Our People


Fiona Chambers

Fiona Chambers


Fiona has 30 years business experience in the production and marketing of agricultural and horticultural commodities both in Australia and overseas.


Before taking up the position of CEO with the Wheen Bee Foundation, Fiona lectured in business management and marketing at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong, Victoria.

As convenor of the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program and the Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) Emerging Leaders’ Program, Fiona developed extensive networks across a range of rural industries throughout Australia.

Fiona is passionate about conserving rare and endangered breeds of farm livestock. In addition to breeding Wessex Saddleback pigs and Shropshire sheep, Fiona was instrumental in establishing a rare breed meat marketing scheme for the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia, of which she was a founding director.

She has delivered papers at numerous national and international conferences. In 2004, Fiona became a director of the international NGO, Rare Breeds International, and remains actively involved in advocating for the global conservation of farm livestock breeds for food security.

Key strengths and experience brought to the Foundation by Fiona:

  • Extensive business and leadership experience and expertise
  • Broad industry networks across a range of pollination-dependent industries
  • National and international understanding of sustainability and food security
Naomi Swift 1

Naomi Swift

Events & Ambassador Coordinator

Naomi is an experienced project coordinator and administration support officer based regionally at Wheen Bee Foundation’s head office in Yendon, Victoria.                                                                      

Naomi brings over 20 years’ experience in project management, event management and documentation systems across national technology and energy sectors. 

On a personal front, Naomi grew up with bee hives in her suburban back yard, helping her father with his bee keeping hobby. This experience helped shape Naomi’s appreciation from a young age of the important role bees played pollinating their home grown fruit and vegetables. It is  a welcome change to be directing her skills in a meaningful way, managing and growing a range of ‘for purpose’ projects for the Wheen Bee Foundation.


Dr. Anna Carrucan

Project Manager

Dr. Carrucan is a passionate advocate for Australia’s natural landscapes, biodiversity and conservation, especially in rural areas where agriculture land-use intersects with remnant native vegetation and significant natural habitats.

Dr. Carrucan joined Wheen Bee Foundation in July 2020 as a Project Manager for our Powerful Pollinators Project.

Dr. Carrucan resides in the heart of the majestic volcanic plains of western Victoria, and is a professional beekeeper and botanist. In her spare time, Anna enjoys trail running and photography, gardening and art. Academia: Doctor of Philosophy (2001) – The University of Melbourne Bachelor of Science (Honours) (1995) – The University of Melbourne Graduate Diploma of Education (2003) – The University of Melbourne Master Tree Grower (2015) – Otway Agroforestry Network Bee Ambassador (2019) – Wheen Bee Foundation


Max Whitten

Dr Max Whitten AM - Chair

Max Whitten (BA, BSc, PhD, FAA, AM) is an Adjunct Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland. He was formerly Chief of CSIRO Entomology and Professor of Genetics at the University of Melbourne.  


Max was the first Chairman of the Honeybee Research and Development Council. His research interests centred around genetic means of controlling insect pests and the ecological genetics of pesticide resistance. His wider interests have been in public good research, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity.

Max has served as Visitor for a number of Cooperative Research Centres and chaired the Advisory Board for the Special Research Centre on Environmental Stress and Adaptation at the University of Melbourne. Max was a member of the Research Committee for the Slade Foundation. Since retiring from CSIRO in 1996, Max has worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, helping governments and farmers in Asia reduce their dependency on pesticides. He is also helping Australian beekeepers and pollination-dependent industries restructure to cope with new pests and diseases.

Key strengths and experience brought to the Foundation by Max:

  • Extensive experience in biological research and research management
  • Experience in scrutinising and grading research proposals
  • A network of connections internal and external to the industry
Jodie-Goldsworthy-Founder-Beechworth-Honey small (2)

Jodie Goldsworthy

Jodie Goldsworthy (BAppSci, Grad Dip Strat Mkting) is a fourth generation apiarist and Director of Beechworth Honey, one of Australia’s largest independently owned specialist honey businesses.    

Jodie’s interests are the environment, regional business development, and Australian agriculture and food production. She is determined to increase public awareness about the importance of bees and is a keen advocate for research into the threats to nature’s most efficient pollinators.

In 2015 Jodie was elected President for the Oceania Regional Commission of Apimondia –  the International Federation of Beekeeping Associations, an international organisation that represents beekeepers globally. Jodie has served on the Board of Directors of the Australian Food & Grocery Council and is an outgoing executive member of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC).  

