulator for the gas industry in Western Australia. He also completed a four year Term as the Chair of the Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention and was Chair of the Waste Authority.
He facilitates four modules on the Company Directors’ Course, as well as modules for local government and for not for profit and registered organizations on Governance, Board Performance Finance, Strategy, Risk and Leadership. He is a graduate of the company directors Course and has an Advanced Diploma in Company Directorship (Mastery of the Boardroom).
He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the General Division in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2018 and a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Military Division in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 1984. He was also a previous state finalist for Australian of the Year.
VICE CHAIR – Ms Fleur McDonald
Fleur McDonald is a bestselling Australian author, farmer and women’s rights advocate often referred to as ‘the Voice of the Outback’. Fleur has been within the Agriculture industry since studying Agribusiness at College co owning and managing an eight thousand acre mixed farming enterprise for twenty years. She has been a single mother for the last three years to her two children and is an active and devoted local community leader in her hometown of Esperance; her involvements include being the Secretary of the Esperance & Districts Agricultural Society. Fleur is an active member with the Rotary Club of Esperance Bay and was the first female Co-Director of Prickle Farm. A champion for the voice of rural people, particularly women, Fleur has always strived to positively promote and celebrate women in Agriculture. She is Vice President for The Australian Women in Agriculture, and a member of the Communications Resource Team for the National Rural Women’s Coalition. Fleur was State finalist for the prestigious RDRIC Rural Women’s Award in 2017 and now the founder and Chair of Breaking the Silence. It’s a project close to her heart, as she wants to lift the lid on domestic violence – it’s not always physical – and connect women in remote Australia who may not have the resources to find the help they need.
Dr Mike Mears
Born and raised in rural south west of England, went to University in London, qualified in medicine 1985 and Migrated to WA in 1995 initially to work for the RFDS in Kalgoorlie. Has been a GP in Esperance since 1999 providing Obstetric and Emergency services in addition to partnership in a group practice. Was a Senior Lecturer, latterly Associate Professor, with the Rural Clinical School of WA from 2002-2015 instrumental in setting up and teaching at the Esperance site and spent several years as a board member of the Eastern Goldfields Division of General Practice. Has been married to Dorothy for 25 years and has two sons. “My professional life has exposed me to human cost of abuse and domestic violence and I have often been frustrated by the lack of concrete resources available to help empower people to transition from victim to survivor”.
Mrs Shelley Smith
Shelley moved to Esperance in 1981 to farm in the area with her husband and two sons, followed by a daughter born in Esperance. Shelley returned to teaching part time in 1985 and continued studying then working full time whilst raising their family. She completed her B.ED, M.Ed & Prof Doc and retired in 2010 whilst Principal of Condingup Primary school in the Esperance Shire. Shelley is currently a Justice of the peace and is Chairman of Bay of Isles Community Outreach (BOICO) – a local mental health support organisation. Her children are now all married with their own families and live away from the district.
SECRETARY – Ms Jenny Bloom
Ms Bloom has an extensive business background with experience in the public and private sectors in Western Australia and Victoria. She is a non-executive director of BCI Minerals Ltd and is a member of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee. She was most recently the Deputy Chair and Member of the Waste Authority Western Australia for eight years and was a member of the Program and Risk Committee. Ms Bloom previously held an elected position as a Councillor and Deputy Shire President for the Shire of Broome and was an independent director of a Broome-based Aboriginal Corporation.
Mrs Bev Blakemore
Bev is a counsellor and hypnotherapist. She has run a private clinic for the last 12 years in Melbourne, Victoria. Over the years Bev has worked with teenagers and adults helping them find out who they are so they can choose their best life. Bev has helped people work through issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD and addiction.
In 2018 Bev completed her Honours in Psychology with her thesis being on the barriers to help seeking for people experiencing domestic violence.
Bev is passionate about helping people and giving everyone the chance to be heard and validated.
Mr Lachlan Hunter
Lachlan Hunter hails from a mixed cropping and livestock farm near Bruce Rock in Western Australia’s Central Wheatbelt region. He attended the University of Western Australia (UWA) with Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a major in Political Science and International relations. Before attending UWA Lachlan completed a yearlong cadetship at InterGrain, as a plant breeding technician. This saw him travel to many of the grain growing regions in Australia experiencing new and innovative technology in genetic agriculture. A former Western Australian Young Nationals President, Lachlan also served as Principal Policy Adviser to the Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Regional Development and Lands, the Hon. Terry Redman MLA in the Western Australian State Government. He has also worked for Harmony Agriculture and Food as Manager of External Affairs. Lachlan currently works for The Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Hon. Senator Bridget McKenzie, and Federal Minister for Agriculture. Lachlan is passionate about the future development of Regional and Rural Australia particularly in education, agriculture and technology.
TREASURER – Mrs Michelle Scoble
Michelle is a wife, mother, sister and passionate member of the community. Born and raised in picturesque Esperance, she has been part of the Accounting industry for nearly 30 years. As a business owner, Michelle has strong and diverse relationships across the rural setting, with an invaluable insight into the financial burden and complexities of this issue. Michelle has witnessed the heartbreak and devastation manifested by domestic violence, and the jarring impact it has on not only our friends and family but the soul of our community. It is time to break the silence.