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CEO: Michael Claessens

Michael Claessens was appointed Director of Regional Development Australia (RDA) ACT in July 2018. As a proud long-time ACT resident, he has more than 20 years experience in industry and investment, specialising in food, agribusiness and advanced manufacturing. Michael’s focus is on optimising RDA ACT’s connections with regional businesses, councils, government and industry to innovate, seize economic opportunities and attract investment.

Michael has broad experience in rural and regional stakeholder engagement and is particularly skilled in working with people to understand commercial challenges and finding practical market-based solutions. He has successfully maximised investment outcomes for industry, the not for profit sector and government in organisations as diverse as Invest Australia, Ausaid and the Australian Airports Association.

As the originator of award winning national projects in workforce and skills, Michael understands the value of building collaborative networks as a vehicle for delivering profound, sustainable improvements in business competitiveness. He believes that social responsibility and inclusion should go hand in hand with business success.  


Strategist- Suzanne Gearing

Suzanne Gearing is an accomplished business strategist, public speaker, and presenter with a passion for helping businesses turn opportunities into success stories. Her visionary perspectives, tactical skills, and ability to align and inspire stakeholders, have allowed her to travel extensively and contribute to the success of businesses both in Australia and the UK. As founder and Director of a successful social enterprise, she is passionate about inspiring businesses to combine profitability with social responsibility.

Suzanne is strongly committed to contributing to the sustainability and success of rural regional Australia, with a focus on food, events and tourism. She splits her time between Canberra and her bushland based agribusiness nestled alongside the pristine Mongarlowe River outside of Braidwood NSW.