Danielle Whittaker: Inside the life of high-flying ‘sales queen’ and ‘Shamanic medicine woman’ who died in hotel drug party in Surfers Paradise

A “shamanic medicine woman” who died of an overdose during her 40th birthday party had spent more than two decades climbing the corporate ladder before leaving it all behind for her spiritual journey.

Danielle Whittaker was partying with six close friends in a high-rise apartment on the Gold Coast on Friday evening when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest.

Police claim to have found a wide range of drugs in their room, including cannabis, ketamine and mushroom caps.

Ms Whittaker began her professional career with Telecom in New Zealand in 2009.

She already had two university qualifications to her name: a diploma in cooking and culinary arts from Victoria University of Wellington in 2002 and a bachelor’s degree in applied management from the Southern Institute of Technology in 2017.

Danielle Whittaker (pictured) spent more than twenty years climbing the corporate ladder before leaving her career for a life of fun work and spirituality

After uprooting her life to move to Brisbane, she worked for a number of companies, including several years at Telstra and CSG Print Services.

On her LinkedIn page she called herself ‘the sales queen’.

“I have 20 years of experience in high-level sales roles in six cities, two countries and multiple organizations, dealing with people at all levels,” Ms. Whittaker wrote.

‘I have a great ability to build long-lasting relationships naturally; people buy off who they know, like and trust, and a good reputation within a large network really makes selling a lot easier.’

She put those sales skills to use in 2014 by launching her own app Fit Meet, which promised to connect users “based on their sport and location to find training partners.”

By 2018, she had left the company and in 2019 became Toyota’s district sales manager in Central Queensland.

Ms Whittaker then took on her longest job, a four-year stint as external sales manager for Super Steel Australia.

She left the company in January and became a fun employee.

However, Ms. Whittaker has not completely given up on her former career and has written extensively about her upcoming book, which would cover her knowledge of the business world and sales experience.

Ms Whittaker died during a party in a Gold Coast high-rise apartment (pictured) when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest

Ms Whittaker died during a party in a Gold Coast high-rise apartment (pictured) when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest

‘Conscious Selling’ is also the working title of my first book, which will encompass my twenty years of sales knowledge, broken down step by step with all the tools and strategies you need to become crystal clear about your ideal customer, and the entire sales plan based on it, and then how to actually implement it,” she wrote.

Ms. Whittaker also shared her experiences with her growing spirituality.

“The journey of even more self-discovery and growth that I have been on over the past few years has been nothing short of outrageous,” she wrote.

‘And only now can I create a brand new offering that is so far removed from what I would have chosen myself, yet so logical.

‘I have developed my psychic and intuitive abilities even further, quite intensively, by practicing tarot, oracles and more recently remembering how to read runes from some very ancient past lives. Shit was wild to say the least.

“And there are certain things I can no longer ignore.”

Two of Ms Whittaker’s friends were also rushed to hospital on Friday for treatment following the overdose, with one still in intensive care on Tuesday.

The second has been released, Queensland Police Commissioner Peter Miles confirmed.

He said several types of drugs were found in the unit at the Meriton Apartments in Surfers Paradise.

“We don’t have the toxicology results back, but what I can say is that there were cannabis residues, there were ketamine and some mushrooms in the room,” he told reporters.

‘We are not yet completely sure what caused the actual overdose in these three women.

“One is still in intensive care, one is fine, and of course there is the deceased lady.”

Ms Whittaker (pictured) left her corporate life in January and wrote extensively about her forthcoming book on her sales knowledge

Ms Whittaker (pictured) left her corporate life in January and wrote extensively about her forthcoming book on her sales knowledge

He said the drugs the women had taken were “quite potent” and illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin and GHB were circulating around the Gold Coast.

“I would say the other two ladies are extremely lucky to be able to get through,” Supt Miles said.

‘It’s a dangerous juggling act when you use drugs. You don’t know what’s in it, you don’t know where it comes from.

‘In this case it turned out to be extremely powerful. It’s a dangerous act, you can’t do it, you don’t know what you’re taking and you don’t know how you’re going to react and in this case it has proven fatal.”

Emergency services were called to the unit just after 11pm on Friday after a woman was reported to be unconscious.

There were seven people inside, the four others were assessed on the spot.

Police will prepare a toxicology report to identify the cocktail of drugs used, and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

Tributes have since been paid to New Zealand-born Ms Whittaker, who had just turned 40 days before suffering an overdose.

“The best of friends, loyal, trustworthy, a friend in all seasons, keeper of secrets,” one friend wrote.

‘You were always there for me, for all of us. So full of energy and zest for life.

‘You were seize the day and no f***s given and go for it.

“You debunked myths and stood up for the oppressed, lifted heavy things, laughed out loud and raged at the world, you created and created a storm.

‘Entrepreneurial, creative, passionate, endless energy and zest for life.’

The friend said Ms Whittaker had been “fearless and invincible” and that there would “never be another you”.

Another friend said Mrs Whittaker was ‘so loved and missed’ and was ‘absolutely devastated’ as the couple were meant to celebrate their 40th anniversary together.

Ms Whittaker (pictured) worked in New Age spirituality and was known on social media as a 'shamanic medicine woman'

Ms Whittaker (pictured) worked in New Age spirituality and was known on social media as a ‘shamanic medicine woman’

“You were a force to be reckoned with and had so many great plans to help so many people,” she wrote.

‘Kind, courageous, sensitive, hilarious, fierce, outspoken, honest (blunt!), all those things and more – it’s been an amazing ride and I’m so damn lucky to have known you, let alone called you you’re a good friend.’

Known on her social media as a “shamanic medicine woman,” Ms. Whittaker proudly worked to “build an army of courageous, powerful, soul-driven women who are here to create change and create magic.”

Her work revolved around New Age spirituality.