Here are our speakers for the AEGN Annual Conference 2023

Alana Margaret Mann

Professor and Head of Discipline, Media at University of Tasmania

Alana Mann is Professor of Media at the University of Tasmania and Co-Director of FoodLab Sydney, a food business incubator. Her research and activism with the international food sovereignty movement has connected her with a global community of farmers, food workers, activists, and eaters focused on creating fairer, healthier, and more sustainable foodways. Alana features in the Powerhouse Museum’s 100 Climate Conversations and her latest book, Food in a Changing Climate, has been described as a must-read for those ‘seeking the facts and language to speak truth to the power in our food systems’.

Alana Mann

Alana will speak at the “Imagine if!” midday session on Wednesday 3 May from 11.15am to 12.15pm.

Basha Stasak

Nature Campaigns Manager at Australian Conservation Foundation

Basha is Nature Campaigns Manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF). Before joining ACF, she worked in state and federal politics, social enterprises, and grassroots organisations. Basha holds a Bachelor of Laws and of Business and was recognised as the 2011 Western Australian Young Environmentalists of the Year. She is a keen climber and skier and enjoys exploring the world’s mountain ranges.

Basha Stasak

Basha will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Expanding the narrative for nature” on Thursday 4 May.

Beau Austin

Programme Manager at Full Circle Foundation

Beau Austin is a Programme Manager for the Full Circle Foundation. His work is focused on supporting Indigenous-led conservation in Australia, Canada, Melanesia & South-East Asia, the revitalisation of Earth lore/First Laws, and grantmaking on range of marine issues. Prior to philanthropy, Beau worked for and with Indigenous peoples in the Arnhem Land and Kimberley regions supporting their efforts to grow sustainable livelihoods on Country. His research has focused on the mobilisation of Indigenous knowledge systems alongside of science to support Indigenous-led governance of Indigenous land & sea management and collaborative research.

Beau Austin

Beau will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Key things to build NGO Capacity” on Thursday 4 May.

Bec Milgrom

Executive Director at Tripple

Bec is Executive Director at Tripple, a 100% Impact private investment company that works across all asset classes and incorporates both investing and grant-making to use capital as a force for good. Outside of Tripple. Bec has extensive experience in marketing and strategy in the start-up and not for profit sectors and is a current board member of the Centre for Australian Progress, a not for profit enabling civil society to win social and environmental progress. Bec has a particular passion for food, farming, social justice and systems change.

Bec Milgrom

Bec will speak at “Trust, humility and transparency – shifting power in practice” midday session on Wednesday 3 May at 12.15pm to 1.00pm AEST

Dr Beth Hill

Program Development Coordinator at Psychology for a Safe Climate

Beth is the Program Development Coordinator with PSC and has worked as a facilitator over the last ten years. Beth’s research is concerned with the cultural and psychological dimensions of climate change, in particular how local communities in Australia navigate the reality of their vulnerability and responsibility as they come to terms with what climate change means in their daily lives. Beth facilitates workshops drawing on the Work that Reconnects, as well as deep ecology, mindfulness practices, non-violent communication and creative processes involving art and writing.  

Dr Beth Hill

Dr Beth will speak at our pre-conference workshopThe personal impact of the climate and biodiversity crises: nourishing yourself to sustain effective action” on Tuesday 2 May at 2.00pm to 5.00pm AEST.

Bruce Lourie

President of the Ivey Foundation

Bruce is a best-selling author, policy expert, social entrepreneur and award-winning global sustainability leader. In addition to serving as president of the Ivey Foundation, he is Scholar-in-Residence at the Faculty of Engineering, McGill University and Guest Lecturer at the Said Business School Social Finance Program, University of Oxford.  He is active on many boards of directors and advisory boards including the Canadian Climate Institute and the Transition Accelerator. 

Bruce is one of Canada’s most influential leaders and experts on sustainability and has been instrumental in creating more than a dozen organisations that play critical roles in Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy, including the Canadian Climate Institute, the Institute for Sustainable Finance, Farmers for Climate Solutions, Efficiency Canada, Summerhill Group and the Transition Accelerator.

Bruce Lourie

He initiated the largest climate action in North America, the phasing out of coal-fired electricity in Ontario and helped establish the Ontario Greenbelt. He is also the co-author of two books, including the international best-seller Slow Death by Rubber Duck.

Bruce Lourie will speak at the conference as a keynote speaker on Wednesday 3 May at 9.15am to 10.05am AEST.

Carol Ride

Founder and ED of Psychology for a Safe Climate

Carol is the Founder and ED of Psychology for a Safe Climate. She is a psychologist with long experience as a therapist and trainer in work with couples and their relationships. Her activism within the climate movement in Melbourne led to awareness of a key role that could be offered by mental health professionals. 

Carol Ride

Carol will speak at our pre-conference workshopThe personal impact of the climate and biodiversity crises: nourishing yourself to sustain effective action” on Tuesday 2 May at 2.00pm to 5.00pm AEST.

