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THE (Tourism, Hospitality & Events) Conference

3 August 2017
Brisbane, QLD


Amery Burleigh

After a five year career with Fairmont Hotels and a ten year stint with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts throughout the US, Amery moved to Australia and decided to call Australia home. Amery joined Accor in 2007 after a four year tenure at The Golden Door Elysia Cypress Lakes Resort in the Hunter Valley. She was promoted as the first female GM for the Sofitel brand in Australia at Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach in early 2012 where she currently resides. 

Amery's passion outside of work is the promotion and development of young women in business and more significantly, closing the gap in Indigenous employment. She is an avid mentor to young women within and outside of her industry and works closely with the local Indigenous community to help promote the sustainable and lasting integration of different cultures into the business world. 

Anne-Maree Moon

Ben Alexander (Invited)

Ben owns and operates two unique training businesses to bridge the gaps between training and employment through meaningful and engaging Job Skills Training. Ben also provides employment consultancy across a range of industries including security, hospitality and tourism. Ben has a holistic view of the training and employment environment thanks to working across industries including construction, horticulture, retail, multimedia/information technology, security, hospitality and fitness. Ben’s mission is to improve the productivity and career prospects of all Australians.

Cathie Johnston

Cathie Johnston has worked within the South East Queensland tourism industry over the past 9 years, currently with the Brisbane Marketing Economic Development Board (Leisure Tourism & Events) as Destination Programs Manager. This role involves her in overseeing initiatives including the Brisbane Greeters Program, the ‘Welcome to …’ Industry Host Training Programs and Brisbane’s Aboriginal Experience Development Program. Prior to this role, Cathie was Tourism Development Coordinator for the Scenic Rim Regional Council, guiding planning and implementation for local/state government initiatives across 400 tourism businesses and 5 visitor information centres. Cathie has also previously worked within the Northern NSW tourism and events industry environment, with formal qualifications including a Master of International Tourism & Hotel Management (SCU).

Deborah Lewis & Shane Thomson

Deborah joined the team at QTIC in November 2015, after many years’ experience based in the Whitsundays as  a development and training consultant, responsible for key projects that directly influenced change and continuous improvement across the tourism, commercial marine and small to medium business (SME) sectors.

Deborah has been a tourism awards judge at state and regional levels, and was honoured to receive the Whitsundays’ Tourism Award for most Outstanding Contribution by an Individual in 2008. Deb has also received awards and significant recognition for her work in environmental safety, protection and management in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment Area. She is currently a  judge for the 2017 Queensland Training Awards.

Deeka Low

Deeka has over 13 years’ experience working in the Tourism, Consumer Goods and Education industries for companies such as Gold Coast Tourism & Electronic Arts International. Her experience has been directly responsible for the development, implementation and execution of global marketing campaigns, strategic brand & destination management. All with the purpose of achieving higher engagement, outstanding return on investment and growth within that industry. She is passionate about the Gateway to Industry program having been a Tourism VET student herself and excited to connect our growing future work force with the food, wine and tourism industry.

Janette Illingsworth & Bernice Colcomb

Janette Illingsworth, Group Training Partnership Manager, The Star Entertainment Group, has more than 25 years of working in the field of Travel, Tourism and Education.  

Janette’ s role is responsible for managing external Organisational Learning & Development relationships to provide high quality candidates and programs for The Star Entertainment Group to build organisational effectiveness and a culture of guest excellence. Working with Educational institutions to develop career pathways and opportunities for students to enter the field of hospitality.

Before this, Janette spent more than 12 years working in higher education, in the field of Career Development and lecturing. Having placed more than 10,000 students and graduates into hospitality, tourism and service related industries.  

Janette holds a Masters of Strategic Organisational Development from UNE, and is an active member on a number of Educational Industry and Skills advisory boards.

Bernice has twenty-five years’ experience as a qualified Chef, with roles across a variety of cuisines and kitchen styles. Extending from fine dining to production kitchens, she has managed teams of over thirty-five, including the recent opening of the Harvest Buffet at The Star Sydney. It is her extensive experience which makes her a valuable advocate for youth of today in the culinary world.

Nowadays Bernice is a manager to over eighty Commercial Cookery Apprentices across The Star group including The Star Sydney, The Star Gold Coast & Treasury Brisbane. She mentors these Apprentices through the entire journey, from recruitment, kitchen rotation and placement, co-ordination of TAFE workshops, masterclasses and competitions, to their graduation and placement advancing their careers. Bernice also assists with the development of youths with a passion for cooking, via the coordination of Culinary work placement opportunities for both school based and Vocational students across both states.

Jessie Jeffery

After a distinguished career in medical research, Jessie decided to apply her research and analysis skills to the ICT sector. She is particularly interested in the opportunities social media provides to assist businesses in understanding the online behaviour of their clients and provide insights into how to better engage with them. While this kind of data analysis has traditionally been the domain of big companies, there are so many free tools available for measuring online engagement it now available to all businesses and should now be an integral part of every business’s digital strategy.

Her non-traditional pathway into the ICT sector has enabled her to bring an alternate perspective to the industry, allowing her to produce creative and innovative solutions. Her interests include data analysis, digital media, 3D printing and coding, which she is combining with my love of educating people. She aims to improve digital literacy and interest in STEM by engaging students with cutting edge technology in all subject areas.

Mark Olsen & Jock Fairweather

Mark is General Manager of EarthCheck, a not-for-profit environmental consulting and certification program operating in over 70 countries.  As a consultant Mark provides solutions to some of the world's leading corporations and destinations on sustainable business practices, investment, and workforce development. Mark's workshops and conference presentations have been televised live, posted on National, State and Regional websites and cover topics as broad as regional economic development, risk and crisis management, tourism, social media, and Local Government Engagement.

