Meet Rebecca Riggs

Rebecca Riggs
Founder and Managing Director

Rebecca Riggs

Rebecca Riggs, as the Principal of HighGround Communication,  empowers others to respond to the challenges of both adversity and growth: whether that be reframing personal trauma, communicating in crisis, emergency and disaster, or facilitating organisational change. She works to examine how the stories we tell ourselves define us and impact on our ability to transform our expectations, our environments and ourselves. Narrative, motivation, connection, complexity, symbols and values are her stock in trade.

Rebecca Riggs also empowers those whose role it is to speak to and for their organisations. She supports them in finding the insights necessary to find the unique, authentic teller of story that they need to be; to give them the capacity to change and grow their own story, and to share those changes in ways that resonate and ignite a spark.

She has worked with emergency management and communities before, during and after natural disasters. Her research project - Understanding Resistance to Disaster Messaging, with Dr. Lynda Shevellar (a Lecturer in Community Development at The University of Queensland) has been published in AJEM (Australian Journal of Emergency Management). Rebecca Riggs is a Fellow and active member of EMPA (Emergency Media and Public Affairs), has been appointed the Co-Chair of the EMPA Knowledge and Development Committee and is a Fellow of the Centre for Emergency and Disaster Management (CEDM).

Rebecca has worked with sectors as varied as mining and child care to create systems to deal with adversity and to create the organisational capacity to use them. She has lectured at universities in Queensland and NSW and trained countless professionals on the importance of messaging and detailing the impact of narrative on who we think we are – and what we can become.

Our Team

Rebecca Riggs and the HighGround Team Kerith Atkinson
Performance Trainer

Kerith Atkinson

Kerith is an actor, voice over artist, director, teacher, sessional academic and acting coach. She has 20 years professional experience in the industry in theatre, film, tv, voice acting, corporate, roving and street theatre, children's theatre, theatre in education and more.

She has taught performance techniques to a wide range of students, including tutoring in Performing Skills at QUT for the past 9 years, facilitating workshops to develop professional performers, and working one-on-one with private students as an acting coach.

She brings this wealth of experience to HighGround to build the ease, skills and confidence of any client or masterclass participant. She finds joy in assisting students to reach their potential, discover their own capability and fly. Growing as a performer is a journey towards self-awareness and it’s a privilege to go on that journey with others.

Junior Associate

Vanessa Bartholomew

Vanessa is a dynamic marketing and communications professional with experience across start-ups, niche firms and national organisations in corporate, emergency, education and not-for-profit sectors.

Vanessa not only wears many hats, she sincerely enjoys it. Her work encompasses creative, analytical, digital, commercial and administrative responsibilities. Vanessa prides herself on developing a deep understanding of the people and systems she works with to create holistic and thoughtful solutions.

Working alongside Rebecca Riggs since 2016, Vanessa has contributed to community engagement projects, crisis communication plans and simulations, co-produced website and numerous videos, and delivered marketing collateral and strategic lead-generating content.

Thriving in fast-paced industries and complex, dynamic roles, Vanessa most recently created and executed a community engagement strategy for over 10,000 residents and key stakeholders across regional Queensland

Our Strategic Alliance

MD Crisis Ready

Peter Rekers

With over 30 years of emergency experience, Peter Rekers is professionally recognised as one of the most experienced and polished crisis management specialists in Australia.

His experience stretches from developing crisis management communications systems and risk management systems for companies, to operational experience in war zones as a senior communications officer, to being a Spokesperson for various agencies and Governments, to coordinating the communication strategy for Tropical Cyclones for the Queensland Government.

Peter is the Founder and CEO of EMPA, a not-for-profit hosting conferences across Australia and New Zealand intent to lead and support the evolution of effective communication and community engagement before, during and after emergencies, by providing a network for all who practise and research in this sector. Peter also runs Crisis Ready, a specialist consultancy providing training, simulations and systems integration to clients of all sectors.

Rebecca Riggs and the HighGround Strategic Alliance Bob Jensen
Senior Managing Director, Strat3 LLC

Bob Jensen

With more than 35 years of experience, Bob led the U.S. government’s on the ground crisis communications efforts after the massive earthquake in Haiti, for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and for more than 30 major U.S. disasters including Hurricane Sandy.   

He was a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and led communication efforts in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Afghanistan during four combat zone deployments.

He held senior government positions at the US Departments of Defense, State and Homeland Security as well as with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Currently he consults globally with international organizations such as the World Bank, national and state governments and major corporations.

Rebecca Riggs and the HighGround Strategic Alliance Caroline Holmstrom
Director of Corporate Sustainability Australia

Caroline Holmstrom

Caroline has a passion for creating and delivering value. She understands market potential and has a creative and effective approach to business development.

She has a background as a sustainability professional and management consultant specialising in diversity and inclusion, reporting, social justice and corporates in the community. She knows how to align company strategy to policy and initiatives to maximise investment and profitability.

She understands sustainability is a business strategy that enhances brand and reputation. With a background in anthropology, she brings this skillset to understand company culture and strategy and aligning this to client and market expectations. She knows how to integrate sustainability into internal operations to enhance staff understanding and provide credibility and strength to a company's market position and offering.

Having a broad background in sustainability, along with experience and expertise in government, the not-for-profit and the private sectors, Caroline is committed to high standards of advice and guidance.