Clare Ainsworth-Herschell

Co-founder of Groundswell Giving

Clare is a connector, community builder, and co-founder of Groundswell – a high impact giving circle funding climate advocacy. She enjoys convening people for meaningful conversations, catalytic change, and describes herself as a ‘collector of good eggs’. She co-founded the Heron Island climate fellowship, and Groundswell has subsequently developed another fellowship hosted annually at Spring Bay Mill. Clare has over 15 years’ professional experience in philanthropy and promotes the idea that ‘giving’ comes in many currencies. Clare has a unique viewpoint as both funder and fundraiser. Clare was a founding member of New Gen at Philanthropy Australia and was Next Generation Development Manager for the Art Gallery of NSW where she founded the Atelier philanthropy program. Clare is now a Director of the Art Gallery of NSW Foundation, as well as a Director of the Board Trust for NSW National Parks and a Director of Surfers for Climate. Clare’s family are members of the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network.

Clare Ainsworth-Herschell

Clare will speak at the Personal Power: Stepping In and Reaching Out session on Thursday 4 May.

Christie Wilson

Psychotherapist at Psychology for a Safe Climate

Christie is a clinical psychotherapist, climate activist and facilitator working with people at the front line of the climate emergency. She develops and facilitates professional development workshops to explore the eco-psycho-social experience of engaging with climate change and climate justice. Outside of her clinical practice, she facilitates and presents for Psychology for a Safe Climate, organises for Extinction Rebellion Global Support and serves on the Boards of the Anthropocene Transition Network and the GreenLaw Network. 

Christie Wilson

Christie will speak at our pre-conference workshop “The personal impact of the climate and biodiversity crises: nourishing yourself to sustain effective action” on Tuesday 2 May at 2.00pm to 5.00pm AEST.

Danny Kennedy

CEO of New Energy Nexus

Danny Kennedy, with a long background in eco activism, has become one of the leading figures in clean-technology entrepreneurship and the capitalization of the transition to a “green” economy. Co-founder of the solar energy company, Sungevity, and the clean energy incubator Powerhouse, Kennedy supports the clean technology and energy fields in myriad ways. In addition to leading roles with Third Derivative (a joint venture with the Rocky Mountain Institute) and the California Clean Energy Fund, Kennedy is currently CEO of New Energy Nexus, a global nonprofit providing funds, accelerators, and networks to drive clean energy innovation and adoption. New Energy Nexus works in Australia in partnership with EnergyLab; their first project is Supercharge Australia, to accelerate the lithium battery value chain in Australia.

Danny Kennedy

Danny will speak at the “Imagine if!” midday session on Wednesday 3 May from 11.15am to 12.15pm.

David Haslingden

Chairman Australian Geographic Society

David Haslingden is the Chairman of the Australian Geographic Society. His company, RACAT Group, owns the Australian Geographic business, Emmy Award winning Northern Pictures, Runaway Play, Junkee Media, along with several other media companies.

Prior to establishing RACAT Group, Mr Haslingden had a long career in media, living in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Rome, Hong Kong and Sydney. His roles included CEO of National Geographic Channels Worldwide, President and Chief Operating Officer of FOX Global Television Networks and Chairman of Nine Entertainment Group.

Mr Haslingden was Chairman of WildAid for a decade, and is currently Chairman of the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation.

David Haslingden

David will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Expanding the narrative for nature” on Thursday 4 May.

Dermot O’Gorman

Chief Executive Officer of WWF Australia

Dermot is the Chief Executive Officer of the World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia (WWF-Australia). WWF, the world’s largest network of international conservation organisations, works across 100 countries and helps mobilise over 2 million supporters in Australia.

Dermot is a global sustainable development leader with 25 years’ experience in envisioning, ideating, and implementing solutions to protect wildlife, the environment and people. He is the Chair of the social venture OpenSC and has been a CEO at WWF for two decades across China, the Pacific and Australia.

Dermot O’Gorman

As a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab in 2022, he explored the intersection of digital technology, civil society, and big philanthropy and how it’s fundamentally changing the charity sector. His experience in blockchain and NFTs has helped shape this thinking about the role technology can play in delivering solutions at scale.

Dermot’s approach brings together his experience in human development, environmentalism, social justice, philanthropy, private equity, and innovation as he continues to collaborate across sectors to help people, governments and NGOs see global challenges as opportunities to co-create a better future for humanity and nature.

Dermot will speak at the “A once in a generation opportunity to get our laws working for climate and nature” morning session on Wednesday 3 May.

Eli Court

CEO of Soils for Life

Eli is a skilled communicator, a builder of bridges and a person who loves to bring people together to work towards a common cause. He understands the reality and challenges of farming, and is deeply committed to soil and landscape restoration, and to seeing regional communities benefit from the opportunities that regenerative approaches to agriculture offer. Formerly the Engagement and Communications Manager at Soils for Life, Eli has over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector working on climate and sustainability research, policy and engagement.

Eli Court

His former roles include Engagement Director at Farmers for Climate Action and System Lead (Food, Land and Oceans) at ClimateWorks Centre, as well as a range of roles in energy systems, community building, government policy development, advocacy and law.

Eli will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Shifting the system around agriculture and land use” on Thursday 4 May.

Ellie Smith

Trustee, SM Robinson PAF

Ellie has worked in and with communities on the front line on coal and gas expansion for over 10 years and has begun funding environment and climate campaigns and capacity building through her family PAF over the last 5 years.

