Amber Gardner - Chief Executive Officer

About Amber

Amber has worked in tourism for over a decade. She current heads Tourism North East, the regional tourism organisation charged with developing the long-term strategic vision for tourism in the High Country, North East Victoria. Prior to that she worked as the Director of Marketing, Sales & Business Development at Mt Buller, the most popular alpine resort in the State, along with a range of senior marketing positions in both Australia and the UK. As such, she is experienced at developing innovative ways to drive visitation and yield opportunities across diverse product portfolios, and driving collaboration between government, industry and community/interest groups.


Susannah Doyle - Marketing Manager

About Susannah

Prior to joining the team as Marketing Manager in early 2015, Susannah was engaged by TNE on a variety of tourism development and marketing projects. She has worked and consulted in the regional tourism space for over 10 years and brings over 20 years’ experience in the tourism and wine sectors to the team.

With a move to North East Victoria in 1995 from Melbourne, Susannah delivered marketing and business planning services to SEM’s, local government and state government as well as delivering Small Business Planning and Marketing adult education programs. Susannah’s passion for tourism began with Local Government projects, LTA’s and Visitor Information Centre contracts and four years with TNE's precursor; North East Victoria Tourism. Susannah has launched and run a number of successful small enterprises in the region (and an alpine resort).

Susannah is passionate about tourism development and delivering measurable outcomes for the region through innovative and targeted marketing campaigns. Susannah is the primary contact for anything related to TNE’s marketing program.



Gina Bladon - Strategic Projects Manager

 About Gina

Gina “saw the light” and moved to the High Country from Melbourne in 1997 to take on the role of Marketing Communications Manager and later Group Brand Manager at Brown Brothers, having previously worked in brand management for leading supermarket brands. She established her own tourism business, 1860 Luxury Accommodation, and for several years also owned her own retail business.

Gina originally joined the TNE in 2011 and has worked in several roles including Industry Development Manager and Marketing Manager. Gina current role is Strategic Projects Manager working across a range of special projects, particularly those associated with key cycle tourism developments and arts and cultural heritage projects.


Dean Cleave Smith - Digital Manager

About Dean

Dean joined TNE after moving to the region in 2010. Dean’s role is focused around building visitor facing digital / online capability so the High Country is optimally positioned to service those visitors that seek online information across all phases of the visitor journey.

Dean’s career prior to TNE spanned senior leadership and management roles in Australia and Europe largely focused around technology enabled organisational transformation.


Digital mentoring | The Regional Digital Project | Search engine marketing | Search engine optimisation | Digital trends

Tourism North East - Dean Cleave-Smith

Louise Friend - Digital Ninja

About Louise

Louise returned to home her homeland of Victoria's North East in early 2015, from the bright city lights of Sydney, where she worked with reputable PR & Communications agencies Liquid Ideas and Klick Communications.

Prior to taking on the role as TNE's Digital Ninja, Louise’s career highlights are far reaching, from working across major communications campaigns for local wine, beer and food brands, to handpicking grapes in Champagne.

Being a Ninja, Louise is reluctant to share all of her trade secrets, but can reveal her strengths to be content creation, copywriting, design, CMS management, social media and community management.


Sue Couttie - Public Relations Manager

About Sue

Sue Couttie is a writer and publicity specialist whose breadth of high-level publicity campaign, media liaison and writing experience covers work in tourism, newspapers, in-house publications, television and major events across a diverse range of organisations.
Since making a tree-change to North East Victoria she has freelanced primarily in the areas of tourism and the arts. She has written several official visitor guides for key regional destinations and developed a number of seasonal guides to festivals and events and extensive other marketing collateral.
She has managed publicity campaigns for a number of major cultural events including the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Tasmania’s statewide arts festival, Ten Days on the Island as well as the four-year Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festivals program.

Publicity | media opportunities



Sarah Pilgrim - Industry Development Manager - Food, Wine and Craft Beer

About Sarah

Sarah fell into tourism as a student in Melbourne. After completing a degree in Psychology she started work in Human Resource development with major international hotel chains. This lead to 15 years of travel through Europe, The Middle East and Africa. Returning to Australia 7 years ago and seeking a “tree change” she bought the lease of The Victoria Hotel Rutherglen. After 7 years of redecorating and repositioning the hotel, Sarah joins the TNE team eager to direct her passion towards growing the food and wine industry in the North East.

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Jade  Miles - Industry and Product Development Specialist

About Jade

Jade has lived in the High Country for 17 years, spending ten years living and working at Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain before moving back to the valley to establish her own marketing and business development consultancy. While her career has focused on alpine marketing and tourism, Jade has also delved headlong into life as a retailer as well as a food and wine operator, establishing and running businesses in Vanuatu, Beechworth and Cambodia.

Jade joined the TNE team in October 2011 as the Industry Development Manager for Nature before also taking on the Cycle and Alpine portfolios which she carried until June 2016. Her current role is Industry and Product Development Specialist and she works across all six pillars that TNE supports.


Nature based tourism | events | community tourism planning | business mentoring


Eddie Wilson - Industry and Product Development Manager - Cycle, Snow and Nature

About Eddie

Eddie Wilson has been appointed as the new Industry & Product Development Manager, working across the product pillars of Cycle Tourism, Nature-based Tourism and Snow in a full-time capacity. Eddie brings the ideal combination of government, tourism and industry experience to the role, having worked for organisations like Buller Ski Lifts, the Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council and the City of Melbourne Business and Tourism Branch. Added to that, he’s an avid skier, cyclist and adventurer, so is passionate about driving positive tourism outcomes across these product categories for the High Country. Eddie will join the team on 1 August 2016, so will meet with TNE’s industry partners soon after that.


Kate Ellett - Administration

About Kate

After completing a Business Degree and gaining a Post Graduate qualification in Tourism and Hospitality, Kate worked for Hoyts Cinemas for many years in varying roles including management, functions and events.  Kate has a particular interest in Customer Service and since focussing on administration she has been employed by a variety of companies, including a Salmon/Caviar Farm and a Physiotherapy Office, before beginning her role with Tourism North East.


Helen Rose - Finance

About Helen

Helen holds a Bachelor of Business, is a member of Governance Institute of Australia, and the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Helen brings the experience of having managed 4 and 5 star hotels, restaurants, retail, and government outlets.  Establishing her own business in 2002, Helen provides contract administration, distribution, board management, financial and company secretarial services to a variety of clients, both large and small, in a diverse range of industries and operating structures.