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Board of Directors

Richard Andrews


Owner and Chief Executive - Cutting Edges Equipment Parts Pty Limited

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Richard has been a member of the ALABC board since 2003 and was appointed Chairman in 2018.

He is the Executive Chairman of Cutting Edges Equipment Parts, one of Australia’s largest suppliers of equipment parts for the mining, construction and infrastructure industries, operating since 1960. They have a national branch and distribution network throughout Australia, with links to Latin America dating back to 1996 when they established manufacturing operations in Chile and since then have been supplying products into Latin America. They also import from manufacturing operations in Latin America and greatly value their connection with the region.

Valeria Alvano

Director & Company Secretary

LATAM Airlines
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Ms Alvano is a skilled aviation professional, possessing extensive experience within the LATAM Airlines Group, having worked in a range of revenue, commercial, planning and strategic partnership roles.

For the previous five years, Ms Alvano has held the position of Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships, based at LATAM’s head office in Santiago, Chile. Before this, her roles included Commercial Director for the South American business unit, Manager of Route Revenue for the USA, South America and Asia, Manager of Route Revenue for North America and Senior Strategic Manager for Commercial Partnerships, South America.

Julie Boden

Vice Chair

Intermodal Solutions Group
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Julie has been the CFO of Intermodal Solutions Group since 2005. She is also a Certified Practicing Accountant. Julie has had a lot of exposure to Latin America over the years and her company is well represented in the region.

Julie sees great potential in building relationships with Latin America and the importance of ALABC to achieve this.

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Aileen Croghan



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Aileen joined ALABC as an individual member following a twenty-year career with the Australian Government in international development, foreign affairs and trade, including working overseas in the Pacific, Asia and Latin America.

This focus follows a complementary and extensive career in education and training at state, national and international level. She continues her engagement in international relations on a consultancy basis with a strong commitment to support Australia Latin America linkages.

Aileen’s most recent positions In the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade focused on the Australia Latin America relationship - including managing the Secretariat for the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) over a number of board terms. In this role Aileen worked with COALAR in its advocacy for the relationship between the two regions and the promotion of trade and commercial relations.

COALAR’s engagement with ALABC is longstanding and Aileen has worked closely with ALABC on COALAR's behalf, establishing close and productive relationships. Aileen now welcomes the opportunity to continue support to ALABC in its exploration and development of new networks and initiatives. .

Julio Gonzalez


Andes Agile
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Julio is a Chilean/Australian citizen with an MBA from Melbourne Business School & UCLA. Julio has substantial experience in business development, trade, business strategy and engineering.

Julio holds a Master’s in Mining from Melbourne University. He has worked on successful projects in BHP, MMG, Newcrest, Orica, Glencore and South32 in Australia, Chile & Peru.

Julio founded Andes Agile, a successful company supporting Australian businesses in Latin America. Julio is well known in the Latin American business community in Victoria.

Julio has actively supported ALABC by sponsoring and promoting several events. He has strong business connections in the private mining sector in both Australia and Latin America and developed good connections with the Victorian Government.

Julio is known for bringing new, fresh ideas to transform them into successful initiatives. Julio’s passion, commitment, and strong connections will enhance ALABC to strengthen business ties between Australia & Latin America.

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Paola Lasso


Newcrest Mining
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Chair: Governance and OH&S Steering Committee

Paola’s professional experience covers a broad range of sectors including social performance, government relations, mining, agriculture, energy, public policy and legal affairs.

Paola is the current Manager, External Affairs at Newcrest Mining with responsibility for the risk analysis of new jurisdictions and mining projects for due diligence, governance for government relations worldwide and large social performance projects. She also serves on the Board of the Australia – Latin America Business Council.

She has previously worked for OceanaGold Corporation as Community and Government Relations Adviser and for Kingsgate Consolidated as Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. Her former career was as a Colombian diplomat, where she worked on a wide range of political, economic and commercial issues, with a special focus on trade and investment. Paola worked earlier as an adviser to the Legal Secretariat for the Colombian President. She owned and managed a café in her late teens throughout university.

Paola is a qualified civil legal system lawyer from the Javeriana Pontifical University with studies of economics in Colombia and Research Methods at the Australian National University. She holds an MBA and a Master of International Business from the University of Canberra and completed a Graduate Diploma in Mineral Exploration Geoscience at Curtin's WA School of Mines.

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Harris Gomez


Harris Gomez Group
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Harris has over 25 years of cross border experience in corporate and business law, employment law, technology and software companies, real estate, commercial and M&A (Australia and LATAM).

He is fluent in English and Spanish, spoken and written. On the Board, he will be able to share his personal experience and the experiences of others in establishing small and large businesses abroad, and able to share the wisdom from his experience setting up Harris Gomez Group in Chile in 2001.

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Monica Mendez


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Monica is a senior international leader with extensive experience across North, Central, South America, South East Asia and Europe, dealing mainly with Central Banks and government agencies in the development of new currency family projects.

Throughout her career, she has held Global Leadership roles in Program Management, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, IT Operations, Commercial and Security. Currently, she is the Chief Delivery Officer for SECOS Group.

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Felipe Hödar


Balance Energy Group Pty
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Felipe has been the Managing Director of Balance Energy since May 2021. In parallel with this role, he works as a Business Development Latam for Evergen, an energy-tech Australian start-up based in Sydney and Newcastle, providing Software as a Service (SaaS) to battery energy storage systems (BESS).

Felipe has been involved in the energy sector for more than a decade, leading teams in several roles and helping the energy transition, working as a New Business Development Manager at Gasco, one of the most recognized energy companies in Chile and Colombia. Felipe gained considerable experience in commercial areas, new business development, marketing, designing and implementating growth strategies for companies looking to enter new markets. Previously to this role, he exercised different supply chain positions in retail (Kimberly Clark Chile) and shipping agency (Ultramar Agencia Maritima).

In addition, Felipe is also part of the Advisory Board & Angel Investor of SUNCAST, a Chilean SaaS (Software as a Service) start-up which provides artificial intelligence for renewable energy with major contracts operating in Chile and Mexico. Additionally, contributing as Non-Executive Director of ALAYP (Australian Latin American Young Professionals).

Felipe has over 15 years of industry experience in corporate sustainability and system decarbonisation. Felipe is a Commercial Engineer from The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (Valparaiso) and Master of Sustainable Energy from The University of Queensland.

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Rob Whiddon


Individual Membership
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Rob Whiddon was Managing Director of Trade and Investment Queensland, the international arm of the Queensland Government, for six years from 2008 to 2014.

TIQ assists Queensland business with export advice from its professional team in its Brisbane headquarters, and through its many international offices in The Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Under his stewardship of TIQ the Queensland Government opened a trade and investment office for Latin America based in Santiago, Chile, the first Australian state to have a base in the region.

As MD of TIQ he had a very close relationship with ALABC, and he continued that involvement by joining ALABC in a personal capacity after his TIQ term concluded. He has been a Director of ALABC for the past twelve months.

Now living on the Gold Coast, Rob remains involved in international trade and investment activity. As well as ALABC he is on the board of the Council On Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) , and also on the Management Committee of the Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He received an Australia Latin America Business Excellence Award in 2013 for an “outstanding contribution to business between Australia and Latin America”.

As MD of TIQ he served on the board of Australia Trade Coast, and was Chair of the Queensland Government’s G20 Economic Benefits Working Group when the G20 met in Brisbane. He is a member of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to his appointment to TIQ, Rob was Chief of Staff to Queensland Premier Peter Beattie for eleven years, and before that a Private Secretary to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bill Hayden.

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