Our People

​Our Team

With first-hand experience in a diverse range of business sectors, our team assist Chamber members on a day to day basis. Overseen by a board of directors, our small team has a great understanding of the local business community and are always willing to help.

Sheree Carey

Advocacy, business advice, strategy, policy, events, networking and membership

Chief Executive Officer | sheree@commercesouth.com
X
Our Team List

Sheree Carey

Chief Executive Officer
Read More

Nikki Watt

Certification of Origin, accounts and reception

Administration | office@commercesouth.com

Michelle McSoriley

Event and Marketing

Event and Marketing Manager | michelle@commercesouth.com

Joanne O’Connor

Membership, Young Enterprise Scheme

Membership Manager/YES Co-ordinator | joanne@commercesouth.com

Lynn Tong

SIT Centrestage Theatre

Manager | lynn@commercesouth.com

Anna Stevens

Southland Housing Action Forum (SHAF)

Housing Champion | anna@commercesouth.com

Our Board

The Southland Chamber of Commerce Board was elected at the AGM on 11 April 2019.

For information about becoming a director of the Chamber please contact us.

X
Neil McAra

Neil McAra

President BCom, CA

Neil is a Chartered Accountant and is Managing Partner for Findex (NZ) Ltd. He has 25 years experience in accounting and advisory services. Industry focus includes agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. He is experienced in estate & succession planning, corporate finance, governance and business advisory.

Neil McAra
Neil McAra
President Read More
X
Rod Sinclair

Rod Sinclair

Vice President

Rod is passionate about business in Southland. Growing up on a sheep farm in Dipton, he has spent his working life in Invercargill, firstly as a Chartered Accountant and then latterly as an IT Consultant.

He founded Focus Technology Group in 1994 from the IT department of what is now Crowe Howarth, and in the ensuing years, that business has grown to a team of 50 located across five branches.

He also has a small farm at Tussock Creek where he lives with his wife and three teenage children.

Rod Sinclair
Rod Sinclair
Vice President Read More
X
Carla Forbes

Carla Forbes

Director BA

Carla owns Market South; Southland’s principal marketing and design agency. As Creative Director she heads up a team of marketing consultants, strategists, copywriters and graphic designers. Carla is actively involved in the wider business community, holding a position on the Southern Institute of Technology Post Graduate Business Diploma advisory committee, past chair of the Glass Elevator professional women’s networking group, is a trustee of the Dog Island Motu Piu Trust and sits on the South Island community panel for NZ Oil and Gas.

Carla Forbes
Carla Forbes
Director Read More
X
Luke Macpherson

Luke Macpherson

Director

Luke is the Rabobank Area Manager for Agribusiness in Southland. Luke comes from an Agribusiness finance background having worked for the 10 years prior as a Senior Agribusiness Partner for BNZ out of the Invercargill office. As a born and bred Southlander Luke has a real passion for the region and sits on the advisory board of several local farming businesses.

Luke Macpherson
Luke Macpherson
Director Read More
X
Stewart Hamilton

Stewart Hamilton

Director

With nearly 20 years’ experience in the aluminium business, Stew has forged a career beginning in 1996 as a research engineer at New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) before progressing through a variety of operational roles to ultimately lead Pacific Aluminium’s business improvement and technology area for Australia and New Zealand. After spending the past three years in Tanzania with Acacia Mining most recently as General Manager of the Buzwagi Gold Mine in Tanzania, Stew and his family are pleased to return to family and friends in Invercargill to take up the role of Chief Executive and General Manager site at NZAS.

Stewart Hamilton
Stewart Hamilton
Director Read More
X
Richard Gray

Richard Gray

Director

General Manager Operations – Lower South Island - - Fonterra. Richard has been in his current role for six years, responsible for Fonterra’s Edendale and Stirling’s manufacturing operations as well as milk collection activities across Otago and Southland. The Edendale site is Fonterra’s largest manufacturing site and exports over 400,000MT of dairy products to over 70 markets annually. Prior to this Richard was involved in the development of a Greenfields manufacturing site in from 2010 to 2014. Richard’s 22 year career in the dairy industry has seen him work across a large number of roles and manufacturing sites within New Zealand. Richard has been a Southland Chamber of Commerce board member for the last 5 years.

