Amanda Tattersall is the founding Director of the Sydney Alliance, a diverse coalition of unions, religious and community organisations that uses community organising to make Sydney a better place to live. She has been a union and community organiser for over fifteen years, having been President of the National Union of Students, founder of Labor for Refugees, co-founding director and chair of GetUp! and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Unions NSW.
She is the author of the book ‘Power in Coalition’, based on her PhD that compared coalitions across Australia, the United States and Canada.
Joan Staples has had a long career in policy and advocacy for various Australian NGOs, as well as providing training for community organisers. She was the ACF environment lobbyist in Canberra during the Hawke Government, and spent most of the 1990s in Torres Strait and Cape York employed by indigenous organisations, namely the Cape York Land Council and Apunipima Cape York Health Council. She has also worked throughout the Asia Pacific as director of a small NGO set up by Jose Ramos Horta teaching international human rights law and public advocacy to human rights activists.
In the late 1980s, Joan was state organiser for the embryonic Greens when she helped create a Tasmanian organisation to oversee the 1989 election campaign that gained the balance of power for Bob Brown and his team of Green Independents. She has held board appointments with national NGOs relating to environment, consumers, women, international development and social services and is currently Deputy President of Environment Victoria. She has been a teacher and Visiting Fellow in the Law Faculty at UNSW. Her academic research focuses on the important role of NGOs in Australia’s democracy with a particular emphasis on the environment sector, and she writes a blog on emerging issues in the sector.
Her passion is Australia’s natural environment, both enjoying it and protecting it.
John Hepburn grew up in Central Queensland where his father worked as an engineer in the coal industry. He completed degrees in business and engineering from the Queensland University of Technology and worked for several years as a production engineer making components for the coal, gas and oil industries, before making a career about-turn. After establishing several successful community recycling projects, Hepburn was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study community-based environmental programs in the US and Europe. For the past 10 years, Hepburn has played a key strategic role with Greenpeace Australia Pacific, where he has performed a wide variety of roles including managing the climate and energy campaign, the genetic engineering campaign, and the outreach and mobilisation department. He has also worked for Greenpeace International as an advisor to campaign teams in India, China and Japan. Hepburn is currently the executive director of the Sunrise Project, whose mission is to support and empower Australian communities to protect our land, water, community health and the global climate from the negative impacts of the fossil fuel industry. When he is not working, he spends most of his time with his young children.
Georgina Woods is an environmental activist and campaigner with over twelve years experience campaigning successfully for forest, woodland and marine conservation, and against the causes of climate change. Over the years, Georgina has worked unpaid in flat-structured grassroots organisations, including the North East Forest Alliance and Rising Tide Newcastle, as well as for established environment groups like Greenpeace and Climate Action Network. She has lived in Newcastle all her life and has campaigned against the expansion of the coal export industry since 2004 when she helped found Rising Tide and the Hunter Community Environment Centre. Her work has taken her to the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban, to meetings with Ministers and Prime Ministers, to the decks of the Rainbow Warrior as it intercepted a coal ship leaving the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and to the backs of paddy-wagons after non-violent direct action protest against the expansion of the coal industry in the Hunter Region and in Queensland. She is now the NSW Coordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance.
Jason Lyddieth is a community organiser working for the Australian Conservation Foundation. He has been involved in activism and social change for twenty years. During that time Jason has done everything from getting arrested taking direct action at blockades to organising communities to get dressed up in their Sunday finest to meet their MPs.
Jason passionate about community organising because when people come together to act to achieve a common goal they become far more powerful than they imagine they could possibly be. Ensuring that people in the community have these skills and knowledge is so important to maintaining a fair and just society. It’s also heaps of fun.
Maria (Maz) Clague has worked as a volunteer for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and SEED network to liaise, mobilise, organise and support Traditional Owners within their local communities in Australia against the fossil fuel industry. While Maz was at High School, she campaigned for the local Yaegl Language to be taught in her local community and schools.
Maz enjoys networking and communicating with different people. Therefore a special skill and interest of hers is grassroots community organising and supporting local community individuals, groups and organisations. Maz is currently working to organise and support Traditional Owners around issues determined by their communities as important.
Naomi Hodgson’s (Crystal) formative community organising experience came through her involvement in the grassroots collective Rising Tide, where she involved the local community in Newcastle, the Hunter, and beyond, in coal and climate change campaigning and non-violent direct action. Later Naomi spent five months living at the Walmadan (James Price Point) blockade camp and working with Goolarabooloo, Broome locals, and visitors, to run the camp and engage in nonviolent direct action. Naomi is currently the Campaign’s Manager (Newcastle) for the Wilderness Society.
Holly Creenaune works at The Sunrise Project and coordinates Land Water Future, the NSW community organising campaign tackling expanding coal and coal seam gas mining. She works closely with mining-affected communities including Liverpool Plains farmers, Hunter Valley winemakers, and Western Sydney families. Previously Holly worked with the trade union United Voice as a national coordinator on climate justice and fair economy campaigns.
Taya Seidler is an experienced facilitator and educator specialising in the design, implementation and facilitation of professional development and change management programs. Her areas of expertise include leadership development, maximising team performance, and communication and collaboration to support capacity development and lasting behavioural change within individuals and organisational change processes. Taya’s passion is improving the collective capacity of groups to realise their full transformational potential through increasing communication skills and process awareness. She possesses an excellent understanding of adult learning principles and a heightened ability to design learning pathways that are participatory, meaningful and resonant. Taya’s background in the creative industries informs her understanding and application of experiential learning forms and directly informs her engaging facilitation style.
