Our Friends...

Phillip Watkins- CEO, Desart

Philip Watkins is a member of the Arrernte Aboriginal peoples of Central Australia and has been the Chief Executive Officer of Desart since 2011.


Commencing his career as a trainee graphic artist for Imparja Records, CAAMA in 1985, Philip continued to work within the visual arts industry with print artists in Victoria throughout the 1980’s. Upon returning to his home town of Alice Springs Philip commenced 10 years employment with the Central Land Council, first as an anthropologist, then a policy officer and later as a manager of the Native Title Unit.  In 2006 Philip returned to his artistic roots when appointed the Artistic and Cultural Director at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, South Australia where he lead a vibrant annual program. 


Philip is currently a board member on the Indigenous Art Code of Conduct, the Darwin Aboriginal Arts Fair Foundation and the Copyright Agency Limited market advisory board. Philip has completed a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Arts Management from VCA – University of Melbourne, the Governor’s leadership program at Leaders Institute in South Australia and in 2015 will participate in the Australia Council’s Emerging Leaders Development Program.


Philip continues to thrive in his role as CEO with Desart, working closely with the Chair, and board, as well as member organisation’s to deliver a strong annual program that both enhances and supports their business performance and cultural and artistic aspirations.

Rob Deeming - Business Mentor

Rob was most recently the CEO of Jetsetter, the world’s largest booking engine for luxury travel with a team of 75 based in NYC, Boston and London. In April 2013, Rob sold the Jetsetter business to Tripadvisor. Prior to holding the CEO role, Rob launched the Jetsetter brand in Europe.


Before his role at Jetsetter, Rob was the Head of Strategic Projects at Gilt Groupe, the leading flash sale ecommerce business in the US. He was responsible for the incubation of new business verticals, most recently with the creation of Gilt City, its local deals offering. While working at Gilt, Rob led the planning and execution of a new business entity managing high-traffic, physical pop-up sales. These pop-ups received an average daily attendance of 2,000 customers, driving daily sales of ~$150K. The success of initial events led to the creation of a pop-up sales franchise; Gilt now manages 30-40 such sales on an annual basis at cities across the US.


Through this experience, Rob developed deep expertise in successfully planning for, establishing and managing creative pop-up events.Earlier in his career, Rob was a case team leader with the strategy consultancy Bain & Company, where he focused on the technology and telecoms sectors in Europe and the US.


Rob holds a Masters degree in Engineering and Mathematics from Nottingham University and an MBA from Harvard University. He currently sits on the board of Campadre, the leading eCommerce player in Scandinavia, and on the advisory boards of Refinery29 (New York) and Coupang (Seoul).