WITH Tas Committee 2023-2024

Heading into its 15th year, the WITH Tas Committee once again includes women from an impressive range of backgrounds and businesses who have equally varied skills and experience.  These women all have two things in common - a heartfelt commitment to tourism and hospitality on our beautiful island, and to supporting other women in our industry around the state.

In 2020, the WITH Tas Constitution was updated to add a Student Member to composition of the Committee. This was done to provide the opportunity for a young woman to gain experience and confidence and to develop skills that will assist in career development. This year, we are delighted to welcome Upuli Pathirana into this role.

Rita Warrener, Vice President, WITH Tas

President: Rita Warrener

Rita has been on the WITH Management Committee eight years, serving in various positions and was appointed President in September 2023.

After commencing work in corporate communications in local government in southern Tasmania, Rita spent a decade in Melbourne working in retail travel, sales & marketing and public relations, including working with retail and wholesale travel partners in Melbourne and regional Victoria to promote Tasmania as a holiday destination.

With over thirty years in varied roles across marketing and industry development, Rita is currently Project Manager T21 at Tourism Tasmania. As part of the Visitor Economy Strategy & Research team she works with government and industry partners to support delivery of Tasmania’s 2030 Visitor Economy Strategy

Rita is a strong advocate for the contribution and potential of the tourism industry to the Tasmanian community given the positive impact it makes socially and economically and its potential to be a global leader in responsible and sustainable tourism. She believes the important contribution that women make to our industry should be supported and celebrated and WITH provides a platform to do this.

Daniela Ruiz, Vice President WITH Tas

Vice President: Daniela Ruiz

Daniela is the Tourism Sustainability Manager at ERC Australia. She is currently helping tourism and hospitality businesses with developing emissions reduction plans that can be easily communicated with visitors and stakeholders.

Originally from Patagonia, Chile, she has been living in Australia since 2012. Daniela discovered her passion for travel and tourism on her first solo trip at 14 when she lived in Alaska for seven months. She believes that travel is the greatest form of education, and has made her career about encouraging others to travel meaningfully.

Daniela has a Master's degree in International Sustainable Tourism Management from Monash University and holds a certificate in Sustainable Tourism from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. She moved to Tasmania in 2019 to work for Tourism Tasmania for almost four years in the industry and partnerships team. She then moved to the Department of State Growth as a Project Manager to support the Tourism and Hospitality unit.

She has worn many hats in the industry, including hospitality, customer service, operations, marketing and industry development roles and is also now on the Board of the Migrant Resource Centre, Tasmania.

Daniela loves the outdoors - especially waterfalls and sunsets -  pasta and a good glass of vino (Tassie Pinot is always her first choice).

Secretary: Mette Dawe

Originally from Denmark, Mette has a background in Event Management organising events ranging from bespoke Tour de France VIP events to large corporate events and private functions.

Since first arriving in Tasmania in 2006, Mette has worked in hospitality, as a bushwalking guide, and as an Outdoor Instructor. This lead to her completing a MSc in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education from Edinburgh University and working as an Outdoor Education Facilitator in both Tasmania and the Scottish Highlands.

In recent years Mette has worked within the Tasmanian tourism industry, spreading the word about the wonders of our island state through her work at the Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre, Tourism Tasmania and currently at Events Tasmania.

This is Mette's first term on the WITH Committee.

Treasurer: Kerry Scambler

Originally a Launnie girl, Kerry spent five years working in Melbourne and Sydney before returning home and settling in the community of the South Arm Peninsula. Her experience includes:

- Nine years with her own business, The KS Principle, working with tourism operators on content curating, writing , online presence, general consultation and admin support.
- Eleven years with national online wine and food travel guide and publisher, VisitVineyards.com, based at Cambridge.
- Thirteen years in the successful national sales and marketing team at J.Boag & Son (initially Tasmanian Breweries), based in Hobart .
- Twenty plus years involved with the very active South Arm Peninsula Residents Association (SAPRA), receiving Clarence Council's 2019 Citizen of the Year award.
- Plus early stints in credit unions, media, tech companies and a fun and favourite time involved with Targa Tasmania from prior to the first event in 1992 to 1996.

