Director, Natalie O'Brien & CO
Natalie has recently launched her own consultancy Natalie O’Brien & CO delivering customer experience strategy to the tourism and hospitality sector. Collaborating with an incredible collection of innovative and creative minds many of who are thought leaders in their field.
Natalie was at the helm of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival for the last 15 years where she demonstrated year on year growth and contribution to economic impact, visitation and brand profile globally for Victoria. Natalie was recognised among ‘Australia’s 50 most influential people in food’ in Gourmet Traveller (Nov 2016) and has extensive global networks within the industries she has worked in to create strong business opportunities. Her contribution to Australia’s food and wine industry has been recognised through a collection of awards, most notably Melbourne Awards – Contribution to Profile to Melbourne, Australian Gourmet Traveller Peoples’ Choice Award, and the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards (Hall of Fame) award for “Major Festivals and Events”. Mostly recently she was honoured in the 2019 Australia Day honours list and inducted as a member of the order of Australia for her contribution to wine, tourism and the community.
Natalie currently sits on several boards and committees including Tourism North East Board, The Global Table and the Victorian University Visitor Economy. Past Director of Parks Victoria, Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation, Chair and Director of the Food and Wine Tourism Council for over 10 years.
Natalie believes her passion for working in the hospitality ‘is in the genes’ as she comes from four generations of hospitality. Her grandmother Eileen Clatworthy the long-time publican at the Sawyers Arms in Geelong was an inspiring role model who knew her customers by name and always made their experience both memorable and personal.