John Watts

John Watts 0418 716 033

We started Astute North Queensland because I was disappointed with the way banks had done away with ‘Old School’ bank managers that expressed compassion, knowledge and authority.  So we developed a company to fill the gap. I believe the best thing we do is explain the process to the customer in a simple and easy manner; it is this philosophy that has made Astute North Queensland the success it is today. 20 years on and with a number of subsidiary companies, including Equipment Finance, General Insurance, Financial Planning, Accounting and Bookkeeping we have group of individuals that genuinely build relationships with our customers.

Originally born and raised in South-West Queensland, I went to school at Churchie as a boarder in Brisbane. After school I worked in Gove NT, the Kimberly’s WA and Barcaldine Central Queensland, working in the mining and rural industries. I then moved to Toowoomba to work in Real Estate as an Auctioneer and Salesperson, moving back to Cairns in 1996 to continue my real estate career with First National.

If you want to deal with someone the way bank managers were in the old days, contact us.

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Orla Watts

Orla Watts 07 4041 3100

In 2000 John and I started Astute North Queensland because we felt there was a real need for customers to get better service than others were offering.

With a background in Insurance, my management expertise combined with John’s real estate background made for the perfect foundation with which to establish a mortgage broking business.

Originally from Cork, Ireland I came to Cairns in 1996 for a holiday. Soon after I met John and decided to make Australia my new home. Working side by side since 2000 John and I have established successful sister offices in Port Douglas, Atherton, Mareeba & Ayr.

I’m passionate about the image of our offices and look after them, ensuring we exceed all of the standards set by the regulatory bodies and our affiliates.

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Prue Swenson

Prue Swenson 07 4041 3100

I was born in country Victoria but left there when I was very young with my family to travel. My parents packed up the caravan and worked their way around Australia for three years with us kids in tow. When we came to Cairns my parents loved it so much that they decided to stay. I married a born and bred local and am well and truly settled in with my own family and love the North Queensland lifestyle and what it has to offer.

I have been part of the Astute North Queensland team since 2011 and I work closely with Gus. My role is to look after our clients helping keep them informed through-out their purchase/refinance and then after settlement to ensure we stay in touch, review their loans on an annual basis and make adjustments accordingly as their needs change and portfolios grow.

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Donnie Martin

Donnie Martin 0400 705 669

I made the move to Cairns after holidaying here in 1984. Sound familiar? Many people I meet come to Cairns on holidays and never leave.

I first worked for the ANZ Bank in Charters Towers, and when I moved to Cairns I worked for the Electricity Credit Union, Mercantile Credit and then AGC.

My father (Clarrie Clocker Martin) introduced me to the Motor Industry in 1987 and I have enjoyed a fantastic 23 years servicing the Cairns and Far North in Motor Sales and Management. Prior to commencing work at Astute North Queensland I was the Business Finance Manager at Australian Motor Group for 11 years.

Already having a passion for customer service, and vast lending experience, I took up the offer as Lending Manager here at Astute North Queensland, operating out of the Cairns office.

With the knowledge I have gained from years of business experience, it is our mission to provide a prompt, trustworthy service to the people of Cairns and beyond who are looking for finance, not just cars – the possibilities are endless.

If you are ready to buy, just looking, or merely want some advice, please give me a call.

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Cath Allen

Cath Allen 07 4041 3100

I am a Planning Assistant where my main role is keeping our existing customers happy and helping our new customers to make sure their experience with us is as easy and hassle free as possible.   It is great to see customers achieving positive outcomes for themselves and their families. Helping families build a better financial future is always a rewarding experience.

I came to Cairns in 1999 for a three-month holiday and fell in love with Cairns and my hubby. I have had many years working in customer oriented businesses within Cairns, mainly in Hospitality and Small Business Management.

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Gus Soper

Gus Soper 0400 636 953

I have been part of Astute North QLD since 2007 and during this time I have learnt that people love to deal with like-minded, approachable people. Just getting things done without the fuss has proven a far better approach than the way lending is often done in bank world.

Back in the day I started my working career in sales management. This taught me the importance of customer service, building relationships and delivering the right solutions and results for my clients.

It’s these foundations that have contributed to my success in the mortgage broking industry. Over my time I believe I have delivered some great results for my clients, working as their Lending Specialist and an Advisor. I have a strong commitment to all my clients and love to meet new people from all walks of life.  Whether it is sport, travel, camping or kids, there are very few people I meet with that I can’t find some common ground with and help.

