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The Committee for Gippsland is the parent body of GCLP

Committee for Gippsland

Harry Rijs - Chair of Committee for Gippsland

Harry Rijs


Harry is the youngest son of Peter and Annie Rijs, the founders of Patties Bakery (now Patties Foods Ltd). He joined the family business in 1972 as an apprentice pastry cook where he gained hands-on experience in the Baking industry.

Over the following three decades at Patties Foods Harry gained broad experience in the manufacturing, selling, marketing and distribution of fresh and frozen bakery products and held various Regional, State and National Sales Management positions. From 1995 until 2005 Harry was the Company’s Sales and Marketing Director responsible for the sales, distribution and marketing activities at Patties Foods.

Harry became a Director on the Board of Patties Bakery in 1989 and was appointed Deputy Managing Director in 2005.

Harry Retired as a Patties Foods Executive in 2011 after 39 years’ service and remains on the publicly listed Patties Foods Board of Directors, Harry is also a member of the Patties Foods Audit & Risk Committee and is a Director of Davies Bakery, a Patties Foods associated company.
Harry along with wife Kaylene have a number personal business interests in the region they include Beef Farming, land development and rental properties.

A proud Gippslander of over 50 years Harry enjoys everything Gippsland has to offer.


Mary Aldred - Chief Executive Officer Committee for Gippsland



Mary Aldred is the Chief Executive Officer of Committee for Gippsland, an independent, business-funded representative body for businesses and industry in the Gippsland region. Mary has worked in private business, industry and government. Mary’s career in the energy sector included a position as Corporate & Regulatory Manager for an energy efficiency business, the retail arm of International Power, and at the Energy Supply Association of Australia. 

Mary has also worked in government, including for a federal government minister, and for a United States senator in Washington. Mary studied at McMillan TAFE in Warragul, and has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Monash University, and a Master of Agribusiness from the University of Melbourne.


Barry Rogers - GCLP Program Manager and Co-facilitator



Barry (GCLP '96) has lived in West and Central Gippsland for many years now, firstly in the Latrobe Valley and then in Warragul, working in small and medium business, albeit one with initially a Victoria wide and then Australia wide focus.

Barry has been involved with the GCLP since its inception - a participant in the inaugural year, 1996 and has continued his involvement in many ways over the intervening 20 years. A strategic thinker and an enthusiastic supporter of Community Leadership development he believes passionately that we can help make our Community Leaders better, more effective leaders.

Barry‘s corporate governance skills are highly developed, he is very experienced in education, with 20 years’ service to the Warragul Regional College Council and is the Chair of the Community Advisory Council of the West Gippsland Healthcare Group. Barry and partner Rosemary have lived in many parts of Victoria but together with their children are first and foremost keen Gippslanders.


2015 GCLP Co-Facilitators

In 2014 the GCLP welcomes a new Lead Facilitator - Libby Thompson GCLP ’01. Libby will work together with Barry Rogers to deliver the program. Barry works as Program Manager and Co-facilitator.


Libby Thompson, GCLP’01, and Lead Facilitator 2015


Libby is a graduate from 2001 and continues to live and work in Gippsland. Libby is essentially a coach: a psychologist with broad experience in organisational, training, coaching and counselling settings.

Libby also has several years’ experience in management in the Not-For-Profit and government sectors. Libby runs her own business working as a consultant/coach for a broad range of organisations, and also as a cognitive behaviour therapist in her private counselling practice on Phillip Island, where she lives.

When not working in her own business, Libby is currently serving in the Australian Army as a Psychology Officer. She has deployed to Solomon Islands, and East Timor and she also supported the mission in Afghanistan in 2009.

Libby is interested in leadership development, particularly in the emergency response sector. She has worked as a leadership development trainer/coach with a number of emergency services organisations around Australia, including the CFA, SES, DSE and Tasmania Fire Service. She has also provided critical incident stress debriefing - recent clients include Motorcycling Australia and Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

Libby can be contacted via the C4G GCLP office – info@gipps.com.au. Welcome Libby.


GCLP Advisory Committee

Alex Aeschlimann - Chair



Prior to joining Business Insight Group (BI Group) in 2008, Alex worked for a diverse group of companies. These ranged from large multinationals with industry market shares over 90% to smaller, locally focussed businesses with less than 10%. With an engineering, computing and post-graduate business education, Alex utilises a hands-on and straight-forward approach and sees himself working in partnership with his valued clients. Alex has provided solutions for a range of industries from petrochemical and agriculture to pharmaceutical, automotive and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

Alex understands that most business owners are time poor and can sometimes lack the discipline to develop and then implement beneficial changes to their enterprises.

With this in mind, Alex develops personalised programs for each business he works with so that the specific, measurable outcomes are unique and individual for the organisation. Following the implementation of most projects, ongoing implementation support is offered to assist in carrying out whatever Action Plan has been developed.

Alex believes the secret to any successful business experience is managing expectations and is thus motivated by building strong, long-term, mutually beneficial business relationships. Alex has drawn on his successes in Melbourne and overseas and has brought this experience back to the region where he grew up and where both sides of his family have worked the land for many years.


Advisory committee members

Alex Aeschlimann Chairman & GCLP 2010
Tony Wolfe GCLP 2006
Carol Blandford GCLP 2004
Martin Fuller Sponsor, West Gippsland Catchment Authority & GCLP 2003
David Cann GCLP 2004
Jenny Ramage Deputy Chair and GCLP 1998
Kathleen Raymond GCLP 2011
Leanne Wishart GCLP 2013
Fiona Xuereb

GCLP 2008


2015 Participants - the 20th GCLP Cohort

Name Organisation  
Sue Abbott
Latrobe Valley Drafting Pty Ltd

Stephanie Andreata
Dept Eco Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources  
Ray Argento Dairy Farmer/CFA Captain  
David Ashworth Gippsland Ports  
Geof Bassett Loukes Electronics  
Gayle Bloch Wonthaggi Medical Group  
Belinda Brennan West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority  
Katrina Cranwell Dept Eco Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources  
Michael Croatto Burra Foods  
Karina Crutch GippSport  
Katy Cummins Wellington Shire  
Liz Dorsett Baw Baw Shire  
Meg Edwards Self-employed/Community  
Simon Ellis    
Paul Fixter Country Fire Authority

Terry Gladstone School for Student Leadership - Snowy River Campus
Heidi Gratton Interchange Gippsland  
Bernadette Kelly Federation Training  
Kathy Kinrade West Gippsland Healthcare Group  
Leigh Markham Aussie Broadband  
Gill Mertens Island Mowing
Robyn Mitchard Fonterra Australia Ltd  
Vanessa Randle Briagalong PS  
Emily Sanders Environment Protection Agency Vic  
Jeff Sultana Ausnet Services  
Terry Upton East Gippsland Water  


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GCLP 2012

Retreat walk