Speaker Profiles

Sustainable Sally (Sally Williams)

Master of Ceremonies

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Presenter, sustainability advocate and one of Australia’s most trusted faces.

For over 25 years, Sally Williams has been a mainstay of the Australian media landscape. Beamed into millions of Australian homes every day, she urged Australians to ‘buy better’ as the face of Brand Power, the branded advertising concept representing leading FMCG brands.

Like so many Australians, Sally’s alarm at the state of the planet was the catalyst for a change in her choices and consumption habits. It’s this journey into a more sustainable lifestyle and launch Sustainable Sally.

Sally’s long-standing relationship with Australian audiences is built on trust. And her transition to a focus on sustainability reflects a transition made by so many Australians. It’s not easy but it’s about making better choices one choice at a time.

Sustainable Sally is Sally Williams. She’s a sustainability advocate, presenter, facilitator, educator and motivator in the B2B and B2C sector and works extensively supporting Brands to help market their planet friendly products and services directly to the end user consumer. Importantly, Sally has established herself as a spokesperson for both corporate and government sectors as new mandates and procedures drive our social habits toward more sustainable practices helping us all to make better, more sustainable choices.

James Griffin MP

Minister for Environment and Heritage
Member for Manly

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James Griffin is the Member for Manly in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, and has represented Manly since April 2017.

In December 2021, James was appointed Minister for Environment and Heritage in the Perrottet Government.

The Minister is a conservationist, committed to protecting nature and rehabilitating ecosystems on the land and in the ocean. He wants to put Aboriginal land and ocean management techniques front and centre, and he’s committed to protecting and celebrating our heritage.

Prior to being appointed a Minister, James was Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Veterans and Health. He was part of the Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning, and is the former Chair of the Legislation Review Committee.

Outside work, running helps him stay sane, as do his wife Elissa and two young children, Ted and Grace.

Val Southam

CEO, Keep Australia Beautiful NSW

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Val has been a senior executive in the environment industry for 30 years, and CEO and Executive Director of KAB NSW for three years.She has had senior environmental affairs roles in major corporates in the packaging industry and was the Chief Executive Officer of the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) for 15 years.Val brings a wealth of experience having served on several boards and government advisory committees including the Federal Government’s Product Stewardship Advisory Committee, the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council, the National Packaging Covenant Council, and the National Packaging Industry Association.

Lara Barclay

Managing Director, Adaptation Environmental Support

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Lara is the founder and Director of Adaptation Environmental Support, a specialist environmental consultancy.  She has over 20 years’ experience driving sustainable change across the private sector, government and the community. 

Her professional experience in practical sustainability encompasses the development and implementation of environmental management and resource efficiency programs, sustainability strategy, secondary market development and product stewardship initiatives.

Lara is currently working with the Tobacco Industry Product Stewardship Group to address the environmental impacts of tobacco products and packaging.  She recently facilitated the inaugural meeting of a national Cigarette Butt Litter Taskforce which brings together expertise outside the tobacco industry to guide the development of a future product stewardship strategy for cigarette butt litter.

Laura Cassar 

Associate Director, Centre for International Economics 

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Laura is an economist specialising in environmental and natural resource economics. She has completed economic analysis in a variety of environmental areas including waste management, biodiversity, coastal erosion, mining and air pollution. She has also developed cost benefit analysis frameworks to assess mining and mine rehabilitation policy options.  

Chris Chung

NSW Environment Protection Authority

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Chris is a Project Officer in the Litter Prevention Unit. He looks after the Cigarette Butt Litter Prevention program, including establishing the state-wide butt litter baseline in 2020 and administrating the butt litter prevention grants.

Chris has a long background in local government, managing energy efficiency, waste management, catchment protection projects as well as community gardens for local communities.

 

Rayne de Gruchy AM PSM

Chair, NSW Environment Protection Authority

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Rayne brings to the EPA strong experience in the field of regulation acquired as chief operating officer of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and as executive director of the Australian Financial Institutions Commission where she set the policy direction for regulation of Australian non-bank financial institutions and co-ordinated effective State regulatory supervision.

A lawyer by training, Rayne has considerable experience working with lawyers and organisations to achieve effective regulatory outcomes. She has experience in the corporate world stemming from practice as a commercial and banking and finance lawyer in her earlier days and experience as a non-executive director of two public companies.

