St Kilda Tourism Association Board
Tracey Cooper grew up in Elwood, lived in St Kilda and is still a resident of the City of Port Phillip. She is an experienced director and executive with a history of developing successful service businesses and working as a key member of a board, with competencies in talent and team development, governance, strategic planning, financial management and commercial negotiation. Her commercial and industry experience as been developed in the tourism, professional consulting, technology, banking & finance and venture capital industries. She has more recently been involved as an angel investor assessing early stage companies and acted as a nominated representative responsible for lobbying local and state government bodies for tourism funding and policy change.
Fitzroy Street Traders Association
Travis Atkins, Managing Director of Max Group Australasia has worked in strategic marketing for over twenty years. His skills range from brand building and integrated marketing activity to return on investment strategies. He has worked on major sponsorship projects such as the Sydney Olympic Games, Salt Lake Winter Olympics and Goodwill Games, as well as all major sporting codes in Australia and many in New Zealand. Sponsor-based television product, athlete and celebrity endorsements, arts and significant cause-related marketing initiatives are core areas of expertise. His experience is coupled with strategic and planning know-how for corporations, venues and government. He has worked across Australasia, South-East Asia and the UK. Travis currently runs a well-established marketing agency that specialises in acquiring and retaining customers for a broad portfolio of clients, including some of Australia and New Zealand’s largest companies.
Robert Buckingham lives and works in St Kilda. He has a background in the creative direction and promotion of Australian fashion, craft and design, including events and festivals such as the Fashion Design Council of Australia and the Melbourne Fashion Festival. He now specialises in business and project development for the retail, hospitality and tourism sector through strategic creative planning, marketing, brand development and event direction. He is also the Australian Associate of the UK-based trend forecasters, The Future Laboratory and as such is connected to a global network of consumer trend intelligence and insights.
Neil Croker has worked exclusively in the entertainment and sports industries for over 25 years. He has directed and co-promoted tours by some of the biggest artists in the world including AC/DC, Dire Straits, Michael Jackson (NZ) and Bette Midler, and he produced or represented international theatre productions including Riverdance and Steel City. He has managed major events including the Barcelona Olympic Games’ merchandising, and consulted to the Australian Film Institute, Victorian Arts Centre Trust, Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust and Department for Victorian Communities (Sport & Recreation Victoria), Athletics Australia and others. Neil's skills include venue management, management of creative relationships with artists, tour promoting, ticketing, planning and management, and sound business management and organisational skills. In 2007, as CEO of Palais Theatre Management, Neil won the tender to run St Kilda’s Palais Theatre, now an enlivened venue presenting over 90 concert events per year and supporting a range of community initiatives.
President of the St Kilda Village Traders Association
Bianca Dawson was born into a family of Sydney restaurateurs. After gaining a journalism degree at Macquarie University, Bianca moved to London where she developed her love of fine dining in a large successful chain of fine dining restaurants, The Gaucho Grill. In 2005, now living in Melbourne, Bianca was employed as Events Manager at Veludo Bar and Restaurant on Acland Street, St Kilda, and promoted to General Manager soon after. She bought into the business as a Partner/Director in 2009. She also has a consultation role to her business partners, who now own 17 venues between them, adding value to existing and green field businesses, and developing successful venues from the ground up. She has extensive experience in system implementation for human resources, financial resources and day-to-day running of businesses. In 2010 Bianca was appointed the President of the St Kilda Village Traders Association and Treasurer of the Treasure Chest Breast Cancer Charity.
Gail Donovan has been a leader in the Melbourne hospitality industry for over 25 years and a small business owner since 1989. In 1995, Gail and husband Kevin became co-proprietors of iconic seaside restaurant, Donovans. A Founding Member of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival from 1992–1998, she has been an Advisory Member ever since and was inducted as a Festival Legend in 2004. Gail was a Board member of the Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau from 1990–1994. She has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the local community in the City of Port Phillip Excellence Awards and in 2006 was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame. She also received the Tourism Award, Chinois Best Tourism Restaurant 1992. For over 20 years Gail has been a part of the Tourism Victoria Visiting Journalists Program, its longest-serving member. She has been a weekly radio food and wine presenter and author of two books, and has been a resident of the City of Port Phillip since 1980.