Ellie Smith

Emma-Kate Rose

Executive Director of Food Connect Foundation

Emma-Kate is a mother to four, sister to five, auntie to 19, born on Gadigal country (Sydney) and raised in Meanjiin (Brisbane). She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Justice Studies) and draws on over 30 years’ experience working in criminology, social enterprise development, environmental sustainability, food justice and bottom-up economic development.

Emma-Kate Rose

Emma-Kate is a past Fellow of the Yunus Centre for Social Business at Griffith University. She’s currently a Special Advisor to the Board of the Queensland Social Enterprise Council, where she was previously President from 2017-2020. During her time there, she helped secure philanthropic and government funding to coordinate a sector-wide strategy to scale impact across Queensland, as well as winning the bid to bring the World Social Enterprise Forum to Brisbane in 2022.

Emma-Kate will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Shifting the system around agriculture and land use” on Thursday 4 May.

Eytan Lenko

AEGN Deputy Chair, Director of the Lenko Family Foundation and CEO of Boundless Earth

Eytan Lenko is the CEO of Boundless Earth, a non-profit backed by Mike Cannon-Brookes, with the mission of ensuring that Australia is on-track to becoming a renewable energy superpower by 2030.

Boundless levers Philanthropy, Investment and Advocacy to accelerate progress on a strategic topic at a time. Boundless has already pushed forward on Electric Vehicles, Home Electrification and Climate Jobs.

Eytan has an entrepreneurial tech and software background. In 2009 Eytan co-founded Outware Mobile and grew it to become the recognised Australian leader in mobile software development.

Eytan Lenko

Eytan is currently Deputy-Chair of the AEGN and former Chair of the internationally-recognised climate solutions think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

Eytan is also a direct investor and advisor to a number of ambitious cleantech companies.

Eytan will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Phase out Gas: Australia’s rising carbon problem” and Personal Power: Stepping and Reaching out session on Thursday 4 May.

Professor Graeme Samuel AC

Monash University

Graeme Samuel AC is a Professor in Monash University’s Business School. He is also Chair of Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ), Chair of Dementia Australia, Chair of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation, and Chair of the Australian Dementia Network Ltd (ADNet), co-chair of the National Network of Comprehensive Dementia Centres Steering Group and Chair of Quipex Pty Ltd. He was a member of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s Panel to conduct a Prudential Inquiry into the culture, governance and accountability of Commonwealth Bank of Australia and was Chair of the panel which conducted a Capability Review of APRA. He conducted an Independent Review commissioned by the Commonwealth Government of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, as well as a review for the Commonwealth Government of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.

Graeme Samuel AC

He was Chair of the Commonwealth Government’s Panel of Review of Australia’s Independent Medical Research Institutes and advisor to the Commonwealth Department of Health in relation to its review of private health insurance. He was also a member of the Review Panel of Australia’s Wool Selling Systems. In 2014 he completed a project as Independent Reviewer to advise the Victorian Government on economic regulation, governance and the efficient operation of the Victorian urban water sector.

Graeme will speak at the “A once in a generation opportunity to get our laws working for climate and nature” morning session on Thursday 4 May from 9.30am to 10.40am as keynote speaker.

Hayley Morris

Executive Director at Morris Group

Hayley leads her family’s philanthropy and impact investments through the Morris Family Foundation with a strong focus on climate change and regenerative food systems. As Executive Director of her Family Office, the Morris Group, Hayley also plays a leading role in the Group’s businesses and investments which span hospitality, tourism, aviation, technology, and agriculture.

Hayley is the co-founder and Chair of environmental non-profit Sustainable Table, the founder of climate tech business Impact Sustainability and director of Rewild Agency and Sentient Impact Capital. She has held various not for profit board roles including Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network, The Impact Club and The Next Economy.

Hayely Morris

He was Chair of the Commonwealth Government’s Panel of Review of Australia’s Independent Medical Research Institutes and advisor to the Commonwealth Department of Health in relation to its review of private health insurance. He was also a member of the Review Panel of Australia’s Wool Selling Systems. In 2014 he completed a project as Independent Reviewer to advise the Victorian Government on economic regulation, governance and the efficient operation of the Victorian urban water sector.

Hayley will speak at the “Personal Power – Stepping in and Reaching Out” session on Thursday 4 May from 4.00pm to 5.00pm.

Jack Heath

CEO, Philanthropy Australia

Jack sees philanthropy as a driving force for good in a time of diminished trust in institutions and huge societal challenges. He advocates for a philanthropy that is big-hearted, clear-headed and joyful.

After graduating from the University of Melbourne in Honours Arts and Law, he served in government as a diplomat, speechwriter and senior adviser to federal ministers including Prime Minister Paul Keating. Then, following the suicide of his young cousin, Jack led the establishment of the ReachOut youth mental health organisations in Australia, Ireland and the USA before serving as CEO at SANE Australia for over 8 years.

Jack Heath

He has sat on a number of advisory boards and committees and received awards for his contributions in mental health, including a Centenary Medal.

Jack lives in Sydney with his publisher wife Catherine Milne and they have 2 adult children, Lucy and James, and a dog Fred.

Jack will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “From  Colour Blind to Race Conscious’ – Research on philanthropy and diversity” on Thursday 4 May.

