Our Team


















Sawsan Howard holds the position of Group General Manager, Corporate Strategy in one of Australia’s largest engineering and construction companies. By training, Sawsan holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Environmental Studies (Hons), MBA (Dist) and a Juris Doctor (Dist). Sawsan has held senior management positions with Sustainability Victoria and Dairy Australia. Prior to that, Sawsan was a member of the Beyond Tomorrow Team – an innovation and sustainability think tank at Origin Energy. Sawsan has most recently undertaken further studies in sustainability at Harvard Business School, Boston. Sawsan’s leadership skills and career achievements have been recognised in the publication “Unexpected Women: Women who have found their wings. Success Stories of Modern Female Leaders” by Diana Ryall AM (2015).

Ellen is Finance and Business Services Manager at Senversa, is a boutique environmental consulting firm providing specialist scientific, engineering, project and business management services. Ellen is an experienced accountant and manager, she brings to the Banksia Board 12+ years of extensive finance, accounting, company secretarial and corporate governance experience as well as enthusiasm, an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for sustainability and the environment.

Peter Woods is the Chief Information Officer and General Manager for information management and technology services at the ACCC. Previously, as a senior executive working for the Australian Government, Peter was involved in the development and implementation of national policy in a number of environment areas, including nature conservation, protected areas, marine planning, indigenous traditional practices and environmental education.

Peter chaired the National Environmental Education Network and was a member of the National Environmental Education Council. He was instrumental in the development of the Australian Government's first National Action Plan for Environmental Education released in 2000, its successor in 2009 Living Sustainably: the Australian Government's National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability, and Caring for Our Future, the Australian Government’s strategy for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

As CIO of the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Peter led the development of the Australian Government’s ICT Sustainability Plan. In 2008, he was named the Australian Financial Review MIS magazine’s inaugural Green CIO of the Year.

Peter has represented the Australian Government at international forums including ECOAsia, the Asia Pacific Forum for the Environment and Development (APFED) and UNESCO. He was the Australian Government’s representative on the Board of Trustees of the Japanese Government's Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) from 2005-10. He is currently a Counsellor of the Institute.

Andrew Petersen is the Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Business Australia (SBA), Australia's leading business think-tank and advocacy group that promotes commercial solutions to the sustainability agenda. Andrew has established an enviable reputation as a legal advisor on matters relating to environmental risk, law and policy, and as a leading thought leader and advisor on the business of sustainability.

He is well-known to Australian business for his commentary through print and broadcast media on the business implications of climate change. Being published in The Australian Financial Review, Keeping Good Companies, Environmental Finance, Carbon Finance and the EU publication, Environmental Risk.

Andrew is a qualified and practising lawyer in Australia, he was the Partner of the Environmental and Development Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Legal from 1999 to 2006, and then the Legal and Advisory Lead of PwC Australia's Sustainability and Climate Change team from 2007 to 2010.

His carbon credentials were developed as an accredited auditor under the NSW Government's Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (2003 – 2005), a verifier under the Federal Government's Greenhouse Friendly Scheme (2003 – 2006), a representative on the Business Council of Australia's Greenhouse Gas Committee (2002,2003) and in 2005 as an industry delegate to the Australian Government's representation at the United Nations Framework Conference of Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Rick has been involved with the Banksia Foundation since its very inception as part of the original 44. He has been a board member of the foundation at various times during the past seventeen years and until 2014 held the position of Treasurer with the Board of Banksia.

Rick has been involved in other 'Not for Profit' organisations, including sitting as a board member with 'Skill Share' for 6 years and held different positions in the executive of Alfred Toast Masters club over the last 9 years. His professional career has consisted of 22 years in the IT industry, with a wide range of occupations most focusing on business development and customer support.

Jo Cain's career spans 25 years in sustainability. She has a track record of working with top ASX listed companies, in particular mining and power sector organisations. Her clients have included Newcrest, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, MMG and Nyrstar in the mining sector, AGL, Origin Energy and TRUenergy in the power sector, and others such as Myer, CPA Australia, NAB, ANZ, Toyota Australia and Sensis.

