Our Board
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JAMES ROBINSON, Independent Chair

James is the Managing Director of SMS Marketing Solutions. He has strong marketing and sales experience across businesses of all sizes. James has held CEO roles for consumer products businesses in Australia, Europe and Asia, and was a member of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council. On returning to Melbourne eight years ago he started his own marketing business in Melbourne focussed on digital and mobile marketing.

 

James is the Chair of the Tourism Crisis Response and Recovery Sub Committee.

Skills Based Appointments

LEIGH HARRY – Director, Leigh Harry Advisory Pty Ltd.

Leigh has a long history in the tourism industry and many of our Partners will recognise him from his previous roles as CEO of Tourism Victoria and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. During his career he has held a number of significant Board roles in the Tourism and Business Events industry at a state, national and international level.

 

Leigh’s career experience includes roles in both the private and government sectors, and he holds a Commerce Degree with honours in accounting. Leigh is the Chair of the Marketing Sub Committee and a member of the Tourism Crisis Response and Recovery Sub Committee.

RALPH HENDERSON– Owner/Manager, Yarra Gables Motel, Healesville

Ralph has a broad range of skills, knowledge and experience in tourism, corporate governance and finance. His tourism experience comes from 20 years working for a variety of State and Federal tourism agencies and more recently owning and managing Yarra Gables Motel in Healesville. Ralph has several years’ experience in senior corporate roles in state government with responsibility for customer service, governance, finance, human resources, asset management and information technology. Ralph has been a company director for 12 years and worked as a wine consultant prior to moving to the Yarra Valley.

 

Ralph is the Chair of the Yarra Ranges Tourism Governance and Finance Sub Committee, and a member of the Tourism Crisis Response and Recovery Sub Committee.

KRISTINA BURKE, Skills Based Director

Kristina has over a decade of experience in public affairs, policy development and stakeholder engagement specialising in the visitor economy.

 

Kristina worked with the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) for nine years as Policy Manager, where she led policy development and issues management, as well as managing the secretariat for the VTIC Board and policy committees. She was responsible for preparing submissions to major state and federal government budgets and reviews, and parliamentary inquiries.

 

Kristina joined CPR Communications & Public Relations in November 2017 as a Senior Adviser, working with clients in the local government and tourism sectors.

 

Kristina has worked with a wide range of stakeholders across Victoria covering important policy issues such as the dredging of Port Phillip Bay, the regulation of short-stay accommodation, licensed tour operator reforms, local government reforms, infrastructure funding, online ticketing fraud and skilled migration.

 

She holds a Masters of Tourism from Monash University and a Diploma of Management from Swinburne University.

MICHAEL HANDS, Skills Based Director

Michael has many years experience in the events and tourism industry, in both private and public sectors. Currently running an events and marketing business, Michael has previously built and sold a large events business as well as working as the Strategic Manager of the Victorian Major Company. He has also held a number of board roles including the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, AFI Awards and others.

Council Appointment

KATHLEEN MCCLUSKY, Yarra Ranges Council

Kathleen McClusky joined Yarra Ranges Council as Director of Planning, Design and Development in late 2019.

 

Kath has more than 21 years’ experience in Local Government, coming to Yarra Ranges from Hobsons Bay City Council where she worked as Manager of Strategy and Advocacy and interim Director of Strategic Development and Planning.

 

A qualified Planner who has specialised in strategic and land use planning, Kathleen is a passionate leader of people, a strong advocate for evidence-based, integrated strategic planning, and is committed to improving outcomes for the community through planning and creating sustainable economic development opportunities.

 

The Planning, Design and Development Directorate includes Statutory Planning and Building, Strategic Planning, Place Planning and Urban Design, Strategic Projects and Economic Development and Investment, among other teams.

Carl Cowie

CARL COWIE, Nillumbik Shire Council

A native of Scotland, with qualifications in economics, finance and an MBA, supplemented with studies at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Carl Cowie became CEO of Nillumbik Shire Council in October 2018. Carl joins Nillumbik Shire from Mornington Peninsula Shire Council where he was CEO from December 2014.