I am a fully accredited ASIC licenced broker with a Certificate IV in Financial Services and a Diploma in Mortgage Finance. I also hold all the necessary individual accreditations with the Banks and the MFAA.

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Kin Fei Chan

Kin Fei Chan 0412 340 257

As a lending specialist, it is my commitment to provide you with a professional and personalised service and to deliver the mortgage solution that best suits you needs.

With a Malaysian Chinese background, I am able to speak four languages fluently (English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay). I migrated to Australia in 2005 and completed a bachelor degree at the University of Queensland. I joined Astute North Queensland after having experienced the exceptional service provided by this company. I embrace the opportunity of being the only Asian finance broker in the region. Having been through the buying process myself, I understand that purchasing a home can be frustrating and confusing, especially if you are buying your first home. My job is to guide you through the process and give you the support you need to make it an easy, smooth and stress-free experience.

I look after all the paperwork and liaise with other key parties including your conveyancer, real estate agent, builder and valuer. Having access to a full range of mortgage products and staying up to date with the latest rate movement, I will find you the right home loan with best features and competitive rates. So let me share your excitement of getting your dream home or investment property.

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Damian Condon

Damian Condon 0408 486 608

After 26 years and various management roles with ANZ, its exciting and rewarding to be part of a team whose vision of what true customer service should look like, is the same as my own.

Working for Astute allows me to provide the time and service level I don’t believe possible any longer with large institutional banks. The atmosphere is relaxed yet professional, which makes for a closer working relationship with our clients.

Originally from Cairns, I’ve seen peaks and troughs, and have always followed the residential market with interest. I’ve watched Cairns develop progressively over the years and am looking forward to helping people become part of this city’s future growth.

Stop in to our office any time, and see first-hand what genuine financial services look like.

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Simon Cody

Simon Cody 0404 503 985

I decided to leave the Banks and join Astute North Queensland after getting fed up of turning people away I thought we could help. I like the fact with this job I have access to over 30 lenders, meaning it’s not very often we can’t find our clients a solution

With 7 years’ prior experience in banking and lending and now managing the Astute Port Douglas office since 2009, I know what it takes to make your experience of getting your loan an easy one.

With a commitment to results, I really enjoy getting my customers their first home, dream house or investment property. I love my sport and am often found playing Rugby, Cricket, Tennis and a few rounds of Golf. I love taking my partner diving on the Reef, and it’s clear to see I’m not lacking on energy.

Friendly and always up for a chat, whenever you’re close by pop in and talk to me about how I can help you get the finance to suit your individual needs.

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Michael Jacoby

Michael Jacoby 0408 805 648

I have over 30 years banking experience, predominantly in business banking in North Queensland, based in Townsville. Over the years I have also worked in Toowoomba, Chinchilla, Dalby, Stanthorpe, Darwin, and until very recently in Brisbane working for a large Asian Bank in Corporate/Institutional banking. However, my preference is very much towards assisting the family owned business owner/operators of Northern Queensland.

I have been fortunate to have experience across a broad range of industries including hospitality, accommodation and tourism; professional services firms; smaller end manufacturing; transport and logistics; marine services; construction and trades; mining services; civil contractors; property investment and property development; motor dealers; retailers and wholesalers; health; and the agricultural sector amongst others.

I will be able to assist market sectors including small business, larger commercial businesses, emerging and lower end corporate, property investors and developers, and agricultural.

I am very pleased to have joined John and Orla Watts and the Astute North QLD Group based in Cairns, but am available to discuss current or proposed business banking arrangements across Queensland.

Whether you are looking at a specific transaction to be financed, refinancing existing debt, a review of current banking arrangements, or just would like a chat, I am contactable by email or mobile any time.

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Debbie Fagan

Debbie Fagan 0432 539 569

Originally from Ireland, I came to Australia in 2007 as a backpacker and like most backpackers fell in love with the Australian life style and knew it would become my home.

I started my financial career when I was in college as a trainee accountant. While working for that company I realised I had a massive interest in the area of home loans and wanted to work closer with the public with a more hands on approach. I moved to lending at that point where I worked for 7 years.

Looking to expand my career further and learn more about the industry, I moved to a sub-prime company where I worked as an underwriter. After a few years I became a team leader for the offers/valuation area.