Jack Pascoe

Chief Councillor at Biodiversity Council

Jack a Yuin man living on Gadabanut Country. Jack completed a PhD at the University of Western Sydney where I studied the ecosystems of the Blue Mountains. For the last decade Jack has led the Conservation Ecology Centre’s Conservation and Research Program which delivers adaptive management and applied ecological research across the Otway region. Recently, Jack has joined the University of Melbourne as a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences. Jack’s interests are in understanding and managing biocultural landscapes with an emphasis on considering all elements of Country in decision making.

Jack Pascoe

Jack has had wonderful opportunities throughout his career including sitting on scientific reference groups for Zoos Victoria and the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (formerly DELWP) and was a member of the Expert Panel which recently reviewed the Victorian Wildlife Act 1975. Jack is currently a Chief Councillor of the Biodiversity Council.

Jack will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Expanding the narrative for nature” on Thursday 4 May.

Jane Thomas

Program Manager at The Myer Foundation & Sidney Myer Fund

Jane Thomas is Program Manager at The Myer Foundation & Sidney Myer Fund, where she has responsibility for the sustainability and environment program. A grantmaking focus in the current period is supporting organisations that seek to influence action on climate change. Prior to this role, Jane was Executive Officer of Aussie Farmers Foundation, managing a grantmaking program supporting rural, regional and remote communities across a number of areas including disaster relief and recovery and sustainability. Jane came to philanthropy after many years working in strategic communications and media management in a range of non-profit organisations including national youth mental health foundation headspace, SunSmart at Cancer Council Victoria and the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund.

Jane Thomas

Jim Phillipson

Rendere Trust

Jim developed extensive knowledge of organisational structure and management over his 40 years building businesses, while also supporting a wide range of conservation organisations. In 2018 all accumulated business profits were donated to establish Rendere Trust, a stronger vehicle to drive conservation outcomes. “My last five years have been fully committed to supporting eNGOs, and it has been the most fulfilling time of my life.”

Rendere Trust is 100 per cent committed to the environment and will strategically spend down by 2030 because, Jim asks, “Why would you invest in anything else? We’ve only got one Earth. Our most critical investment is the planet that we depend on.”

Heather and Jim Phillipson

Joshua Gilbert

Senior Researcher at Jumbunna Institute

Josh is a socially and commercially focused Worimi (Aboriginal) man with extensive experience across Indigenous affairs, the environmental sector and sustainable agriculture. Josh works across government, corporate and social organisational levels to develop and lead change through sharing the narration of Indigenous identity through agricultural and environmental truth-telling in light of modern contexts.

Josh is a senior researcher at UTS’ Jumbunna Institute, a board member at Indigenous Business Australia, the NSW Aboriginal Housing Office, the Australian Conservation Foundation and KU Children’s Services, and is the Aboriginal Co-Chair at Reconciliation NSW.

Joshua Gilbert

Josh will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “From  Colour Blind to Race Conscious – Research on philanthropy and diversity” on Thursday 4 May.

Karina Holden

Head of Factual at Northern Pictures

26 years ago Karina Holden was a wildlife biologist pumping crocodile stomachs and doing testicular biopsies on snakes. She made the switch to film making when she joined the ABC’s Natural History Unit as a researcher, working her way up the food chain to work on blue chip wildlife series including international co-productions Eye of the Storm and Wild Australasia.

Since then she has worked within the national broadcaster as Commissioning Editor of Science and Natural History and in the independent sector as a Producer, Writer and Director, creating Emmy awarded winning programs.

In 2013, Karina joined Northern Pictures as Head of Factual. Her first theatrical film Blue was produced as part of Goodpitch initiative. It had its official debut at the UN General Assembly in New York before its international cinema release and has since screened in over 50 countries. Other films she has directed and produced whilst at Northern Pictures include After the Fires, Southern Ocean Live, A Wild Year on Earth, Magical Land of Oz, Reef Live, Outback, Meet the Penguins and Life on the Reef.

Karina Holden

For her environmental film work and advocacy, Holden has been recognised by the Australian Financial Reviews as one of the 100 Women of Influence and was named by UNESCO as Sydney City of Film, film maker of the year (2021).

Karina will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Expanding the narrative for nature” on Thursday 4 May.

Kristin Vaughan

Managing Partner at Virescent Ventures

Kristin is Managing Partner at Virescent Ventures, a climate tech investor borne out of the world’s largest green bank, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC). Virescent invests in founders, technologies, and businesses driving the global transition to zero emissions.

Kristin has extensive experience investing across early- and growth-stage businesses, initially at private equity firm CHAMP Ventures and then at the CEFC’s Innovation Fund. She has invested across a range of industries including climate tech, education, industrials, and food, from seed to growth capital and buyouts. Prior to becoming an investor, Kristin worked in strategy consulting and food manufacturing.

Kristin Vaughan

Kristin will speak at the “Imagine if!” midday session on Wednesday 3 May from 11.15am to 12.15pm AEST.

Kirsty Howey

Executive Director at Environment Centre NT

Kirsty has been Executive Director of ECNT since November 2020, and is an advocate, lawyer, researcher and strategist with over 20 years experience.

