Our Judges


 2016 Chair of Judges in Canberra Region Tourism Awards Marylou Pooley, Chair of Judges
Marylou has been a national judge for many years and is well equipped to head up the Judging Panel. Marylou retired from the Australian War Memorial (AWM) as Head of Communications and Marketing in 2014. She was responsible for all aspects of integrated marketing communications. Marylou encouraged and worked with the Memorial team to enter the Tourism Awards, resulting in Hall of Fame status for the Memorial.  She was a member of the National Capital Attractions Association for many years as well as a member of the ACT Tourism Events Assistance Panel and represented the AWM on the Canberra Business Council’s Art, Sport and Tourism group.  Marylou holds a Dip.Ed. and a Master of Tourism Management from the University of Canberra.  In 2008, she was recognised by the tourism industry for her outstanding contribution and in 2013, she was acknowledged by her peers receiving the President’s Award – Australian Marketing Institute.
 Nic Crowther, Deputy Chair of Judges of the Canberra Region Tourism Awards Nic Crowther, Deputy Chair of Judges
Nic is a proud Canberran who writes with a passion for the city. As the editor-at-large for Feed Media, Nic has a love of food and wine, as well as politics and mass media. When not examining contentious ideas or interrogating and parodying the big issues of the day, Nic can be found enjoying a meal at any of Canberra’s dining establishments.
 David Barker, Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge
David Barker
David is the Industry Development Manager at VisitCanberra and is responsible for overseeing the Canberra Region Tourism Awards on behalf of VisitCanberra. His career in the tourism industry spans over 25 years with a variety of roles which showcase the wonderful opportunities that tourism can present. Highlights include managing guest relations on a live aboard dive boat in Cairns, tour leading adventure expeditions through four continents, marketing and logistics manager of Tanzanian safari camps, managing his own eco-tourism mobile camping safari business in Tanzania and destination management in Cape York Peninsula. David has been a judge of the Canberra Region Tourism Awards for the last two years of the program.
 Naomi Dale, , Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge Dr Naomi Dale
Naomi is an Assistant Professor of Management and Associate Dean Academic for the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra. Naomi has been teaching and researching in the Tourism Discipline at UC since 2006. She was the recipient of an Australian Post Graduate Award scholarship and recently completed her PhD investigating destination choice by school excursion groups in Australia. She is Vice President of the National Capital Attractions Association, co-ordinator of the Visitor Research Forum and a member of the Service Champions and Canberra Tourism Employment Plan steering committees. Naomi’s research is concerned with Learning and Engagement in Tourism. This incorporates research in the specific areas of educational tourism, policy impacts of curriculum, and visitor research at cultural institutions and national capital attractions. It also captures emerging research interests in the application of social media, and strategies for engagement through e-platforms (in teaching, tourism and events). Other key areas are around consumer behaviour and marketing.
 Phillip Jones, Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge Phillip Jones
Phillip brings to the judging panel extensive experience in hospitality, tourism and consulting. For over a decade he ran fine dining rooms in Australia, Canada and the UK and later provided hospitality consulting and worked in tourism marketing locally. He was recently contracted to develop and implement a comprehensive tourism marketing, audience development and fundraising strategy for the world class McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery in Mornington Peninsula. This involved being part of the Frankston City Council tourism advisory panel. Phillip provides bespoke consulting services through his company Two Degrees Group, and is the Canberra representative for Australia’s premier fine art auction house, Mossgreen. He is the Chair of the Regional Advisory Committee for the Australian Institute of Management, and in his spare time writes about Australian craft spirits and cocktail culture as the Martini Whisperer.
  Jonathan Kobus
If you don’t know who Jonathan Kobus is – you haven’t been around the tourism industry long enough! Jonathan spent over 10 years leading a passionate team of tourism ninjas at Australian Capital Tourism and then VisitCanberra in the roles of Product and Industry Development Manager and later as Deputy Director of the organisation. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution by an Individual award in 2015 and has helped shaped the national and local awards process and program for many years. He now calls Invest Canberra home in terms of work where he continues to be a passionate advocate for Canberra and helps to attract business opportunities and investment to our ‘Capital of Cool’. This guy is more connected into the ACT tourism industry than a Telstra telephone exchange and brings his top shelf knowledge, attitude and skills to his role as a local awards judge.
 Elizabeth Nair, Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge Elizabeth Nair
Elizabeth is a professional, experienced manager and currently Director for the Business Tourism and Accounting College at the Canberra Institute of Technology. Elizabeth’s experience extends to both the public and private sectors in Canberra through owning a small business and over 10 years experience in the Tourism and Travel sector. Elizabeth is well networked across the industry disciplines and extends this knowledge to support individuals entering or enhancing career opportunities within the workforce in a mentoring capacity. As a mentor, Elizabeth builds confidence and provides strategies to support growth both personally and professionally. Successful completion of Post Graduate qualifications including: Graduate Diploma in Management and currently completing the Graduate Certificate in Project Management displays the commitment to build and transfer knowledge in a work setting.  Elizabeth is a true professional that strives to achieve; is self -driven, committed, competitive and dedicated to all roles attained.
