2023 Judging Panel
A huge thank you to the industry leaders who offer their time and expertise
to help further develop the the tourism industry.
(Shown in alphabetical order of first name).
Alex Brown is the Managing Director of tourism development consultancy Alex Brown Project Company in Adelaide, SA. Having previously worked in the Destination Development Group at the South Australian Tourism Commission facilitating sustainable investment in South Australia’s tourism assets and managing the mainstreet board for Jetty Road Glenelg, Alex understands the importance tourism and placemaking can play on building cultural, economic and social opportunities for urban and regional communities. Alex is creative and intuitive. She is inspired by innovation and what this can do to drive sustainable business and destination growth and has worked with entrepreneurs and start-ups to create demand driven tourism accommodation and experiences. Alex is an experienced grant panellist, successful grant writer, tourism mentor, connector and supports industry and regional bodies with business planning and innovation.
Andrew Sinclair is the founder of Tourism Partners. He has more than two decades experience working in the tourism industry at the regional, state and international levels. Andrew is an accomplished project manager, destination marketer and has volunteered previously as a judge for the Queensland Tourism Awards.
Angela is bringing her 30+ years travel and tourism industry experience to the Awards. A former WA Manager for WA Tourism, she also held senior managerial roles in Thomas Cook Travel. With a highly developed understanding of visitor motivation and expectation, Angela has leadership-level understanding of tourism promotion, sales and product development. She developed a reputation for identifying ways to provide cost effective tourism services within the confines of limited budgets. Having lived and worked in tourism positions in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, as well as the UK and New Zealand, Angela has a detailed understanding of the sometimes-conflicting challenges that face destinations, operators and visitors.
Dr David Gration PhD (UQ) MBA (QUT)
David is the Director of Events Tourism Associates, a company established to provide industry relevant research, workshops and events tourism related design and planning services. He brings together a combination of academic qualifications and research skills with 30+ years of hands-on management and marketing experience in venues, festivals, special events, business events and tourism. His PhD focused on events tourism and David has worked in both metropolitan and regional centres, from Hobart to Townsville, helping communities to achieve success through sustainable event design. In 2011 he became only the second person to be made a Life Member of the Australian Performing Arts Centres Association, now known as Performing Arts Connections (PAC).
Helen has a lifelong passion for travel, and a deep commitment to promoting tourism. Her career path has been as diverse and adventurous as her travels. With a background in graphic design and publishing she transitioned into the exciting realm of tourism publishing, where she found her true calling. She is best known for her dedication to visitor servicing and now manages the Adelaide Visitor Services Program working alongside a dedicated team of over 70 volunteers who share her passion for providing exceptional visitor experiences. Helen believes in the transformative power of travel and is driven by a vision of creating memorable, educational, and enjoyable experiences for visitors to South Australia.
Justine Sinclair has over 20 years experience in Marketing Communications and Stakeholder and Community Engagement. She has extensive experience in the visitor economy and community development sectors and has developed strategies and plans from government to commercial businesses. Prior to joining Sparrowly Group, Justine led a number of complex programs and teams with local government including the Regional Strategic Alliance of Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains and Penrith Councils and Visitor Economy development for the Blue Mountains region. She has expertise in nature tourism including in Eco and slow tourism. Strategically she has experience in developing strategies and action plans to guide destinations into sustainable practices.
As a first-time judge, Karen is looking forward to bringing her extensive tourism awards experience to the Grey Nomad Awards. Karen has worked as a Regional Tourism Consultant for over a decade and specialises in supply-side programs that support best practice and drive sustainable growth in the regional visitor economy. She has a proven track record of authoring successful grant applications and tourism awards submissions for Regional Tourism Boards and tourism operators and has provided guidance to over 80 businesses to prepare their state tourism awards submissions, including several national award winners. Based in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, Karen enjoys hitting the road with her family and exploring regional Australia alongside the grey nomads.
A leading business development advocate Leanne’s education and background is strongly aligned to tourism. Following on from her foundations as Regional Manager for Tourism Queensland, Leanne went on to lead the Caloundra Tourism for 7 years until it was disbanded due to amalgamation. She was later appointed CEO of the Caloundra Chamber with a membership of over 500 local businesses. Leanne is currently Association Secretary of the Sunshine Coast Chamber Alliance and a committee member of Regional Development Authority Australia Sunshine Coast. Leanne has lived the Grey Nomad life having travelled extensively across Australia and has volunteered at events such as the Big Red Bash and the Craft Beer and Cider Festival.
Linda’s tourism career kick-started in Asia, where she lived, worked and consulted for many years. During that time she contributed to the tourism transformation of numerous destinations, including Bali, Hong Kong, Hanoi and south east China. Upon returning to Australia Linda purchased a regional holiday resort and devoted the next two decades to achieving excellence for that venture as its CFO. Under her guidance, the resort won multiple business awards, Queensland Tourism Awards and an Australian Tourism Award. Linda was treasurer of the Sunshine Coast SKAL Club for 3 years although now retired. (Skal is a global networking organisation for members of the travel & tourism industry).
Marion is now in her fourth term as President of the Sunshine Coast chapter of Skal International - an international organisation which brings together all branches of the Travel & Tourism Industries. Marion is also the founder of MJM Consulting Agency MJM Consultancy Solutions which delivers industry expertise, innovative consulting, and quality support services across Queensland focusing on all aspects of the accommodation and hospitality industries.
Experienced Sales and Marketing Manager with a demonstrated history of working within the tourism and hospitality industries. Skilled in Business Development, Marketing, Event Management, Customer Service, Advertising, and Publicity. Strong marketing professional graduated from Martin College.
The magic of travel was planted by her parents with photo slideshows of their 1960's overseas adventures. With these alluring images and growing up on the gorgeous Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, Sondra embarked on a 20 plus year career in hospitality, travel and tourism. During this time Sondra has had the opportunity to judge the South Australian Tourism Awards, and as the South Australian representative on the Australian Regional Events Alliance, giving a common voice and representation to Events and Festivals across the country. Recently Sondra has worked as the Regional Tourism Manager to some of the most remote and largest regions in South Australia - Far North & Outback and the Eyre Peninsula. To the precise opposite currently working as the Tourism Partnership Advisor for the City of Adelaide.
Susan Maynard is passionate about tourism and she has extensive experience in all things digital. With over 25 years experience in the tourism industry Susan's roles have included tourism lecturer at TAFE, digital coach for TEQ, Destination Development for VSC and tourism consultancy both within Australia and the Pacific. Susan is also a judge for the Queensland Tourism Awards and former President of Skal International - Sunshine Coast (Skal is a global networking organisation for senior members of the travel & tourism industry).
Tolita Dukes is an experienced marketing professional with over 20 years of experience within the tourism industry. Tolita has worked for a number of tourism operators, including industry leader Hamilton Island, and is the Director of a boutique marketing agency, 8 Seconds, based in the stunning Whitsundays.
If you are a current or retired tourism professional or academic who would like to contribute to the prosperity of regional and rural Australia, then please reach out to us about joining our esteemed judges for the coming season.