Arts & Culture
Rée Izett has been a communications professional for 20 years in the entertainment, events and creative industries. She was senior adviser to the previous Victorian Minister for the Arts, providing strategic advice on the maintenance and development of Victoria’s creative industries. Previously, she played key roles in the reputational management and success of many of Australasia’s premier cultural organisations and for 13 years ran one of Australia’s leading cultural events public relations companies. Clients have ranged from visual arts, design and film through the performing arts and major festivals. Her skills include devising and delivering a range of strategies in the areas of corporate positioning, government relations, policy development, stakeholder relations, issues management, media management and publicity, event management, and internal and external communication. She is currently Director, Corporate Communications at the Arts Centre, Melbourne.
Denise Scrafton had been in the travel and hospitality industry for 40 years, heading up global sales for Flag International Hotels for many years and Flag Choice Hotels. Denise was Deputy Chair of the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) and was a Board Member of Tourism Victoria for six years. Denise is currently the National Secretary of Skal International Australia, the largest tourism organisation in the world. Denise is the recipient of "Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to Victorian Tourism" and also "Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to the Australian Export Industry" (ATEC). She is currently working in Business Development for 14 hotels around Australia including the Easystay Group St Kilda, specialising in leisure, both domestic and inbound.
Cr Serge Thomann
City of Port Phillip Councillor
Cr Serge Thomann has been nominated to the Board of the SKTA by the City of Port Phillip to represent the Council. Serge was elected to the Port Phillip Council in 2008 for the Catani Ward, which covers most of St Kilda on the strength of his campaign as President of unChain St Kilda to stop the development on the St Kilda Triangle site. Born in France, Serge came to Australia to work in marketing for L’Oreal Paris. He then ran his own business as a photographer, working mainly in the entertainment, film and music industry. He was also involved in events and production and charities. Serge has always been passionate about St Kilda, its arts and culture and has lived in St Kilda and Elwood for nearly 30 years.
Frank van Haandel
Over the past 21 years, Frank van Haandel and his family have shared a love of Melbourne, its surrounds, history, architecture and diverse culture. Frank’s initial passion developed in Bendigo, opening successful businesses in both the fashion and hospitality industries. In the late 1980s he brought his passion to Melbourne after winning a tender to redevelop St Kilda’s Stokehouse. Frank soon added the Prince of Wales restoration to his growing list of businesses, leading to him receiving several building and design awards including The Age Special Award for Professional Excellence to the Hospitality Industry and being inducted into The Good Food Guide Hall of Fame. The restoration of both buildings was undertaken with the greatest of respect for the environment and a love and knowledge of history. He is currently director and founder of 14 businesses across hospitality, investment and construction.
President of Fitzroy Street Traders Association
Roger has spent the better part of the last 30 years working as a management consultant, providing advice to the public and private sector. In the early 1990s, Roger was a director of Organisation Consulting at KPMG Melbourne. More recently, he became highly regarded for his insights into the media and communication industry emanating from his role as a director at SDA Strategic, a Melbourne-based communications strategy firm. Throughout his career, Rogers has largely focused on the ‘cultural' challenges of managing organisations, which included pioneering the advanced application (and interpretation) of employee opinion surveys. His clients have included Coles Myer, Telstra, AXA, Australia Post, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and a host of others. With his partner, Roger embarked on a demanding start up venture, Robarta, which is now a leading St Kilda bar/restaurant. Roger is also the President of the Fitzroy Street Traders Association, taking on the task of regenerating Fitzroy St as a major tourist destination for Melbourne.