She worked as a commercial, litigation, native title, and environmental lawyer for 15 years, including over a decade at a land council representing Traditional Owners in the Northern Territory. As a lawyer, Kirsty led a range of complex commercial negotiations, managed significant projects and was instructing solicitor in numerous pieces of landmark litigation. She has also worked as a political adviser and a legal policy consultant for the private and public sectors.

Kirsty Howey

Kirsty completed her doctorate at the University of Sydney in 2020, which analysed the intersection between the state, Indigenous institutions, the environment and development. She has been the recipient of a number of scholarships and fellowships for her academic work. She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, edited books, magazines and appeared in local, national and international media.

Kirsty also has a Bachelor of Arts/Laws (Hons) from the Australian National University, and a Master of Laws from the University of British Columbia. She is an adjunct research fellow at Charles Darwin University and on the editorial board of the Australian Environment Review.

Kirsty will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Rivers of the north – avoiding the mistakes of the Murray Darling Basin” on Thursday 4 May.

Larissa Baldwin-Roberts

CEO of GetUp

Larissa comes from a long-line of political activists and was brought up in the fight for land rights, climate justice, First Nations justice and cultural heritage, building strong relationships in communities and across civil society over decades.

A proud Widjabul Wia-bul woman from the Bundjalung Nations and until now GetUp’s Chief Campaigns Officer, Larissa has dedicated her life to First Nations justice, climate action and a more fair Australia.

Prior to GetUp, Larissa co-founded Seed, Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network, after having worked internationally – becoming a respected campaign strategist and messaging expert.

Larissa Baldwin-Roberts

Larissa is an expert on gas policy, she has spent extensive periods of time in the Northern Territory working directly with Traditional Owners and communities who don’t support fracking on their land. She’s also undertaken extensive research and policy campaign work on gas supply, the gas industry and its impacts on climate change and fossil fuel emissions.

Larissa will speak at the conference morning session as a keynote speaker on Wednesday 3 May at 10.05am to 10.45am AEST.

Linh Do

Director of Wattle Fellowship at University of Melbourne

Linh Do is passionate about addressing climate justice and social inequality. She’s spent the last decade working across advocacy and engagement, media and enterprise. Linh is currently the Director, Wattle Fellowship at the University of Melbourne.

She is a board member at Climate Action Network Australia, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and a research committee member of the Centre for Policy Development

In the lead up to the Paris negotiations, she served as the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Verb. There she worked with a global team to localise and humanise stories from the UN climate change negotiations. Following this, Linh was the Australia and Pacific lead for The Climate Reality Project, Al Gore’s climate change leadership program, and brought over 800 people together in Brisbane during Climate Week Queensland. Most recently, she was a member of Climate Catalyst’s leadership team as director of partnerships.

Linh Do

Linh is signed with Claxton Speakers and has previously sat on both non-profit and for-profit boards. Her work has been featured in Al Jazeera, Vogue, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post amongst others. She has been recognised as Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year.

When not working, she can be found reading, practicing yoga or at a music festival.

Linh will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “From Colour Blind to Race Conscious- Research on philanthropy and diversity” on Thursday 4 May.

Lisa Cox

Environment Reporter at Guardian Australia

Lisa Cox is an environment reporter at Guardian Australia. She has been covering environmental issues for almost a decade and has broken several major stories and investigations on failures in Australia’s systems of nature protection.

Lisa Cox

Lisa will moderate the “A once in a generation opportunity to get our laws working for climate and nature” morning session on Thursday 4 May from 9.30am to 10.40am.

Lucy Manne

CEO of Australia

Lucy Manne has been a part of the climate justice movement for over 10 years. She is the former National Co-Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) where she was named Prime Minister’s Young Environmentalist of the Year in 2013. She was the Head of Policy and Campaigns at women’s rights organisation ActionAid Australia from 2016-2019, campaigning in solidarity with women around the world on the frontline of Australia’s fossil fuel industry, and has also worked with The Wilderness Society and Climate Action Network Australia.

Lucy Manne

Lucy will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Phase out Gas: Australia’s rising carbon problem” on Thursday 4 May.

Mark Wakeham

Australian Program Director at The Sunrise Project

Mark is the Australian Program Director at The Sunrise Project. Mark leads the Sunrise Project’s Australia-wide strategy and supports the team of brilliant program directors there.

Mark has over two decades of experience in advocacy, policy, fundraising and media for progressive causes and managing nimble and effective NGOs. Mark has extensive experience in the Australian environment movement as a campaigner, leader and board member of a wide range of organisations. Mark was the CEO of Environment Victoria for many years and has been a dedicated renewable energy + climate campaigner over the past two decades.

Mark Wakeham

Mark has also worked with the Australian Council of Trade Unions supporting its members to ensure workers’ voices are heard in climate, energy and just transitions policy debates. Mark was recently awarded a Churchill Fellowship to learn about how other communities are making the transition beyond fossil fuels in ways that look after the interests of workers and their communities.

Mark will speak at the “One year into our new Parliament, now what?” session on Wednesday 3 May, and Concurrent session on hot topics “Turning Just Transition into action and Phase out Gas: Australia’s rising carbon problem” on Thursday 4 May.

