About Us

The Newcastle Business Club is able to function only through the hard work and dedication of a volunteer committee.

Rob Dawson


Business Development Manager

Rob is an accomplished expert in the IT industry, with over 15 years of experience in IT consulting, information management and cyber security. Rob is currently head of Business Development at Myrtec, a Newcastle based managed IT services company. Throughout his career, he has worked with a variety of organizations, ranging from government entities and public listed companies to small and medium-sized enterprises in a range of different industries.

Rob has two things he doesn’t want people to know about him. The first is that he has a technical background; having started his career as an IT engineer before moving through the different facets of IT to eventually land in business development. The second is that he isn’t a born and bred Novocastrian, meaning he won’t have the right to call himself a local for another 18 years. Shhhh.

When he’s not busy helping customers with their IT systems you might find Rob competing in motorsport, cooking, or making people groan by telling terrible dad jokes (As a dad two young children he says it’s his right to have a repertoire of terrible jokes).

Matt Taylor

Senior Vice President

Heart HR
Director | Owner

Matt has over 20 years of general management experience in the not-for-profit, government, and private sectors in the UK and Australia. He has always gravitated toward people-related roles and issues and so, with this experience and purpose of helping people, established his own HR consulting business – Heart HR.

Matt provides his experience and support to a number of local charities including Path 2 Change and the Annual Ride for Sick Kids to support Ronald McDonald House – which fits in well with his passion for cycling!

Matt holds a Bachelor of Environmental Management (Cranfield, UK) and a Master of Business Administration (University of Newcastle)

Matt has been a member of the Newcastle Business Club since 2007.

Sam Rykers

Junior Vice President

The Change Factor
Director & Change Lead

Sam Rykers is an experienced Business Transformation Leader. After moving to Newcastle 2 years ago, she started The Change Factor, a Change Management consultancy dedicated to ensuring businesses achieve optimal outcomes in strategic projects. Specialising in technology change, Sam has been instrumental in guiding organisations through transformative projects across multiple industries.  

Sam is also passionate about using technology as a tool for creating inclusive and accessible work environments. A self-proclaimed “Microsoft nerd”, Sam loves helping businesses adopt technology for efficiency and effectiveness in any environment. 

Outside of work, Sam finds joy in family adventures like bushwalking, camping and paddleboarding or in the art of baking macarons!  

Reid Farrell


SWS Lawyers

Reid is a corporate and commercial lawyer with SWS Lawyers in Newcastle.  He advises clients on commercial agreements, mergers and acquisitions, corporate structuring, as well as intellectual property matters.  In addition to his 6+ years of legal experience in both Australia and the United States, Reid also has a wealth of practical business knowledge and experience gained in management and as a company director for the Australian-owned Saxby’s Soft Drinks.  Prior to that, he spent several years in the U.S. practicing as a lawyer at a boutique legal firm, specialising in international business transactions, as well as working for the Trade & Customs team at KPMG.  The combination of Reid’s functional business background, together with his diverse legal and advisory experience, allows him to draw on a depth of experience to better advise clients needing to tackle complex legal and commercial issues across a broad range of market sectors.

Outside of the office, Reid likes to play basketball and baseball, is an active member of the Newcastle Bonsai Society, likes to volunteer with local charities and unwind with friends in an African drum circle, and will squeeze in overseas travel whenever he can.  Reid lives in Lambton and is dedicated to seeking out opportunities to improve Newcastle and the lives of its residents.

Norma Samson


Synchronicity Wealth
Principal Wealth Advisor

Born in the Philippines and a proud Australian since the age of five, Norma carries the legacy of first-generation immigrants. Her parents’ hard work and missed opportunities in wealth creation fuelled her passion for financial planning, leading to a career that has spanned 20 years.

Norma’s expertise extends beyond academic knowledge and is enriched by comprehensive life experiences, spanning from a diverse range of clients including individuals and families to ultra-high net worth individuals and businesses.

Her journey from corporate workaholism to founding her business in 2021 shaped her unique approach, which goes beyond traditional financial planning by ensuring financial strategies are in sync with clients’ personal and professional life.  Her ethos is woven into every aspect of her business, guiding clients through life-changing events like navigating the financial complexities of divorce and crafting bespoke financial plans for business growth and partner negotiations.

Outside the financial world, Norma finds joy in simple pleasures – cultivating edible plants in her garden, exploring culinary delights in the kitchen and the adventures of travel.

