Chief Executive Officer
Robert, a Nhanda Yamaji man from Western Australia, has worked for the past seven years as Chief Executive Officer for WAITOC.
Robert has taken the organisation from a marketing and advocacy Aboriginal tourism organisation and introduced business development as a further arm of the organisation to build business leaders for the future and create a strong Aboriginal tourism sector for Western Australia. His drive to ensure the country understands the value of Aboriginal tourism has been rewarded through securing funding at a local state and federal government level for Aboriginal tourism.
Rob offers over 36 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. He has owned and managed businesses in the hospitality, tourism, mining, sport and recreation and construction industries. Having an entrepreneurial spirit, he has proved his capability of diversification utilising his skills and knowledge to cross over industries to develop diverse income streams.
He has increased funding to enhance member business outcomes by over 300 % and has the drive to create opportunities for Aboriginal people at a state, national and international level. Robert has successfully worked with both national and state governments, not for profits and philanthropists; highlighting the importance of Aboriginal tourism and its value to Australia and Aboriginal communities.
Tourism is Di’s lifelong brand mark. She embarked on her first role with a UK tour operator in the 1980’s, never left the industry, and now celebrates four decades of experience across all levels of the chain.
From hospitality, retail, wholesale, online, airline, tour guiding in Tunisia, Kenya and the Maldives, to product development, business management, and destination marketing/PR – her skill set includes fluent German, French, a degree in commerce and tourism management, and a 17-year focus on Aboriginal tourism development and promotion.
Di was appointed by WAITOC as marketing consultant in 2010, and as Marketing Manager since 2015. Her career highlights include:
Three decades of promoting Australia to the global and domestic markets from Europe, as Sales Manager for TAA (Trans Australia Airlines), Market Development Manager for Tourism Australia, and Market Development Manager for Tourism Western Australia, where she recognised the high demand for Aboriginal tourism and forged a strong alliance with WAITOC
Strong, well established travel industry networks across Europe and in Australia
Elected to the Destination Australia Strategic Planning Committee in Europe
Design and implementation of major cross-marketing campaigns in Europe with big-brand partners, e.g., Globetrotter and VOX TV, achieving outstanding PR valued at $5 mill.
The formulation of 14 award winning tourism and eco-tourism submissions for Aboriginal Tourism and Hospitality, at state, national and international levels
Born in England, Di has lived and worked in 6 countries and explored a multitude of destinations across five continents.
“Working with WAITOC to promote the world’s oldest living culture is another exciting chapter in my life, and Aboriginal guides are inspirational in their affirmation that a travel destination is not just a ‘place’, it’s a different way of seeing things”.
Gabby has worked in the Western Australian tourism industry for more than 20 years. Before joining WAITOC as its Operations Manager, Gabby worked at a Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO), Australia’s Golden Outback, for 15 years, responsible for marketing a tourism area of more than half the land mass of Western Australia.
Gabby has extensive experience in Destination Marketing, stakeholder management, and Business administration, understanding the challenges regional tourism communities face, and how working collaboratively with funding partners and stakeholders, communities can transform and flourish, making positive impacts on the visitor experience.
Gabby has a Bachelor of Commerce in Tourism Management and Public Relations from Curtin University.
Operations Manager – ATWA
Joining in May 2023, Julia is excited to be working with Aboriginal Tourism Western Australia (ATWA), a new subsidiary of WAITOC. ATWA’s aim is to find opportunities for growth, create partnerships for industry, and sustainability for indigenous tourism businesses into the future.
Julia has extensive experience in the tourism industry in WA in a broad capacity, having been involved with assisting businesses through training, coaching and accreditation around the state and lecturing at TAFE in the tourism and events space. She joins the organisation after most recently spending several years in the corporate sector, managing leadership and training programs across the country, marketing and developing partnership opportunities across professional and Government sectors. Julia will be supporting the Business Development Coordinators in the regional hubs.
Much of Julia’s earlier years were in the NT, where she grew up in Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land and Kakadu, living and learning the culture of that country.
Business Development Manager
Karl, a man from the Yamatji Nation in Western Australia has worked for the past two years as Memberships Business Development Manager for the West Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC).
He has worked extensively to expand the Business Development Activities of WAITOC, integrating the objectives of the recently announced Jina Plan with existing business activities, and seeking out new opportunities to grow the Aboriginal tourism sector in WA. This results in an efficient and highly agile organisation that is driven by member needs, and which helps to create strong leaders within our communities.
