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Tessa McLachlan wins inaugural Todd Blake Student Award

Victoria University student Tessa McLachlan has won the inaugural Todd Blake Student Award, which is presented annually to an exceptional VU student in the tourism, events or hospitality fields.

The award is in memory of VU alumni Todd Blake, and was established by VU; Todd’s employer, the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and the Victoria Tourism Industry Council, of which Todd was Chief Executive.

The Award is open to VU students in Hospitality, Tourism and Events programs who have displayed the same passion, commitment, leadership, and can-do attitude as Todd.

The judges said that Tessa received the award for grasping the opportunity of working with and representing Tourism Victoria in Media and Trade Relations superbly, with passion and commitment.  Her submission demonstrated a high sense of excellence dedication, maturity and pride in a variety of industry responsibilities, an indication of her potential as an industry leader/champion.

One judge commented that “Todd would be impressed.”

The Todd Blake Student Award is an annual cash prize of $500.00 that can be used for books, course fees or other study-related assistance; and a practical component which may involve mentoring with distinguished industry representative or a practical work experience that reflects Todd’s interest.

In addition to the cash prize, the judging committee has arranged for Tessa to spend time ‘shadowing’ Natalie Obrien, CEO of the Melbourne International Food and Wine Festival, and to join the exclusive VU Graduate Group, mentored by Dianne Smith, who is an Adjunct Professor at VU and the current Chief Executive of the Victoria Tourism Industry Council.

Tessa continues to build her career in the tourism industry and says, “Outside of work opportunities I am a member of the Young Tourism Network & Australian Tourism Export Council to network with like‐minded people beyond the Tourism Victoria sphere.”

Tessa’s says that her true passion is in Eco‐Tourism and as a demonstration of her commitment in this area she is currently undertaking a two‐month position in Borneo at the Sepilok Orang‐utan Sanctuary.


Further information:

Barry Broons, Manager Work Integrated Learning,

Victoria University College of Business

9919 4546 or [email protected]

Media contact:

Christine White,

Public Affairs Unit, Victoria University,

9919 4322; 0434 602884; [email protected]

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