Liz Murray

Sergeant At Arms | Past President

Edge of Possibilities
Founder and Focus Strategist

Liz is a proud Novocastrian who started her business Edge of Possibilities (Leadership Coaching, Training and Mentoring) in 2017. After over 20 years in Leadership, Liz appreciates the value of empowering leaders to achieve success through coaching and training to help them reduce overwhelm, handle conflicts, bounce back from setbacks and strengthen resilience.

Liz is passionate about collaborating with exceptional Leaders to inspire their teams to thrive with confidence and certainty.

Liz loves an early start to watch the sunrise, spending time with her family and bushwalking.

Holly Martin

Committee Member | Past President | Life Member

The Marketing GP
Managing Director

Holly Martin is a successful and practiced marketing guru with almost two decades of experience helping companies and professionals to become more engaging to their audiences through effective marketing. She runs a successful marketing agency, The Marketing GP, that has helped startups, small businesses, family businesses and multi-nationals seeking to lead their industry. She is also the General Manager of local business news website Hunter Headline.

Holly has been a Club member since 2002 and Committee Member since 2004. She was the Junior Vice-President and Editor of VISION magazine and undertook a number of marketing and event management tasks for the Club. In 2018 she was President of the Club and is now a Past President and continuing committee member.

Anthony Foate

Committee Member

Catalyst Legal Pty Limited

Anthony established and is a Solicitor Director of Catalyst Legal Pty Limited. He predominantly practices in the areas of Business Structures, Revenue and Insolvency law.

Prior to his entry into law, he was a Tax Consulting manager with extensive experience gained from Newcastle and Sydney “Big 4” Consulting practices.

He is a Solicitor, holding qualifications in Law and Commerce, an Associate of the Australian Society of CPA’s and a Fellow of the Taxation Institute of Australia.

He has been a regular presenter of technical papers for various professional bodies, and has had articles published in International Journals. In addition, he has successfully litigated matters against the Commissioner of Taxation, has previously lectured Taxation Law for the University of Newcastle, and Tutored Company and Partnership law for the University

Danielle O’Neill

Committee Member

Senior Business Banking Manager

Danielle is an experienced Business Banking specialist with over a decade of expertise in the finance industry. Currently working as a Senior Business Banking Manager at NAB, she oversees a diverse portfolio of local businesses, assisting them with their complex financial needs.

Prior to her time in the finance industry, Danielle navigated through various roles in both SMEs and Large Corporates, offering her profound insights into the daily challenges and triumphs encountered by business owners. Hailing from a small country town, Danielle relocated to Newcastle over 12 years ago to pursue a Bachelor of Business degree with a double major in HR and Management at the University of Newcastle and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Recognizable as the former President of Hunter Young Professionals, a local not-for-profit organization, Danielle has devoted the past 5 years to championing opportunities for young individuals in the region. This commitment has fortified her personal brand, firmly establishing her within the Newcastle community, and fostering valuable connections with local individuals and businesses.

Beyond her professional endeavours, Danielle indulges in quality time with family and friends, making memories over delicious food paired with a nice refreshing cocktail or glass of bubbles. Whether at the gym, engrossed in a compelling Netflix series or travelling, she prioritizes personal well-being and making the most out of life.

Josh Lawlor

Committee Member

Scrubba Body

Meet Josh, the entrepreneurial force behind Scrubba Body and a dedicated advocate for the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation (HBCF), shaping triumphs within the business landscape while supporting a noble cause. With almost a decade of dedicated leadership, Josh has not only established Scrubba Body as a sought-after brand but also fostered collaborations that redefine success.

Josh’s journey spans a robust academic background, including currently pursuing an MBA and Master of Marketing, providing him with a strong foundation to navigate the intricate terrains of business. His commitment to continuous learning and innovation has been the cornerstone of Scrubba Body’s evolution, paralleled by his passionate role with HBCF.

Beyond his thriving business and HBCF endeavours, Josh is a fervent advocate for community growth, championing local causes and initiatives throughout Newcastle. His dedication to fostering connections and nurturing the region’s entrepreneurial spirit is unwavering.

While steering Scrubba Body to new heights and supporting the vital work of HBCF, Josh also finds solace in Newcastle’s vibrant scene, exploring the local culture, and cherishing moments of downtime. His pursuit of business excellence is matched only by his passion for cultivating community ties and supporting local endeavours.