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Our Board

In the Heart of Victoria

Introducing the Goulburn River Valley Tourism Board

Committed to stamping "The Heart of Victoria" on the Victorian regional tourism map, delivering outcomes for all stakeholders and exhibiting good governance practices.

The Board is comprised of one representative and one skills based director from each of our four member council - Greater Shepparton, Mitchell, Murrindindi and Strathbogie - as well as up to four independent skills directors and an Independent Chair.

Independent Chair

Chair Fran Bailey

Fran Bailey

The Hon. Fran Bailey is a highly experienced and qualified former federal MP with 18 years' experience.

Her roles have included senior ministerial responsibilities in Defence, Employment Services, Business and Tourism with responsibilities for budgets in excess of $6 billion.

Fran is the former Member for McEwan, an electorate that covered much of the Goulburn River Valley region.

Fran is also currently Chair of Animal Aid Victoria. A resident of Healesville, Fran was appointed the Independent Chair at the end of January 2014 and has recently announced her intention to step down from the role to pursue other interests at the completion of her three year term in January 2017.

Greater Shepparton Skills Director


Cheryl Hammer

Cheryl Hammer is a proactive and long-time tourism operator in Greater Shepparton. She has owned her current business, The Churches Accommodation in Orrvale, for 10 years.

Cheryl is also well known throughout the community for her media and marketing work with a range of businesses, including Emerald Bank Leisure Land, the site for the filming of the Australian movie, Spin Out. Cheryl has a background in community engagement, journalism, marketing and event management and is currently the CEO of not-for-profit organisation The Community Fund Goulburn Valley.

Cheryl served on the board of Tourism Greater Shepparton for more than a decade and has been on the board of Goulburn River Valley Tourism since December 2014.

She brings a wealth of industry and community experience and contacts to the Board.

Greater Shepparton Representative Director


Geraldine Christou

Geraldine Christou has been Manager Investment Attraction (now retitled Manager Economic Development) since 2010, following eight years in the Governance department of Council and roles in the private manufacturing sector. Geraldine’s portfolios include tourism, events, business and industry attraction and development, business incubation, grants, international relations and visitor experience.

Geraldine has a Bachelor of Business, an associate certificate of applied management, and Prince2 project management.  Geraldine is also involved with Industry and Employment Ministerial Taskforce, La Trobe University Regional Advisory Board, Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry, GV Link and Shepparton Show Me. Geraldine was appointed to the Board in August 2014.

Mitchell Skills Director

John Keeffe

John Keeffe

With a background in law, data processing and the motor industry, John spent most of his working life at the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, where from 1973 until 1993 he was the Chief Executive.

Following retirement John moved to Seymour in 1998 and commenced his consultancy from home. Here, he started a new career which was to last nearly 15 years with Seymour Coaches and which led to other work in the passenger transport industry.

John is a member of the Rotary Club of Seymour and is currently the President of Seymour Business and Tourism.

Mitchell Represenative Director


Kellie Vise

Kellie is an experienced senior leader, specialising in customer experience, stakeholder engagement and business transformation. She has over 15 of years of leadership experience across a range of sectors including utilities, tertiary and indigenous education and local government.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diplomas in Education and Business and is a fellow of the Fairley Community Leadership Program. She has lived in the Goulburn Valley most of her life and has a passion for supporting and developing sustainable regional and rural communities.

Kellie is currently the Manager of Active Communities at Mitchell Shire Council overseeing a range of portfolios including leisure services, recreation and open spaces, customer and library services, economic development, arts, culture and tourism.

Murrindindi Skills Director

Andrew Embling

Andrew Embling

Andrew is the owner of Landmark Embling Stock and Station agents and rural merchandise in Alexandra. Born in Alexandra, Andrew spent 18 years working with businesses across the Goulburn Valley before returning to the Murrindindi Shire 20 years ago.

Andrew is active in the Murrindindi Shire as President of the Alexandra Traders and Tourism Association, Board Member of Murrindindi Inc, Board Member of Kellock Lodge and a council member of Rubicon Outdoor Centre. With a passion for regional events Andrew also sits on the Board of Alexandra Events Inc, a committee responsible for the Truck Show, Eildon Big Fish Challenge and many smaller events in the region.

In 2008 Andrew was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for Services to the Community, a community which he is deeply passionate and proud to be a part of.

Murrindindi Representative Director

John Kennedy

Cr John Kennedy

John Kennedy as worked as a freelance journalist and publicist for all of his working life. His specialities include many aspects of the rural sector, engineering, mining, building and construction, the property sector, wine and local events.

John lost his self-built stone house and hobby farm at Buxton in the 2009 fires and in the aftermath abandoned Melbourne and moved to Yea where he lives and works from a home office.

