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David Stafford

Executive Officer

Wayne Stephen

Wayne Stephen

Senior Rural Financial Counsellor Coordinator

Wayne has been a rural financial counsellor for some 20 years in both south west and north west Victoria. He was a member of the inaugural group to attain the Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling) and has trained in mediation, negotiation, conflict resolution and Case Management: Train the Trainer together with substantial participation in other training and professional development. Wayne was also a graduate of the Loddon Murray 2000Plus Leadership Program.

Stephanie Ferdelja

Stephanie Ferdelja

Senior Rural Financial Counsellor Coordinator

Originally from a mixed farming property in north west NSW, Stephanie has a background in small business and over twenty years’ experience in rural financial counselling. Stephanie has worked mostly with irrigated horticulture and dry-land broad-acre farming clients, with financial analysis and decision support her key interests, and has developed a strong network of farming and industry stakeholders. She has a BAgrEc from University of New England and a DipCommServ (Financial Counselling).

18Patrick White

Patrick White

Rural and Small Business Financial Counsellor

Patrick has worked with the RFCS for over 15 years. He was previously an accountant and lawyer with a small practice based in Murtoa. Patrick’s qualifications include BCom, LLB and the DipCommServ (Financial Counselling).

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Sarah Moncrieff

Rural Financial Counsellor

Sarah worked in financial services for over two decades, including 16 years as a financial planner, before joining the RFCS in 2016. Sarah works predominantly with dairy farms and has assisted many rural families to navigate the complicated area of intergenerational change. Sarah has also completed a DipCommServ (Financial Counselling).

Michael White

Michael White

Rural Financial Counsellor

Michael has been a rural financial counsellor since 2015. Prior to joining the RFCS, he was an accountant (since 1997), bringing experience in income tax, bookkeeping, and financial and management accounting. Michael operated a small business for six of those years as a registered tax agent and has taught accounting at TAFE. He is also a CPA, and has completed a Bachelor of Commerce and the Diploma of Community Service (Financial Counselling).

Malcolm Rowe

Mal Rowe

Rural Financial Counsellor

Mal has 30 years of experience in the agricultural industry specialising in soil, land and water. He holds a BNatResMgt and a DipFinancialCounselling(Rural). Mal’s experience includes working in catchment management, Landcare, local government, farmer organisations, communications and farm management. He has further trained in conflict negotiation, communication and mediation, farm and commodity management and mental health first aid, and has convened many community group meetings and discussions. Mal is also knowledgeable with regard to renewable energy options.

Ken Dodds

Ken Dodds

Rural Financial Counsellor

Ken is a third-generation active cropping farmer and has been a rural financial counsellor for over 5 years. His qualifications include a BBus(Economics), Deakin University Warrnambool, and a GDipEducation, University of Melbourne. Off-farm academic experience includes an extended period as business and investment lecturer and co-ordinator of the rural business distance education program with the Business Faculty, University of Melbourne. Ken has additional qualifications and accreditations in Reckon Accounts, QuickBooks and Quicken, and is a Tax Practitioner’s Board-registered BAS agent.

George Leishman

George Leishman

Rural Financial Counsellor

George’s involvement in agriculture began with jackarooing on a cattle station and time on a vast cropping property in the northern wheat belt, operating all facets of machinery. After completing an AdvDipBus(Banking & Finance) he worked with the Australian Wheat Board in logistics and assisting the feed wheat trade book for Victoria. A return to the family property saw George help run a 60/40 cropping and fat lamb operation. Through the drier years George was involved in a R&D role with a company designing a fertiliser biopolymer product to assist with better utilising fertiliser in broad acre cropping practice. A further tenure in the fertiliser industry followed with a focus on recyclables and the organics/ humates/ compost field. George joined the team in 2017 and has a DipFinancialCounselling(Rural).  

Karen Brady

Karen Brady

Rural Financial Counsellor

Karen’s early career was in the state government Treasury Department before moving to the banking sector where she worked in home loan application processing, providing her with 8 years’ rural banking experience working with farmers in Western Victoria.  She is a member of a local dairy farm discussion group and has attended professional development in Mental Health First Aid, negotiation skills and succession planning. Karen holds a Cert IV Finance, and a DipFinancial Counselling(Rural).  Volunteer work includes work with BlazeAid and as Vice Chair of Colac Otway Disability Accommodation Inc board.

