Our Board is made up of economic development industry practitioners from around Australia who volunteer their time and expertise to oversee our strategic direction.
The Board Directors
Mark Holdsworth ACEcD (WA)
A results orientated professional with a passion for working with organisations that value their community and customers. Extensive experience in implementing city strategy, economic development & relationship management services within public and private sector organisations throughout Asia Pacific and Europe to improve service delivery and partnerships.
Mark has worked for two really great local government organisations, one in Victoria and another in Western Australia, and believes that Local Government has never had such a significant role to play in nurturing the economic, social, environmental and local conditions necessary for communities to thrive. To do this it must keep a steady eye on the key factors which make local places prosper and flourish and in doing so has the privileged opportunity to imagine the role that it can play in achieving this.
Mark’s involvement with Economic Development Australia (EDA) began with the Victorian SPN and, seeing the potential for EDA to become a peak body to represent the sector, he joined the National Board in 2013. He has been National Chair for five years and during that time worked to grow the financial, governance, advocacy and brand of the organisation. He believes that Economic Development Australia is increasingly seen as the organisation that can transcend both the private and public sectors and represent professionals working to improve the prosperity and richness of Australia’s cities and regions.
Paula Brennan ACEcD (VIC)
23 years Local Government experience including roles in Risk and Facility management before a move to Economic Development in 2002.
With prior experience in corporate policy developmnt, project and event management, Paula developed the most recent Local Economic & Employment Development Strategy for the City of Greater Dandenong. This was closely aligned with her previous project, “Economic Resilience for Greater Dandenong”, undertaken in collaboration with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies in Manchester.
Paula has previously been a representative on the Victorian State Practitioner Network of EDA, and looks forward to further representing the sector through her position on the National Board.
With previous roles as an estimator in a small engineering business, risk manager and facility manager with Local Government prior to the move to Economic Development, her range of skills and expertise have allowed her to connect effectively with both Government and business people alike.
Erin McGoldrick (Tas)
Erin is an economist with experience working in both New Zealand and Australian local government; developing policy, devising and monitoring development strategies and providing economic analysis for decision makers. Since 2013 her work has focussed on the areas of local economic development, city shaping and infrastructure investment.
A passionate advocate of economic empowerment, Erin brings a dynamic combination of analytical, creative and interpersonal skills to her economic development practise. Prior to gaining her Bachelor of Applied Economics, Erin freelanced in the performing arts sector, managing operations, venues and technical aspects of production. This early introduction to the ‘gig economy’ focussed Erin’s interest in business and economic forces that influence business decision making, success and failures.
Her current interests lie in the use of ‘big data’ and analytics as a tool for understanding the functioning of city economies and to identify opportunities to increase productivity through innovation, while still ensuring citizen’s prosperity and environmental sustainability.
Virginia Miller ACEcD (SA) Business Development Partner – City of Holdfast Bay
Prior to her role at Holdfast Bay, Virginia had taken a leading role in the review of the Local Government Victoria Performance Reporting for economic development, resulting in an extensive survey of ED Practitioners across Victoria informing a revised reporting model. Virginia previously held the role of Manager, Business Advisory Services at the Northern Adelaide Business Enterprise Centre and maintains an international Business Counsellor accreditation through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. As a current business owner she values the importance of key agencies and organisations that foster business development and resources that enhance the capacity of business and economic growth. Virginia is taking a leading role in developing and implementing a range of economic development related projects that focus on industry investment, business engagement and enhancing core industry sectors in the City of Port Phillip. Building on a recent study into the Creative Industries sector, the findings have paved an appetite to undertake a study in Urban Manufacturers within the five Inner Melbourne Councils (IMAP) and surrounds. The project will inform decisions about rezoning of urban commercial and industrial zoned land and aims to examine the competing needs for industrial and commercial land in central cities.
David Power (VIC) Coordinator Economic Development – City of Port Phillip
David is an experienced government professional with a strong background in communications, economic development, business, advocacy, marketing, tourism, events and corporate planning. In his previous roles, he has been responsible for leading sustainable business growth, promoting the economic liveability of Ireland on a global scale and various Local Government Areas in Australia. This was achieved by building a powerful and successful image of these areas through marketing and public relations activities.
He is politically astute with a capacity to develop and maintain excellent working relationships with Councillors, government and external stakeholders with a capacity to interpret Federal and State Government Policy and program directions. In addition he has an ability to ensure a balance between operational efficiency and longer term strategic planning using strong conceptual skills with a focus on external opportunities through economic development.
Jason McFarlane (WA) Founder & Managing Director – FAR Lane
Jason McFarlane has spent over a decade working with entrepreneurs, communities, government agencies, and investors to deliver transformative economic development projects and initiatives for local benefit. His work focuses on delivering evidence-based analytics and strategy that realises real-world outcomes.
Jason has a Masters of Business Administration (California State University East Bay) and a Bachelor of Science (UWA), a Certificate in Strategic Foresight (University of Houston) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Jason is founder and Managing Director of FAR Lane and serves as a Director with Pollinators and Economic Development Australia.
Holly Walton (QLD) Logan City Council
Holly is an experienced and enthusiastic marketing and economic & business development professional with extensive management and Board experience. She is currently the Senior Business Development Executive – Local Connections for Logan City Council.
Previously, Holly ran her own marketing and business advisory consultancy, MarketingWest, and assisted businesses through the Australian Government’s Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) and the WA State Government’s Business Local Programmes.
Holly has held an Associate membership with the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) since July 2008 and was awarded their Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) qualification in 2016.
Holly has sat on the Boards of the West Australian Music Association (WAM), the Shire of Mundaring’s Economic Development Business Advisory Committee, and was Vice President of the Central Eastern Business Association (CEBA).
Holly i the past State Marketing & Business Development Manager for AusIndustry, the Australian Government’s business agency, and have held positions with some of Australia’s biggest brands, including Australia Post and HBF, over my 15-year career. My particular areas of interest are developing businesses at a regional level and developing business development strategies for businesses.
Holly is very well connected within the WA and Queensland government and business communities and her networks include some of WA and Qld’s most influential business people and government representatives.