Jo specialises in sustainability and integrated report development and assurance; sustainability strategy; carbon strategy and auditing; and strategic audit programs encompassing risk, liability, assurance, performance and compliance. She is Executive Director of Materiality Counts, specialising in non-financial materiality and reporting. As a Non-Executive Director, Jo has enjoyed a number of years as a Banksia Board Member and a previous Chair, as well as serving on the Australasian Reporting Awards (ARA) Board and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB).

Charles McNena is a Company Director with over 25 years business experience, specialising in the facilitation of business transformation. Through combining his extensive knowledge and skills, with an ability to quickly grasp the client’s business issues, Charles is able to offer a unique blend of Commercial, Accounting, Business Transformation and Information Technology solutions to a diverse range of clients.

Charles over this 25 year journey is a successful professional in value adding and challenging corporate norms. His passion and persistence has delivered continued success with all business challenges met and engagements completed to the client’s satisfaction (a true measure of success). His diverse experience (Corporate, Finance, Technology, Business Transformation, Business Owner) provides a truly unique set of expert skills that provide practical, robust and sustainable analysis, development and delivery of solutions.

Charles co-founded JCMA Consulting in 1991. It is an Australian company providing services to assist clients in achieving business excellence through enabling business transformation. He has industry experience in: the energy sector, defence, IT and telecommunications, life sciences, research and development, statutory and regulatory compliance, local, state and federal government.

Richard is the Managing Director of Talent Nation, a specialist search and recruitment firm with a core focus on Environment, Sustainability, Energy and Natural Resources.

Richard commenced his career in forestry, before moving to the UK and developing the Civil Engineering & Water division within the Central London office of one of the UK's leading recruitment companies. Since moving to Melbourne he worked for several years in finance and human capital management before specialising in recruitment for the Environment and Sustainability industry having built a successful Environmental recruitment business previously.

Richard is an active supporter of a number of sustainability initiatives, including 1millionwomen and LandCare Australia, and jointly established a sustainability forum where many of the country's leading sustainability thinkers still meet. He is a contributor to carbon and environment course curricula and is a Fellow of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership in 2012.

Richard holds an MBA from Melbourne Business School, a Master of Engineering in Management, and a Bachelor of Forestry Science from the University of Canterbury.

Graz van Egmond commenced as CEO of the Banksia Foundation in 1998. Originally starting her career in the Biochemistry Laboratories of St Vincent’s Hospital, Graz soon transitioned to the tourism industry where she spent eights years within Public Relations at Tourism Australia, before moving across to the Melbourne Tourism Authority and creating the Asia Pacific Incentives Meeting Expo (AIME). Graz also spent time at Telstra where she managed a number of programs including the Telstra Small Business Awards before inaugurating the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.




Graz van Egmond commenced as CEO of the Banksia Foundation in 1998.
Originally starting her career in the Biochemistry Laboratories of St Vincent’s Hospital, Graz soon transitioned to the tourism industry where she spent eights years within Public Relations at Tourism Australia, before moving across to the Melbourne Tourism Authority and creating the Asia Pacific Incentives Meeting Expo (AIME). Graz also spent time at Telstra where she managed a number of programs including the Telstra Small Business Awards before inaugurating the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Asher joined the Banksia Foundation in 2014 as a Sustainability Intern before becoming a member of staff in 2015. Asher has a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Environmental Management) from Deakin University and her knowledge on sustainability and natural resource management is an asset to the Foundation.
Asher has worked on Turtle Conservation projects in the Maldives and recently raised enough money to purchase a sea cage system for Naifaru’s Atoll Marine Centre.


Minelle Creed

Minelle Creed is an award winning journalist and a respected member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for whom she has worked for many years in Aboriginal Affairs.

In 2015, she won the 2015 United Nations Media Peace Award for SBS Radio Living Black radio’s coverage on “Breaking community silence on violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women”, sharing the award with her colleague, Michelle Aleksandrovics Lovegrove.

Based in Melbourne since 2010, Minelle is a strong supporter of the environment, sustainable living, animal rights, land and sea care, cultural heritage protection, Aboriginal cultural tourism, and women’s and children rights.