Melinda Brown

Melinda Brown has over twenty years experience across a variety of industry sectors, including tourism, travel, hospitality and retail.

As General Manager, Melinda is responsible for the oversight of all eighteen national Industry Reference Committees supported by SkillsIQ. She manages the Skills Engagement and Training Package Advisory teams, ensuring that the work being undertaken meets industry's current and future needs.

A highly experienced project manager, Melinda's extensive experience in stakeholder engagement has seen her work on many consultancy projects both within Australia and internationally. She has in-depth knowledge relating to VET sector policy as well as skills and workforce development, including the development and maintenance of training package products. She has previously held roles in not-for-profit industry associations, as well as in conference and event management, retail store management and the retails travel industry. 

Melinda holds a number of vocational qualifications in business and in training & assessment, as well as a degree in Tourism Management from UTS. She is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

Michael Chettle

Michael has been in the hospitality industry for 25 years, both in Brisbane and the UK. Returning to Brisbane in 2002, Michael moved into the hospitality training industry and with his passion started his own Registered Training Organisation (RTO). In 2011 Training Direct Australia became a RTO specialising in Hospitality and Commercial Cookery. The focus was and still is today to work closely with high schools and the hospitality industry to ensure the future of hospitality and the cooking industry is in safe hands. Michael is very passionate about our industry, every training session he delivers gives the participants ‘REAL LIFE’ experiences that gets them ready for the industry and a ‘REALITY CHECK’ for what to expect.

Nicholas Robertson & Tracey Crossman

Nicholas Robertson is a high school hospitality trainer with over twenty years’ experience as a chef and hospitality professional.  Prior to becoming a teacher Nicholas worked with Cirque du Soleil as their chef and sports nutritionist.  Teaching became a passion when he took on the role of teaching the young circus performers how to cook in between shows as a part of their on-site education program.  Returning to Australia Nicholas decided a fire had been ignited for education and undertook a bachelor of Education.  From their Nicholas’s skill set aligned perfectly with the VET world.  Nicholas has been on various training committees for the Queensland Tourism Industry Council including chairing the Workforce Development Committee.  Nicholas currently serves as the independent schools representative on the Queensland Reference Group for Food, Wine and Tourism with Gateway Schools and has worked at Groves Christian College for ten years.

After holding a variety of roles within the corporate sector including industries such as Travel, Hospitality and Telecommunications, Tracey was looking for a role where she felt she could really make a difference and achieve more personal satisfaction.

Joining the Beacon Foundation in 2013 as a casual facilitator for the High Impact Programs, Tracey found an area where she could draw on her corporate knowledge to deliver career guidance and employability skills to young people.

With a background that relied heavily on communication & relationship skills the transition to Business Engagement Manager followed.  Currently responsible for the implementation of the Beacon Foundation model across schools in the Logan & North Brisbane regions this role brings community, industry & education together to provide positive outcomes for young people.

Tracey is passionate about empowering young people and the difference the Prepare, Polish & Perform programs can have on a student’s ability to transition from education to meaningful employment.

Rachel Hunter

Rachel has extensive experience with the Queensland State Government, particularly in the Vocational Education and Training sectors. She has delivered a world-class education and training system to more than half a million young Queenslanders and led reform in public service policy and institutions. Rachel was Director-General of the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General and the (then) Department and Education, Training and the Arts. She has also served as Queensland's Public Service Commissioner. Rachel also has extensive experience in the Vocational Education and Training sector, including as the Director of the Southbank Institute of TAFE and concurrently, as the Chair of TAFE Queensland. 

Rhonda Appo & Martin Ermer

Teresa Moore

Teresa is Executive Director (Games Benefits), Office of the Commonwealth Games (OCG).  The Games Benefits teams are responsible for the delivery of a diverse range of projects and initiatives aimed to ensure GC2018 leaves a lasting legacy for Queenslanders. Projects and initiatives include Trade 2018, the GC2018 Reconciliation Action Plan, and a program designed to encourage Queenslanders to become and stay more active in healthy lifestyles and sport.

During her 25 year career in private and public sector organisations, Teresa has developed capabilities and experience in legal practice, education, transport, infrastructure, corporate governance and organisational leadership.  

Prior to commencing with OCG Teresa was Corporate Counsel with the Department of Transport and Main Roads and has a particular interest in administrative and workplace law in the public sector.

Teresa holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Education from the Queensland University of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland. Teresa has been a practicing lawyer in the private and public sector for over 20 years and a leader in the public sector for the last decade.

Therese Phillips

Therese Phillips is the Director of Partnerships at Tourism and Events Queensland.

Therese has worked and experienced tourism in most continents of the world which has given her great insights into the impacts (good and bad) that tourism can have on a region, a town and a business. As well as working in Europe, the USA and NZ for a major youth travel company, Therese has owned a specialist travel agency taking Australian school children to Egypt, Israel, Turkey and Greece.

Starting her career as a teacher of the visual and performing arts, and economics, Therese has also developed and delivered an arts administration under graduate degree working with young talented minds to manage arts and cultural activity across the globe.

Therese had the privilege of working with the Olympic Games Cultural Committee in the years leading to the Sydney Olympics, and has worked with colleagues to coordinate the TEQ response to the G-20 event to be held in Brisbane in 2014 and the initial phases of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games event.

Therese has a Master’s in Business Administration, Business Administration and Management, 1992 – 1994, University of New England (AU); Associate Diploma of Performing Arts (Management), Performing Arts, Management. 1976 – 1979, QUT; Diploma of Teaching, Visual, Performing Arts and Economics, 1976 – 1979; Queensland University of Technology. Therese has held board positions with a variety of Regional Tourism Organisations and the Australian Regional Tourism Network, and has a passion for making a difference in tourism.

Yvette D'Ath & Kate Jones

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