Executive Team

Heidi Cooper, CEO

Heidi Cooper is the CEO of Business Chamber Queensland and is committed to driving Queensland’s strategic growth.

Throughout her career, Heidi has worked extensively for the advancement of business in Queensland.  With over 20 years’ experience in corporate affairs, law and public policy, Heidi has successfully driven strategies for major ASX companies and industry bodies with strong growth agendas and significant customer and community relationships.  She has specialised in leading sustainable business initiatives with a key focus on economic growth, job creation, education, sustainability and community engagement.  

Heidi is committed to the evolution of sustainable business practices and was selected to attend Harvard University’s inaugural program on Climate Change and Energy and the Global Rapid Switch Program at Princeton University.  It is these global perspectives that enable Heidi to drive a strategic agenda on a sustainably led economic transformation for businesses across Queensland.

Heidi has worked across a diverse range of industries and has held board positions and senior roles in infrastructure, energy, professional services, education and training, agriculture, and not-for-profit sectors.  She is an experienced Board director and chair and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Heidi is currently a member of the Jobs Queensland Board, Brisbane Festival Giving Committee and several government advisory Boards.  Heidi also has a longstanding commitment to community and not-for-profit initiatives and is currently Deputy Chair of the St Margaret’s Foundation Board and a member of the St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace School Advisory Council.  She is also a passionate lifelong learner and holds several university qualifications, including a Master of Laws.

Rachel Colaso, GM Business Development & Member Relations

Rachel was appointed Business Chamber Queensland’s General Manager - Business Development and Member Relations in April 2023. Rachel is a dynamic and strategic thinker;  excels in collaboration and believes in the power of teamwork to achieve a shared vision.  Rachel’s expertise lies in managing high profile programs, strategic and team management, cultivating strong stakeholder relationships, driving business development and effective communications.

Rachel brings over 25 years’ experience to Business Chamber Queensland and has a proven track record in delivering impactful outcomes, and her evidence-based approach to developing strategic activities sets her apart. Throughout her career, Rachel has gained valuable experience across various sectors, including education and training, international aid and development, economic development, and non-profit organisations.

Rachel brings a wealth of experience and strategic acumen to Business Chamber Queensland and is well placed to make a significant impact to the customer journey, business development and the Regional Chamber network. 

Catherine Hughes, GM External Affairs

Catherine joined Business Chamber Queensland in August 2022 as General Manager, External Affairs. 

She brings more than 20 years’ experience to the role with expertise across the full range of communications disciplines including brand strategy, marketing, corporate sponsorships, events management, media and government relations, and internal communications. 

Prior to joining the Chamber, Catherine held senior leadership roles in the brand and communications teams of some of the nation’s biggest companies including Sunsuper and St George Wealth.  She has also held senior policy roles within state government.

Catherine has an extensive record of executing brand and marketing campaigns to grow purpose-led brands and create positive, productive, and meaningful engagement between companies, customers, and communities.

Joanna Minchinton, GM Workplace Services

Joanna joined the Business Chamber Queensland team in October 2022.

Joanna is a recognised workplace relations expert, having been awarded life membership of both the:

  • Industrial Relations Society of Queensland; and
  • Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association

in recognition of her service to the field.

In her role with Business Chamber Queensland, Joanna provides employers with practical, real-world advice and assistance on a wide range of matters relevant to the workplace. In addition to managing the workplace relations function, Joanna also works with stakeholders to provide positive workplace solutions, such as Workforce Evolve, a Queensland government funded program to assist employers with their recruitment and retention practices.

An experienced industrial advocate in jurisdictions including the Fair Work Commission, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, and the Queensland Human Rights Commission, Joanna is also an experienced trainer having delivered educational programs on a range of employment relations topics for members and external organisations including sessions delivered in Istanbul and Beijing. Joanna is also a regular guest lecturer to third year business students at Griffith University.  

Prior to joining Business Chamber Queensland, Joanna was the Employment Relations Manager with the Queensland Hotels Association. Other associations Joanna has worked with include the Australian Medical Association, both in the Brisbane branch office and Sydney branch office, and with the registered industrial union, ASMOFQ.   

Joanna commenced her industrial relations career with Business Chamber Queensland (then known as QCCI) as a graduate Industrial Relations Officer. Returning to Business Chamber Queensland has been an exciting ‘back to the future’ moment for Joanna that offers great potential. 

Cara Westerman, GM Sustainable Business

Cara Westerman joined the team in May 2023.  Cara is a passionate change-agent, systems thinker and strategist with a deep understanding of the environmental, social and governance considerations associated with businesses, and the systems in which they operate. 

Cara’s background in environmental planning, social impact, urban systems, business advisory and policy development allows her to tackle complex challenges with practical solutions. She has experience leading large multidisciplinary teams through transformative change, with a strong focus on unlocking advantages that come from collaboration, shared accountability and shared value.

Currently pursuing an MBA (Sustainable Leadership) at Griffith University, Cara further enhances her expertise in driving sustainable change and business leadership. With her international experience and focus on integrated city strategies, she adeptly navigates diverse stakeholders and technical disciplines, making her a valuable asset in achieving successful outcomes.

Acknowledgement of Country

Business Chamber Queensland respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands from across Queensland and the Torres Strait. We acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal people as the Traditional Custodians of Meanjin (Brisbane), the lands where our office is located and the place we meet, work and learn. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.