Our People

Board members
Ruth Medd, Chair
Ruth was one of the original investors in the Start Up Round. She joined the board as a non-executive director in September 2017.
Ruth is an experienced, independent non-executive director and chair. She is the Executive Chair of Women on Boards, chair of the Australian Health and Science Institute, a trustee of the NSW Historic Houses Trust and a director of the National Foundation of Australian Women. Formerly she was chair of Australian Ethical Superannuation Pty Ltd and a director of The Infants Home Ashfield. She holds qualifications in accountancy (FCPA) and IT and membership of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Interesting fact: Ruth’s a wine lover, a participant of bike riding tours and an intrepid traveller—often combining all three pursuits.
Chris Jahnke, Executive Director
Chris and Lynn founded Australian Chocolate Pty Ltd in 2013.

Chris has a background in real estate and transport marketing as well as extensive experience in the food service industry. He is a skilled business administrator and experienced project manager. Chris has acquired many new skills and become an expert in the complex area of chocolate making.


Interesting fact: Chris was born in Germany and can still read–and somewhat converse–in German.

Lynn Jahnke, Founder and former


Prior to Australian Chocolate Lynn had a successful career in retail. Before establishing online retailing business Essential Additions with Chris, Lynn spent 19 years in senior retail management roles with Myer in Australia and Marks & Spencer in the UK.  Product development is one of her key strengths. Lynn has been recognised as an industry expert having been invited to judge national cocoa/chocolate competitions in the South Pacific region.


Interesting fact: Leaving Rickmansworth Grammar School with acceptance to either Oxford or Cambridge to study English, Lynn instead chose to apply to Marks & Spencer's graduate program at their London head office. Not seeing herself becoming a teacher or even loving shopping, Lynn was fascinated by retail!

Pete Faulkner, Director
Pete is the co-owner of Conus Business Consulting Services and is a recognised expert in regional economic data analysis and strategic planning, business modelling and organisation leadership. He has created the unique Conus Trend labour market and building approvals series for all Queensland regions.
Pete was key to the establishment of the peak business group, Cassowary Coast Economic  Development Inc. Pete has a B.Sc. (Hons) in Banking and International Finance at City University Business School and is a shareholder in Australian Chocolate.
Interesting fact: Pete’s a qualified dive master and has dived all over the world.
 Advisory Board
David Herlihy, Chair of Advisory Board

David has had a distinguished executive career including a number of senior roles at Capel Court Corporation Limited. In his capacity as chairman and director of various entities, he has overseen a broad range of matters including governance, funding, acquisitions and strategy. He is currently chair of a number of private companies.


He was previously a director of Godfrey Hirst Australia and various Paul Ramsay Group entities. He has also been deputy chairman of Craig Mostyn Holdings and chairman of the State Transit Authority of NSW and Sydney Ferries. His ASX experience includes chairman of Mosaic Oil NL, Pro Pac Packaging Ltd and Fraser Range Holdings Ltd. David holds a Bachelor of Arts (UNSW) and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Interesting fact: David’s forebears arrived on the third fleet of ships to Australia.

Thomas Avery, member Advisory Board

Thomas was awarded a PhD in chemistry by The University of Adelaide in 2002 and completed postdoctoral positions in synthetic chemistry and wine related chemistry projects. Thomas is an ARC Research Fellow with the Centre for Nanoscale Biophotonics at the University of Adelaide.


Thomas has been involved with the Australian chocolate industry for 10 years, with a focus on fine-tuning fermentation practices. He has conducted consulting projects in Australia and the broader pacific region. Thomas has always been focused on innovation and invention in chocolate making and recently published 'How to Make Chocolate at Home, from Bean-to-Bar: A practical guide for fabulous chocolate'.


Interesting fact: Thomas’ combined fascinations of food and science are reflected in his passion for passionfruit and perfection of dry ice passionfruit storage.

Rick Byrne, member Advisory Board

Rick’s knowledge of the Australian confectionery industry is drawn from 26 years experience in a broad range of roles and responsibilities. More recently he has been consulting within the confectionery manufacturing sector, and teaching confectionery and chocolate technology at William Angliss.


Rick has a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Diploma of Confectionery Technology (ZDS - Central College of German Confectionery Trade). He previously served on the Australian Confectionery Industry Technical Committee for 10 years.


Interesting fact: Rick’s an expert on chocolate making equipment.   

Rona Morgan, member Advisory Board

Rona is an experienced International Banker specialising in risk and governance, working in SE Asia and Australia. Latterly, she led the development of a professional association in data protection across the APAC region and now manages her own Risk consultancy and Board portfolio. She is certified in Corporate Governance with INSEAD (IDP-C). Her focus for Charley’s will be on ensuring our processes are fit for purpose. Rona is a shareholder in Australian Chocolate.


Interesting fact: Rona, a UK native, recently returned to Australia from a long executive career in Singapore and is in the middle of a house renovation, fortunately sustained by lots of Charley’s chocolate thanks to her Charley’s shareholder discount.

Sarah Richardson, member Advisory Board.

Sarah is a seasoned board and executive leader in not-for-profits, SMEs and multinationals in Australia/France/USA. She is a strategic marketer with expertise in SME consulting, membership/stakeholder engagement, digital, business strategy and growth diversification strategies. She understands how to build commercially viable physical/digital audiences and scale SMEs. Sarah is a shareholder in Australian Chocolate.


Interesting fact: Sarah speaks French and was based in Paris overseeing Yoplait’s US and Canada marketing and launch into Scandinavia and Mexico

 Duffy Sheardown, member Advisory Board

Duffy founded Red Star Chocolate after listening to BBC radio which reported that only Cadbury actually made British chocolate directly from the raw cacao bean. All other producers started the process further along in the refining process, using chocolate liqueur or paste in the beginning stages.This intrigued Duffy and in-born curiosity prompted him to launch himself into the chocolate limelight in Britain. His expertise has spread. Duffy provides valuable advice to Australian Chocolate.


Interesting fact: Before becoming a world class chocolate maker, Duffy worked in motor racing. Duffy believes his scientific approach  to shaving of fractions of seconds off lap times helps him get the best possible flavours from the beans he sources.

 Fred Schilling, member Advisory Board

Fred was a registered patent and trade mark attorney from 1979 to 2013. In this time, he was an equity partner at the leading independent intellectual property firm, FB Rice & Co, and subsequently a consultant at another of Australia’s intellectual property firms, Davies Collison Cave. Fred is a shareholder in Australian Chocolate.


Interesting fact: Fred’s first degree is in aeronautical engineering from Sydney University where he studied under Professor Graeme Austin Bird AO, an internationally renowned Australian scientist, long time NASA collaborator and pioneer of Monte Carlo Direct Molecular Simulation used in semiconductor vacuum system and space vehicle design.

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