Hailey Durham

Education Program Manager, Keep Australia Beautiful NSW

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Hailey is the Education Program Manager at KABNSW and has worked for the organisation for the past 9 years as an Educator, Coordinator and Manager of Sustainability Education Programs. Her speciality lies in teaching and developing education programs designed to engage people of all ages in all things sustainability. She also enjoys volunteering in conservation field surveys in Australia and (in a previous life) overseas.

Meredith Epp

Sustainable Programs Officer, APCO

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Meredith Epp is a sustainability and communications professional with a speciality in marine plastics, fisheries and the circular economy. In her role as Sustainable Programs Officer at APCO, Meredith is leading the delivery of the ANZPAC Plastics Pact as a sustainable program delivered by APCO as part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s global Plastics Pact Network. Driving collaboration and working to bring industry, government and community groups together, Meredith is committed to creating positive environmental change through APCO’s sustainable programs. Through her previous role at the Marine Stewardship Council, Meredith worked on Banksia Award winning “Finnish Tuna” sustainability campaign with Simplot and WWF.  Meredith holds degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master’s Degree from Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Edwina Foulsham

Department of Planning and Environment

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Edwina Foulsham is a coastal and marine scientist at the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. Her current work focuses on marine debris research and monitoring in the coastal landscapes and waters of NSW. In collaboration with the UNSW and a marine debris working group of industry experts, she is currently involved in undertaking a marine debris specific threat and risk assessment for the Marine Estate management Authority.

Jordan Gacutan

Affiliate Data Analyst / PhD Candidate, Tangaroa Blue Foundation / UNSW

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As a multi-disciplinary marine scientist, Jordan uses citizen science big-data to understand the sources and sinks of marine debris across Australia, to inform management plans. Jordan is a PhD candidate at UNSW, affiliate data analyst for Tangaroa Blue Foundation, and works with an international team (GOAP) in the development of an accounting framework for the Ocean, to ensure we consider social, environmental, and economic values in our decisions.

Andrew Gray

NSW Environment Protection Authority

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Andy Gray is from the NSW EPA Litter Prevention Unit, managing the Community Litter Grants Program which aims to support community based organisations that want to address litter in their local environments, as well as developing the Own it and Act strategic framework and partnership strategy.

Chris Hutton

Research and Development Director, Mars Wrigley Australia

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Chris is the Research & Development Director at Mars Wrigley Australia, manufacturer of a some of Australia’s favourite brands such as M&M’s and EXTRA Gum. As part of his role, Chris leads the Mars Wrigley Packaging Sustainability Agenda, a topic he is hugely passionate about. Having originally joined Mars as a graduate, Chris has over 10 years’ experience in R&D roles across Mars’ Pet Nutrition, Food and Treats & Snacks business units.

Sarah Ip

Western Sydney Local Health District

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As part of the Tobacco Control team at the Centre for Population Health, Western Sydney Local Health District, Sarah coordinates tobacco control initiatives using health promotion and population health-based approaches. Her work includes the development of, and advocacy for, smoke-free environments; reducing community exposure to the harms of second-hand smoke; and reducing the environmental harms of cigarette butt litter. She is passionate about promoting health equity and empowering communities to improve population health outcomes. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Sydney.

Alex King

Sustainability Project Officer, Eurobodalla Shire Council

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An experienced project officer passionate about waste management, sustainable business, community development and climate action. I have proven volunteer and professional experience in implementing projects which aim to address global challenges at a local level. 

John Lavarack

NSW Environment Protection Authority

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John Lavarack joined the NSW EPA in 2017 following many years’ experience in local government and university sectors. He has been both a practitioner and researcher in areas covering sustainability, environmental protection, and community and organisational engagement. He relishes achieving challenging litter reduction targets for NSW. It is not the numbers themselves that thrill him but the way that a clear focus on a shared intent unlocks the potential of communities to achieve something important, together.

Brendan Lee

Circular Economy Manager, Closed Loop

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Brendan is a Circular Economy nerd. With a background in environmental science, Brendan has worked for more than 20-years in this field – across government, the private sector and not-for-profits. He now works for Closed Loop Environmental Solutions, taking care of the Simply Cups program that gets coffee cups off the streets and into high value products.

Alicia Lloyd

Waste Education Project Officer, Northern Beaches Council

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Alicia Lloyd has worked on sustainability issues since her PhD on the impact of ocean acidification on reef-building corals and seeing the devastation that plastic had on turtles and local marine life. Alicia ran business engagement initiatives through community organisations such as Plastic Free Manly, Plastic Free Bondi and Sustainable Organisations of Manly, to align the economy with protection of the ocean. Alicia brought the learnings of these campaigns to design the Swap for Good program at Northern Beaches Council.

