Board members

Funding Portfolio: Laura Connor

  Laura Connor

  Board Member



Laura Connor is the Co-Ordinator of the Spring Creek Community House in Torquay and has been in the position for thirteen years.  Laura is also a Committee Member of Torquay Food Aid, the Editor of Springboard Community Newsletter, Chairperson of the Surf Coast Rural Australians for Refugees and a member of the Surf Coast Network of Neighbourhood Houses and the Barwon Network of Neighbourhood Houses. 

Laura's other community commitments include the role of co-founder and founding President of the Surf Coast Life Activities Club and her work as co-founder and founding President of the Danawa Community Garden at Spring Creek Reserve.

Laura's passion is to see community groups working together to create vibrant and diverse local communities.

 Rose Hodge
 Board Member

Rose Hodge is a Councillor with the Surf Coast Shire and a former Mayor. She was elected as a Councillor in 2004 and is now serving her third term.

Rose has had an association with the Torquay and Jan Juc area for over 40 years. A former dental therapist, she is now a partner in a bricklaying business with her husband. They have three sons.

One of her boys is autistic and she is passionate about creating opportunities for people with disabilities.
Rose serves on the Board of Gateways Support Services. She has been president of the Jan Juc Kindergarten, a committee member of the Torquay Cricket Club and the Spring Creek Community House and she is a life member of the Torquay Netball Club.

She loves contributing to a robust, connected community and appreciates the work volunteers do through organisations such as the Bendigo Bank’s Torquay Community Enterprise

 Shane Downing





Shane Downing is married with two teenage girls and relocated to Torquay in November 2016 from Gippsland. He has worked in the finance industry for 29 years and for the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank for 17 years. He has been involved in APEX and Traralgon Chamber of Commerce and recently accepted the committee position of Treasury for the Torquay Community Enterprise (TCE). 

Chairman: Dean Webster

 Robert Harris
 Board Member




Robert has lived in Torquay for over nine years, having first visited the town in the early 1980’s. He is the branch manager of the Bendigo Bank in Torquay, a position he has held since the branch opened in July 2006.

Robert has been involved in various local junior sport committees and has also coached junior sport teams.

He believes the community enterprise concept is an excellent way to develop local communities. He is excited about the future possibilities for the Torquay Community Enterprise to contribute to worthwhile local initiatives.

 Gretchen Gibson




Gretchen Gibson is the Business Support Officer at the Surf Coast Shire working with grant governance within Economic Development and Tourism Unit.  Gretchen has lived and worked in Torquay for 20 years with experience in owning her own business and working across a range of industries including Tourism, Hospitality and Health & Fitness.  

Gretchen genuinely loves to help others and is keen to see our Shire keep it's strong community connections, be a great place to live and work with a great healthy work-life balance. She wants to help promote activities that fit with the balance of long term sustainability with the environment and the economy.  Gretchen strongly supports Torquay Community Enterprise for it's ongoing support of our wonderful community.

David Cheatley
Board Member





David Cheatley is a retired Westpac (Bank of New South Wales) State Manager having completed 35 years’ service  after joining the bank in 1958 from a Northern Victorian Rural Farming Community.
David is currently a member of Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) Torquay Jan Juc Group, where he has held the position of Co-Ordinator for the past 10 years. Also, an active foundation member of the Combined Probus Club of Torquay, having served in many committee positions.
David has been actively involved as a volunteer in many not for profit organisations since the early 1960's covering organisations in Victoria, Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.

Experienced in philanthropic organisations and held a former role as a Campaign Director and Board Member of United Way Geelong (now known as "Give Where you Live) in the late 1980's
David is married to Jan, has a son and daughter and 5 grandchildren. He has a passion for not For Profit community organisations.

Board Member: Michael Brugman

 Michael Brugman
 Board Member




Michael has been participating in community groups for almost 30 years, particularly community legal centres.

He says he discovered early on in his career that professional groups can often be closed and aloof and reluctant to share the knowledge their members possess. By being involved in community groups like the Torquay Community Enterprise (TCE), he plans to use the skills and knowledge that he can offer for the benefit of others in the local area.

Michael believes the TCE is a fantastic grassroots means for the Bendigo Bank to form working relationships with the local community to the benefit of all participants in the initiative.

Michael is a father of four boys and has an established legal practice in Geelong.

 Sujin Boonchuay
 Board Member




Sujin is originally from Thailand and has lived on the Surf Coast and in Geelong for 28 years.

She is a well-known member of the local business community as the owner and manager of two Sujin Thai restaurants - one in Torquay and on the waterfront in Geelong. 

Sujin is the president of the Geelong Thai community group and was previously the South-East Asian liaison officer for the Surf Coast Shire and the Migrant Resource Centre.

She is a proud supporter of the Bendigo Bank community enterprise model and enjoys helping to find ways of improving the quality of life on the Surf Coast for its diverse residents.

 Corinne Nigro
 Board Member




Corinne has lived and worked in Torquay since 2009.  Corinne's background is in the airline industry before embarking on new adventures with her husband owning and operating retail stores, including their recent purchase of Anglesea News & Lotto.

Corinne and her husband owned a retail store in Torquay for 5 1/2 years and was the Local Representative for Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism.  Corinne is a Committee member of Torquay Commerce & Tourism (TCT), which she has been actively involved with since 2010.  Corinne has taken a 'back-seat- on the TCT Committee and is fulfilling her prior commitments and is a committee member for 'BATA' (Business & Tourism Anglesea).  Corinne is also actively involved with Torquay Football and Netball Club, where her daughters have played both netball and football and is Team Manager for Torquay Youth Girls Football.

She is passionate about the area we live in and on issues affecting the local community and loves the way in which the community helps each other.  Corinne would like to see the Surf Coast continue to provide opportunities for businesses as well as providing opportunties for people to work and play whilst preserving the natural environment and protecting the quality of life on the coast.

 Magdalena Wheatland






Magdalena has lived in Torquay since 2012.  Her professional career includes program and project management manager and IT consultant sucessfully combining information technology and business expertise to deliver substantial growth in the public and private and public sector. Highly knowledgeable in process improvements and technology upgrades that increase operational efficiency and grow shareholder value.

During professional career Magdalena delivered large-scale enterprise programs and international projects. Enjoys motivating teams, fostering collaboration, and building consensus among a diverse group of stakeholders.

Since their move to Torquay, Magdalena and her husband have been involved with various community activites.


Honorary Board Members