Our People

Meet our exceptional people: dedicated to showcasing and promoting the region’s unforgettable visitor experiences.

Our board members

Scott Chapman

Scott Chapman AM – Chair

Scott has spent over 30 years in the corporate, government and community sectors. He is currently Chief Executive of the Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria and during his tenure has driven exponential growth in health service delivery across regional and remote communities.

Scott has held chief executive and senior leadership positions across the private, public and not for profit sectors, with organisational and community capacity building at the fore of his work. Prior to joining the Flying Doctor, Scott was Director, Commerce and Marketing with the City of Melbourne where he oversaw the marketing, communications and media, tourism, major events, business, trade and investment and international portfolios for ten years.

A believer in the power of strengthening communities through volunteering, Scott volunteers his own time on multiple not for profit boards.

Portrait of Anthea Dimitrakopoulos

Anthea Dimitrakopoulos – Deputy Chair

Quest Apartments (Industry Representative)

Anthea is the General Manager of Brand and ESG for Ascott Australia, responsible for the Environmental, Social and Governance plan, the strategic brand and marketing direction for the Australian Team. The Brands include, Quest Apartment Hotels, lyf, Citadines, Oakwood Premier and Somerset. A seasoned professional with over 16 years hospitality and tourism experience and 11 of those in franchising.  Anthea has a passion for hospitality and tourism, marketing, bringing brand and product ideas to life, maximising operational excellence, delivering financial performance and equally: championing gender and broader diversity rights, environment, and social issues.

Anthea oversees the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives across The Ascott Limited brands in Australia. Key milestones already achieved include growing gender diversity at a senior leadership level and implementing a new Gender Equality Policy that includes paid parental leave.

Dr Colin Drake

Dr Colin Drake – Treasurer

Victoria University Representative

Colin is a lecturer in undergraduate and postgraduate marketing, tourism and events and is course chair for both the Bachelor degree programs in Tourism & Hospitality and Event Management. Colin has over 20 years of practitioner experience encompassing senior roles in Event Management, Tourism, Hospitality and the Aviation sectors in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Cr Julie Shannon

Cr Julie Shannon

Melton City Council Representative

Cr Julie Shannon is in her first term as a councillor and is currently serving as Deputy Mayor.

Cr Shannon has over 20 years’ experience in small business and the not-for-profit and education sectors, as well as various roles in retail and hospitality. She has served on various industry and not-for-profit boards over the past 25 years which have taught her to appreciate diversity and value a difference of opinion. She is the current Chairperson of Earth Village Community, a local Melton-based charity.

Cr Shannon is passionate about making the City of Melton a destination for visitors. She is an advocate for the development of the parklands along the Melton Weir and Reservoir and through her position on the Board, is keen to drive discussion around the role Melbourne’s western region can play to support the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Cr Jacob Bettio

Cr Jacob Bettio

Moonee Valley City Council Representative

Councillor Jacob Bettio proudly represents Moonee Valley City’s Myrnong Ward. He is passionate about nurturing local traders through essential services and resources. Councillor Bettio actively engages with diverse community groups to understand their unique needs and concerns. Councillor Bettio is also a staunch supporter of local sporting clubs. As a business owner, Councillor Bettio brings unique perspectives, empathise with the challenges faced by the Service industry, and proposes effective strategies to address them. His backgrounds in IT, Hospitality Management and his current pursuit of a Bachelor of Law strengthen his approach to Governance and equip him with valuable knowledge to serve the community effectively. By remaining connected with the community, he ensures Council’s decisions are made with its best interests in mind.

Cr Sarah Carter

Cr Sarah Carter

City of Maribyrnong Council Representative

Councillor Sarah Carter has served four consecutive terms since her election to council in 2008 and is the first female to have served three times as Mayor, serving in 2011, 2020 and 2022.

Cr Carter is a passionate advocate for the Creative West project (formerly known as NeXT) and Festival City, initiatives that foster a thriving community. She is an avid supporter of creative and cultural events that highlight the importance of driving visitation and fostering community connection.

During her current term as Mayor, Cr Carter has seen the introduction of Maribyrnong’s Festivals and Activation Framework which is a commitment to a ‘place-based approach’ given the wide-ranging benefits it can bring to communities, the local economy and City identity. Cr Carter recognises the strength of Maribyrnong’s night time economy, and how to best capitalise on the trend of visitors dispersing to inner-city areas by providing support to a range of events and activations.

Cr Carter is passionate about the west and believes that our unique offerings will continue to drive new visitation, strengthen our economy and provide a platform for an array of event-industry creativity to thrive.

Cr Virginia Tachos

Cr Virginia Tachos

Brimbank City Council Representative

Cr Tachos lives and works in Brimbank and has a proud history of volunteering and advocating for the community. She has been serving as a Councillor since 2016 and has served on various Committees as well as the Advocacy portfolio and on the Executive Board of ALGWA Vic.

Cr Tachos wants to build and strengthen the Local Visitor Economy by exploring Brimbank’s unique and diverse Art, Culture, Culinary and Indigenous past and present – exploring what it means to Be Bold in the West.

Cr Tachos is honoured to be serving as the first Tourism portfolio holder for Brimbank Council with the upcoming launch of the “Experience Brimbank – Hidden Gems” tourism campaign that explores some lesser known yet amazing experiences in Brimbank.