Karl brings over 15 years of business development, consulting, and membership management experience to the role. Having held roles at some of the state’s largest industry associations, he has worked extensively with government departments and private stakeholders.
Holding qualifications in Business, Environmental Science, Law, and postgraduate qualifications in Project Management he is able to help existing and potential tourism operators to develop an effective business strategy that enables them to achieve the desired outcomes for their businesses.
Business Development Coordinator – Kimberley
Donald has over 25 years of work experience in the industry across a variety of roles including marketing, hospitality and tourism, training, management and business development. He is passionate about the tourism industry and the growth of Aboriginal tourism in Western Australia.
Donald’s strengths are networking with like-minded individuals that share his passion for the Aboriginal tourism industry. Before starting with WAITOC Donald owned and operated his own successful 4WD tour company ‘Edge of the World Locations’ in Tasmania. He now looks forward to helping the growth and sustainability of the Aboriginal tourism sector in WA as one of WAITOC’s Aboriginal Tourism Academy mentors working out of the WAITOC’s Broome office.
Business Hub Coordinator – Kimberley
Simone has over 10 years of tourism management experience from working in the Kimberley tourism industry, building a strong foundation in the Australian tourism sector.
With strong family ties, a childhood growing up in the Kimberley and holding various positions within the region have given Simone a strong affinity and understanding of the issues affecting regional tourism and the challenges of operating business in remote locations.
With a wide range of business experience including leadership roles, tour guiding, direct consumer sales and business administration, Simone is able to impart her practical knowledge, understanding and support to WAITOC members through the Business Support Hub program.
Finance and Admin Coordinator
Teresa has over 35 years’ experience in Business Administration, ensuring WAITOC’s office runs like clockwork, and is highly specialised in bookkeeping, accounts payable and receivables, and financial and administrative reporting. Teresa’s focus is delivering exceptional customer service to all WAITOC members and stakeholders and is the beating heart of WAITOC’s Admin Services.
Events Development Coordinator
Ray Bird is a highly accomplished and experienced professional in the field of Event Planning and Coordination, with a strong background in Tourism Marketing and Business Management. He has successfully owned and operated several small businesses, providing a diverse range of professional services to both public and private sectors, including Media Monitoring, Tourism Consulting, and Event Management.
Ray's expertise and accomplishments in the industry are notable. He previously served as the Executive Officer of the WA Events Industry Association, where he played a pivotal role in promoting and advancing the events sector in Western Australia. As a Senior Event Manager at Meeting Masters, Ray demonstrated his ability to effectively plan and execute large-scale events with precision and attention to detail.
In addition to his extensive experience in event management, Ray has also made significant contributions to the tourism industry. He served as the Director of Marketing at the Western Australian Tourism Commission, where he developed and implemented successful marketing strategies to promote Western Australia as a premier tourist destination.
Ray holds the position of Events Development Coordinator at WAITOC where he serves as a mentor in event planning and staging.
Support Hub Coordinator - Perth
Lisa is an advocate for tourism diplomacy with a passion for the environment.
Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Lisa is the first Australian of her family. Over the past 10 years, Lisa has worked in a range of roles within tourism, while continuing to further her knowledge by recently completing a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management.
She has a particular interest in wildlife conservation, international relations and developing emerging economies. Her love for the ocean led her to spend five years travelling the world, living and working on privately owned superyachts. Her views and values have been shaped by the experiences, places and people she met along the way.
Lisa plans to focus her career on tourism development and contribute towards achieving the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. She believes that encompassing a holistic approach is essential to business development and that educating stakeholders about the importance of sustainable practices is essential for the future of our environment.
Product Development Coordinator – Coral Coast
On the surface, Neville Meyer is an accomplished all-around hospitality specialist with over 37 years of work experience across three continents, including Antarctica.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, and a proud descendant of the Khoisan clan. After he relocated with his wife, two daughters and a son, he worked hard to achieve his personal goals.
He worked in Tourism, non-profit organizations, hospitals, prisons, hotels, motels, and mine sites camps and owned a successful catering business before relocating to Australia. Neville earned his qualifications as a chef through the highly rated Airforce Academy. He also completed courses in Textiles and a Cert IV in Training and Assessment, alongside other short methods, to enhance his skills. He is also a retired church minister who continues applying his Christian values daily.
Now 16 years in Australia, he found his passion for assisting Aboriginal communities through the Work and Development permit scheme as Coordinator, mentor and Emergency food supply Coordinator for the Midwest and Goldfields. During his tenure as Mentor and WDP Coordinator, Neville cultivated his insatiable passion for being part of the change. He did this by researching each community under his care and applying utmost respect to each individual and country the Aboriginal people occupy.