Richard Gray
Richard Gray
Director Read More
X
Shaun Drylie

Shaun Drylie

Director

Shaun relocated with his family from Vietnam (where he spent two years transforming a local bank), to Invercargill in July 2016 to take up the role of Group Chief Executive at SBS Bank. Having 13 years’ experience in diverse general management roles, specialising in retail banking, payments and strategy, he is a leader who thrives on developing people and businesses.

He has led teams of 1500 plus people, shaped strategy, successfully managed start-up businesses and been involved in business transformation in developed and developing countries. He also holds a Masters of Management.

Shaun Drylie
Shaun Drylie
Director Read More
X
Nigel Gear

Nigel Gear

Director

Nigel is the Chief Executive for South Port NZ. He has 25 years’ experience in the port industry and has held positions in commercial, operations and finance at South Port. Nigel is currently an appointed board member of the Southland Chamber of Commerce and represents business interests on the New Zealand Oil and Gas Southern Community Panel. Prior to joining South Port, Nigel worked in the meat and oil sectors.

Nigel Gear
Nigel Gear
Director Read More
X
Laura Todd

Laura Todd

Director

I am a born and bred Southlander with a strong family history in our province. I returned to settle in Invercargill in 2014 after many years living in the UK.

My background is in primary teaching, of which I taught for nearly 12 years, before taking a new direction and becoming assistant manager for a local travel firm.

Twenty years ago my parents saw a gap in the market and created a tourism opportunity in Southland by converting our farmlet into what is now known as the Invercargill Top 10 Holiday Park on McIvor Road.

Along with my part time role at Flight Centre, I work alongside my parents to help ensure that the nearly 18,000 tourists that come through our gate every year have the best possible experience in Southland. I am also involved in the regular Accommodation and Hospitality sector meetings which help give an insight in to areas of potential growth and development in our province.

Laura Todd
Laura Todd
Director Read More
X
Garth Butson

Garth Butson

Director

I have been the ACC Relationship Manager for the Southern and Queenstown regions for almost 14 years, with the responsibility of managing a diverse portfolio of Southlands largest employers and intermediaries supporting businesses with advice, strategy and at times advocacy. I also work closely with new to business/ SME’s with ‘one on one’ support or through regular seminars and presentations.

I have established positive working relationships with councils, community partners, industry, Iwi/Maori business. I am strategic and passionate about our people, city and region and I’m driven to look at opportunities (outside the box) to see our region succeed going forward.

My career also includes time spent in the areas of agricultural, banking and disability fields.

Garth Butson
Garth Butson
Director Read More
X
Carla Harper

Carla Harper

Director

Born and raised in Southland, Carla is passionate about the region and wants to ensure long-term sustainability of Southland’s business community.

She has been in the banking industry for over 16 years, with seven of those years being in management roles.

She has exceptional leadership qualities, a growth mindset, and is always looking for a new challenge.

Carla understands that every business is diverse, and its success is made up of many different components. Business success is a not a ‘one size fits all’ environment; she believes that an essential aspect of success is considering the risks and opportunities prior to executing decisions.

Carla Harper
Carla Harper
Director Read More
X
Ben Fokkens

Ben Fokkens

Director
Ben Fokkens
Ben Fokkens
Director Read More

Executive Committee

Neil McAra

President | neil.mcara@findex.co.nz

Rod Sinclair

Vice President | rod.sinclair@focus.net.nz

Carla Forbes

Director | carla@marketsouth.co.nz

Luke Macpherson

Director | Luke.MacPherson@rabobank.com

Export Southland Committee

Geoff Finnerty

Chair & Trustee

South Port NZ

Calvin Claridge

Trustee

SouthFish

Gareth Lyness

Trustee

Blue River Dairy LP

Cameron Scott

Trustee

Quality Foods Southland

Terry O’Connell

Trustee

Alliance Group