Joining the Astute team is very exciting for me as we share the same passion for customer service, while understanding the importance of finding the prefect product for each person.
I look forward to my growth within Astute as I look forward to working with you closely.

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Crystal Culshaw

Crystal Culshaw 07 4041 3100

I grew up in beautiful Port Stephens NSW and moved  to Cairns when I was 12. After I finished high school I went straight into the banking industry, working for one of the majors for the past 16 years.  I worked in nearly every role in the bank from telling, to  management. I discovered my love of home loans and assisting clients with their home buying dreams.

After returning to work earlier this year from maternity leave,  I found my focus shifted and I wanted a role focused on customer service rather than sales.  I wanted to help my clients and I also wanted a better work/life balance. As cliché as it sounds, having kids really does change your priorities.

I jumped at the opportunity to work with Astute after having dealt with them on a professional level through the bank for many years. I am very excited to be part of a fun team, getting back into home loans and most of all, helping my clients on their exciting journey of purchasing a home.

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Tracey Kitson

Tracey Kitson 0408 796 239

(AR 442287)

I have over 10 years’ experience as a Financial Planner, having moved to Cairns from outback Queensland (Mount Isa), and joined the Astute family in February 2018. I grew up in Gladstone and started an admin traineeship with a Suncorp General Insurance Agent straight after leaving school.

My partner and I moved to Mount Isa where we called home for the next 13 years. I worked for a Financial Planning Firm where I completed my Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning. Here I found my passion for helping clients achieve their financial goals, protect their most important assets (their family), but also build strong trusting relationships to enable me to be there for my clients through the tough times when claims need to be made to ensure this time is as stress-free as possible.

As many have done before me, a short holiday to Cairns lead to a love affair with the region. The majestic rainforest surroundings and reef stole my heart and it wasn’t long before I trekked across the state to start the new chapter of my life with my family.

I have over 10 years’ experience as a Financial Planner and am with you every step of the way throughout your lifetime. I take the time to listen to your needs and objectives and find solutions that you not only understand but are comfortable with. I invite you to give our office a ring to see how I can assist you in the planning and protection of your financial future.

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Jasmine Michel

Jasmine Michel 0423 961 648

I have been lucky enough to be born and raised in beautiful Cairns.

As a teenager, I moved to my father’s home town in Argentina for 6 months where I went to school and learned a little of the language. I met a lot of amazing people and was bitten by the travel bug! In 2019 I backpacked around Europe for three fabulous months with my partner and a couple of friends, eating and drinking our way around the continent!!

Growing up, my parents ran a small local business where I learnt the importance of great customer service and the impact that good word of mouth can have on a business.

I began at Astute NQ in 2017 in the Equipment Finance team working as an Office Manager and have since become a Finance Broker specialising in asset finance, personal and commercial lending. I feel very lucky to be a part of the Astute North Queensland team and look forward to helping you with your finance goals!

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Amy Spiller

Amy Spiller 0435 374 075

Perth born and Cairns raised and wouldn’t have it any other way! My journey with Astute started the day after my 20th birthday when I purchased my first property, where Tania Pocock was my mortgage broker.

Fast forward 5 years and having a quarter life crisis, I left my job of 7 years to kick start my career in Equipment Finance (which I knew little about!) and I absolutely love it and could not think of doing anything else! I look forward to helping you with all of your Equipment Finance needs and questions.

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Jessica Cho

Jessica Cho 07 4041 3100

Originally born and bred in Seoul, South Korea I was always curious and interested in learning about other cultures which is why I decided to study abroad in Beijing China, this is where I completed my Bachelor Degree in Advertising Design. After graduation, I gained employment experience in various industries such as hospitality, early childhood education and retail as a sole trader in Korea. Over this period of time working for these different industries I learnt the importance of communication and social interaction with others.

One day, I had an epiphany! I wanted to pack everything up and travel around Australia! So I did!  During my travels, I fell in love with the city of Cairns, its beautiful nature, lifestyle and it’s also where I met my husband.

I am proud to say that we have settled in this beautiful city of Cairns and I would love to help people with similar dreams with a very personalised service here at Astute North Queensland.

For whatever dream it may be, let us help you to achieve it and let us be a part of your story.

