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Our board

Our passionate and highly skilled board sits in the engine room at Team Tourism, working together to achieve our shared vision of becoming a world-class, inclusive destination where memories are made. Comprised of municipal stakeholders, industry professionals and skills-based experts, the board is led by an independent chairperson and administered by Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine staff.

  • John Stevens

    Chairperson

  • Cr Ross Ebbels

    Borough of Queenscliffe Representative

  • Connie Trathen

    Skills Based Board Member: Marketing

  • Cr. Trent Sullivan

    City of Greater Geelong Representative

  • James Murphy

    Bellarine Representative

  • Lisa Cunningham

    Geelong Representative

  • Sophie Bone

    Bellarine Representative

  • Cr Brett Cunningham

    Golden Plains Shire Representative

  • Terry Jongebloed

    Geelong Representative

  • Helen Butteriss

    Skills Based Board Member: Finance

  • Karen Jackson

    Skills Based Board Member: Business Events

John Stevens

Chairperson

John has over twenty-five years of experience in strategic planning, business development and organisational improvement, and is a highly skilled facilitator. Over his consulting career he has worked with private and public organisations. He has particular experience in the local government sector having worked with over sixty Councils throughout Australia to develop major strategies and organisational improvement programs.

Cr Ross Ebbels

Borough of Queenscliffe Representative

Ross has a wealth of Tourism and Hospitality experience. Ross is also a past Chairman of our former identity Geelong Otway Tourism Inc.and currently holds the Local Economy Portfolio for The Borough of Queenscliffe.

Connie Trathen

Skills Based Board Member: Marketing

Connie is known around the region for her driving passion and being involved in products that deliver wonderful experiences for visitors. She believes in our tourism businesses uniting and presenting as one cohesive region, while offering a diverse and unique range of experiences.

Connie is particularly enjoying seeing how Greater Geelong and the Bellarine is developing as a standout region to draw visitation and hopes to continue contributing wherever she can.

Cr. Trent Sullivan

City of Greater Geelong Representative

Cr. Trent Sullivan is the City of Greater Geelong appointed representative to the board of Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine.

James Murphy

Bellarine Representative

Sea All Dolphin Swims

I am a passionate lateral thinking advocate for Tourism in our region and beyond.  As the director of Sea All Dolphin Swims, Great Ocean Road Surf Tours, and the founder of Southern Ocean Environmental Link, I have a wealth of hands-on experience, practical knowledge and invested interest into the stable growth and development of our region.  My diverse tourism experience offerings have provided a great breadth of understanding for the various markets accessing our region, and how to best reach these markets in a way that provides the greatest benefits for our regional economy and the environment that supports it.

Lisa Cunningham

Geelong Representative

Mustang & Co

About me

I live in East Geelong with my husband Shayne and our son, we operate the unique tour business Mustang & Co. I am in the fortunate position that I have developed relationships with a wide cross section of Members. As we organise winery tours, I have engaged with all the wineries and breweries. As we also offer a wedding car service, I am well connected with the wedding venues and industry.  I am a positive person and work well within teams.

Sophie Bone

Bellarine Representative

BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park

Joining the TGGB Board at this time – amidst tourism uncertainty, wavering consumer sentiment, business hardship and volatile economic outlooks – is the best time to join. Invariably, through hardship, comes an unbridled determination and willingness from business operators and the community to think with agility, creativity and more collaboratively – and that’s an exciting proposition.

No stranger to the impacts of the pandemic, both properties that I co-own (BIG4 Bellarine and Anglesea Holiday Parks) have haemorrhaged as we lurch from one lockdown to the next with shorter and shorter lead times to both close and re-open. I understand what it means to stand down large staff numbers, I understand the intensity of hundreds of cancellations and refunds, I understand the complexity and challenges of seeking, clarifying and implementing rapidly changing messaging and rules, guidelines and mandates. It’s intense. And beyond exhausting.

I  understand is our region’s capacity to be able to meet an incredible pent up demand when we open up in a more stable landscape. Geelong and the Bellarine are beautifully poised to be able to harness the attention of Melbourne and more broadly intrastate visitors, eventually interstate guests and one day when we fling our doors wide open, the international stage. The future will be driven by creative business owners with flair and courage, a community that stands together behind its own backyard with collaboration and unity at the forefront of recovery, growth and expansion.

I have been sitting on the BIG4 Holiday Parks of Australia Board for 6 years. BIG4 is a nationwide brand with its focus firmly set on the tourism sector and attracting visitors and retaining by way of repeat visitation. Mid-week visitation also forms a priority along with an uncompromising dedication to digital expertise and continued investment in martech. With 180 Parks Australia-wide, the group has a combined turnover of $354m with 240,000 members and processes $73.8m of online sales. I would consider the alignment between BIG4 and TGGB to be considerable and hope that I can add benefit through this experience.

Cr Brett Cunningham

Golden Plains Shire Representative

Cr Cunningham is the chairperson of non-profit community organisation, Bannockburn & District Grants, as well as the Bannockburn and Surrounds Neighbourhood Watch, which he helped establish in 2018.

