BSocSc, GDipMgt, GDipStratStuds, AdvDipProjMgt, GAICD, jssc, psc
I was born in Warwick in 1959. My parents are Reg and Joan McGowan and my father's family settled in the region in the 1850s. I went to infant and primary school at St Marys, secondary school at Assumption College and then Warwick High School for Years 11 and 12.
In 1977 I joined the Australian Army where I was recruited into the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps and later assigned to the Australian Intelligence Corps. I had a wide range of postings, the highlights of which were as an Instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon; Squadron Commander at the 7th Signal Regiment, Cabarlah; and Commanding Officer of the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Kapooka. I spent 22 years in the Army and during that time was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. I was privileged during my service to have postings in various locations around Australia and to travel extensively overseas while representing my country.
After leaving the Army at the end 1998 I joined my husband in expanding his project management consulting and training business, the Corporate Project Management Group (CPMGroup). In the five years I worked with this private sector company we quadrupled the income from our training services, established the Australian College of Project Management, and built the company from 10 to 44 employees. After we sold the business in 2004, we moved to Malaysia where I managed CPMAsia and provided project management consulting services to IT, Banking & Finance and Manufacturing companies in Asia including Smart Telecommunications, Maybank and Texas Instruments.
On returning to Australia in 2006 I joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) where I worked in the Non-Proliferation, Disarmament and Arms Control Section of the Global Security Division. During this time I represented Australia on overseas delegations and worked as part of a team to develop strategies that would benefit Australia in the short and long term.
Looking for a new challenge, in 2009 my husband and I established a beef cattle property on the Fleurieu Peninsular in South Australia. Here, as an MSA accredited beef producer, we bred Black Angus and raised Simmental and Murray Grey cattle primarily for the domestic market. We sold this property in 2014 so I could move back home where we purchased a rural property between Warwick and Stanthorpe.
My main hobby is distance running and I have competed at distances from 5km to the marathon. I won several marathon races during my running career including the Sun Herald Sydney Marathon in 1988. I still compete in 5km and 10km races and participate in #parkrun whenever possible.
I was elected Mayor of the Southern Downs Regional Council on 19 March 2016.