Changing role: Debra Murphy is looking forward to taking up her new position as chief executive of the RDA Illawarra in early July. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Debra Murphy’s decisiontoleavethe Illawarra Business Chamber to become chief executive of Regional Development Australia Illawarra is based on her passion for the region and its future.

She said many members of her family over five generations had been involved in business in the areawhich continuedto grow economically and create jobs.

Everyone from her grandmother, who was bornAgnesIsabelle Fredericks, to herson Adam Murphy, whostarted his ownIT company,MCT Solutions,at 19 and then diversified into other areas, were keen to create opportunities.

“I am very proud of Adam.There is a lot of (family)pride in the whole region.I am fifth generation. And when I first started doing anything economic development wise..15 years was that realisation that you can actually make a difference for the long term..and you can influence change.”

Ms Murphy said it was working with an alliance on the deliverance of a new port strategy in 2003 thatshowed her what could be done by working together.She was involved withthat for four years but knows what everyone did hadmade a real difference for the greater good of the region.Before becoming chief executive of the chamber three years ago Ms Murphyworkedfor Thiess inBrisbane.Other roles have included being the regional manager for theAustralian Industry Group andexternal affairs manager at Port Kembla Coal Terminal.She also worked as executive officer of the Illawarra Regional Development Board and the Illawarra Division of General Practice. She was involved in the formation of the Illawarra Innovative Industry Network (i3net) and was thefirst chair.Prior to all that she worked for BHP Billiton after startingher career at 16 as a stenographer at theRural Bank.

She wentto Smith’s Hill High and graduated with an MBA fromUniversity of Wollongong in 1999.She is a past board member of UOW UniCentre, Illawarra Area Consultative Committee and the TAFE Advisory Board. And islooking forward to focusing on economic development and working withstakeholders in the region for the good of the whole economy.

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