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Rebecca Flynn

Rebecca Flynn 0438 390 995

Originally from Melbourne, I moved to Cairns with my family in 1991 and started my career in Finance with Suncorp. After a transfer to open Suncorp branches in Sydney in 1995 I returned to Cairns and moved into the Insurance Broking Industry.

The allure that has kept me in the industry for 25 years are the relationships that I have made with local business owners, Insurers and the Cairns community. Being a local, I understand the unique needs of Far North Qld and the perils of finding and providing insurance solutions to suit my clients and most of all ensure they are protected.

I have partnered with Astute North QLD to create Astute General Insurance and I look forward to growing the existing relationships I have made and supporting new clients through all aspects of their Insurance needs through exceptional customer service, which Astute are so well known for providing.

At home there’s 2 teenage boys, 3 dogs, 1 cat, and 3 horses. I love being home cooking/creating which is not often or find me at the racetrack dressed to the nines in an original local creation (supporting local designers/artists is a passion) or at the gym thinking about getting back into Bodybuilding after a long off season 2016.  I’m dedicated to whatever new adventure or challenge comes into my life and giving back to this wonderful community of Cairns whenever I can.

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Olivia Mills

Olivia Mills 07 4041 3100

The definition of a true local – parents, grandparents, my partner Max and myself, all born in Cairns. It is no secret that we all love the far north. I finished school in year 10 because I decided it was not for me, and I wanted to work full time and set myself up financially at a young age.

I dove in headfirst with getting two jobs and studying a Diploma of Beauty Therapies. I then branched off into different aspects of beauty such as skin science and laser therapies. Not long after working in the industry I took the scary step of opening my first business when I was 18 years old. I built up a very successful small business here in Cairns that traded for 4 years and had a large client base.

After buying my first home at 19 years old through a broker at Astute, I was so intrigued by the process of the mortgage broker. I identified the reason as to why I had such an attraction to the industry, considering it is complete left field to beauty therapy, and it was because I love to make people feel good.

Buying a home is a huge milestone in people’s lives, it is scary and exciting all at once! I love the satisfaction of helping people achieve their goals, and I want to be there every step of the way. I have fallen in love with the industry and cannot wait to help service all my future clients with their home loans.

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Jimmydee Baker Spittles

Jimmydee Baker Spittles 0475 050 753

I’m a Gordonvale local and have been since I was about three years old. I was originally born in Camperdown NSW, but my family decided it would be better to trade the city life for the beautiful sun of Far North Queensland.

After graduating from Gordonvale High School in 2014, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with myself, but in 2015 I started my career with Commonwealth Bank in Cairns and never looked back. I moved around the Cairns area working in multiple branches, until I decided I wanted a little bit more adventure and moved to Manchester, UK, for two years with my partner Sam.

I had an absolute ball leaving Australia for the first time in my life and travelling to 18 different countries in Europe, despite my last year there ending abruptly because of the pandemic. While living in the UK I worked at HSBC UK as a Universal Banker and a Business Loan Processor for Covid-19 relief funds. I loved my time there, but I am glad to be back in the tropics near family, friends, and my dog Moxxi.

I was finally able to return home in December 2020 and found that I wanted something more than working in a bank. I am very excited to be working with Astute, a local business with a genuine care for our customers and helping them reach their financial goals.

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Amy Porta

Amy Porta 07 4041 3100

From cane paddocks to coast lines and the suburbs in between, Cairns has been home for the past 27 years.

Born in Mackay to hard working parents, I am the youngest of two. We moved to Cairns when I was just three years old to be closer to family and for my Dad to pursue his dream of becoming a cane farmer.

My career in Insurance began in 2009, shortly after graduating year 12. I started in an administration role where I fell in love with getting to know people and providing the highest level of customer service. Over the past 12 years I have worked in various roles as an Insurance Broker. I hold a Diploma of Financial Services (Insurance Broking) and was awarded young professional of the year in 2017. I have gained invaluable knowledge of the unique insurance market in Far North Queensland and have made many wonderful connections along the way – colleagues, clients, insurer’s, assessors, and lifelong friends.

I am delighted to have joined the amazing team at Astute, and I look forward to getting to know you all and building on these connections in my next role as General Insurance Office Manager. I will work closely with our team to ensure we are providing the highest level of service. We hope to take the fuss and fear out of what can sometimes be a very daunting and confusing industry.

