Our Team

Matt Pfahlert | CEO

Matt is a well-known social entrepreneur with a long-standing commitment to rural Australia

One of Australia’s pioneering social entrepreneurs, Matt is helping to shape regional and rural Australia through igniting entrepreneurship in young people and their communities.

Matt started his first social enterprise in 1993 at the age of 23, working with ‘at risk’ young people in wilderness settings. His passion and drive for positive social outcomes saw him receive the prestigious Young Australian of the Year Award in 1996.

Motivated by a desire to create prosperous, healthy, thriving communities, in 2016 as co-founder and CEO of the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE), Matt led a $2.5M community buy-back of the Old Beechworth Gaol. A neglected Australian heritage icon famed for its connection to Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang and located in Matt’s hometown. The site is being re-purposed as an exemplar of social enterprise, impact investment and rural rejuvenation through community owned assets.

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Peter Sacco | Program Manager

Peter is a highly accomplished, experiential educator, facilitator and project leader

Peter’s role is to facilitate the delivery of entrepreneurial learning and development programs aimed at accelerating and supporting youth entrepreneurship throughout rural and regional Australia.

Peter, is currently working with 22 schools across the north east of Victoria, using social enterprise as a vehicle to engage young people to develop enterprise skills and to put their ideas into practice.

Peter is inspired by the creativity and innovation found within the ideas of young people of all ages and enjoys working with communities to support young people to achieve what they are passionate about.

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Caz Humby | Operations Manager

Caz has a strong background in community engagement and communications and is well recognised across the region 

Caz has worked in the government sector for over 15 years and has an excellent understanding of project delivery, strategic planning and stakeholder engagement.

Caz has also worked with a diversity of sectors across the community and has experience in team leadership and internal communications.

Caz has also worked as an educator, locally and abroad and provided support to many volunteers across the region.

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Clayton Neil | Strategic Projects Manager

Clayton has extensive experience in working in rural areas and a strong background in economic and community development

Clayton moved to North East Victoria in 2007 to take up the Cycle Tourism Development Manager role with the local council and become a trusted advisor on this issue nationally. Clayton is an avid cyclist and has a strong background in economic development, tourism, events, business development and business finance.

Clayton brings experience and skills in community development, stakeholder engagement, rural development and entrepreneurship and is leading the community buy back of the Old Beechworth Gaol.

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Cassie Elliott | Program Coordinator

Cassie has a strong background in administration, economic development and organisational skills, working in a variety of sectors including Government and small business within the North East Region as well as the Blue Mountains, NSW.

Growing up in country Victoria, she is passionate about community development to help keep the much valued youth in the region. Cassie is working for ACRE 2 days a week and is assisting in the development of the upcoming programs available.

Donna Petrie | Program Coordinator

Donna has joined the ACRE team for a 12 month secondment through our partners the Social Enterprise Academy in Scotland.

Donna has worked with the Social Enterprise Academy in Scotland since 2014 and has led the major Scottish Government Program ‘ Just Enterprise’ for 4 years, managing learning programs reaching more than 250 learners per annum across Scotland communities.

Donna has joined the ACRE team to share her skills in systems knowledge and relationship management across the social enterprise sector and to provide the operational training and implementation of the SEA international systems on the ground for Australia.

Donna is a lover of the arts and music festivals and is known for planning endless trips around the world in her head! We are pleased she is dreaming no longer.

Imogen Thomas | Administration Assistant

Imogen has an interest in supporting young people and is keen to work with the team in developing leadership and entrepreneurial skills. 

Imogen is our first trainee and has joined the team on a part time basis. Imogen has lived in Beechworth for the past couple of years whilst studying a Bachelor of Education at Swinburne University by correspondence.

Imogen brings a great energy to our team and plays an important role in the administration of our organisation.

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