Questions with Creatives: Robert Taylor
CEO of WAITOC (Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council)
Who are you and what do you do?
Robert is a proud Nhanda man, from the Yamaji Nation in the mid-west region of Western Australia. He has been in the Hospitality industry for over 30 years. In this time, he has owned run and managed businesses in the hospitality tourism, mining and construction industries. Having an entrepreneurial spirit, he has proved his capability of diversification utilising his skills and knowledge to cross over industries in order to develop diverse income streams. Robert became CEO of WAITOC in 2015. In this time, with the support of the Board and his team he has successfully delivered the Aboriginal Tourism Development Program. Growing over 40 Aboriginal Businesses across WA. These businesses have created 104 full time equivalent jobs for urban, regional and remote communities and has seen success for a National Aboriginal tourism award with Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and experiences who are a part of the funding programs. He has increased funding to enhance member business outcomes by over 300 % and has the drive to create opportunities for Aboriginal people at a state national and international level. Under his direction WAITOC has been successful in securing the World Indigenous Tourism Summit for 2020 and continues to create new partnerships with prospective stakeholders in order to improve Cultural understanding, Respect and positive social outcomes for the Australian Aboriginal People.
How did you get into what you do?
Robert has 30 years industry experience in hospitality and tourism 20 years running his own business Robert became a member of WAITOC in this time he has held the roles of treasurer and Chair for the organisation. Robert applied for CEO role 2015. He believes with his operational understanding of tourism together with his strategic vision he can help deliver outcomes for both business development and industry expansion. Since WAITOC’S inauguration in 2002 WAITOC has established itself as a key advocacy and marketing arm for Aboriginal Tourism. Robert is the first Aboriginal CEO of the organisation and under his direction WAITOC through working with all sides of government and business has created a collaborative approach to both business and partnership development increasing the organisations core objectives to include business development for Aboriginal Tourism Businesses. expanding in this direction WAITOC has become a key driver in business mentoring and Capacity building.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
Robert’s Aboriginal Heritage drives him to deliver for Aboriginal people and their families. Before 1969 Aboriginal people were unable to own a business. He believes by developing Aboriginal leaders in business this will create the opportunity for intergenerational success.
‘There is nothing more rewarding then seeing an Aboriginal tourism business succeed.’
What are your words of wisdom for someone starting out in your field?
No one knows everything so don’t be afraid to admit when you need advice. No question is stupid. If someone makes you feel that way it is usually because they do not know how to answer it. Learn everything and anything.’
What has your experience been moving to Goolugatup Heathcote?
The grounds are spectacular and its good to have space for my team.