Executive team

Meet the members of our executive team who work together to shape and deliver our environmental goals in leaps and bounds.

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 — Angela Rutter

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My family used to go for Sunday drives through the rural outskirts of suburban Melbourne. As we drove, my mum would admire the beauty of the mighty River Red Gum's ribboned trunks, the grass in the wind, the misty blue backdrop of the mountain range. Mum’s love for the beauty of our natural world rubbed off on me.

I worked in advertising and communications for 13 years before finding my way to ACF.

In 2007 I took up a new role at ACF leading Climate Reality Australia. During this time I had the privilege of working with over 1,000 dedicated Climate Leaders from across the Asia Pacific and launched similar initiatives in Indonesia, India and China while our Australian Climate Leaders took a message of urgency and action well beyond the initial goal of reaching 1 in 100 Australians. What really inspires me is how each and every Climate Leader embraces their active role in creating a better future.

Now my role focusses on creating meaningful and effective engagement for people who care about our magnificent environment. I work with a talented team who are skilled in communications, mobilisation, digital engagement, media and events to create the change we need for a healthy environment.