Ella McKinley

Ethics Analyst, Australian Ethical Investment2016 Sydney Fellowship

Ella McKinley SydFP16

"CSL has given me the assurance to be confident in my own unique style of leading and making a difference."


What was the most valuable thing you got out of CSL?

I realised I don’t have to change myself to be a leader, just be confident in my own authentic style of leadership.

Why are you passionate about sustainability?

Caring about the earth and sustainability is something which has always come very naturally to me. I think a big part of that is the values my parents raised me with. Using resources carefully was embedded into my daily life from when I was a child. I remember being taught to shower standing in a bucket so the excess water could be collected to water the garden. My packed lunches at school were always wrapped in paper not cling-film. Deciding on a career in sustainability was a natural decision for me. My career decisions are defined by one simple desire: to maximise positive impact.

How did CSL play a role in directing your current path or project?

I have always had clarity about wanting to work in sustainability and this has taken me down a diverse path from science research in Antarctica to federal climate policy and now impact investing. My career has been defined by wanting to maximise my impact on making the world a better place. However before the course I questioned my authentic leadership style and wondered whether I needed to mould myself to fit social leadership norms. CSL has given me the assurance to be confident in my own unique style of leading and making a difference. I now know kindness and compassion is not a weakness in the business world but a key strength.

Why is sustainability leadership important?

Today’s unprecedented challenges can only be solved by leaders with the idealism to dream of a different way forward and the drive to make it happen.

What do you plan to do next on your sustainability journey?

During my CSL journey I formed an amazing network of passionate change-makers. I see these connections as an important part of my ability to make positive change going forwards. We challenge, encourage and activate one another. Great things keep coming from these relationships. I am open to all opportunities to influence chance and see huge potential to make a difference in my career. Watch this space.

What are three words you would use to describe the Fellowship Program?

Connection, growth, authenticity

More alumni from 2016 Sydney Fellowship

Alexis Clarke SydFP16

Alexis Clarke

Account Manager, Republic of Everyone

2016 Sydney Fellowship
AndrewGreen SydFP16

Andrew Green

Creative Director, Konichigram

2016 Sydney Fellowship
Anna Dempsey SydFP16 1

Anna Dempsey


2016 Sydney Fellowship
Claire Sands SydFP16

Claire Sands


2016 Sydney Fellowship
Fiona McCleary SydFP16

Fiona McCleary

Project Officer, Office of Environment and Heritage NSW

2016 Sydney Fellowship
Harriet Watts SydFP16

Harriet Watts

Founding director and designer at The Fortynine Studio / Tutor and lecturer at UNSW Art + Design

2016 Sydney Fellowship
Jeremy Tarbox Website image

Jeremy Tarbox

Senior Analyst, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

2016 Sydney Fellowship
Jo Green SydFP16

Jo Green

Career and Social Entrepreneur Coach - Jo Green Coaching

2016 Sydney Fellowship
Karina Seljack SydFP16

Karina Seljak

Co-founder & Director, Seljak Brand; Marketing, Australian Ethical Super

2016 Sydney Fellowship
Lina Rico Gomez SydFP16 copy 2

Lina Rico Gomez

Project Officer - Energy Efficiency, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

2016 Sydney Fellowship

Maria Cooper

Sales Officer, Cathay Pacific Airways

2016 Sydney Fellowship
Michael Dasey SydFP16

Michael Dasey

Bid Manager, Goldwind Australia

2016 Sydney Fellowship

Announcing the new home of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership alumni and programs...

Find out now