 

With a hands on approach to building high performance teams and executing clear business strategies, coupled with strong personal management, Carl quickly transformed the day to day, strategic business operations and capabilities of the Mornington Peninsula Shire and is currently achieving very positive results whilst working with Council and Senior Executives at Nillumbik Shire Council.

 

Carl is internationally experienced, the result of previous work in healthcare, facilities management, transport, manufacturing and construction project management, and is highly skilled in maximising business performance and increasing customer satisfaction.

Industry Appointments
Nicole Esdaile

NICOLE ESDAILE, Wine Yarra Valley

Over 20 experience in wine making and hospitality management of wine businesses. Including wine industry consultancy business offering winemaking, viticulture and wine business advice. Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association Inc Industry Partner representative.

 

Nicole has a Bachelor of Science (Wine Science) and a Bachelor of Pharmacy and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Cleo Silva

CLEO SILVA, Warburton Valley Community Economic Development Association (CEDA)

The Warburton Valley CEDA Inc. Industry Partner representative, experienced small business owner within the region and involvement in the local business community. Her experience also includes over 20 years in the IT sector working in private industry and government.

 

Cleo has qualifications in ITIL V3 Foundation (IT Service Management), ISO/IEC 20000 Certification and Cert 3 Information Technology

MARY WIKING, Dandenong Ranges Tourism

Mary Wiking has run Yarra Ranges Country Apartment together with her husband for the past six and half years. She is the current Vice President of Dandenong Ranges Tourism. Mary has volunteered at the Upper Ferntree Gully Tourism Information Centre and is very passionate about our beautiful region. Her previous experience has been in Adult Education and is a trained Life Coach.

GLENDA NOFFKE, Tourism Network Yarra Valley

I was Western Victorian born and breed, leaving home to join the Australian Army after finishing school. This is where I met my husband Neil, and we proceeded to tour around the country for the next 7 years living in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
After leaving the Army we returned to the Western District where we purchased a sheep property and this is where our four children were born. Both Neil and I worked off farm in various jobs.

 

Then in 2000 we made the decision to sell the farm and moved to Kerang , in the Mallee where we had purchased the Kerang Newsagency. After 9 years of long hours we sold and took up the position of contract managers of the Clubarham Motel in Barham on the Murray River. Managing this 28 room motel was certainly a challenge, but introduced us to a job we loved. After 8 years and with all four children now residing in Melbourne we decided it was time once again for a move.

 

In September 2017 we purchased the Healesville Motor Inn. Purchasing the business instigated the move to the Yarra Valley, but what a great decision. We have discovered the business has plenty of room for growth, the building and grounds are a work in progress, which we want to develop. In the 2 ½ years since we moved to the area, we have become very passionate about the Yarra Valley. Embracing our beautiful surrounds and what it has to offer.

Chanmali Tregambe

CHANMALI TREGAMBE - Industry Representative Director Nillumbik Tourism Association

Chanmali is a communications and government relations specialist with more than 25 years’ experience working as a consultant and in-house practitioner as well as running her own consultancy.

 

Over the past 20 years, together with her family has also developed a popular boutique winery, cellar door and café in the Yarra Valley. She is also the current Vice-President and Secretary of Nillumbik Tourism & Business.

 

As an in-house practitioner Chanmali managed communications for Australia Post in Victoria and Tasmania and was its spokesperson on key national issues. She also established and managed the corporate communications function at Sigma Pharmaceuticals, including stakeholder engagement, government advocacy and investor relations.

 

Chanmali has a significant background in politics with roles as Ministerial Advisor and Chief-Of-Staff in two Victorian Governments.

 

As a consultant, she has provided strategic advice on issues, media and crisis management in local government, tourism, energy, transport and environment and managed the secretariat for Regional Cities Victoria, comprising the Mayors and CEO’s of the ten largest rural councils in Victoria.

 

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and Post-graduate Diplomas in Criminology and Industrial Relations and Human Resources Management.

Our Directors are appointed in accordance with our Constitution. Annually our Industry Based representative members have the opportunity to nominate for re-appointment which gives them the opportunity to take a position as a Director.  The current representative associations have been selected based upon the tourism operator networks they work with in the region. Relevant Associations within the region where their geographic Councils are financial partners are afforded this privilege in recognition of their support in growing tourism in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.

 

Download our Constitution

Download our Board Charter