Cr Pamela Sutton Legaud

Cr Pamela Sutton Legaud

Hobsons Bay City Council Representative

Cr Sutton-Legaud is a board member with Seddon Community Bank, BirdLife Australia, Connecting Home and Trust for Nature and volunteers with the Hobsons Bay Community Fund and Hobsons Bay Wetlands Centre.

Cr Sutton-Legaud has committed her career to the Australian non-profit sector working with Oxfam Australia, Plan International, Bush Heritage Australia and Zoos Victoria in leadership roles. It was for her work with Plan International and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games that Cr Sutton-Legaud was honoured as a Victorian Telstra Businesswoman of the Year.

Cr Sutton-Legaud is CEO of Homeward Bound Projects, a global leadership initiative for women with a STEMM background. Cr Sutton-Legaud has an MBA, is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), a Fellow of the Fundraising Institute of Australia and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is author of The Fundraiser’s Handbook, a strategic planning tool for not for profit organisations.

Cr Heather Marcus

Cr Heather Marcus

Wyndham City Council Representative

Cr Marcus is currently serving her fifth term at Council. A passionate advocate for Wyndham, Cr Marcus is the portfolio holder for Destination Wyndham. The Portfolio celebrates the many tourism and natural attractions Wyndham has to offer and explores ways to attract visitors and businesses to the region.

A successful businesswoman and entrepreneur, Cr Marcus brings a wealth of experience having ran successful retail and building businesses and currently, co-ordinates large scale events across the City.

Craig Bray

Craig Bray

Parks Victoria Representative

Craig is the Manager of Parks Victoria’s Western Melbourne District. The district includes popular visitor attractions such as Werribee Park, Brimbank Park, Organ Pipes National Park, Point Cook Coastal Park and various other parks and reserves. The district covers a geographic area from Craigieburn in the north to Point Cook in the south and together these parks and reserves attract over 2,000,000 visitors annually. Parks Victoria also hosts local, regional, national and international events within these parks that provide social benefits and economic stimulus in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Craig has over 30 years’ experience managing high profile parks, bio regions and other tourism assets across the state.

Robyn Grattidge

Robyn Grattidge

Director Business Development, Zoos Victoria

Robyn is a commercially astute senior executive with significant experience in business development in the visitor economy. As the Director of Business Development, Robyn is responsible for driving growth across Zoos Victoria’s four properties with a focus on visitors, tourism, retail and catering activities. This includes Werribee Open Range Zoo, which is currently the most visited paid attraction in Melbourne’s West. A vital hub in the Werribee Park Tourism Precinct, Werribee Open Range Zoo has exciting expansion plans, aiming to attract over a million visitors annually in the next five years.

Asha Bee Abraham

Arts Industry Representative

Asha is the Industry Development Manager at Footscray Community Arts. As part of her role, Asha also coordinates Arts West, an alliance of artists and arts organisations with extensive and diverse reach. Collectively, Arts West delivers the bulk of arts and cultural activities and engagement throughout Melbourne’s west, providing cultural services to over 200,000 visitors annually. Footscray Community Arts itself makes a significant contribution to the Australian cultural footprint with on-site visitation over 100,000 per year.

Image credit: Sara Asgedom

Scott Thompson

Bastion Reputation

Scott is one of Australia’s leading communications strategists. He is a member of the Executive and a leader at Bastion Reputation, a national corporate and public affairs consultancy with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

Scott lives in Brimbank and has made a significant contribution to visitor economy policies and issues for several years. He is Chair of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council’s Events Sector Roundtable and a member of its Policy Advisory Council. He was previously a Director of the Business Council of Australia, where he worked closely with CEOs of Australia’s largest businesses to advance policies in the national interest. Scott has also held leadership roles at a large public affairs agency where he ran public education campaigns, advised CEOs and Boards, and worked on major project delivery.  His background is in journalism on newspapers including the Herald Sun and The Age. 

Image credit: Sara Asgedom

Richard Ponsford 
Contact Richard Ponsford:

0417 545 141

Richard Ponsford 

Executive Officer, Western Melbourne Tourism

Richard has a broad range of experience in tourism both in government and the private sector. Richard has previously worked in a range of senior tourism management roles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground/ National Sports Museum, Tourism Victoria, City of Melbourne and the City of Greater Bendigo. Prior to his career in tourism, he worked as an urban planning consultant.

He has served as a Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) board member and has been a member of Tourism Australia’s market advisory panel. He is also a graduate of Destination Melbourne’s Tourism Industry Leadership Program. Richard has also worked as a judge on a range of tourism, business and student award programs.

Richard is engaged by Western Melbourne Tourism on contract and has been working with WMT since 2012.  He has become a very passionate advocate for the west.

Christina Browning

Christina Browning

Communications Co-ordinator, Western Melbourne Tourism

Christina Browning is a versatile communications specialist with over 25 years of experience in various industries, including non-profit organisations, tourism, and media. She worked both locally in Melbourne and overseas, with companies such as Thai Airways and Lonely Planet, contributing her expertise as a freelance travel journalist. With a strong background in project management, social media management, content creation, SEO, research, and networking, Christina brings a wealth of knowledge to her roles. Christina is a true Melburnian at heart and has a deep connection to the western suburbs. She has lived in the area during her childhood and upon returning from her 12 years overseas. This firsthand experience has given her a unique perspective and understanding of the vibrant communities and diverse cultures within the western suburbs. Christina’s passion for storytelling aims to inspire increased visitation to the West.

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