Emma Wasson

Campaigner, The Bob Brown Foundation2011 Sydney Fellowship

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"Everything can be seen through a lens of sustainability if we look, value our health and lives of those around us including non human lifeforms on this planet, and the role they play."

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

The dynamics of personalities in navigating leadership style

Why are you passionate about sustainability? What was the moment or event that made you decide to become a ‘change maker’ in your field?

I first started becoming politically active and engaged through the University of Newcastle alongside my studies as a hobby after joined an environmental collective. The moment that influenced my resolve to pursue a career path in sustainability was when I realised, whilst running a clean energy campaign on campus that my family property could be sold to a neighbouring coal mine. My family faced an economic decision that trumped the environment, yet was necessary for their financial security when property value was been affected by an encroaching mine. The hills behind our family home are now coal craters. Despite the environmental impact of this decision, it is not reason to give up, its all the more necessary to find alternative avenues for reversing these effects.

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

CSL enabled me to meet like minded people to form a project team that created a passion project known today as Make Change Happen. The project in 2011, then known as "Change Makers" won the CSL project of the year award. Four years on it developed and matured as did the co-founders receiving funding from both the City of Sydney through a Community Grants program, and then later through a funding award, $10 000 for which was awarded by Qantas. Make Change Happen then went on to be used as a continuation project for the CSL regional leadership rewired program, starting up groups both in the Byron Shire and the Illawarra. I was able to adapt and apply the Manual for Change that contained a curation of various tools for change makers, into a community organising and leadership program I developed whilst working for the Wilderness Society in Sydney. I have also applied the tools with in the manual for my own work as a campaigner and organiser of volunteer groups that are vital for campaigns to succeed.

In 25 words or less, tell us why leadership for sustainability is important.

When sustainability is considered a silo-ed industry, that exists apart from everything as else, its important to have strong leadership that integrates sustainability principles into business and the way our society operates as a whole. Everything can be seen through a lense of sustainability if we look, value our health and lives of those around us including non human lifeforms on this planet, and the role they play.

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

I plan to continue working for the Bob Brown Foundation on the campaign to protect the Tarkine in Tasmania's North West as a National Park and World Heritage Area. In the process I aim to continue strengthening my knowledge of indigenous Australia simultaneously and reaching out to learn and connect with Aboriginal Australian's.

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

A worthwhile challenge

More alumni from 2011 Sydney Fellowship

2011 Sydney Future Makers Fellowship Program Website image

2011 Future Makers Fellowship Program


2011 Sydney Fellowship
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Anthony Ogilvie

National Environment Advisor

2011 Sydney Fellowship
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Jeremy Mah

Program Facilitator & Head of Learning for Sustainability Sydney, Centre for Sustainability Leadership

2011 Sydney Fellowship
Melissa Macpherson

Melissa Macpherson

Executive Director and Co-Founder, People for Purpose

2011 Sydney Fellowship
Paul Metcalfe Resized

Paul Metcalfe

Director, Investor Relations, South East Asia and Pacific - United Way Worldwide

2011 Sydney Fellowship

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