Sarah-Jo Lobwein

Founder, SO SHIRE

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Founder – SO SHIRE and Plastic Free Sutherland Shire Advises sustainable practices for businesses, schools, and community in their journey in waste reduction and consumption.  Marine scientist, educator, and waste reduction consultant who freelances as Ocean Tidings in marine education on pollution, conservation and sustainable #swapforthesea solutions.  2020 Cook Community Award for Volunteering in the community; 2021 Local Environmental Citizen – Sutherland Shire.   Also:  Ocean Action Pod, ORRCA, ASR; AAEE SeaWeek Australia Coodinator. AAEE and The Wheel Inc Board Member

Alexa McAuley

Director, Civille

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Alexa works to create more sustainable, liveable cities by integrating environmental engineering with urban ecology, landscape and urban design. Alexa has substantial experience consulting to local government, particularly in waterway and catchment management.  

Ben McNair

Director, Centre for International Economics 

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Ben is an applied economist specialising in discrete choice analysis. He has conducted surveys to estimate consumer demand for a wide range of products and services, including utility service reliability, carbon offsetting, litter reduction, public boating infrastructure, electric vehicles, and accessible housing. Ben holds a PhD from the Australian National University.

Shannon Mead

CEO, No More Butts

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With a background in leadership roles across Asia and the Pacific for Microsoft and Nokia, Shannon Mead resigned from corporate life in 2020 to set up and operate the environmental charity, No More Butts.  With a background in sales operations, process optimisation, analytics and product management, Shannon has been able to draw on two decades of professional experience to make a positive impact on the environment.  He has transitioned from being General Manager to a facilitator of change.  In the first year of operation, Shannon has presented at multiple events and has networked across industry, LGAs and other NGOs to cement the role of No More Butts as a subject matter expert on the issue of cigarette butt litter and waste.

Alice Morgan

NSW Environment Protection Authority

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Alice is a Project Officer in the Litter Prevention Unit. She manages litter enforcement projects within the EPA, including the Report to EPA Littering from Vehicles application. She has worked in litter and resource recovery since 2012 in various roles in communications and marketing across NGO, associations, and government. Her background also includes organics, business recycling, and problem waste. She has taken her previous digital experience and expanded into larger government ICT projects.

Mahi Paquette

CEO and Director, Seabin Foundation

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Mahi is the CEO and one of the directors of the Seabin Foundation. With a background in geography, oceanography and extensive experience in community engagement, Mahi has a passion for bridging the gap between science, technology, near future adaptation and community engagement. This has led Mahi to work and volunteer actively with several not-for-profit, gaining knowledge and experience of community leadership, grant management and hands-on/on the ground community events. Mahi is currently studying a PhD in Education at Southern Cross University (Australia) with a focus on planetary ethics and business decision-making.

Hiral Patel

Waste and Environment Specialist, Forbes Shire Council

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Hiral has over 13 years of experience with a demonstrated history of working in local government, consultancy and private sectors. He has worked on variety of project assignments related to sustainable waste management, landfill operations, development of strategies, action plans and policies and environmental approvals, monitoring and compliance for major infrastructure projects.

Qualified as B. Eng. (honours) in Chemical Engineering from Birmingham University, and presently employed as a Waste and Environment Specialist at Forbes Shire Council, he focuses on setting up the trend of change to increase recycling opportunities through introduction of new initiatives and education and awareness programs within the shire.

Mary Rayner

Director of Operations, Stormwater Shepherds

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A great collaborator, motivator and nurturer, my 25-year executive experience working in corporate, government and not-for-profits has armed me with the expertise needed to change mindsets and make a difference about plastic litter.  Like Stormwater Shepherds, I co-founded an environmental group in the ’90s to raise awareness about plastic pollution. Before weekly council recycling pick-ups, our group established the Central Coast’s first-ever community recycling program in local primary schools, winning NSW KAB Tidy School’s Award and the National Banksia Award for community groups.

Susan Read

Manager Circular Economy Policy, NSW Department of Planning & Environment

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Susan leads the Circular Economy Policy Team at the NSW Department of Planning and Environment. Susan has more than 10 years’ experience delivering sustainability and circular economy initiatives for the NSW Government. Susan’s team developed the NSW Plastics Action Plan and the Plastic Reduction and Circular Economy Act 2021.