Cr Cunningham is dedicated to strengthening confidence in Council and building community support through transparency and engagement. Over the next four years, he is focused on developing youth services in the Shire’s small towns, greater mental health support, increased funding for local roads and improved maintenance of facilities.

Cr Cunningham is a Corporate Service Portfolio Councillor and a member of Council’s Audit and Risk Committee. He is Council’s representative on the Tourism Greater Geelong and Bellarine Board, the Municipal Association of Victoria’s Financial Assistance Grants and Rate Capping Taskforce, and the G21 Economic Development, Health and Wellbeing, and Sport and Recreation Pillars.

Terry Jongebloed

Geelong Representative

What is it that excites you about the opportunity to represent the local tourism industry as a board member of TGGB?

I’ve enjoyed my current position as a member of the Geelong & Bellarine Tourism Board, and participating in the development of the 2021-2025 plans. Whilst many members have been and are currently still working through extremely challenging conditions, it has been exciting for tourism’s future in working with closely with industry members and tourism support bodies for stronger ongoing regional outcomes.

BUSINESS ACUMEN

Current:

  • Proprietor of Clyde Park Vineyard + Bistro.
  • Board Member Geelong & Bellarine Tourism

Prior:

  • President of Geelong Wine Association
  • VP of Tourism Geelong
  • Board member of Geelong Otway Tourism
  • President of Moorabool Valley Wine Group
  • Chairman Jarvis Walker Australia
  • Board Member Kmart Australia Group

COMMUNICATION

  • Strong communicator who enjoys networking in all associated fields

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

  • Sound understanding of financial management and reporting
  • Previous experience 20 years Coles/Myer Ltd in senior roles
  • Sound understanding of small business financial operations and management

MARKETING

  • Development of Clyde Park food/wine business through innovation, quality, strong relationships with regional partners.
  • Sound history of development of activities with Geelong Wine Association and Regional Tourism Boards.
  • In depth knowledge of the wine industry and hospitality industry, both locally and internationally

Helen Butteriss

Skills Based Board Member: Finance

I have been an accountant for over 25 years, working on The Bellarine and in Geelong; as a principal for a reputable firm in Geelong & the Bellarine. Three years ago I started my own practice located in Queenscliff and work closely with a vast amount of tourism operators understanding their needs and challenges they face.

I was the inaugural Finance representative of Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine and have thoroughly been privileged to part of a great board and Tourism Team.

I also am Treasurer of The Geelong Club, Director of Cherished Pets Foundation, Director of Ocean Grove Connected Communities and treasurer of Ocean Grove Business Association.

Whilst I appreciate I have held the position since inception of the board, I believe my experience with the board is imperative now with the industry dealing with the impact of COVID and the challenges we face coming out of restrictions.

Member Business: Bellarine Business Advisors

Karen Jackson

Skills Based Board Member: Business Events

I have just completed my first term as a TGGB Board Member representing the Business Events Skilled Based Position. Through this, I know I still have much more that I can contribute to the board, our members and our region, therefore I am applying to be re-elected.

Being born, growing up and living in Geelong, I am a fervent community member who is proud to work and drive business into our city and would like to be part of the future success of our amazing region.

The Business Events sector provides a significant contribution to our economy and during these critical times, it is important that we continue to work together to recover and rebuild this sector to new levels. In addition, to provide support and be innovative to drive delegates to our region.

I have always had a strong interest in all aspects of tourism industry and have been very privileged during my sporting career as a National Water Skier to travel the world representing Australia. These experiences enabled me to see what an exciting industry Travel and Tourism is and the impact it can have on the region’s economy. This passion for the industry continued graduating in a Bachelor of Business majoring in Tourism Management and Marketing.

Working at Tourism Victoria, allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the State Tourism Body. I have also worked in Sales, Marketing & Event roles at Victoria University, Melbourne Marriott and now Novotel Geelong. I am currently in the position of Director of Sales & Marketing and before this I was the Events Manager. At different times, I have been appointed Acting General Manager. Through all these roles I have worked very closely with the teams at Business Events Geelong, Business Events Victoria & TGGB, along with other key industry stakeholders and members.

Managing the Sales & Marketing department, I am responsible for driving revenue generation and strategic direction across all areas of the business with the key focus on the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference, Exhibitions) segment. Managing the Events team and working closely with the Reservations team with respect to the Corporate and the Leisure markets. My experience and dedication to the hotel has been shown by the success of the hotel as the results continue to grow year on year. Which in part ensures Geelong continues to be a destination of choice for AFL, Cycling Australia and many more key events that puts Geelong on the world stage.

Throughout my valued career, I have established strong relationships with clients, stakeholders, and industry partners at a local, state and national level. It is through this that I have represented and advocated on behalf of the local tourism driving tourism and the MICE segment into our region.

With over 20 years’ experience in the Tourism & Hospitality sectors and as a passionate leader within the industry, I’m excited to share my knowledge and experience with our industry members to continue to drive the tourism success of our region.

Member Business: Novotel Geelong

Our Staff

We’re lucky to have a team of innovative and hard-working tourism professionals, each an expert in their field and dedicated to growing our visitor economy.

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