Our Team


yellow diamond


yellow diamond

Banksia Patron

Alan Finkel

Alan Finkel is a neuroscientist, engineer and entrepreneur. He was Australia’s chief scientist from 2016 to 2020, during which time he led the National Electricity Market Review, the development of the National Hydrogen Strategy, and the panel that advised the Australian Government on the 2020 Low Emissions Technology Roadmap. He is currently Chair of Stile Education, Chair of the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Advisory Council, and Special Adviser to the Australian Government on Low Emissions Technologies.

Being Banksia’s Patron, Alan brings guidance, rationale and wealth of leadership in facilitating sustainable solutions across Australia.






Deputy Chair









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).

Mark is a strategist, storyteller and change agent.

As a stubborn optimist he thrives on the ‘big picture’ and is a champion for sustainability. Mark is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia and alumni of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

He has international experience in sustainable development, leading communications, engagement and behaviour change teams in projects for The World Bank.

 He is principal of Currie where he consults to people and organisations that sustain life on the planet. He turns visions of a fairer, kinder and safer world into strategies and stories that make sense.

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.

Professor Kate Auty was appointed the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment in 2016.Professor Auty has also recently been appointed a Professorial Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Melbourne, after concluding a term as a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, also at the University of Melbourne. Kate was previously the Victorian Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability (2009-2014), the Chair of the Ministerial Reference Council on Climate Change Adaptation (Victoria 2008-2010), and a member of the Victorian Premier’s Climate Change Advisory Council (2009-2010). Professor Auty has previously held positions as a City of Melbourne Ambassador in the development of the Future Melbourne Plan 2026 with a portfolio responsibility in climate change (2016), and as a magistrate in Victoria and magistrate and mining warden in Western Australia. She was instrumental in the establishment of Victorian Koori Courts (2000-2004). Current boards and advisory roles include - director on the board of the ReScope Project, the McPherson Smith Rural Foundation and Australian Women in Agriculture; member of the Advisory Board to AURIN; and member with the MDBA Advisory Committee on Social Economic and Environmental Sciences. When Professor Auty accepted the role of Commissioner in the ACT she relinquished advisory roles with La Trobe University in Research Focus Areas involving sustainability, transformation of cities and in respect of water and agriculture. She also relinquished the role as chair of the advisory board to NeCTAR, and more recently she stepped down as chair of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (University of Melbourne). Kate is an active member of a number of community groups which concern themselves with environmental sustainability including the Euroa Environment Group, the Strathbogie and Seymour Community Energy Alliance (Pumped Hydro Energy Storage), Gooram Landcare (Victoria) and the Strathbogie Ranges Conservation Management Network.

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.

Susie Bayes

Following a psychology degree with a decade in marketing and strategy, Susie joined Guardian Australia's content partnership team Guardian Labs in 2014 to help brands create partnerships which authentically connect with the Guardian's audience.   As an alumni of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership's Future Makers'  Fellowship & now Banksia Board Member, she is passionate about helping brands achieve success demonstrating that they share readers' core values and by communicating their commitment to better business.As the Guardian's Brand Partnerships Director, Susie creates content & event partnerships, with global brands like Philips, local giants like Optus and purpose driven brands such as Powershop.  She has seen the success of brands in the UK & US who have evolved their brand messaging to show their positive impact and is keen to help Australian brands benefit from bringing this thinking into their businesses.



Howard Wigham is a Non-Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact Network Australia and a member of its Finance, Risk and Audit Committee. He is also the Executive Director of Navigate Business Advisory, which helps micro, small and medium enterprises to excel by assisting them to navigate various business, organisational and personal challenges.

Howard has enjoyed a successful corporate career as a divisional CEO and subsidiary board member in a variety of sectors, including chemicals, technology, information management and supply chain logistics. His executive career has spanned more than 25 years, spending 14 years with Brambles where his roles included Managing Director Chep UK & Ireland, President of Recall Australasia and President of Chep Asia-Pacific. Howard has lived in Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany, and has worked extensively in Asia, Europe and North America.

Howard supports various sustainability causes and is an investor in early stage companies with social and environmental purposes.

Howard holds an honours degree in Chemistry and German from Aston University in the United Kingdom, has completed employer-sponsored management programmes at the London Business School and INSEAD, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Graz van Egmond

Graz is a passionate innovator, disruptor and changemaker currently leading the Banksia Foundation team to communicate inspirational solutions and promote optimism and action. She has extensive experience working in the Health, Tourism and Telecommunications Industries, creating the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and heading up Telstra’s Small Business Development division. Her skills, experience, determination, and panache contribute towards making meaningful, memorable and valuable events and campaigns from conception to delivery.

Anthony Paxinos

Anthony combines passion and drive in finding sustainable solutions to social issues. His research experience in politics and sustainability, in addition to his collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Mining Council of Chile, has given him the buzz in bringing about sustainable change in many contexts.

Lynn Fairbrass

Lynn is a highly driven business development professional with a proven track record for securing new business, developing relationships and achieving financial outcomes. She is a Self-starter with initiative, innovation and a drive for results, with Strong communication, presentation and influencing skills. Lynn has been a strong supporter of the Banksia Foundation for over 5 years and joined the team as Business Diversification Manager in December 2020.

Want to be an Intern at Banksia?

At Banksia, we are always looking for fresh minds and perspectives to join our team. Internships can be undertaken by undergraduate and postgraduate students as a part of course requirements, and also by recent graduates looking to get some professional experience.

The period of a Banksia internship is 12 weeks. These are unpaid voluntary positions.

Your internship at Banksia offers the opportunity to work on:
  • Sustainability projects and programs with partnering corporations
  • Partnering with ground-breaking sustainability initiatives across Australia
  • Australia’s most prestigious sustainability awards, The National Banksia Sustainability Awards
About You

We are looking for students who have a keen interest to learn about what is happening in Australia in the sustainability area to see first-hand what potential opportunities there are for employment in this area.
Your areas of study is one of the following:

  • Environmental Science or Engineering
  • Sustainability Undergraduate and Postgraduate programs
  • Marketing
  • Business Administration
  • Digital Design
  • Public Relations
About Us

The Banksia Foundation is a well-established not-for-profit organisation dedicated to working with industry and community to create an array of platforms to focus attention on the recognition of excellence in sustainability.

The Banksia Foundation was founded in 1989 by a diverse group of 44 Australians who shared a common goal to do more to support and recognise members of the community for their positive contribution to the environment. Today, Banksia is a strong and expanding brand, based on the integrity of the Banksia Awards and its activities.

We have worked with interns who have either decided to remain and work at Banksia or progress to opportunities that were identified through their internship with the Foundation.

At Banksia, you will gain knowledge and experience in the role of business and sustainability, along with both personal and employment skills building. You will also be offered mentoring from the Banksia staff. We encourage people of all background to apply for internships.

The Banksia office is an equal opportunity employer; we know that strength comes with diversity and welcome applicants from all backgrounds. We encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as and people of any ability, age, race, religion, gender identity and sexual orientation to apply.

If you are interested in being considered for an internship at Banksia, send us your cover letter and CV to office@banksiafdn.com to apply for this opportunity.