Governance

Wine Communicators of Australia operates as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee according to the rules contained in its Constitution. When joining WCA, all members are required to formally acknowledge their agreement to abide by these rules.

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National Board

WCA is governed by a National Board, whose members are elected by the WCA members at the Annual General Meeting held in November of each year and are drawn from each of the States in which WCA has a Chapter (New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria).

Our current Board Members are:

MARNI COOK - Chair (SA)
Marni is the Chair of McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association and has been a Non Executive Director of Wine Communicators of Australia for three years. Recently completing her tenures as Industry Professor and Program Director of Wine Business at the University of Adelaide, member of the University’s Wine Futures Advisory Board, and Chair of the Business and Education Committee with Great Wine Capitals Global Network, Marni was previously Program Director at the Australian Centre for Retail Studies at Monash University.

With experience in senior roles in fashion, marketing, change management and adult education, Marni is a consultant, advisor, educator, mentor and facilitator, passionate about developing the business acumen of industry professionals by creating customised executive education programs and advisory services.

A strong advocate of industry needs being met through education, Marni is committed to content that is accessible, practical and can be readily applied by individuals and organisations. Having worked with a diverse client base, including Coopers, Yalumba, Caltex, Department of Defence, Myer, Red Cross, Repco, and Toyota, Marni has expertise in leadership and culture, finance, negotiation and communication, consumer trends, supply chain management, marketing, governance and strategic planning.

LYNDA SCHENK - Deputy Chair (SA)
For almost three decades, Lynda has worked across a diverse range of industries including wine, hospitality, and not-for-profit industries. She has a deep understanding of the marketing needs of companies, small and large.

Lynda held the role of Executive Officer (EO) for Wine Communicators of Australia between August 2016-2020 where she was instrumental in developing the inaugural Wine Industry Mentor Program partnership with The University of Adelaide, re-invigorating the Wine Media Cadetship for aspiring young people I the field of wine media and communications and bringing the Wine Media Conference to Australia.

Lynda left Wine Communicators of Australia’s EO position to focus her attention on her Outsource Marketing Consultancy business, Purple Giraffe, founded in 2014.

Lynda is the winner of the Fabulous Ladies of Wine, 2018 Wine Marketer of the Year and a 2019 Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Small Business Category Finalist.

ANGUS BARNES - Treasurer (NSW)
Angus has over 25 years’ experience in the wine industry across a number of areas in Sales, Marketing and Business Development.

For the last 14 years, Angus worked for Pernod Ricard Winemakers as the Global Brand Communications and Heritage Director. He has a Bachelor of Economics (Accounting) from Sydney University and a Diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET). He also was a graduate of the first intake of the wine industry’s Future Leaders Program. He is currently a Vice President of the NSW Wine Industry Association.

ROB HIRST (NSW)
With over 30 years now in the Industry, Rob, initially a Chartered Accountant and MBA (Marketing-Macquarie), is currently Chairman of Tucker Seabrook and consults to a number of Brands and businesses in the Alcohol and Beverage Industry. Currently also a Board Member of Wine Communicators of Australia, and a Member of the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales – Sydney Wine Show Committee plus a member of Sommeliers Australia.

A passionate supporter of industry education, Rob and Tucker Seabrook established the Australian operations for the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) in 1991 and today is an Australian Ambassador for the world’s largest wine & spirit education organisation the UK based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) plus also working with the Oceania Board of the highly respected worldwide Court of Master Sommeliers.

MEL WARD (VIC)
Mel started her Corporate Affairs career working with vegetable growers as part of her role at national vegetable organisation, AUSVEG. Since then, she’s developed her experience in issues management, crisis communications, corporate communications, consumer PR, employee engagement and social media at a number of high-profile companies including Australia Post, Myer, and Virgin Australia.

More recently, Mel has returned to her agricultural roots managing external communications for Treasury Wine Estates. Winemaking may be steeped in tradition, but Mel is excited about the opportunities to show how the wine industry is progressing whether that’s through innovation, eCommerce, or sustainability. The stories behind the wines are just as important as the wines themselves.

ALI LOCKWOOD (SA)
Ali is currently Manager, Market Development – Food, Wine and Agribusiness with the Department for Trade and Investment in the South Australian Government, responsible for the $5.4 million Wine Export Recovery and Expansion Program and for strategic initiatives and programs to increase international trade and market development across the food, wine and beverage sectors. In her previous role as Manager – Stakeholder Engagement with Wine Australia, she was responsible for engagement strategies, sponsorship programs and developing strategic partnerships with government agencies and State and regional wine associations. Previous to this she was the Regional Manager – Emerging Markets for Wine Australia, representing the Australian wine sector across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe, and established Wine Australia’s first office in China in Shanghai.