Rupert Saville

NSW Environment Protection Authority

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Rupert Saville currently manages the NSW EPA Litter Prevention Unit, having worked in the Unit for the last 5 years across a range of programs, including the litter prevention grants program and developing the new cigarette butt litter prevention program.

Rupert has over 15 years’ experience working across local, state and federal government and the community sector on a range of community and sustainability behaviour change programs.

Jenny-lee Scharnboeck

Head of Partnerships, Take 3 for the Sea

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With thirty years tourism experience, Jenny-Lee has worked with most sectors of the industry, including a decade as Tourism Manager with Sutherland Shire Council. NSW National parks, YHA of NSW, BridgeClimb, IMAX, ACCOR, Powerhouse & Australian Museums, Madame Tussauds and AMP – Pacific Fair Shopping Centre are a few of Jenny-Lee’s employers and/or clients. Jenny-Lee also headed up the marketing and tourism development team for the Kingdom of Tonga focused on delivering an empowered local team. An educator at heart Jenny-Lee has been a TAFE teacher for over a decade inspiring the next generation of tour guides, event and volunteer managers throughout NSW.   Whilst with Sutherland Shire Council Jenny-Lee won the Individual Contribution to Regional Tourism Award at the 2012 NSW Tourism Awards. She was also chosen as the tourism representative to deliver an Economic Development Australia – Aid program on Norfolk Island. Jenny-Lee has paddled rivers and oceans around the world in kayaks and outrigger canoes. Devastated by the impact of plastic and litter she joined the Take 3 team in 2018 to help shift the tide on litter and plastics ending up in our oceans.

Danielle Smalley

CEO, Exchange for Change

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Danielle is an experienced senior leader who is attracted to organisations she can be passionate about. That’s why she joined Exchange for Change as their CEO in January 2020 and is proud to be leading an organisation that is committed to delivering environmental, social and economic benefits through the container deposit schemes in NSW and the ACT. Prior to this Danielle has led high performing teams in organisations she was equally passionate about because they made people’s lives better including the Greater Sydney Commission, Sydney Metro, and Sydney Water. 

Alison Tran

Waste Education Project Officer, Northern Beaches Council

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Alison Tran is a recent Environmental Science and International Studies graduate from University of Technology Sydney with special interests in biodiversity conservation, community engagement, resource sustainability and waste management. Alison has a strong belief in education and science communication to inspire and support people to future-proof our nation in the face of environmental issues. Alison brings her values of innovation, diversity and collaboration to work on solving problem waste issues such as single-use plastics and bulky goods.

Marijs Vrancken

Deputy Director, Total Environment Centre & Marketing Manager, AUSMAP

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Marijs Vrancken is the Deputy Director of Total Environment Centre and the marketing manager of its microplastics assessment project, AUSMAP. With a Master in Business Economics and a Master in Cultural Management, she is deeply passionate about using her business acumen to amplify campaigns battling environmental issues such as marine pollution, biodiversity protection and climate change. As a part of AUSMAP, she has worked extensively with the community of AUSMAP supporters and citizen scientists to increase the capacity of the project.

Solomon Wadani

Data and Program Manager, Seabin Project

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Solomon has a background in waste management and environmental consulting. Having graduated from University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, Australia with a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons) majoring in Marine Biology. Prior to joining Seabin, Solomon worked as an Environmental Consultant in the waste management and resource recovery industry. Solomon also has experience with international not-for-profit conservation programs. Solomon worked in Cape Verde, protecting nesting Loggerhead sea turtles from poaching. Here in Australia, Solomon witnessed firsthand the devastating impact marine plastic pollution, overfishing and poaching had on local marine life. This empowered Solomon to take action and work to reduce the prevalence of marine plastic pollution.

Dr Scott Wilson

Research Director, AUSMAP

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Dr Wilson has over 20 years’ experience in studying the impacts of legacy and emerging contaminants to aquatic ecosystems and how best to manage and protect them. In the last decade, he has focused on litter and plastics, and since 2018 have been the Research Director for the Australian Microplastic Assessment Project.   His research has focused on innovative approaches for documenting impacts of this litter and plastics and providing practical management solutions. Working closely with government and regulators, the research has helped influence state and local government policy and decision making.   A major focus of his research has also involved education, awareness and training of stakeholders and the broader public through partnerships.

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