I’m a family girl at heart who outside of work, enjoys soaking up all of the goodness that this region has to offer – camping, water skiing, hiking, swimming in the ocean and entertaining with friends in our home.

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Dariush Mirshafiei

Dariush Mirshafiei 0402 944 288

Dariush completed a Bachelor of Business majoring in Accounting and Finance at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane before starting his accounting career with a firm in the Brisbane CBD.

Being Cairns born and raised and realising that there is no better place than home, Dariush soon returned to the Far North.

Dariush has worked with all different clients, ranging from individuals to groups holding multiple entities, and can provide business and taxation advice while working closely with clients to help them achieve their financial goals.

Dariush enjoys giving back to the community through his involvement as treasurer of the Cairns and Regional Multicultural Association and coaching at Cairns Basketball.

An enjoyment for helping others drives Dariush and he looks forward to helping you achieve your personal and business goals.

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Harneet Gill

Harneet Gill 07 4041 3100

Originally from Sydney, I quickly moved to the beautiful tropics not long after getting married.

With a background in Financial and Banking products, I wanted to enter a sector where I could educate and help people. It wasn’t until I entered the world of Insurance and assisted in settling a couple of claims that I discovered how rewarding and fulfilling the industry is.

I am excited to find products for our clients at Astute that are not only tailored to their requirements but will also adequately cover them when life’s unpredictable and unforeseen events arise.

When I’m not in the office you’ll find me out hiking, visiting the beach or trying out new recipes.

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Robin Kapun

Robin Kapun 07 4041 3100

Originally from Papua New Guinea I was raised in the Solomon Islands throughout my childhood. Due to a civil conflict, my family were evacuated to Australia where we moved to Cairns. I now consider myself a local having completed primary and high school as well as university at JCU Cairns. Feeling no need to venture from the tropics of Cairns, much similar to the Solomon Islands, I have worked in several industries including construction, aviation ground support and accounting. More recently I have worked in the financial industry as a Paraplanner for over 4 years and have recently joined Astute in a similar role working in the Wealth division alongside Tracey & Cath. I very much look forward to working with our clients to help improve their financial circumstances.

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Teghan Carey

Teghan Carey 07 4041 3100

I was born and raised in Cairns, went to Edge Hill State Primary School and then to Cairns High.

While I was at school I worked night shifts and weekends at an IGA X-Press. As I enjoyed working more than being at school, I worked 20-30hrs a week. After finishing school, I worked at Community Enterprise Queensland (IBIS) as a receptionist and purchasing / administrator officer for Thursday Island Mitre 10 for 3 years before joining a bank.

I fell in love with helping people and seeing how happy they were when I could help them with their requirements.

I moved to Astute in October 2021 as a Client Manager in the Lending team and am excited to see what my future holds here and help in any way that I can

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Bri Grunow

Bri Grunow 0417 020 709

I classify myself as a Cairns local with growing up on the Atherton Tablelands for most of my childhood until making the move to Cairns to complete year 12. I love living here as I enjoy the lifestyle Cairns has to offer. If I am not working, I am either out doing a hike, sunbaking on the beach or out on the reef enjoying a luxury day on one of the sand cays.

I started at Astute in January 2022 as a client manager. My role as a client manager was to assist the client from when their application was lodged off to the lender all the way through until settlement. The most important part of the role was ensuring the client had a positive experience from start to finish.

After gaining experience as a client manager, I realised just how much passion I have for helping people purchase their dream home, whilst educating them on the process so it’s as exciting and stress free as possible. I decided to take my passion further and become a fully qualified Mortgage broker.

My journey as a mortgage broker has been rewarding so far and I am so excited to continue building new relationships and strengthen my existing relationships with clients by ensuring they have a positive experience that will stick with them forever.

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Jarmille Poggioli

Jarmille Poggioli 0439 761 460

Jarmille is a Tableland’s local, wife of a farmer, a busy mum of four children and, without doubt, not your stereotypical accountant.

Helping business owners with all things accounting and tax for more than 15 years and, as a business owner herself, Jarmille understands the various issues challenging business owners in today’s ever-changing world.

Jarmille believes in working in her client’s businesses, not external to them, and is dedicated to partnering with her clients to help them achieve long term success. Recognising that no two clients are the same and tailoring accounting services and fees to suit each client’s individual circumstances sets Jarmille apart from other Accountants.

