Our Staff

The WAITOC Board is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Council. As a governing board, it guides and directs the Council, sets performance goals, ensures corporate compliance and management accountability, endorses strategic plans and approves operating budgets. The Board ensures that WAITOC has the resources necessary to achieve goals and outcomes on behalf of its members.

staff-CEO.jpgRobert Taylor
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.

staff-di-below.jpgDi Below
Marketing Manager

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 4 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 16-year focus on Aboriginal tourism development and promotion.

Di was appointed by WAITOC as marketing consultant in 2010 and has been employed as Marketing Manager since 2015.

Her key career achievements include

  • 3 decades promoting Australia to the global and domestic markets, as Sales Manager Europe for TAA (Trans Australian Airlines), Market Development Manager Southern Europe for Tourism Australia, and Market Development Manager Central Europe for Tourism Western Australia, where she recognised the high demand for Aboriginal tourism and forged a strong alliance with WAITOC.
  • 3 decades of travel industry partnerships in Europe and Australia
  • Elected to the Destination Australia Strategic Planning Committee in Europe to implement a strategy which would maximise budget, resource and partnership efficiencies between Tourism Australia and the State Tourism Organisations
  • Design and implementation of major cross-marketing campaigns in Europe with big-brand partners, e.g., Globetrotter and VOX TV, which achieved outstanding PR valued at $5 mill.
  • The formulation of 11 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. Stand-out experiences include diving some of the world’s most colourful coral reefs of 30 years ago, trekking the Himalayas, exploring India on ‘alternative’ transport (converted rice barges and bicycles), road-tripping the US in a convertible Camaro, an expedition into the 100 metre sand dunes of the Sahara Desert with a Bedouin elder, and countless magical tours and camps under millions of stars with Aboriginal guides in WA.

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 never just a ‘place’, it’s a different way of seeing things”.

staff-gabby.jpgGabby Simoni
Operations Manager

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.

staff-karl.jpgKarl Millard
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.

staff-don.jpgDonald Monk
Business Development Coordinator Broome

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.

staff-simone.jpgSimone Ellies
Business Hub Coordinator

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.  

staff-therese.jpgTeresa Perone
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.

staff-anika.jpgAnika Donnison
Marketing Assistant

Anika is a recent graduate having completed her Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and Publishing having specialised in Digital and Social Media and Creative Writing. She works in marketing and is continuing to learn.

She has a passion for sharing Aboriginal stories, and supporting small Aboriginal owned businesses.