In 2012 John became the Cheviot Ward (Yea) Councillor of Murrindindi Shire Council and been Deputy Mayor for the past two years. He has held a number of portfolio responsibilities and was recently appointed to the Shire’s Economic Development portfolio.

John has had a long involvement in picnic racing having been a previous President of the Healesville Amateur Racing Club. John is currently Secretary-Treasurer of the Yea Racing Club Inc., the current “Picnic Racing Club of the Year” and regularly contributes articles to racing media outlets.

Strathbogie Skills Director


Ian Firth

Ian has been working in the retail wine trade since 1992. In 1998 he move to North East Victoria and began working in Cellar Doors and restaurants gaining invaluable experience in hospitality and tourism. At that time he was elected on to the Beechworth Chamber of Commerce and was acting President in 1999.

In 2000 Ian began managing Gapsted Wines retail business and established the Cellar Door and cafe business that year. Gapsted Wines were awarded Indigo Shire Business of the year 2002 and the Victorian Tourism awards Best Tourism winery in 2006.

Ian moved to the Strathbogie Shire (Euroa) in 2008 after accepting the position of Customer Services Manager with Fowles Wine and is currently holds the position of Manager Brand Engagement.

After restructuring the business and overseeing refurbishment of the site Fowles Wine in Avenel was awarded RACV Victorian Tourism awards “Best Victorian Tourism Winery” in 2012 and 2013, and a Bronze award at the QANTAS National Tourism award in 2013.

Ian was a member of the  Goulburn River Valley Destination Management Plan Steering Committee in 2013/2014 before joining the Board.

Ian’s other loves are fine art and his family. He graduated from the National Art School in Sydney in 1992 with a Diploma in Fine Art and has exhibited in galleries in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

Strathbogie Representative Director


Emma Kubeil

Emma Kubeil commenced employment at Strathbogie Shire in 2007 as a Student Planner. Having worked in the real estate industry for 13 years and a year within the grain industry, Emma had significant knowledge of property use and development and excellent customer service experience.

During Emma’s nine years at Strathbogie Shire, Emma has advanced significantly through applying herself to study whilst working full time and raising a family. Significant milestones for Emma whilst employed at Council have been the completion of her Graduate Diploma in Environment and Planning and a Diploma in Management. Emma was also the recipient of the Regional Young Planner of the Year award in 2011.

Emma spent her teenage years at Merton and went to school in Alexandra before heading to Melbourne then Cobram. Emma now lives in Euroa and is married to Rodney. Emma has two children, Nicholas and Thomas. Rodney and Emma have an Engineering business in Euroa known as Rod-Weld Engineering which commenced operation in 2012.

Independent Skills Director


Annie Fletcher-Nicholls

Annie is an experienced company director, serving on the boards of government businesses, not-for-profit organisations and private SMEs.

She is currently a Director of Docklands Studios Melbourne and is Chair of Seymour Health.

Her professional career saw her working at the highest level of corporate communications. As Managing Director of one of Australia’s largest public relations companies, owned by Clemenger Advertising, she lead a team of practitioners who provided advice to many of Australia’s leading corporations and public entities.

This in-depth understanding of strategic communications and marketing brings an important perspective to a board in an era where an organisation’s public profile is monitored by instant communications and a 24/7 news cycle.

Annie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from ANU and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Independent Skills Director


Janelle Toomey

Janelle Toomey has worked in both agency and client roles during her career as an accomplished business, brand and product developer.

As Business Director at Best. Design to Life a Melbourne based company who operate in the built brand, design and brand space  - creating new integrated brand solutions for brands and immersive experiences for consumers in retail and hospitality.

Janelle is also the co-owner and operator of renowned Bank Street Pizza in Avenel, which she started with her husband five years ago and has become one of Victoria's loved regional food destinations.

Independent Skills Director


Alan Arthur

Alan is a senior executive, with a technology background, currently in the role of GM Corporate Services for Goulburn-Murray Water. He is also the founder and Executive Director of Tech2Kids, a charity committed to getting technology into the hands of disadvantaged children.

With most of his career spent in tourism and hospitality, Alan has worked in Australia and internationally, and been part of the senior executive for a variety of organisations from small local businesses through to global enterprises. His tourism experience includes bars, hotels, treetop walks, ski resorts, aquariums, island resorts and theme parks.

With his background, Alan appreciates the importance of using technology to attract and retain visitors, and to complement and enhance the visitor experience.

Alan lives in Kialla with his wife Kirsten, and two young children, Hannah and Hamish.

Our Team

Behind the Board there's a passionate team carrying out the work that goes on at Goulburn River Valley Tourism.

Welcome to our new industry website

After some blood, sweat and even a few tears we are proud to launch our new industry website...

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Goulburn River Valley Tourism - the peak tourism organisation for the 'Heart of Victoria' region.

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