Graduating from Central Queensland University with a Bachelor of Accounting, Jarmille is a Chartered Accountant, an Associate of the Institute of Public Accountants, a registered tax agent, public practice certificate holder and a qualified Justice of the Peace.

When not at work, Jarmille enjoys the constant chaos of having an active family life and you will often find her helping down in the avocado orchard or out on the football field.

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Gordan Peters

Gordan Peters 0458 190 484

Very close to being a Cairns local, I was born in the rainy town of Innisfail.  After venturing down to Brisbane for a couple of years to study, I made my way back to Cairns to set up my life.

After my studies, I found myself working in the mining industry for a copper mine in Mt Isa. It took me 3 years to realise that working in the sun all day was not a great idea!
I moved back into town and started working for Australia’s favourite telecommunication company. Becoming a business manager for the Telstra Earlville store, I came to love business and especially found interest in the finance side.
Fast forward 4 years and I moved my skills over to banking, where I became a home loan manager.
I recently transitioned over to Astute Finance, where I’m excited to continue creating positive customer relations, and help people achieve their dream.
I’ve recently built a house at Trinity Beach, so I’ve become very familiar with the building process.

Outside of office life, you’ll find me camping, in the gym, or drinking my favourite coffee on the beach. I look forward to helping you on your home buying journey!

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Tara Crossley

Tara Crossley 07 4041 3100

I came to Cairns in my final year of school, as originally, I was raised in a small rural town called Weipa. I spent most of my childhood camping and exploring outdoors with some great mates.


I am currently working as an office manager in the Equipment finance department, and I love it. Prior to working here, I was a nurse working in the hospital. I have a genuine passion for looking after people however I didn’t see myself doing nursing long term, so I ventured out, and that’s how I came across the finance industry.

Fast forward to now, and I’m working alongside an amazing team and learning how to help and look after people in a different way.

I take a lot of pride in working for Astute as they uphold an exceptional standard of customer care, and value quality over quantity.

When I’m not in the office you can find me camping, exercising, swimming, having a drink with friends or spending time with my family.

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Claire Powell

Claire Powell 07 4041 3100

I was born and raised in Mareeba, moving to Cairns with my husband and 2 children about 6 years ago.

I started with Astute early 2023 and I am ecstatic to be apart of such a supportive and caring team who go above and beyond for their customers and their team.

I will be the first face you see when you arrive at Astute Cairns, and I will strive to ensure you have the most wonderful and comfortable experience.

I am 100% customer service driven and love to put a smile on your face or just be an ear to listen.

In my spare time, my family and I love to go exploring this beautiful place we live in! We love Cairns and the beauty that surrounds us, we enjoy swimming, camping, fishing and just spending time as a family!

I look forward to this journey with Astute and meeting all the incredible Astute Clients!

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Lisa Wilkinson

Lisa Wilkinson 0438 758 689

Having completed her Diploma in Mortgage Broking and on the journey to completing her Bachelor in Financial Planning, Lisa is based in our Atherton Office and is our designating lending specialist taking care of all things finance.

Lisa joined the world of lending, when she kicked off with Astute in 2015 and it is safe to say she has found her calling. With a diverse background having worked in both an underground mine and an accounting office (not at the same time) one thing Lisa is not afraid of is hard work. She seamlessly made the transition from hi vis to high heels and shamelessly admits to her role with Astute being the best job in the world.

She is a natural with clients and her bubbly personality makes even the most nervous first home buyer feel at ease. She’s versatile, endlessly accommodating but prides herself on never taking no for an answer when she needs something done for her clients

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Donna Wilkinson

Donna Wilkinson 07 4091 5555

Donna is a born and bred Far North Queenslander! Growing up in Tully and meeting her husband of more than 33 years there, is mum to two adult kids and one very adored grandchild. Donna has 17 years of experience in the banking and finance industry, as well as over 13 years in an administration and bookkeeping role within the motor vehicle industry.

Joining the Astute Atherton accounting team in October 2018, Donna has completed a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping, to compliment her Diploma of Management, Xero Advisor Certification and Xero Payroll Certification. When not helping her clients with everything bookkeeping and accounting, Donna enjoys going to the gym or walking some of the lovely bushwalks in the area.

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Sara Jorgensen

Sara Jorgensen 07 4091 5555

I am a true local girl having been born and raised in Mareeba. I completed all my schooling in Mareeba and, after graduating, followed my passion and love for animals working as a Veterinary Nurse for three years.


