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Board of Directors


Bruce Billson, Executive Chairman

Bruce Billson has been the Member for Dunkley since 1996 having been elected seven times. He has announced that he will not be contesting the next election. He has held numerous portfolios in government and opposition, including most recently as Minister for Small Business from September 2013 to September 2015.

He was the Shadow Cabinet Minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs from December 2009 September 2013. Bruce's Shadow Ministerial roles between 2007 and 2009 included Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and Sustainable Development and Cities. He was the Minister for Veterans Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence from 2006 to 2007 in the Howard Government.

Bruce was appointed as the Executive Chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia in March 2016.


Jason Gehrke, Director

Jason has 20 years' experience in franchising and has worked at franchisee, franchisor and advisor level during this time.  His firm, Franchise Advisory Centre, advises both franchisors and franchisees on pre-entry considerations as well as on sector best practice across a range of issues.

It also conducts specialised education workshops and seminars for franchisors and franchisees throughout Australia and overseas.


Photo courtesy of Studio 60


Stephen Giles, Director

Stephen is a partner with Norton Rose Fulbright. He has been a member of the Franchise Council of Australia almost since its inception, was founding secretary and is a former President of the Victorian Chapter, served as chairman of the FCA in 1998 and from 2000 - 2007, and has been a national director of the FCA since 1997, handling the portfolio of Industry Regulation and Government Relations.


Sara Pantaleo, Director

Sara Pantaleo is the Chief Executive Officer of La Porchetta, Australasia's largest, franchised, licensed, à-la-carte restaurant group. Sara is a former Franchise Woman of the Year (2010) and a Telstra Businesswoman of the Year Victorian finalist (2012).

In 1996, when Sara joined La Porchetta, there were only 12 restaurants in Australia and she was instrumental in driving growth to more than 70 across Australia and New Zealand today. Sara achieved this by building corporate systems and process that enabled the company to expand without compromising its core family values and culture.



Ken Rosebery, Director

Ken Rosebery is Managing Director of The Cheesecake Shop, a leading franchisor with over 200 sites throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Ken was formerly president of the Franchise Council of Australia NSW Chapter and CEO of franchisor, Fastway Couriers from 2003 to 2008. 

He is an adjunct lecturer in marketing and organisational psychology at the Australian Graduate School of Management UNSW with a diverse management career spanning entrepreneurial, corporate and government businesses.


Ralph Edwards, Director

Ralph Edwards is a champion of small business. Having spent the last 25 years owning and operating a variety of businesses, all of which are still in operation today, Ralph's understanding of the challenges business owners face helps to guide the FCA Board.

For eight years Ralph owned and successfully managed Bright Eyes Sunglass Stores Australia. He took the existing business from 80 to 140 franchisees and in that time improved franchisee margins and profitability, making Bright Eyes one of Australia's largest sunglass retail networks.



Warren Ballantyne, Director, QLD/NT State Chapter President

Warren Ballantyne is the founder, owner and managing director of Gutter-Vac the world's first and largest gutter cleaning franchise; revolutionising the gutter cleaning industry.

Warren invented and developed the gutter vacuuming technology in 1995 and commenced franchising in 2000. Gutter-Vac now has around 50 franchises across 7 Australian States and Territories and is in the process of expanding its franchise system into North America (launch set for Fall 2015).

Warren is also the founder, owner and managing director of Ballantyne Safety a height safety concept that was created by Warren in 1995 to compliment the Gutter-Vac operating system. Ballantyne Safety's range of temporary roof safety equipment provides workers across Australia with a fast and effective method to safely work at heights.

Warren is also the chairman of Gutter-Vac International Pty Ltd and the Chief Operating Officer of Gutter-Vac LLC (the North American franchise company).

Warren has enjoyed serving on FCA's Queensland State Chapter for five years and is dedicated to franchising in Australia and abroad.


Trish Rogers, Director, NSW/ACT State Chapter President

Trish is a founding member of Real Mastery, a specialist consultancy providing training & coaching to the franchise & real estate sectors.

With more than 25 years' experience working with all aspects of real estate & retail franchising, Trish has an in-depth knowledge of the key factors essential for a profitable franchise based business.

A qualified business coach, Trish has a structured approach - providing clients with guidance and a framework that sets strategic objectives against measurable results.

Trish believes that professional development is key to achieving success. With a well developed entrepreneurial approach, she works closely with Franchisors & Franchise Owners to maximise business potential. Her key skills lie in the areas of field management and working with Franchise Owners to manage a profitable business.

Trish has been on the Committee of the NSW & ACT Chapter of the Franchise Council of Australia for six years.


Ben Makepeace, Director, SA State President

Ben is the national franchise manager for Gametraders, is the owner and Director of Makepeace Consulting, and serves the franchise community as President of the SA Chapter.

Ben is blunt, forthright, and passionate. What he likes most in life is to facilitate change, growth and help people get things done.

In addition to being a qualified trainer, and franchise professional, Ben has almost 20 years' experience in corporate business, large and small businesses, family and franchised business, across retail, service, and professional industries. In 2016 Ben was accredited as a Certified Franchise Executive, and in 2017 he started mentoring with BusinessSA.


Maria Robinson, Director, VIC/TAS State President

Growing businesses particularly through franchise format is Maria's passion. Having grown up in small business with fond memories of learning how to give out change to customers at the age of 6 to running the family pub with a staff of 30 at age 18, Maria eventually moved into banking. Her 22 year banking and finance career has seen her focus on franchise systems in the last 13 years. Maria has held senior roles in numerous franchise systems including field management, franchise recruitment, building new franchise models, dispute resolution, marketing, contract management and advisory to name a few.

Restructuring and evolving franchise systems to set them up for success is Maria's speciality. She is a strategic leader with a comprehensive understanding of the legal and regulatory frameworks of franchising while applying sensible and practical commerciality in her leadership roles.

Maria has been on the Victorian State Chapter of the Franchise Council of Australia for 5 Years and on Board for the last 2 years. Her community spirit is well recognised in a sector as she devotes considerable time in connecting with FCA members and potential members to advocate for and add value to the sector


Tamra Seaton, Director, WA State President

Tamra is a director of law firm, MDS Legal. She practices in the area of franchising and licensing law and the related areas of competition, trade practices compliance, intellectual property and commercial property law.

Tamra's franchising work includes the establishment and ongoing administration, development and corporate governance of state, national and international franchise schemes and also the sale and acquisition of franchise networks. She counts several large franchisors among her long-term clients as well as several new and emerging franchise systems. Tamra also advises and acts for master franchisees and franchisees.

Tamra has been on the Committee of the WA Chapter of the Franchise Council of Australia for approximately 10 years.


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The Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) recognised franchising's best in Victoria and Tasmania at the FCA 2018 Vic/Tas Excellence in Franchi...
The Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) recognised franchising's best in Western Australia at the FCA 2018 WA Excellence in Franchising Awa...

Upcoming Events

QLD: Culture of Franchising Workshops Roadshow

Start Time: 9:00am
Date: Monday 20th August 2018

NSW: Culture of Franchising Workshops Roadshow

Start Time: 9:00am
Date: Wednesday 22nd August 2018

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