Matt Kean MP

Member for Hornsby, NSW Parliament

Matt Kean entered Parliament in 2011 and spent his early years advocating for stronger mental health policy. He was elevated to NSW Cabinet in 2017, when he was appointed Minister for Innovation & Better Regulation delivering tough reforms and laws to protect consumers rights. He was appointed Minister for Energy & Environment in 2019 where he has delivered the biggest energy reforms in the country which projects lower household electricity bills, keeps the lights on and drives unprecedented investment into NSW. He also delivered the NSW Plastics Action Plan and increased the size of the NSW National Parks estate by almost 600,000 hectares.

Matt Kean MP

Matt Kean was also appointed Treasurer in 2021 where he delivered the biggest reforming budget in a generation delivering universal Pre-kindergarten, affordable accessible childcare, first home buyer choice, record cost of living support, record health investment, investment in infrastructure of over $112 billion whilst still returning the budget to surplus and maintaining the States Triple A Credit rating.

Matt will speak at the “One year into our new Parliament, now what?” session on Wednesday 3 May.

Michelle Gortan

CEO of Macdoch Foundation

She was previously a partner and the Head of Philanthropy at Mutual Trust, Australia’s premier multi-family office, and prior to that, a philanthropy advisor and foundation manager for a number of high-profile philanthropists and family foundations at the Myer Family Company in Sydney.

Michelle Gortan

Originally trained as a lawyer, Michelle has over 20 years experience in leadership positions in philanthropy , community and corporate partnerships, government relations, business development and marketing. She has worked in the non-profit, public and professional services sectors in Australia and overseas.

Michelle also is a Certified Advisor with 21/64, an NYC-based international consultancy specialising in facilitation and strategy development for multigenerational family philanthropy. She has held a number of board positions in the community services sector, and has particular expertise in the funding of climate and environment, the arts, mental health and public interest journalism.

Michelle will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “Shifting the system around agriculture and land use” on Thursday 4 May.

Michelle Maloney

National Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance

Dr Michelle Maloney is the Co-founder and National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA), and a Director of Future Dreaming and the New Economy Network Australia (NENA). She is recognised internationally as a leading authority on Earth laws, Earth jurisprudence and Rights of Nature and her books, journal publications, podcasts and speaking events can be accessed on her profile page:

Michelle began her career as an environmental lawyer, and then broadened her work to include multi-disciplinary approaches to creating Earth-centred governance and systems change. She now designs and manages social change initiatives that focus on: creating bioregional stewardship and governance, reimagining law and economics, empowering communities, bridging different cultural approaches to ecological care, Earth-centred ethics and the arts. As a Director of Future Dreaming, Michelle works in close partnership with First Nations elders and communities, and is currently writing a book with Indigenous elder Mary Graham, called “Future Law: How the Relationist Ethos can be a Foundation for Australian Society”.

Michelle Maloney

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and History) and Laws (Honours) from the Australian National University and a PhD in Law from Griffith University. Michelle’s PhD analysed how collective action (including law and regulation) can help reduce unsustainable consumption. She is Adjunct Senior Fellow, Law Futures Centre, Griffith University; on the Steering Group for the International Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA) and is on the Advisory Group for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN).

Michelle will speak at the “Imagine if!” midday session on Wednesday 3 May from 11.15am to 12.15pm AEST.

Millie Telford

First Nations Justice Director, Australian Progress

Amelia (Millie) Telford is a Bundjalung and South Sea Islander woman. As First Nations Justice Director at Australian Progress, her role aims to build capacity of First Nations-led movements and advocacy across the country. Prior to joining Australian Progress, Millie co-founded and led Seed, Australia’s first Indigenous Youth Climate Network. Since Seed’s launch in 2014, the organisation expanded rapidly, becoming a national grassroots network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to protect country, culture and communities from the causes and impacts of climate change.

Millie Telford 

Millie will speak at “Trust, humility and transparency – shifting power in practice” midday session on Wednesday 3 May at 12.15pm to 1.00pm AEST.

Nicky Ison

Head of Direct Advocacy at Boundless Earth

Nicky Ison has spent 20 years working for a faster & fairer transition to clean energy and climate justice. She is an acknowledged leader, expert and commentator in the fields of energy policy, community energy, climate action and making Australia a renewable superpower.

Prior to joining Boundless, Nicky was the Energy Transition Manager at WWF Australia where she developed and led their Renewables Nation campaign. She was a Founding Director of the Community Power Agency, a Senior Research Consultant at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney and a Strategist at Climate Action Network Australia. Nicky was recognised in the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence, and authored many articles and policy papers. Nicky holds a first class honours degree in Environmental Engineering and a degree in Arts (Environmental Studies) from the University of New South Wales.

Nicky Ison

Nicky will speak at the “One year into our new Parliament, now what?” session on Wednesday 3 May at 4.00pm to 5.00pm AEST.

Peter Murray

CEO of Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation

Peter Murray was elected Chair to the 10 Deserts Project steering committee in November 2020. He is the current Chief Executive Officer of Yanunijarra Aboriginal Corporation based in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia, and in this capacity, he manages the Warlu Jilajaa Jumu Indigenous Protect Area and the Ngurrara working on-country ranger programs.

