Sarah Jayne Summers

Positive Environmentalist2017 Melbourne Fellowship

SarahSummers ProfileShot

Every change starts with someone. And one person can make a difference.



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

A firm belief that things really do happen for a reason.

Why are you passionate about sustainability? 

I became passionate about changing the waste habits of my work colleagues. Prior to taking on this challenge, it felt like no-one cared how much recyclable material was being sent to landfill. I was the only one driving this change through an office of 100 staff, but within a few months staff behavior changed and some even adopted the practices I was implementing across other areas of the organisation and changed how they recycled at home.

The statement "I'm only one person, what change could I possibly make?" is often said in terms of one person's actions not being able to make a difference. But it should be thought in terms of, "I am one person. What change am I going to make?" because every change starts with someone. And one person can make a difference.

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

The Future Makers Fellowship gave me the guidance, space, and freedom to really think about my responses to "who do I want to be?', and "what do I want to do?". There was no pressure of feeling that I should already know the answers or the fear of my answers being judged or rejected.

I had the space to change my answers (Several times), to go off on tangents and explore potential answers that I had never thought of before, and to even avoid answering the questions when it felt too overwhelming. It's not often we give ourselves permission to wonder about all the possibilities, be curious and 'think outside the square', or to just sit and not think about anything for a while; and we hardly get that sort of freedom and flexibility in the workplace; but I feel that sort of 'space' is needed to get the true answers and the fellowship provided that.

Why is leadership for sustainability so important?

Every one of us has an influence on one another. We just need to decide what sort of influence we want to make.

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

I've always just wanted to support others who are doing good or want to do good, in the world. The next stage of my journey is to work out what that looks like and then just go and do it!

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

Challenging yet rewarding

Project worked on during program:

Unpacking to Mystique of STEM



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