Here are our speakers for our annual conference RISE: OUR CRITICAL DECADE | Grow, gather and give for the environment.

Dr Anne Poelina

Over the last 30 years Dr Poelina has employed a powerful combination of public engagements, peer reviewed academic papers, podcasts, community meetings, poetry and storytelling to share the lived experiences of Indigenous people.

Dr Anne Poelina is a Nyikina Warrwa Traditional Custodian from the Kimberley region of Western Australia. She is an active Indigenous community leader, human and earth rights advocate, filmmaker and a respected academic researcher, with a Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Master of Education, Master of Arts (Indigenous Social Policy) and recently submitted a PhD (Health Science).

Dr Anne Poelina

Signatory to the Redstone Statement 2010, she is a 2011 Peter Cullen Fellow for Water Leadership. In 2017, she was awarded a Laureate from the Women’s World Summit Foundation (Geneva), elected Chair of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River Council (2018), Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Fellow with Notre Dame University and a Research Fellow with Northern Australia Institute, Charles Darwin University.

Poelina is a Visiting Fellow with the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University’s Canberra Australia Water Justice Hub to focus on Indigenous water valuation and resilient decision-making.

The Hon. Matt Kean

Minister for Energy and Environment, Minister Kean has overseen one of the most significant shifts in clean energy policy in the country.

He is also responsible for the recovery of the state’s wildlife from the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, and for the overall management of our precious environment. The Minister will join our Sydney dinner for a Q&A with the incredible harbour and bridge as our backdrop.

The Hon. Matt Kean, Minister for Energy and Environment

The Minister will join our Sydney dinner at the iconic Sydney Opera House for a Q&A with Board member Julia Limb and the incredible harbour and bridge as our backdrop on Wednesday 31 March.

Sonia Medina

Sonia Medina is the Executive Director of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation’s Climate portfolio.

Her work there spans energy decarbonisation, air quality, industrial decarbonisation and land use.
Before joining the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation [CIFF], Sonia acted as Chief Operating Officer of a start-up company with a mission to connect Africa to the green energy economy by developing high-quality biomass supply chains deriving from existing plantations in West Africa.

Sonia Medina

Previously, Sonia worked at EcoSecurities, one of the largest carbon offset project developers in the world, from its start-up phase through to its acquisition by J.P. Morgan & Chase in early 2010. During a seven year period at EcoSecurities she held the position of US Country Director, based out of New York. Before that she was Global Head of Origination managing 20 local teams on five continents.

Prior to joining EcoSecurities, Sonia worked on climate change and energy issues at the United Nations Environment Program in Paris. Sonia holds a BSc in Environmental Sciences from the University of Madrid, an MSc in Environmental Change and Management (specialisation in Energy and Environmental Economics) from the University of Oxford and an Executive MBA by the London Business School.

In 2009, Sonia was named a World Business Council for Sustainable Development Future Leader; in 2014, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader; and in 2015, a Rising Talent by the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society.

Sonia sits on the Board of ClientEarth that use litigation to tackle climate change and protect the environment and Iniciativa Climatica De Mexico, a think tank and re-granter focused on driving ambitious climate policy in Mexico.

Bruce Pascoe

Bruce is a Yuin Bunurong and Tasmanian man whose ground-breaking, award-winning book Dark Emu (2014) has far reaching implications for future land management and agriculture in addressing the perils we currently face in this critical decade for climate and the environment.

His work has transformed the understanding of so many about the way the First Australians lived on and managed country, pre-colonisation.

Bruce Pascoe

Bruce’s writing has won countless awards including the Australian Literature Award, the Prime Minister’s Literature Award (Young adult literature), the NSW Premier’s Literary Award — Book of the Year, and the Australia Council Lifetime Achievement Award for literature, among others.

Bruce also serves as a Board member of First Languages Australia, Black Duck Foods, and Twofold Aboriginal Corporation.

Bruce lives in Far East Gippsland. He has two children and four grandchildren.

Bruce will speak with his son Jack at the Melbourne dinner in South Wharf on Tuesday 30 March.

Jack Pascoe

Dr Jack Pascoe is a Yuin man living in Gadabanut country. He has a background in ecological research and land management, and is currently the Conservation and Research Manager at the Conservation Ecology Centre.

Jack’s key fields of interest are the ecology of apex predators and fire and he has helped Landcare Groups with mitigating the impacts of pest plants and animals.

Jack Pascoe

Jack is currently a member of DELWP’s Scientific Reference Panel and is the Chairperson of Black Duck Foods, an Indigenous social enterprise committed to traditional food growing processes that care for Country and return economic benefits directly to Indigenous people.

Jack is Bruce Pascoe’s son. Together they will be special guest speakers at the Melbourne dinner in South Wharf on Tuesday 30 March.

Adrian Appo OAM

Adrian Appo is a Gooreng Gooreng man from South East Queensland. He joined Yajilarra Trust last year and works on their First Nations investment and 10 year spend down strategy.

Adrian will be conducting the Acknowledgement of Country at the keynote panel.

Adrian Appo OAM

Previously, Adrian was founding Chief Executive Officer of Ganbina (an Indigenous school-to-work transition program); founding Co-Chair of First Australians Capital; founding Board member of Children’s Ground and founding Board member of the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE). He also holds a number of board positions.


Grow, gather and give for the environment.
The AEGN annual conference 2021.