bike path and autumn leaves

The Team

Bess Nolan-Cook - Chief Executive Officer

Bess joins TNE with a unique combination of industry experience across marketing, communications and major events. Having held leadership positions within a diverse portfolio of businesses in both the private and corporate sector, Bess believes in the value of experience and has a track record in delivering compelling brand stories that drive engagement.
In 2015, Bess produced the Opening Ceremony for the ICC Cricket World Cup and more recently has held positions at The RACV and DoTerra Australia & New Zealand.
Bess Nolan-Cook

Matt White – Marketing Manager

Matt brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to TNE having returned to Australia from the US where he most recently worked as the Vice President of Client Services at global marketing agency GMR in San Francisco.

He’s held a range of positions in the cycling industry, including Head of Marketing and Business Operations for cycling retailer/importer Above Category Cycling, and Director at Rubber Side Down Cycling, which means he’s well positioned to drive growth in the region’s cycle tourism markets. He worked at the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet and also as a ski instructor and instructor examiner at Hotham and Buller, so has a great understanding of the landscapes in which TNE operates.

Matt White

Gill Dobson – Marketing Manager

Gill came to TNE after nine years working in marketing at Mt Buller, where she was most recently Group Manager of Marketing, Sales and Events, leading a team responsible for driving year-round marketing promotions for Victoria's most popular alpine resort.  At TNE, Gill manages the cooperative marketing campaign on behalf of the alpine resorts (Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, Mt Baw Baw, Dinner Plain, Lake Mountain and Mt Stirling), as well as campaigns across the food, wine and craft beer sector under the Feast High Country brand.

Gill moved to the High Country over a decade ago from Melbourne, where she held marketing and sales roles for companies including Mercedes-Benz and Corporate Express. Holding a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from RMIT, Gill is skilled in marketing strategy and management, communications, copywriting, digital and social media marketing.  Outside of work, Gill is a passionate skier, snowboarder and home cook, and loves getting out and discovering great places to eat and drink across the region.

Dean Cleave Smith - Digital Manager

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

Sue Couttie - Public Relations Manager

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.

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.

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.





Sarah Pilgrim - Industry Development Manager - Food and Drink, Arts and Culture

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.

Sarah joined TNE in 2014 and loves working with small businesses to help them achieve their goals. Sarah is an avid walker and explorer and loves taking in all the High Country has to offer.

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

Eddie Wilson works across the product pillars of Cycle Tourism and Nature-based Tourism in a full-time capacity. Eddie brings a Bachelor of Science (Hons - Environmental) and the ideal combination of government, tourism and industry experience to the role, having worked for organisations like DELWP, Buller Ski Lifts, the Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council and Tourism Melbourne. 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 Wilson Headshot

James Davidson - Digital Content Producer

James is a marketing and communication professional who drives TNE's social media channels and digital content production.

Following tertiary studies in engineering and aviation, James has worked across diverse marketing and communication functions at VicRoads, CSIRO and online media. Between 2014-18, James was the Marketing & Sales Manager at Bright Brewery, where he drove the small business to significant success with the Gold Award for Tourism Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries at the Victorian Tourism Awards in 2017 and 2018.

At Tourism North East, James provides the organisation with effective social media management and engaging digital content to ensure Victoria's High Country has a high performing online and social presence, driving visitor intent with our target markets across the digital space.

James Davidson, Digital Content Producer at Tourism North East

Krysten Clifton - Web and Content Producer

Krysten joined the team in 2018 and manages websites under the TNE umbrella.  A great portion of her role is spent creating original content, with social media management for the Feast High Country brand also a priority.

Krysten is a born and bred local, having grown up in Albury and spending a handful of snow seasons working at Dinner Plain, giving her an enduring passion for the region.  Her professional background began in journalism, spanning food and wine writing to Senior Journalist at Albury Wodonga News Weekly.  Her last stop before TNE was with Mars Petcare, where she worked on both local and global brands in the marketing team.

Kyrsten Edited

Helen Rose - Finance

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.

Helen Edited