Stephanie Cunio works with the Climate Action Network of Australia as convenor of the Community Organising Hub. Stephanie began her life as an activist with Greenpeace in the ’90s, and has since been an organiser/educator with the Trade Union movement . During this time she has worked for the NSW state public service union (PSA). and the council of trade unions (ACTU). Stephanie has also worked for the Sydney Alliance as a Community Organiser. Her most recent role was Organising Manager at the PSA, where she worked with her peers to transition the union to an organising focus. Stephanie has strong skills in facilitation, training, relationship building and mentoring and she is excited to be working with the climate movement to build and exercise power to create the change we want.
Larissa Baldwin is a young woman from the Widjabul clan of the Bundjalung nation and the National Co-Director for Seed. Larissa leads Seed’s campaigns and strategy nationally ensuring that Seed works in partnership with frontline Indigenous communities and supports young people to be empowered and create change in their communities. Prior to moving to Seed, Larissa was the Queensland Campaigner for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition working across on the Reef and Galilee campaigns. Larissa is passionate about a range of social justice issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and believes in seeking change through self-determination and grassroots leadership. Larissa comes from a family with a strong history of standing up for Aboriginal rights and has worked for many Indigenous organisations, programs and community driven initiatives across the country including the Stronger Smarter Institute, Oxfam and the Ngayundi Aboriginal Health Council.
Anita Tang is passionate about building people-power to secure public policies that benefit the community. She wants governments and institutions to make decisions that enable everyone to have a decent life. Her particular focus has been on people needing care and support due to their disability or life circumstances. During her career, Anita has explored many ways to make a difference – through direct service, policy development, consumer protection bodies, and Parliamentary Committees, and non-government policy advocacy. She’s seen, first hand, the transformational impact of community organising. At Cancer Council NSW, she led the development of the grassroots advocacy approach that led to significant campaign wins on smoke-free legislation, cost of chemotherapy, access to treatment and policies to protect people from known cancer risks. Now Anita is focusing on increasing the impact of the advocacy work of NGO’s by helping them unlock the potential of their grassroots supporters.
Julien Vincent gave up a steady job selling booze and getting cost price alcohol for himself to go and volunteer for groups like Oxfam and Environment Victoria. Then he started to get some paid work with these NGOs but it was all a ploy for him to ultimately land a gig with Greenpeace, where he wanted to work as a Climate Campaigner. He got an internship with Greenpeace in 2006, which became an Assistant Campaigner’s job in 2007 and then a Campaigner’s job in 2008.
Done! He kept on doing that for a few years, going to work for the international office in Amsterdam for a while before coming back to Australia to kick lumps out of an ailing coal company in Victoria who wanted to build a brown coal power station – the fools.
He then had a slightly early midlife crisis but didn’t have the budget for a motorbike so started his own environmental campaigning project instead. He chose the name Market Forces from the literally dozens of terrible puns available.
Charlie Wood is a passionate advocate for the climate and social justice. She was most recently Campaigns Director with 350.org Australia, having previously worked as the Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s National Grassroots Campaigner and coordinated the 2009 Australian youth delegation to the Copenhagen climate negotiations. Charlie has also worked as a parliamentary advisor on energy, climate and environment issues, for the ACT Commissioner for the Environment and with the ANU’s Regulatory Institutions Network. She has published a book on food sustainability, was the 2010 ACT Young Environmentalist of the Year and 2013 inaugural Deni Greene Award recipient.
Annie Kia works to empower communities to defend themselves from invasive gasfields and coal. Via a process of collective Action Learning, she developed the grass-roots democracy process called Gasfield Free Communities. This strategy contributed to mass-movement dynamics in the Northern Rivers and is now being adapted in many regions by the Lock The Gate movement. Annie has a strong belief in the power of communities to determine their futures through grass-roots participation. Her on-ground work is informed by an understanding of networks and complex system dynamics. She is encouraged by the way these concepts can help us plan, campaign, and collaborate, by choosing the action that best fits the context. Annie currently works as Community Engagement Coordinator for the Lock The Gate Alliance.
Mark Wakeham is the CEO of Environment Victoria (EV), one of Australia’s leading environment non-government organisations. With EV, he has led campaigns for the replacement of Hazelwood power station, the successful campaign to prevent the proposed HRL coal-fired power station in Victoria, and numerous other Victorian and national campaigns. He is a founding board member and current Chair of The Sunrise Project which exists to educate, support and empower Australian communities to protect our land, water, community health and the global climate from the negative impacts of the fossil fuel industry, and to hasten the inevitable shift to an efficient, renewable energy economy. Mark previously worked as a campaigner with Greenpeace Australia Pacific for three years where he successfully campaigned for the introduction of renewable energy and energy efficiency targets in Victoria, New South Wales and nationally. Before that he was Coordinator of the Environment Centre of the Northern Territory for 5 years where he grew the organisation considerably and ran successful campaigns to prevent uranium mining at Jabiluke in Kakadu National Park and land clearing in the Daly Basin. He has degrees in Economics, Australian History and Adult Education.