He is a Walmajarri / Juwariny on Ngurrara A, a native title area in the Great Sandy Desert. One of his goals is to assist communities to build capacity to function in a remote and isolated area.

Peter works with rangers to achieve their mission to look after country and his group is currently working on monitoring climate change and formulating adaptation strategies to reduce negative impacts on his country and people. He works closely with the senior elders to pass on knowledge to young people while inspiring others to become leaders and role models within his community.

Peter Murray

Peter will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “First Nations climate justice in practice” on Thursday 4 May.

Rachel Walmsley

Head of Policy & Law Reform, Environmental Defenders Office

Rachel Walmsley has over 20 years’ experience working on public interest environmental policy and law reform. Rachel spearheads national law reform work at Environmental Defenders Office. She has written and presented extensive submissions and discussion papers, and advised governments, parliamentary inquiries and NGOs on a range of environmental law issues including climate policy, natural resource management and biodiversity laws. She is a member of state and Commonwealth government advisory committees on biodiversity and environmental law reform, a legal advisor to the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, legal advisor to the Places You Love alliance on national law reform, and guest lectures in environmental law.

Rachel Walmsley

Rachel was a member of the Australian Panel of Experts on Environmental Law (APEEL) and is a member of IUCN – World Commission on Environmental Law. Rachel has also been a Co-Consulting Editor of the Australian Environment Review and Chair of the Australian Committee for IUCN. Rachel is listed in Best Lawyers Australia in the climate change and environmental & planning law categories.

Rachel will speak at the “A once in a generation opportunity to get our laws working for climate and nature” morning session on Thursday 4 May.

Rathana Chea

CEO of Multicultural Leadership Initiative

Winner of the Asia Pacific CEO of the Year Award in environmental sustainability, UTS Vice Chancellor’s Human Rights HC Award, Centre for Independent Journalism Award and recipient of the Groundswell Climate Action Grant Rathana has spent the last 20 years living and working across 5 continents campaigning at the intersection between human rights and climate change. Coming back to Australia to visit his parents during the 2019/20 bushfires, Rathana accidentally got ‘stuck’ in Australia as the covid pandemic swept the planet. Rathana spent time on both the philanthropic and change-maker sides of the climate movement in Australia as Chief of Staff for the Sunrise Project and Head of Global Learning and Development for Greenpeace International. His observations during this time led him to found the Multicultural Leadership Initiative, a climate leadership organisation focused on engaging and mobilising the 7+ million racially, culturally and linguistically diverse Australians who are chronically underrepresented in climate conversations, organisations and solutions.

Rathana Chea

An Alumni of the Oxford University Leadership Program, Rathana’s humble beginnings born in a refugee camp of the border of Thailand and Cambodia to pro-democracy activists who survived torture and genocide, has led to a life focused creating the kind of future that ensures no-one is left behind in the pursuit of transforming our world for the better.

Rathana will speak at the “Imagine if!” midday session on Wednesday 3 May from 11.15am to 12.15pm AEST.

Rebecca Huntley

Author, researcher, curator of the 2023 AEGN Annual Conference

Dr Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia’s foremost researchers on social trends.  She holds degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in Gender Studies.  She has lead research at Essential Media and Vox Populi and was a director at Ipsos Australia. For a number of years, she ran her own research and consultancy firm working closely with climate and environment NGOs, government and business on climate change strategy and communication. She is now Director of Research at the agency 89DegreesEast. 

She is the author of numerous books including How to Talk About Climate Change in a Way that Makes a Difference (Murdoch books, 2020). Rebecca was a broadcaster with the ABC’s RN and presented The History Listen and Drive on a Friday. She writes regularly for The Monthly and Australian Traveller Magazine and has written op eds for The Guardian and The SMH. 

Rebecca Huntley 

She is the Chair of the Advisory Board of Australian Parents for Climate Action. She is a member of the Advisory Group for the Climate Solutions Centre at the Australian Museum and the Sydney Environment Institute. She has held board positions on the board of The Bell Shakespeare Company, The Whitlam Institute and The Dusseldorp Forum.  

She was an adjunct senior lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at The University of New South Wales. She is a registered Commonwealth marriage celebrant. She is the mother of three girls and lives in Sydney. 

Robert Purves

Director and Founder, Purves Environmental Fund

Robert has had a long career in business and in the environmental sector. In business he has been Chairman or Director of public and private companies in areas including healthcare, engineering, and funds management.

In the environment, Robert has been involved in numerous environmental campaigns including tree-clearing in NSW and Queensland, “Save the Great Barrier Reef”, NSW container deposit (CDS), water reform, and the Tarkine in Tasmania. He also more recently chaired the successful campaign for Zali Steggall in the federal seat of Warringah.

In addition, Robert’s environmental work has focused on bringing his business skills to assist building the fundraising capacity of eNGOs, such as the recent merger of Environmental Defenders Office.

He is currently a Director of Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientist, and a Trustee of Lizard Island Research Station. He is also the immediate past President of WWF Australia and a former board member of WWF International (the world’s largest science-based conservation organisation).

Robert Purves

In 2004 Robert established the Purves Environmental Fund, which core objectives are to support advocacy and education on climate change and landscape management, and to improve environmental policy and capacity.

