ARA Council

The ARA Council is the governing board of the Australian Retailers Association, comprising representatives from small, medium and large Australian retail businesses.
Nicole Sheffield (she/her)

ARA President
Managing Director Data and Digital
Resident of Sydney

Nicole leads the development of Wesfarmers™ Group-wide data and digital ecosystem. This is a new role for Wesfarmers, reflecting the strategic importance and growth potential of our data and digital strategies. Prior to joining Wesfarmers, Nicole held a number of leadership roles. Most recently she was the Executive General Manager, Community; Consumer, at Australia Post.

Steven Younane (he/him)

ARA Vice President
Retail Prodigy Group (Nike Retail)
Resident of Melbourne

Steve is the Co-Founder and CEO of Retail Prodigy Group which holds the master retail franchise for NIKE stores across Australia and NZ with the distribution rights for TOMS and Timbuk2. Steve joined NIKE Australia as Retail Director and then to NIKE HQ to head up the retail division for North America. Steve has also held leadership roles at Jeanswest, Myer and Luxottica.

Steve Plarre (he/him)

ARA Secretary
Owner/Managing Director
Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses
Resident of Melbourne

Steve is the CEO of the century old Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses retail baker chain and a member of the ARA Council for around 6 years. Steve is a 4th generation Aussie retailer in a business that has navigated two World Wars, The Great Depression and his own multi-generational family challenges. Steve is very passionate about the retail industry.

Drew Meads (he/him)

ARA Treasurer
Board Chair and Franchisee
Forty Winks
Resident of Canberra

Drew is the Chairman of the Forty Winks Group and has operated a Forty Winks franchise for the past 15 years. Drew has an intimate knowledge of franchising and is a skilled director with extensive experience in governance, strategy and risk mitigation. Drew also has experience in the hotel and resort industry with several multinational brands.

Jane McNally (she/her)

ARA Council Member
Resident of Sydney

Jane has over 30 years experience in international retail including major UK fashion businesses Primark, Alexon, Peacocks and Dorothy Perkins. Jane has been a Board Member for 18 years and has been a highly successful CEO for the past 11 years, across a range of private capital, listed, and founder-owned businesses.

Rowan Hodge (he/him)

ARA Council Member
Andersens Floor Coverings
Resident of Queensland

Rowan is a retail leader with 25 years of leadership experience in the franchise sector. Until 2018, Rowan was the CEO at Battery World Australia. Previously, Rowan was a Retail Manager for Westfield, CEO for Domino's Pizza Belgium and various other leadership roles. He has great passion for trends in retailing and franchise governance.

Erica Berchtold (she/her)

ARA Council Member
Resident of Sydney

Erica Berchtold is a passionate, energetic and highly-driven business leader with over 20 years experience in the retail industry. She has an exceptional record and ability of building, leading and motivating teams to deliver outstanding results and she has continued to break through the glass ceiling and thrive within traditional male-dominated executive positions.

Jack Gance (he/him)

ARA Council Member
Chemist Warehouse
Resident of Melbourne

Jack is the Chairman of the Chemist Warehouse Group and a Co-founder of this $5 billion retail group. Jack has a wealth of experience in retail having been involved in the growth of the business since 1972. Additionally, Jack created the largest distribution business in Pharmacy and created the iconic brands Le Specs, Le Tan, Australis and Colours of Australis.

Sharon Beaumont  

ARA Council Member
GM of People and Communication
Resident of Melbourne

Sharon has more than 20 years experience in leadership and human resources roles across the retail, finance, health and franchising industries. Her roles have seen her contribute to organisations such as Grill'd, Australian Unity, Coles Myer and currently with 7-Eleven Australia. Sharon brings her skills as a human-focused strategy leadership expert to the ARA board.

Ralph Edwards (he/him)

ARA Council Member
Owner/Managing Director
Bright Eyes Sunglasses
Resident of Queensland

Ralph has an extensive 30 years of experience as an owner/operator of varied and successful small to medium-sized businesses centred around retail, franchising, property leasing, wholesale, marketing, distribution, design and import. Over the last 16 years, Ralph has occupied long term positions with the Franchise Council of Australia and the QLD Small Business Advisory Council.

Sarah Hunter (she/her)

ARA Council Member
Managing Director
Resident of Melbourne

Prior to joining Officeworks, Sarah worked across many areas of the Coles Group in positions including Financial Controller, State General Manager Victoria, General Manager Workplace Strategy and most recently Demerger Program Director, overseeing Coles™ implementation of the proposed demerger from Wesfarmers.

Josephine Barbaro (she/her)

ARA Council Member
Chief Financial Officer
APG & Co.
Resident of Sydney

Josephine Barbaro is currently the CFO of APG&CO, owners of Iconic brands Sportscraft, Saba and JAG. Josephine is a Chartered Accountant and has more than 25 years experience in Finance. Prior to joining APG&Co, Josephine held Senior Finance positions at Woolworths Limited for more than 15 years. Josephine has a great passion for Retail and Fashion.

Krista Diez-Simson (she/her)

ARA Council Member
Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Office Taking Shape
Resident of Melbourne

Krista Diez-Simson has over 15 years experience in retail, with a passion for small to medium sized, privately owned and founder-led businesses. Her retail experience includes fashion, food and wine through to her current role at leading plus-size women's fashion retailer, Taking Shape. For the past six years, Krista has combined her love of finance with operations holding dual CFO/COO roles.

Maria McCarthy (she/her)

ARA Council Advisor
General Manager Corporate Affairs Bunnings
Resident of Melbourne

Maria is passionate about working with leading Australian companies to help them protect their brand and reputation within the community. To this end, she has 30 years experience successfully managing Communications, Marketing, Sponsorship, Operations and Sales functions for large Australian companies

Tanya Tindall  (she/her)

ARA Council Advisor
General Manager
Resident of Western Australia

Tanya has over 25 years experience in both large corporate and privately owned organisations as a senior finance executive across banking, professional services and retail. As the General Manager of Kailis Jewellery she has led the business through a restructure and expansion of retail and digital channels. Her collaborative approach inspires positive results for employees, shareholders and customers. Tanya is driven by creating unique and memorable experiences for customers and works closely on the optimisation of supply chain operations, brand, and consumer marketing. Her experience as a Chartered Accountant has expanded to include the breadth of business operations in an ever changing retail environment.

Sally Glover (she/her)

ARA Council Advisor
Chief Legal & Corporate Affairs Officer
Resident of Adelaide

Sally is the Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer for KFC South Pacific, the franchisor of the iconic KFC brand in Australia and New Zealand. KFC is a subsidiary of global restaurant giant, Yum! Brands Inc; Sally is a general counsel with more than 25 years experience. Before joining KFC, Sally held senior roles at Pfizer, Constellation Wines and the Premier's office in South Australia. 


ARA Leaders Forum 2023

Wednesday 22 February 2023
9:00am - 7:00pm


Exclusive, unmissable conversations from keynote speakers, CEO panel sessions and fire-side chats.

ARA International Women’s Day Lunch 2023

Wednesday 8 March 2023
12:00pm - 2.30pm

The Australian retail community are invited to the ARA’s inaugural lunch in recognition of International Women’s Day. Hosted by ARA CEO, Paul Zahra, the program will feature a stellar panel of influential female leaders who will shine a spotlight on gender equity.

ARA Gala No.1 2023

Tuesday 8 August 2023
5:00pm - 10:30pm


We invite you to join us for the annual ARA Gala No. 1, a spectacular black-tie dinner celebrating the future and innovation of Australian retail.
Gala event
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