Now heading into her eighth year on the WITH Tas Committee, Kerry is looking forward to being part of the WITH Committee and working to connect, support and inspire women in our sector.

General Committee: Alice van der Woude

Alice, a Tasmanian-born marketer and tourism operator, has diverse experience working within the Tasmanian tourism industry, including many years as an operator running a small-medium tourism business and three years in the marketing team at Tourism Tasmania. Alice has been as a member of the Women in Tourism & Hospitality Committee since 2021, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Destination Southern Tasmania.

Alice currently works as Director, Marketing & Experience at On Board and is leading the launch and design of their bespoke and immersive wilderness experience aboard a new custom-built Tasmanian vessel (launching Jan 2023). Alice has had advisory and management roles in this family business across marketing, product development and operations since its launch in 2016.

Until recently, Alice worked at Tourism Tasmania and was responsible for managing and implementing marketing programs – including the Unordinary Adventures program, inspiring people who travel for their passions to visit Tasmania for special interest experiences – and the partner marketing program, realising high-quality brand communications via partner channels.

In her spare time Alice makes appearances representing Australia as an underwater hockey player.

Tania Thompson - WITH Tas Committee Member

General Committee: Tania Thompson

Tania is an experienced chef and catering professional with food and design knowledge. She is constantly updating her knowledge and experience in the industry and enjoys networking.

She has worked for various organisations, mainly in the corporate scene, which has allowed Tania to cook for various executives, eg Prime Ministers, Bill Gates and Cate Blatchett to name a few. Her biggest event was the James Packer wedding to Jodie Meares.

Tania has a passion for all areas of the hospitality industry, loving the fact she can be innovative and creative and can constantly change her ideas and grow.

General Committee: Sherene Somerville

This is Sherene's first year with the committee bringing with her over 30 years of experience in tourism and hospitality.

Sherene Somerville has the enviable position of managing PR and Earned Media for a unique destination in the world – Tasmania.

Driven and motivated by the authenticity and charm of Tasmanian island lifestyle and the quality of its people and products, Sherene has spent more than two decades getting under the skin of Tasmania's tourism products and offerings via retail, wholesale and marketing and communications.

She is a passionate advocate of Tasmania's tourism industry and loves nothing more than shining a spotlight on the genuine, unfiltered experiences that make the destination unlike anywhere else.

General Committee: Natalie Ellis

Natalie is a very proud, born and bred Tasmanian.

Natalie began her career in the tourism industry over twelve years ago with Tourism Tasmania working across the agency in a variety of roles including within the Industry & Partnerships team and Corporate Communications.

Now working in the Trade & International Relations team at Department of State Growth as the International Missions Planner, Natalie's passion and experience for showcasing and connecting Tasmanian businesses to the world is at the forefront, along with building the success of local businesses that contribute towards the benefit of the community

Natalie is very excited to be in her first year on the WITH Committee to continue her connection with the tourism industry.

Student Committee Member: Upuli Pathirana

Upuli is an international student at TasTAFE, studying an Advanced Diploma of Tourism Management. She is also interested in interacting with Hospitality professionals and the community.

Customer Service is her passion and she has already gained local and international experience during previous roles in Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates. Upuli started her career in 2008 as a Travel Assistant and rose up the professional ladder to teach and train people in customer service, improving their skills by being a Training Specialist in Customer Service.

Upuli is the recipient of the 2023 WITH Student Scholarship, sponsored by Tourism Tasmania, and also received a Destination Australia Scholarship. She will be starting her Degree in Bachelor of Business at the University of Tasmania in 2024 and these scholarships will be a great financial support and encouragement to complete future endeavours.

As a person who loves to travel around the world and enjoy diversity, it always makes Upuli happy to see the Hospitality and Tourism industry grow and be a part of it.