He invests in the energy transformation sector and co-founded the Renew Power Group, which develops and owns solar and wind assets.

Robert has a long family connection with the pastoral industry, and his family owns sheep and cattle farms in Southern Tablelands of NSW.

Saffron Zomer

Executive Director at Australian Democracy Network

Saffron is a lawyer, campaigner and political strategist with over a decade of experience leading law reform campaigns. Saffron is the founding Executive Director at Australian Democracy Network. Prior to this, she was the Government Relations Manager at Australian Conservation Foundation. In 2017, Saffron co-founded and co-led the Hands Off Our Charities Alliance, which secured critical changes to the 2017 Electoral Act amendments, to protect the right of civil society organisations to engage in advocacy. Saffron has used advocacy and strategic government engagement throughout her career to secure positive policy outcomes on health, education, environmental protection, climate action and charities law.

Saffron Zomer

Saffron will speak at “Trust, humility and transparency – shifting power in practice” midday session on Wednesday 3 May at 12.15pm to 1.00pm AEST.

Dr Sally Gillespie

Writer, workshop facilitator, lecturer and public speaker

Sally is a writer, workshop facilitator, lecturer and public speaker with a background in depth psychology and ecopsychology. Her book Climate Crisis and Consciousness: Reimagining our world and ourselves (Routledge 2020) explores the psychological experience of engaging with climate change and related ecological concerns. She has presented talks and facilitated workshops in this area for academics, activists and the general public since 2010, both nationally and internationally. She is an active member of Psychology for a Safe Climate in Australia and the Climate Psychology Alliance in the UK. 

Dr Sally Gillespie

Dr Sally will speak at our pre-conference workshopThe personal impact of the climate and biodiversity crises: nourishing yourself to sustain effective action” on Tuesday 2 May at 2.00pm to 5.00pm AEST.

Sue Mathews

Trustee, The Mullum Trust

Sue Mathews started her working life in ABC radio, and in the late 70s became the first station manager of Melbourne community radio station 3RRR-FM. She later worked in film and broadcasting policy at the ABC and the Australian Film Commission, and as a producer in ABC television and independent documentary making.

Her involvement with philanthropy began when she joined the board of The Mullum Trust, a small foundation set up by her mother, and named for the creek that adjoined the family property in an outer suburb of Melbourne. She connected with the work of the Reichstein Foundation, which had been set up by the youthful Jill Reichstein after her parents untimely passing. Reichstein’s slogan was ‘Change Not Charity’, and Jill’s foundation was an inspiration to an emerging group of women who had inherited wealth and wanted to use their good fortune to create social and environmental change.

Sue Mathews

With the passing of her own parents Sue found herself on two new and different paths: she and her brothers embarked on a (somewhat fraught) project their parents had dreamed of to create a sustainable housing community on the land where they grew up, which was by then surrounded by suburban McMansions. And they took on The Mullum Trust, narrowing its focus to their shared concern for the environment,

Mullum was a founding member of the AEGN, and Sue served on the AEGN Board for nine years, until 2019. Environment and climate remain central to Sue’s life and work.

Susheela Peres da Costa

Founder of The Stewardship Centre

Susheela is Principal at the Stewardship Centre, and a director on the boards of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Beyond Zero Emissions, and US-based think tank, The Shareholder Commons.

She has been advising financial institutions on responsible investment and sustainable markets governance, strategy, and implementation since 2006. Her clients include some of the world’s largest banks, pension funds, wealth advisers and asset managers, and major global responsible investment organisations such as the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment; focussing on building institutional capacity to discriminate real from illusory impact.

Susheela Peres da Costa

She was chair / deputy chair of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (from 2012-2022) and leadership of Regnan’s advisory and its stewardship programs.

Susheela will speak at the “Imagine if!” midday session on Wednesday 3 May from 11.15am to 12.15pm.

Tishiko King

First Nations Program Manager at Australian Communities Foundation

Tishiko King is a proud Kulkalaig woman from the Island of Masig, Kulkalgal Nation of Zenadth Kes, and has recently joined the Australian Communities Foundation as their First Nations Program Manager.

Previously with Groundswell Giving, Tish was a part of the team to launch the 2022 Caring for Country Grant Round, in collaboration with the Eisen Family Private Fund, led by First Nations people for First Nations and Pacific diaspora people, who are leading in their communities to protect Country, Culture and Climate.

Based in Naarm//Melbourne, Tish is spirited about sharing culture and amplifying social inequality and the rights of First Nations people. During her studies in Ocean Science on the Gold Coast, Tish became passionate and actively involved with grassroots environmental groups and rallies across Australia and overseas.

Tishiko King

Formally a campaign organiser with grassroots organisations like Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network and Our Islands Our Home, Tish continues to share knowledge and expertise as a member of the Advisory Group for the Australian Museum Climate Solutions Centre. With experience across different industries at CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere and the exploration and minerals industry, Tish brings a diverse perspective of First Nations and environmental justice.

Tishiko will speak at the Concurrent session on hot topics “First Nations climate justice in practice” on Thursday 4 May.

The AEGN Annual Conference 2023

Building power, shifting power

We can influence the pace and the nature of change, so let’s come together and make sure we’re driving transformation towards a prosperous and sustainable future for all.