 Lorraine Neish, Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge Lorraine Neish
Lorraine has been the General Manager of the Acton Building Pty Ltd for the past two years, managing the corporate and investment portfolios. This builds on a 34 year career in the Commonwealth Public Service specialising in Human Resource and corporate management. Lorraine has worked across several departments including: The Department of Education and Science, Veterans Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Trade, IP Australia, The Australian War Memorial, Industry, Science and Research and Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre. Lorraine has also held a variety of senior executive positions in funds management, development projects and enterprise committees. Lorraine was Chair of the NCAA from 2012-2014.Lorraine led Questacon from 2006 to 2014 in the development of their regional and national tourism participation. During this time Questacon achieved success both at the ACT Tourism Awards and at the National level. Lorraine holds a Master of Human Resource Management and Diploma in Teaching.
  Vicki Northey PSM
Vicki began her career at the Powerhouse Museum as a social history researcher and assistant curator on the redevelopment of the Museum from 1986 to 1989. She was then appointed as Director of the Albury Regional Museum for four years where she worked with a large local history collection and developed about twenty small temporary exhibitions. In 1993 she was employed as the Exhibitions Co-ordinator at the National Museum of Australia. While there she developed exhibitions and public programs that appeared at Old Parliament House and then travelled throughout most of Australia.In 1997 she was appointed Head of Gallery Development at the Australian War Memorial. For the next ten years she managed all of the major building and exhibition redevelopment projects at the Memorial. She managed the development of the new galleries including 3000 square metres of “object theatre” exhibitions that were built around the Lancaster Bomber G for George and the Japanese midget submarine. She worked as the Director of Exhibitions, Design and Public Programs at the Western Australian Museum from June 2006 to April 2010 managing all of the program and exhibition development as well as the Museum’s seven sites. From May 2010 to October 2013 she was Assistant Director and Project Manager at the Australian National Maritime Museum managing many large projects including the circumnavigation of Australia by HMB Endeavour and the International Fleet Review Tall Ships event. She is now Director of Programs and Projects at Australian Parliament House.
 Birgitte Petersen, Canberra Region Tourism Awards judge Birgitte Petersen
Birgitte has a well-rounded hospitality background. She currently works as the Training and Recruitment Manager at Doma Hotels. Having literally grown up in hotels, her passion for customer service and training is evident throughout her career which has taken her to hotels and training institutes around the world, most recently to Canberra. Birgitte has recently stepped away from hotel operations into Human Resources and uses her practical knowledge and industry experience to instil this passion in her staff, trainees and students. Most recently a judge for the National AICR Receptionist of the Year competition, Birgitte’s experience in recognising talent is a great asset to the Canberra Region Tourism Award judging panel.
  Jacquie Roberts
Jacquie is the Senior Manager, International Partnerships at VisitCanberra and is responsible for the development of international programs and market development activities with on-shore and off-shore commercial partners.  She is also the Government representative on the ACT ATEC Branch and a current industry mentor for ATEC’s national ELITE program.  Jacquie has worked in the tourism and travel industry for 25 years in the private and public sector in a variety of roles including: inbound/wholesale distribution, aviation, hospitality and tourism destination marketing across Asia, India, New Zealand and the Middle East.  Highlights of her career include working for Virgin Blue/Virgin Australia where she developed strategies for commercial growth in the Government and University sectors across Australia and was a key member of the Regional Cities Development team tasked with assessing the commercial viability of introducing new aircraft into regional cities. Given half the chance you’ll find Jacquie carving up the ski slopes of Japan, USA/Canada and South America!
 todd-wright Todd Wright
If you’ve been around the Canberra tourism industry traps for some time now, you may well know Todd as the ‘Canberra and Capital Region Student Award Winner’ (2003) or perhaps as ‘Presenter of Tourism Entrants Workshops (2007 – 2016). If not, you’ve surely seen his impressive speeches jam-packed with Dad jokes at tourism awards nights gone by as an awards category sponsor. Now Todd is pleased to say he’s back with Awards Judge status against his name for the 3rd time since 2006. Todd has been Co-Director of Threesides Marketing for the past nine years, and heads a team who is obsessive about marketing that makes a difference. Highly passionate about Canberra’s tourism industry, Todd has a long history in the Canberra hospitality and tourism industry, and worked for the then Australian Capital Tourism for several years before starting up Threesides. Tourism remains a strong passion today as evidenced by many of Threesides clients being in the travel, tourism and lifestyle sectors (and by much of his spare time spent frequenting tourist attractions and visitor centres both locally and further afield). His strengths lie in business development and online marketing, including an undeniable talent for social media and training facilitation. Todd holds a BA Communications, PR/Tourism and is a Certified Trainer.
Cindy Young
Cindy is one of our most qualified, experienced and happily retired judges in our awards program.  Her industry experience includes leadership roles in a host of Canberra leading hotels and business events venues and she capped off her professional career as the General Manager of the National Convention Centre in Canberra.  Her experience in the awards space includes hosting the Australian tourism awards gala night in Canberra, entering and winning on a local and national level, entrant mentoring and contributing to the awards committee locally and in her free time delivered a cameo role as a national awards judge.  With tourism stories a plenty from Canberra and abroad – Cindy is the type of judge you’ll want to be sitting next to at the awards presentation night.