Meet the team behind the scenes:
Rod Hillman Chief Executive
Rod has a life-long involvement in tourism, protected areas management and education with lengthy stints as a tour operator, National Park Manager and teacher all over Australia, and many years overseas. He has been involved with Ecotourism Australia since 2001 when he was elected as a Board member (then Deputy Chair) for six years where he created the ‘Tourism in Protected Areas Forum’ (TAPAF) and managed the Annual Conference program. After four years in Papua New Guinea, managing the Kokoda Track, he returned to Ecotourism Australia as its Chief Executive.
View his Linkedin here.
Emily Ellis Operations Manager
Emily first joined the Ecotourism Australia team in 2013 as an intern and returned in June 2014 as Operations Manager. She has over 12 years experience working in hospitality and tourism industries around the world and across various departments from front-of-house, food and beverage, to reservations and marketing, to general management. Emily has Bachelor degrees in the fields of communications, business, and international tourism management. Her academic and work experiences have taken her around the globe, with particular industry experience gained in Scotland, Canada, and Samoa.
Contact Emily for any matters related to potential partnerships, certification, membership, auditing, internships, marketing and communications.
Leonie Bowles Program Manager
Leonie Bowles is Ecotourism Australia’s Program Manager responsible for developing Australia's first nature-based destination certification for protected areas and oversees our international program. Leonie has worked with Ecotourism Australia since 2011 and currently also lectures at the University of Queensland.
She has worked for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, EC3 Global and Conservation Volunteers Australia. In 2015 she was awarded the Young Talent Award at the World Tourism Forum recognising her leadership and research in environmental ethics and tourism.
Aya Pigdon Programs Administrator
Aya joined the EA team in July 2016. She has spent time as a tour guide along the Western Australian coast and in Kakadu National Park leading 4WD and boat tours through national parks while educating tourists on the local flora and fauna, history and culture. She has also worked and travelled in the Asia-Pacific region, including an 18-month volunteer assignment in Vanuatu as an Ecotourism Development Officer. There, she worked with Government and local communities in the development and implementation of the national Tourism Standards and Accreditation Program. Her academic background in International Development, Australian Indigenous studies and sustainability has contributed to her extensive knowledge and passion for working with and encouraging eco, sustainable and culturally responsible tourism.
Contact Aya for any inquiries regarding Ecotourism Australia’s certification programs and membership.
Fay Dawson Accounts Manager
Fay is the Accounts Manager for Ecotourism Australia and has worked in accounts for the past 10 years. She very much enjoys being part of the team, and will be only too happy to assist you should you have any queries with regards to your invoice.