Chief Executive Officer — Kelly O'Shanassy

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Advocacy is about changing what is into what should be. This one, incredible idea has shaped my life and led me to ACF.

Long before I fell in love with our rivers and forests, I grew up in a fairly tough neighbourhood where people had little money but were rich in courage and community spirit. This taught me the value of working for the greater good. As a teenager, we lived in a caravan in the country with no running water – this taught me about our reliance on nature for life. And then I moved to the big smoke and went to university and studied the science of nature.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have worked in business, in government and now in the community sector, all which are crucial to creating positive change.

In my roles I’ve established world-first environment protection policies, saved water, boosted recycling, safeguarded fragile rivers from overuse and pollution, stopped coal mines and kick-started renewable energy. I’ve advised business CEOs on their journey towards sustainability and chaired environment and community committees for government. But it’s the community work that I love.

Believing strongly in the power of people to advocate for a better future, I’m focused on growing the number and diversity of people who speak up and take action. There are millions of people who share a love of nature and a desire to do the right thing, let's unite and create change. After all, the power of the people is greater than the people in power... it is greater than anything!

Director of Campaigns — Dr Paul Sinclair

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I love the beauty of ordinary places. Growing up in a small town taught me how tough and necessary it is to go against the flow when things aren’t right.

For over a decade now I have been working with non-government, philanthropic, government and business sectors to create policy and law reform across issues of drought, nature conservation, natural resource management, rural water allocation, environmental flows, urban water supply and nature-based solutions to carbon pollution mitigation and climate adaptation.

During this time I wrote The Murray: A River and its People (Melbourne University Press), an environmental and cultural history of the Murray River. I also worked with two of Australia's leading artists, Mandy Martin and the late John Davis, on collaborative art projects exploring the importance of arid rangelands and river environments to Australian national identity.

I am currently a member of the Community and Industry Advisory Board for Environmental Programs at the University of Melbourne and the World Commission on Protected Areas; I was recently a member of the Australian Government’s National Wildlife Corridors Plan Advisory Group.

My work at ACF involves thinking a lot about how and what we can do to help places and species have the best chance of adapting to the impacts of climate change. I am lucky to work with a talented campaign team who build community, business and government support for initiatives that conserve and restore Australia's safe climate and ecosystems.

Director of Engagement — Paul Sheridan

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I first got to see the difference people can make when my mum rafted Tasmania’s Franklin River at the peak of protest blockades in 1982.

People need nature, but nature also needs people. I have seen the evidence of this many times over the past 25 years in my roles as an environment reporter, adviser to an environment minister, and as an advocate for the environment working with communities across Australia.

I first got to see the difference people can make when my mum rafted Tasmania’s Franklin River at the peak of protest blockades in 1982. I was awed by those willing to put their bodies on the line to save the river, while also thrilled my parent was so courageous (and reckless).

Opponents of greater protection for our forests, rivers and wildlife would have us believe that a choice has to be made between maintaining our way of life, particularly economic opportunities, and protecting nature. The reality, however, is that the vast majority of Australians understand the opposite: that they are inter-linked and a prosperous way of life depends on having a healthy environment.

It wasn’t until I went bush in 2002 to work on a sheep and cattle property in western Queensland that I really understood how deeply people cared for the land and came to realise how widely this commitment to conservation of our natural heritage is shared. During the crippling drought of the early 2000s, I heard and saw time and again how people managing the land planned and acted for the long term – they understood that sustaining the health of the soil and plant life, of rivers and creeks, of whole landscapes was vital for their long term survival and prosperity.

ACF’s talented Engagement team are working hard to bring stories like this to life and share them with you. By doing this we can move, together, toward resolving our nation’s and planet’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Director of Fundraising — Cheryl Pultz

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I feel so lucky for the opportunity to bring my two passions together – encouraging donors to support the important work of ACF and speaking up on behalf of nature.

I was born and raised in a place called Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. It is a land of natural beauty, from the rolling farmlands of the south to majestic boreal forests and pristine lakes in the north. 

Through a fortuitous meeting with an archaeologist, my fundraising career began by successfully raising the capital to build a non-profit cultural and historical centre of the First Nations people located on the Northern Plains.  This wonderful experience cemented that I had found my true calling – and that while my studies and early career in marketing provided a solid foundation, I needed to spend my life raising money and working for causes I believed in.

For over 25 years now, I’ve gained experience in all aspects of fundraising including the development & implementation of major gift and planned giving programs, annual and capital campaigns, regular giving and cash appeals.  I had the amazing opportunity to spend four years in Vietnam working as a fundraising advisor for local and international NGOs, before setting up the charitable division for the American Chamber of Commerce in Saigon.  I then moved to Australia eight years ago where, before joining ACF in February 2015, I’ve worked with WaterAid and Bush Heritage. 

I’m so proud to work with a very talented team of fundraisers and supporter services folks where together we oversee revenue generation and donor care, ensuring we help deliver on ACF’s significant financial and environmental goals.