Trevor Link

Trevor Link

Rural Financial Counsellor

Trevor joined us in 2021 with over 20 years’ experience and extensive networks in regional financial and community services, and small business financial management, including a small hobby farm where he ran crossbred ewes and lambs, cut lucerne hay, had a small herd of cattle and was a member of the local fire brigade. Trevor spent a decade in the Wimmera Mallee assisting farmers with their finance and insurance requirements before joining us and holds an AssocDip Banking & Finance, AssocDip Accounting and Dip Export Mgmt, and is currently undertaking a DipFinancialCounselling(Rural).

Anna McGee

Anna McGee

Rural Financial Counsellor

Anna joined the RFCS in 2008. With a background in finance and administration she has been part of the service through drought, fire and floods and more recently the dairy industry crisis. She has completed a BMgt (Labour Relations) and the DipCommServ (Financial Counselling). 

Ashley Kuhl

Ashley Kuhl

Rural Financial Counsellor

Ashley had a farming background and more than 25 years’ experience working in the rural financing industry before commencing as a rural financial counsellor in 2012. Ashley has a BBus(Accounting) and DipCommServ (Financial Counselling).

David Talbot

David Talbot

Rural Financial Counsellor

David has worked as a rural financial counsellor since 2010. This followers 25 years’ experience in the banking industry in varied roles from personal banking, international trade, and foreign exchange to business banking. He has completed the DipCommServ (Financial Counselling).

Lauren Fowler

Lauren Fowler

Rural Financial Counsellor

Lauren grew up on a dryland farm in the Mallee and worked in the banking industry for over 20 years before joining the RFCS in 2019. Lauren has completed the DipFinancialCounselling(Rural).

Matthew Soul

Rural Financial Counsellor

Coming soon!

Shane Annett

Shane Annett

Small Business Financial Counsellor

Shane grew up on the family dairy farm and attended Glenormiston College before completing an AdvDipAppSc(FarmMgt) and later an AdvDipFinPlan and DipFinancialCounselling(Rural). Additional experience includes agri lending, small business management and financial planning, specialising in personal insurance and superannuation. 

Shane Dean

Shane Dean

Small Business Financial Counsellor

Shane has extensive experience in finance, having worked in the industry for over 35 years with the last 33 of those in rural and regional areas throughout Australia. Shane has completed a Diploma Financial Services and is currently undertaking the Diploma Financial Counselling (Rural).

Caius Ryan

Caius Ryan

Small Business Financial Counsellor

Caius has 30 years’ experience in commercial business and financial services across a wide range of industries including agriculture, manufacturing, hospitality and retail. Caius joined us in 2020 and is a recent graduate of an MBA, Dip. Mgt while also undertaking the DipFinancialCounselling(Rural).

Chris Young

Chris Young

Rural and Small Business Financial Counsellor

Chris grew up on the family sheep and cattle farm in the western district and has continued to work in agriculture, from farming and small business to a long career in agribusiness lending. Chris has completed the DipFinancialCounselling(Rural).

John Brewin

John Brewin

Small Business Financial Counsellor

John has over 30 years’ experience in small business, in marketing, consulting, retail, and the recruitment, training and labour hire industries. John worked as a coach and mentor supporting Indigenous microenterprise start up and development in WA and SA before joining the RFCS to work with small business in regional Victoria.

Kerrie O'Brien

Kerrie O'Brien

Small Business Financial Counsellor

Kerrie grew up on a Mallee farm and has remained connected to the rural sector throughout two decades in rural small business and business management prior to joining the RFCS in 2020. Kerrie has completed the DipFinancialCounselling(Rural).

Ann-Marie Byrne Well-being Counsellor RFCS WSW

Ann-Marie Byrne

Wellbeing Counsellor

Ann-Marie is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker who worked as the Farming Community Support Worker assisting south west dairy farmers through the milk crisis and the St Patrick’s Day Fires before joining the RFCS in 2020. Ann-Marie supports our farming and small business clients and their families to improve their coping capacity when life and business stressors impact focus, decision-making, mental health and well-being.

Verity Duffield

Wellbeing Counsellor

Coming soon!

Maggie Bridgewater

Wellbeing Counsellor

Coming soon!

Emma Del Valle

Wellbeing Counsellor

Coming soon!

Debbie Everett

Wellbeing Counsellor

Coming soon!

Jo Beard

Wellbeing Project Officer

Coming soon!

Mental Health First Aid accredited

All counsellors have completed or are undertaking First Aid and Mental Health First Aid.

Getting started with any of our services is as easy as calling 1300 735 578.  

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