Our Judges

Phillip Jones

Phillip Jones

Chair of Judges

Phillip Jones has been involved in the Awards for several years  as a mentor, judge and now Chair of Judges. He is also one of the National Award judges and has considerable experience in similar roles for a range of industry and professional bodies. Professionally he has worked internationally in fine dining over a decade as well, before offering facilitation and strategic consulting service through his company, Two Degrees Group. Phillip is an educator and advocate for Australian craft spirits through his popular series of events and website, as the Martini Whisperer.  He is also the Executive Officer of the Canberra District Wine Industry Association.

Kimberley Roberts Salee

Kimberley Roberts Salee

National & Local Judge

Swapping the warmer climes of the tropical north for the crisp Canberra air nearly five years ago, Kimberley’s tourism career began in the holiday-making haven that is Port Douglas. She worked for various local operators before joining the team at Tourism Tropical North Queensland, where she delivered the marketing and communications strategy for the Events team, promoting the region to attract business, regional and major events.

These days, she is Head of Marketing at Canberra Convention Bureau, showcasing the nation’s capital to event planners and meeting organisers nationally and internationally. Since her move to Canberra, Kimberley has well and truly become a Canberran at heart and loves to show off the capital to visiting friends and family, who are always amazed at the beauty, breadth of experiences and easy Canberra lifestyle.

Kimberley hails from Montreal – you might notice a faint French-Canadian accent when she talks – and before marketing Australian destinations, she was busy marketing the ultimate destination, space, working with astronauts at the Canadian Space Agency (yes, the Canadian NASA!).

Carol Cartwright

Carol Cartwright

National & Local Judge

Carol Cartwright has lived and worked around Canberra for her whole life. Working in the cultural sector for over thirty years at Australian Parliament House, the National Museum of Australia and the Australian War Memorial where she headed up Education and Visitor Services with over 1 million visitors a year;  she has a love for the visitors’ experience and was instrumental in ensuring great service can be delivered every day.  Since retiring Carol has remained very active sitting on the National Council of the Australian Museums and Galleries Association (AMaGA) for the last twelve years, recently retired.  In her spare time she loves family get togethers, walking,  visiting the Canberra institutions, drinking coffee and  travelling overseas visiting museums,  galleries and tourism sites across the world.

Birgitte Petersen

Birgitte Petersen

National & Local Judge

Having grown up in a hospitality family in one of the most popular Tourism spots in Denmark, Birgitte’s passion for tourism was spiked early on and her career has taken her to hotels and training institutes around the world, working in Australia, NZ, United Kingdom and Spain, before settling in Australia. Birgitte currently works with Doma Hotels in as Human Resource Manager and has been involved in the Canberra Region Tourism Awards for more than 10 years as a judge, mentor and as part of the steering committee.

Avon Dissanayake

Avon Dissanayake

Judge

Avon carries a wealth of knowledge in Destination Marketing, Tourism, Festivals/Events, Digital Strategy and Telecommunications in both Sri Lanka and Australia. He has crafted multiple national award winning submissions for Hyatt Canberra including a win at the National Tourism Awards in 2018. As Director – Digital Services and Product Design within the ACT Governments Education Directorate, Avon is tasked with mapping the future of education via technology enabled learning . As a passionate content creator and story-teller he regularly creates photo and video based features for leading brands and personalities.

Avon holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing – UK.

Madi Groom

Madi Groom

Judge

Coming from a hotelier background, Madi now utilises her operational expertise within the technology industry, where she leads a number of regional and national teams (and enjoys hospitality from the other side of the fence!)

Madi has a number of years of experience submission writing herself, successfully embellishing hotels she has worked with over 10 industry accolades. She also has insight as an entrant, having been recognised by numerous hospitality associations and being Highly Commended for the Tourism Awards ‘Young Achiever’ award in 2017.

Madi’s passion for writing and literature lead her to enter the awards initially, and is what lead her to the judging panel today.

Having lived in the Canberra Region for almost 20 years, Madi has loved seeing the city evolve and advocates for its endless experiences, venues and natural beauty. As a result, she is passionate about the hard work and contributions to our region being recognised and celebrated!

Lauren Sutherland

Lauren Sutherland

Judge

Lauren is a current member of the team at VisitCanberra, after spending over 15 years in management roles in the hospitality and tourism industry across the ACT. Lauren is passionate about Canberra and the region, and is dedicated to supporting the recovery of the visitor economy. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys eating and drinking at many of Canberra’s wonderful restaurants and bars, dancing up a storm and getting out in nature with her dogs.

Pam Faulks

Pam Faulks

National & Local Judge

Pam has returned to judging after a short break and is delighted to see so many wonderful tourism organisations continuing to participate in the awards. Her experience in the tourism industry includes research and teaching at the University of Canberra and working in both public and private sector tourism-related organisations.

While her PhD research focused on sport tourism, she loves all aspects of tourism and is enjoying watching the way that Canberra’s tourism industry just keeps getting better and better.

Natalie Bramble

Natalie Bramble

Guest Judge from NSW

Natalie Bramble is passionate about Community Development and Cultural and Events Tourism. She has a background in small business; marketing and product development. Natalie is the Chair of the NSW Tourism Awards and has been involved in the awards since managing the Inland Tourism Awards in 2008. Natalie has also sat on numerous other panels including Vanuatu Tourism Awards, Restaurant and Catering NSW and grant and tender assessment panels.

Natalie managed a state heritage listed cultural heritage tourism attraction and consistently increased visitation and revenue; tourism brand presence; local community engagement and events and activities year-on-year. She was awarded a scholarship to the UK to study Cultural and Heritage Tourism and was the recipient of the inaugural Inland Tourism ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism by an Individual’ award in 2004. She also operated a professional events management company, which was responsible for the delivery of the Inland NSW Tourism Awards and a successful regional food and wine network.

Natalie now focuses her time on upskilling local community leaders through her certified social enterprise, iClick2Learn.