Ali is a non-executive Board Director for the Australia Day Council of South Australia and Wine Communicators of Australia.

ALEX GIBBS - Deputy Chair & Secretary (NSW)
Alex is a dynamic and committed wine marketing leader with over 20 years experience developing and leading high performing sales and marketing teams across a range of industries – tourism, liquor, wine, beer, government, banking, membership associations, professional services, education, IT, hospitality.

Alex is the CEO and Founder of Smile Marketing, a growth marketing services business which provides end-to-end project management, marketing strategy development, digital marketing, social media, design, event management and customer experience programs.

Alex’s work is focused on consumer and service-based brands in wine, beer, agribusiness, technology and financial services. He also works in the trade and investment space in major export markets including USA, UK, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. and other emerging markets.

He has had significant involvement working with government and the private sector on such national and regional challenges as Productivity, Leadership, Innovation and Strategic Growth.

STEPHANIE DUBOUDIN (VIC)
Stephanie has over 18 years of experience working in the wine industry in the US, Canada, UK, China and Australia. She is the founder and Managing Director of consumer insights and trends strategic consultancy, Food and Wine Insights. Stephanie also holds the role of Account Manager Aus/NZ/Asia for the Decanter World Wine Awards, Decanter Asian Wine Awards and Decanter magazine.

Previously Stephanie was the Country Manager for Wine Intelligence Aus/NZ and has held senior global marketing roles with Kobrand Corporation NY, Rathbone Wine Group and Yabby Lake. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts (Marketing and Media), Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the University of Melbourne (MBS) and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award in Wines.

JUSTINE HENSCHKE (SA)
A sixth-generation Henschke, Justine worked in the UK, New York and Sydney . Eager to expand her wine knowledge, Justine graduated from a number of wine qualifications including the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Sommelier Certificate and WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits.

She re-joined the family business at the beginning of 2015 in the role of Marketing and Public Relations Manager and also travels interstate and internationally as a Henschke brand ambassador.

Justine is a member of a number of committees and boards, including the Australia’s First Families of Wine Marketing Committee and Next Generation Committee, the Eden Valley Riesling Committee and is a national board member of Wine Communicators of Australia.

ANNABEL MUGFORD (SA)
Having worked in the Australian wine and food industries for 30 years, you could say that wine and food are in Annabel’s blood. She is currently enjoying juggling several roles including; consulting to Barossa Grape & Wine Association (BGWA), leading and managing the Barossa Wine School and the Barossa Wine Auction and also working at Food South Australia establishing the South Australia Food and Beverage Export Hub.

Annabel previously worked at BGWA, Wine Australia, PIRSA, Adelaide Hills Regional Development and a number of wineries, always looking for ways of creating value and “wow” experiences for wine drinkers, guests and visitors and helping the wineries to deliver these.

Annabel studied Wine Marketing at Roseworthy Agricultural College in the 1980’s, completed an MBA, majoring in strategic marketing, graduating in 2000 and recently achieved a career goal of being awarded the WSET Diploma in Wine. She also led the BGWA team that received the Wine Communicator of the Year 2019, as well as Best Wine PR Campaign and Best Wine Website at the Wine Communicators of Australia Awards in November 2019.

CHRIS MORRISON (NSW)
Chris Morrison is as an award-winning sommelier, respected wine communicator, judge, author and educator who has spent almost 25 years working in the hospitality and wine industries. As a sommelier Morrison is regarded as one of the country’s best. He led the wine team of the three-hatted Guillaume at Bennelong restaurant for more than six years and during that time secured The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Sommelier of the Year award.

Chris is an experienced professional public speaker and presenter who has worked in all forms of broadcast media, across global sponsorship platforms including Melbourne Cup Spring Racing Carnival and the Australian Open tennis. Chris represented Australian wine around the world as a communicator, educator and media spokesman for more than five years as the global spokesman for Jacob’s Creek wines.

He was also awarded a scholarship at the prestigious Len Evans tutorial held annually in the Hunter Valley which is regarded by wine writer James Halliday as “the most prestigious wine school in the world” As the only sommelier selected to take place in the 2017 Wine Australia Future leaders program he worked alongside winemakers, grape growers, marketers and legislators mapping the future for the Australian wine industry. As a writer his published featured articles have appeared in the Halliday Wine Companion Magazine, Australian Financial Review’s Life and Leisure section, the Australian Financial Review’s Luxury magazine, Australian Traveller Magazine, Australian House & Garden, Delicious Magazine, Time Out and he was wine columnist for luxury title, The Robb Report. In 2018 he signed with publishing house Murdoch Books and released his first book ‘This is not a Wine Guide’. The same year Chris was appointed as Group Wine Director for QT Hotels and Resorts working across their properties in Australia and New Zealand.