More than his role as a Catering Manager, he is also effective at persuading and positively influencing individuals. His opinions are highly valued, and people trust and respect his judgments. Neville can take unpleasant tasks and transform them into positive and thriving ones. Because of his skills, Neville can produce productive and long-lasting results for various clients. In particular, he focuses on sustainable development, self-employment, and community growth. Here, he managed multiple groups while managing the quantitative analysis needs of the office.
Neville also contributed to developing policies and implementing company values, rules, and regulations.
Neville experienced inequality, and racism during the apartheid era in South Africa, hence his passion for helping and assisting others to achieve their goals.
He wants to engage more with the Indigenous communities to bring change and hope for a better future. He is open to challenges, conversations, and exchanging ideas from inside and outside the WAITOC community.
He wants to use his untiring commitment and drive to bring more dignity and autonomy to Indigenous communities across Australia. His long-term goal is to become an international voice for the Aboriginal culture in the Tourism industry.
Business Support Hub Coordinator – Coral Coast
Kyle Andrew Bigos; 28 year old Australian- American immigrant who has an new found passion for Western Australia Tourism. From humble beginnings as a multi-skilled tradesman in the U.S, then immigrating to Australia in 2018 to begin his life with his wife, Hannah.
Since then, Kyle has established his professional career within industries such as real-estate, sales and tourism alike. Possessing traits such as a self-starter, compassion and thoroughness. All while supplying a little 'Southern Charm' to his work environment and clients.
Product Development Coordinator – South West
Briony, is a born and bred West Australian woman, a descendent of the Yamatji nation, who has recently joined the WAITOC team. Briony brings to the team a strong background in Aboriginal business, experience in running her own business over the past 6 years in consulting, project management, facilitation and business support to Aboriginal businesses. Briony also has experience in the fashion industry operating a women’s clothing label between 2008-2013.
Previous to the world of business, Briony worked as an educator in schools across the state, including remote, regional and metro schools for almost 20 years, and then in senior level public servant roles in education, including Regional Manager Aboriginal Education in 2015-2017 in the Great Southern region and then as the Coordinator Regional Operations until 2022.
After pursuing her interest in leadership and personal growth and development, Briony completed a Graduate Certificate in Business Leadership in Education in 2022, through Deakin University and completed several leadership courses, including the ARLF (Australian Rural Leadership Foundation) Resilient Leadership Course. In 2022, Briony became and associate of the ARLF and has facilitated leadership courses in regional WA, including work with Aboriginal alumni and the Milparanga course of 2023.
Over her career, Briony has developed many transferrable skills, applicable to all sectors and industries, to bring about new initiatives in collaboration with Aboriginal people. Briony has developed strong networks across regional WA and is passionate about building capacity in Aboriginal individuals and businesses.
Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator
Tracey brings her love of storytelling - in all its forms - to her communications role at WAITOC. She has been a journalist for more than 10 years, developing a formidable typing speed and a high tolerance for cold coffee first as a cadet for her local paper in Perth and then as a senior reporter for The Kensington Times in London, and the Glendale News-Press in Los Angeles.
A return to Australia saw her swap the prosaic surrounds of the newsroom for the glamorous world of food publishing - working on the subs desk for Gourmet Traveller. She solidified her foodie credentials with stints at Jamie Oliver and Food & Travel magazine. On returning to Australia for the second time, Tracey augmented her print skillset with a new digital focus, by completing a Graduate Certificate in Internet Communications at Curtin University.
Since then, Tracey has been determined to utilise her storytelling strengths for the benefit of not-for-profit organisations. She is excited to be joining the team at WAITOC and is looking forward to producing authentic and engaging content that helps to promote WA as the premier destination for Aboriginal tourism experiences both in Australia and overseas.
Business Development Coordinator - East Kimberley
Temali is a Jaru and Kija woman from the East Kimberley. She has dedicated
decades to working in the social justice space, becoming a respected figure for her
advocacy in the region.
In a separate focus, Temali has successfully created her own business from scratch, showcasing
resilience and an entrepreneurial spirit that transformed her into a local success story.
Temali joins the team at WAITOC with a strong focus on mentoring, aiming to empower other
individuals to establish their ventures. Her journey symbolises the transformative impact of
determination and vision, serving as an inspiration for others to pursue economic
independence and community development through entrepreneurship. Temali is excited to work in the tourism space
to support local tour operators in sharing the vibrant cultural richness of the East Kimberley with visitors.