Alumni Gather to Recognise & Reminisce at 2017 Awards

As the most anticipated event on the alumni calendar, the annual BMIHMS at Torrens University Alumni Awards always draw a large crowd. With many alumni making the trip across the globe just to attend the cocktail event in Sydney. The Alumni Awards allow recent graduates, and those who have been working in the industry for some time to connect and recognise one another’s achievements. Often described as an evening filled with laughter and reminiscent stories, this year’s Alumni Awards were no different.

Looking across Sydney’s bustling Darling Harbour, the 2017 awards were held at L’Aqua rooftop bar. Sprawling across the room and balcony, were a sea of familiar faces who have studied with Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) over the last twenty-six years. Many lecturers, instructors and operations staff from both Leura and Sydney Campus were in attendance, reuniting the BMIHMS family once again.

Throughout the evening, it was humbling to see so many conversations pick up where they left off the last time alumni saw each other. In addition to catching up and recognising those excelling, the awards are also a great opportunity to network with those from other graduating classes and discuss developments within the hotel and event management industry.

Recent graduate, Amber Hogg said “coming along to the Alumni Awards is a great opportunity to network and get to know people. The most valuable thing [about the alumni network] is finding who is working near you, and learning from each other”

Hearing a round of applause erupt as each award was presented, really showed the support and respect our alumni have for one another, encapsulating the real essence of the Alumni Social Circle. Being recognized by those who have helped you start your career, and industry peers is a real honour!  

A notable addition to the awards list this year was the BMIHMS Alumni Honour Board. Twenty of the schools most prominent alumni were welcomed – acknowledging their continued career successes and contribution to the hospitality industry. 

Taking out Alumni of the Year for 2017 was Tash Tobias. After a highly successful career overseas, Tash has returned to Australia and is now the General Manager Inflight Experience with Virgin Australia. Tash was awarded the Val Cook Memorial prize, in memory of the late Mr. Val Cook.

After his sudden passing this year, the prize was named after Mr. Cook to pay tribute to the years of dedication he gave BMIHMS and ensure he continues to live on in our hearts. Working with the school since it opened in 1991, Mr. Cook had an immense influence on so many students who have studied with BMIHMS – as a lecturer, mentor and friend. Mr. Cook was instrumental in forming the BMIHMS Alumni Community, ensuring all our graduates remain connected with each other, wherever they are in the world.  

The award winners for the 2017 BMIHMS at Torrens University Alumni Awards were:

Rising Star Award (graduated 1-5 years ago) – Benjamin Tan Wei Le (2016) Executive Housekeeper, Radisson Hotel and Suites, Sydney

Making Their Mark (graduated 6-10 years ago) – Christina Ntoka (2009) Guest Experience Manager, Holiday Inn Old Sydney

Entrepreneurial & Business Success Award – Cameron Richards (1996) CEO, CPR Vision Management, Singapore

Social & Environmental Responsibility Award – James and Christine Robson (1995 and 1996) Owners, Ross Hill Wines, Orange

BMIHMS Ambassador Award – Limin Cheng (2006) Director, Revenue Management and Distribution, Revenue Optimisation, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Hotelier of the Year Award (2)- Jack Widagdo (2001) General Manager, Alila Tianxi Lake, Tonglu, China & Nathan Frost (1998) Area General Manager Operations – Western Australia, Accor Hotels

Alumni of the Year – Val Cook Memorial Award – Tash Tobias (1996) General Manager, Inflight Experience, Virgin Australia, Brisbane

Honour Board – Founding Members

  • Scott Boyes (1994)
  • Sonja Vodusek (1994)
  • Andreas Breitfuss (1993)
  • Sonya Brown (1993)
  • Charles Young (1993)
  • Matt Stephens (1993)
  • Kristian Nicholls (1993)
  • Michael Edwards (1995)
  • Paul Sprokkreeff (1994)
  • Liz Long (1993)
  • Howard Huang (1993)
  • Amanda Haylock (1995)
  • Michael Eibrink-Jansen (1993)
  • Antonio Canavas (1994)
  • David Thompson (1994)
  • Philip Lim (1993)
  • Duncan Sadleir (1994)
  • Clinton Lovell (1995)
  • James Robson (1995)
  • Paul Schmeja (1995)

To catch more of the evening, click here to view our album on Facebook. Or, watch the video below – where we chatted with various members from the alumni community, who shared some advice for future graduates starting their career in the hospitality, hotel and event management industry.


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