Director Nominations

The Sunshine Coast’s Regional Tourism Organisation, Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC), is seeking suitably qualified individuals to nominate themselves for potential election as a Member-elected Director on the Visit Sunshine Coast Board.

The Board is comprised of three Member-elected positions, and six skills-based positions, one of whom is the Chair.  There is currently one  (1) vacancy for a Member-elected position.

The call for nominations for election to the Board is being made in accordance with rules 23 and 24 of the Company’s Constitution.

2020 Nominations

Michelle Christoe ​

Michelle founded and manages Food Focus Australia, an event management and hospitality business with strong Sustainability Principles and connections within the Queensland community including Malt Shovel Taphouse and a Festival based entertainment venue, NightQuarter made of recycled materials delivering workshops, fundraisers, functions, music events and activations across 5 stages and precincts.

Michelle Christoe has an MBA (Marketing Mgr) and is an accomplished marketing and business professional, having launched and managed her own businesses in Australia and abroad. 

Michelle has represented Australian industry on Boards for the past twenty years and is passionate about promoting the Sunshine Coast region.


Luke Donkin

Luke Donkin is a highly motivated, creative and driven tourism marketing professional with more than 17 years’ experience. He has worked with leading technology companies and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) providers across Australia and Asia Pacific region, and has advised high-profile tourism brands including Tourism Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland, and Tourism New Zealand.

 Luke is regularly sought after to speak at industry events and has spoken at conferences including The Mumbrella Travel Marketing Summit, Tahiti Tourism Exchange, TokTok Vanuatu, and TRENZ New Zealand. Luke has also recently been invited to sit on panels to provide insights on what it will take for the industry to successfully emerge from the Covid shutdown, what travel marketing will look like in the future and best practice risk mitigation strategies.

Luke is passionate about driving economic growth in the travel sector whilst ensuring environmental, cultural and local community sustainability. Luke believes that successful tourism organisations in a post Covid world needs to evolve from traditional marketing practices and align the right data set with the best technology to not only attract visitors to the region, but to attract visitors who will deliver maximum economic benefit, whilst protecting the Sunshine Coast from over tourism and maintaining the community lifestyle enjoyed by locals.

With travel related business interests on the Sunshine Coast, Luke is driven to ensure that our emergence from the Covid recession is one that has a resolute focus on supporting business, delivering jobs for locals, and promoting regional prosperity.


Steve Hirst

I have been on the Sunshine Coast holding various manger roles in media and I understand what an amazing place we live in.

I know, I have lived in Morwell, Melbourne and Ballarat in Victoria, Albury NSW, Cairns QLD (twice) before settling on the Sunshine Coast all holding Management roles in media, television, radio, print and digital.

In my most recent media role as Regional General Manager, I was all about using our platform to fight for the Sunshine Coast and did help Visit Sunshine Coast run some very successful marketing campaigns across all of our platforms including our recent Tourism Sunshine Coast campaign which included a panel consisting of Paul Scurrah (recent Virgin Airlines CEO), Pip Harrison, CEO of Tourism Australia, Michael Miller, Executive Chairman News Corp Australasia and Damien Walker, Director General Tourism, QLD Government.

I have extensive media experience and have been able to Completed Marketing Week Mini MBA in marketing (Score A)
Was a participant in Elkiem high performance training with Andy Meikle based in Sydney
Completed Georgetown University Executive Development Program for Radio Broadcasters Senior Management dmg Training conducted by Talkforce Sydney Commercial Radio Australia Program Directors course

I think outside the square, challenge the normal and expect to win if we get the process right

I am married with 4 kids, live in Buddina and am very passionate about the Sunshine Coast and the many benefits a successful tourism industry means to the Sunshine Coast.

Philip Hart

I am seeking your support in the upcoming VSC Board election to be a Member-elected Director.

I have more than 35 years’ experience in business, building companies from the ground up and was a founding director of Findex, which is now Australia’s largest independent financial services company.

After 30 years in financial services, I turned my attention back to tourism and hospitality, where I had spent some time in my late teens and early twenties.

Moving here to the Coast, I purchased and grew Sunreef Mooloolaba from two staff to more than 30, also drawing significant attention both domestically and internationally to the region.

Successfully launching Australia’s first Swim with Whales experience, while also purchasing and expanding Whale One and the Hire Hut and integrating them into Sunreef.

The Dock Mooloolaba which employs a further 30 locals, was also a ground up project to assist in the development and activation of The Wharf Mooloolaba precinct. This year, my group of companies has also launched Immersive Events, a company that provides integrated event management across venues including Whale One, The Dock and The Wharf Mooloolaba.

Our most recent project is the launching of a ready-meal food company “The Hatted Chef”, which we intend to grow nationally, and in so doing will further highlight the Sunshine Coast region to the nation.

As an interim VSC Board Member who has also served one previous term, I understand the work the RTO does, and the direction being currently taken. I want to continue the work that has seen VSC lead the nation in terms of growth metrics, continuing to put the Sunshine Coast region forward, both domestically and internationally.

Drawing on my extensive experience in business growth, I also want to continue to build a more sustainable business model within the organisation, developing new funding sources, while balancing the needs of all the sub regions as well as all accommodation and tour operators, small and large.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my plans with you, and to hear your thoughts on the continual improvement in promoting this wonderful region we are all lucky enough to call home.

Good, better, best - never let it rest, till your good is better and your better best.

Mark Cameron

Mark first moved to the Sunshine Coast after leaving university in the early 1990's. Initially working in tourism for one of the major car rental companies, and later moving overseas to broaden his commercial experience.

While working internationally Mark gained a depth of experience working in high-growth, knowledge and relationship-led businesses. He held a variety of senior roles leading the operations functions across finance, human resources, IT, compliance and marketing in organisations ranging from ambitious and rapidly growing private-equity-backed businesses to multi-billion-dollar US-listed corporates.  During this time he played an instrumental role in completing more than $90m in corporate transactions and served on a range of operational and governing boards.

Returning to the Sunshine Coast in 2014, Mark and his family - seeking a lifestyle change - began operating The Point Coolum Beach, returning him full circle to the tourism industry.

Mark also spends time coaching and sharing his knowledge with other business leaders, particularly in the digital marketing and BPO spaces.

In his spare time Mark is President of Coolum Business and Tourism, which leads him to work closely with a broad range of Sunshine Coast business owners, local Council and State government stakeholders.  

Mark has a strong understanding of Visit Sunshine Coast and its goals through representing Coolum on VSC's sub-regional panel for the last 2 years.


Yogita  Ridgley

Yogita Ridgley is a successful business women, CEO and Founder of “Traveling with Me, Myself and I”. Yogita started my professional career in the corporate world as an Accountant after finishing Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and economics. She then ventured to own a retail motorcycles business with my husband. After selling there retail business. She moved to live in Australia from New Zealand.

She bought a Hotel business “Excellisor Mooloolaba” where she was the management right owner and General manager for ten years. Yogita has be on the committee of Mooloolaba Business and Tourism and has intensive knowledge of Sunshine Coast and Travel industry.

Now she is an Entrepreneur, Influencer, Solo Travel Specialist, Mindset strategist, Award winning international Speaker, best selling Author, and Travel Blogger. Yogita was featured by one of the Australian Magazine’s as a Female Change Maker, Finalist of an Innovative business Award and Leadership Award.

She is an Advocate for Mental Health & Wellbeing and Dyslexia awareness. Yogita believes Traveling is the key to good mental, emotional and physical health.