A lot of my time growing up was spent on cattle stations where I loved to hunt, fish and camp. Thinking that full time station life was for me, I spent a year working remotely, and very quickly decided an office environment was more my style. Successfully securing a traineeship with the Tablelands Regional Council I found I enjoyed working with numbers and finance as well as face to face interactions with the community.


After completing my traineeship, I moved to Astute Accounting. Furthering my interest in working with numbers I have started a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping.

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Kirby Harrop

Kirby Harrop 0407 748 733

Born and raised on the Atherton Tablelands, I live on our family farm in Tolga with my partner and three daughters. We grow zucchinis, pumpkins, watermelons, passionfruit and avocados.

My career in the finance industry began in 2008 at the National Australia Bank where I worked as a teller, and then moved on to be a Business Banking Associate. I left NAB in 2015 to start my insurance career with Elders Insurance Tablelands where I fell in love with the insurance industry. Over the last 7 years I have learnt a great deal regarding the ever-changing insurance market.

I am so excited to have joined the Astute team, and look forward to making new connections and helping our clients with their insurance needs.

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Nicole Olsen

Nicole Olsen 0487 643 179

Nicole was born and raised in Ayr where her family ran a small truck mechanics business. This is where her desire for a career in business began. Working in Insurance out of high school, a short holiday to Cairns became a permanent move to work as a bookkeeper and payroll administrator for a hospitality and trades labour hire business. After having two children and supporting her partner start a plumbing business, it was finally time to get the accounting degree she had put on hold.

While studying at Central Queensland University and receiving a Bachelor of Accounting (Distinction) Nicole also worked as a bookkeeper for a local building business, having developed an interest for the trades and construction industry.

Nicole has recently worked for a mid-tier accounting firm and developed a wealth of technical knowledge, however the passion for small business, local industry and community has brought Nicole to the Astute team. Nicole is passionate about working closely with clients to support their goals.

Enjoying exploring the many exciting food venues in Cairns with friends, Nicole is also an avid Supercars fan, enjoys a local Cairns Taipans game and of course, running her children around to soccer games, martial arts, and dance lessons.



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Rohan Kumar

Rohan Kumar 07 4041 3100

I was born in Pakistan and lived there until 2016. I made the move to Australia in 2017 to study Commerce, majoring in Accounting and Finance at Griffith University in Brisbane. Following completion of my studies I moved to Cairns and have been here since April 2021. I pride myself on my accuracy and expertise in all things accounting and finance and always aim to provide the most exceptional taxation service to clients.

Outside of work, I enjoy playing soccer and exploring the captivating landscapes of Cairns through hiking and trying new experiences. I love to travel home to Pakistan when I can, but for me North Queensland holds a special place in my heart and feels like a second home to me. I also look forward to becoming an Australian citizen as soon as I can.

Furthering my studies and knowledge in accounting is my next challenge with the aim of studying to achieve my Chartered Accountant qualifications in the near future.

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Lisa Wiffler

Lisa Wiffler 07 4091 5555

I’m a Cairns local, born and raised in Cairns and have lived in this beautiful part of the world for most of my life.

After completing an Associate Diploma in Business – Hospitality, I worked for a live-aboard diving business, working my way up to General Manager. I was fortunate to travel to several international trade shows in Japan and USA.

I spent time in Sydney working in medical administration, eventually returning home to Cairns to raise a family.

I’ve part owned a café for the last 15 years and have firsthand experience of the many challenges faced by small business owners.

I’ve worked in accounting since and am so grateful to now be part of the Astute team.

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Margaret Powell

Margaret Powell 07 4091 5555

I was born in Innisfail and have lived in Cairns since I left school. I worked for 5 years at NAB and left to raise my family. I returned to work for NAB as a temp for a few years once the kids were at school, then joined a local boutique accounting firm as office manager in 2001. After two years, I attended TAFE and completed my Diploma of Accountancy and have supplemented this qualification with the Tax Agent Program through The Tax Institute. I am in the process of applying for my tax agent’s registration.

I love interacting with clients and assisting them in every way possible especially those who have let their tax affairs get out of hand.

My husband, Peter and I have been married for 40 years and we have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. We love the great outdoors, camping, boating and fishing and feel blessed to call Cairns home.

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