Past appointments include serving as a member of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Regional Women’s Advisory Council, as a board member of North East Victoria Tourism, and on the Australian Government’s Food Processing Industry Strategy Group.

Jodie adores honey and its versatility in food. Her successful 2009 publication Cooking, Tasting, Living Honey is a snapshot into her life living, breathing, eating and sleeping honey.

Key strengths and experience brought to the Foundation by Jodie:

  • Far-reaching knowledge of the commercial honey industry in Australia
  • Proven expertise in marketing to promote Australian honey
  • Solid business expertise
Robert Costa

Robert Costa

Robert Costa is a co-founder of Costa Group, Australia’s largest grower, marketer and exporter of fresh fruit and vegetables.  His knowledge of the commercial aspects of the horticultural industry and strong business acumen played a significant role in building the Costa business into the success that it is today.

Throughout the development years of the Costa Group, Robert managed the company’s asset base and balance sheet, including working capital, liquidity and cash flow.

This experience formed a strong knowledge base for his current position as Chairman of Costa Asset Management, a privately owned investment company that focuses on developing, managing and sustaining capital across a portfolio of agriculture, private equity and property assets.

Key strengths and experience brought to the Foundation by Robert:

  • Exceptional financial and business sense
  • A thorough knowledge of Australia’s horticultural industry
  • Well connected in both the agricultural sector and commercial world
Sam Malfroy

Sam Malfroy

Sam Malfroy comes from a well-known beekeeping family from the Central Tablelands and Blue Mountains of NSW and is passionate about honey bee biology and optimising pollination of agricultural and horticultural crops.                                                              

Between 2011– 2016 Sam worked at Plant Health Australia and managed many of the honey bee and pollination programs. This included the establishment of the BeeAware website, the honey bee biosecurity Code of Practice and National Bee Biosecurity Program, and the Varroa Continuity Strategy. Sam also managed the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program and led the development of many educational resources, such as the Honey Bee Biosecurity Manual. For this work, Sam was given the AHBIC Award of Excellence in 2016 for service to the honey bee industry.

Sam has also led honey bee surveillance efforts on behalf of the Australian Government in Norfolk Island (2014), and participated as a beekeeping specialist for a SE Asia aid program that focused on improving beekeeping management practices and the development of university syllabus (2013 – 2015).

From 2016, Sam has been working at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in trade and market access. He has a degree in Horticultural Science (Honours) from Sydney University where he specialised in plant pathology.

Key strengths and experience brought to the Foundation by Sam:

  • Well-established connections with the honey bee industry and pollinator-reliant plant industries
  • A thorough knowledge of honey bee biology and beekeeping practices
  • Understanding of the research sector and government agencies
Des Cannon

Des Cannon

Des started beekeeping while a Science teacher in Canberra, and after completing a TAFE beekeeping course in 1979 started teaching beekeeping to Horticulture students. In 1984 his hobby became a full-time career and he worked as a commercial beekeeper for 25 years.

His Science background played a role with him being on the RIRDC Honeybee R&D Advisory Committee for 11 years, the last 5 as chair. His passion for education continued, working part-time for 10 years with the NSWDPI, teaching ‘Beginning in Bees’ and ‘Beekeeping as a Business’. In 2007 he became the Editor of Australia’s leading beekeeping journal, The Australasian Beekeeper, a role he still fulfils today.

Emeritus Director

Colin Powell 2

Colin Powell

Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1974, Colin worked in professional offices, private practice, government and non-government “not for profit” organizations.

In 1995 he gained an Advanced Diploma in Horticulture through Sydney University completing his final year project on Horticultural Management on Gretchen Wheen‘s pecan farm in Richmond, NSW. Colin was an Executor of Gretchen Wheen’s will and helped oversee the formation of the Wheen Bee Foundation during Gretchen’s life and helped ensure a smooth transition in keeping with Gretchen’s wishes after her death. During his time as a Director of Wheen Bee Foundation from 2009 to 2017 Colin’s special responsibilities include financial reporting and taxation matters.

Colin retains an interest in Wheen Bee Foundation matters and continues his support for the Foundation in his capacity of Emeritus Director.

Past Directors

(1930- 2020) Founding Director 2009-2019 

Linton was one of the true greats in Australia’s magnificent beekeepers and was ahead of his time in recognising the importance of stock improvement for Australian honeybees. 

Gretchen Wheen

(1929 – 2012) Founding Director 2009-2012)

Gretchen was one of Australia’s best known beekeepers who donated her estate through a living bequest to establish The Wheen Bee Foundation.