Clarence Valley’s most influential people #22-19

22. Jenna Thompson

DAILY Examiner journalist and digital producer Jenna Thompson was responsible for creating and driving the Cowper Podcast.

The former Wollongong resident moved to the Clarence a few years ago and after learning about the horrific bus crash last year while writing a news story, she immediately saw the opportunity to create an in depth podcast to commemorate the incident's recent 30th anniversary in 2019.

The podcast is a first for the 160-year-old masthead and sets a high bar for the rest of regional media outlets to rise to.

Jenna took on the project firstly as producer, working countless hours at the office and at home in pulling together the huge number of people involved in such a groundbreaking example of storytelling including victims of the crash, emergency workers and her production team of writers, editors and narrators. She also conducted a lot of the interviews herself.

More than 13,000 people from across the country and the world tuned in to listen to the riveting six- episode podcast which has since received hugely positive feedback from listeners as well as the people whose lives here hugely impacted by one of Australia's worst traffic collisions.

No pressure for another one Jenna.


21. Bruce Carle

FOR more than 15 years Bruce Carle's name was synonymous with hockey in Grafton.

In 2013 he decided it was time to bow out of the sport he loved, but has left a legacy of hockey infrastructure.

With two artificial playing surfaces plus the Bunkhouse Grafton hockey can look to develop hockey locally well into the 21st Century.

Bruce's inside knowledge of local sport has made him a valuable member of The Daily Examiner's Clarence Valley Sports Awards committee. He is the group's treasurer.

Away from sport Bruce's work with the Grafton Men's Shed and men's mental health has been tireless and effective.


20. Rachel Choy

THE quiet achieving dynamo at the helm of Caringa Enterprises, Rachel Choy is a strong local advocate for inclusiveness.

Whether it's working directly with government to improve the delivery of NDIS services or growing community relationships across the Clarence Valley, Rachel's approach to her work is to get things done.

Her effectiveness in the role of CEO has helped to improve the lives of many of Caringa's clients while broadening minds in the wider community in the process.

Rachel's voice cuts through at every level, whether lobbying at the top level of government or tackling concerns here at home. Her listening skills are equally as good.

Her innovative approaches and wise counsel within the disability sector ensures the best possible outcomes for regional issues like access, quality and affordability of the NDIS as well as the implementation of training solutions to help meet the service's growing demand.

Rachel also helped to forge one of the Clarence's most successful community unions this year when Caringa came on board to sponsor the Jacaranda Festival's gala ball. Almost 500 people turning out for the stellar occasion.


19. Claire Aman


SOFTLY spoken Claire Aman is what you could call a considered communicator so when she has something to say people listen.

Her writing is much the same, the award-winning author establishing herself in national literary circles through her storytelling, poignant prose and the sublime way she can extract beauty from everyday situations.

Claire is passionate about creative writing and spreads that love throughout the Clarence Valley through the Long Way Home project.

Now into its second year of showcasing talented writers of all walks and ages, the annual competition is hugely popular while its supporting book release quickly becoming a local bestseller.

In awe of her local environment, the avid community weeder was also instrumental in setting up the 53 Islands concept and festival (along with Kieran McAndrew and Glen McClymont) which champions the islands of the Clarence River.

The inaugural event this year was a runaway success, the community immersing themselves in the self-serve project.

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