Header: EcoCentre team group photo

Committee & Public Fund Managers

Pam O'NeilPam O'Neil
Committee President

Pam has led the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management since 2009 and brings to the role over 20 years’ experience in governance, strategic planning, policy development and community building. She has served on numerous boards of governance throughout her career including the Social and Community Services Industry Training Board and the Moorabbin Institute of TAFE Council. 

Beginning her career as a computer programmer with the Australian Government, she worked for 3 years in Europe and then transitioned into education as a teacher and manager in schools and TAFE.  Pam then worked for the Victorian Department of Education and Training in management roles, overseeing major projects in Adult, Community and Further Education and Policy and Planning.   She holds tertiary qualifications in Economics, Education, Arts and Visual Arts. Her skills in governance, policy development and planning, financial management and organisational leadership, plus her experience working with all levels of government, are an ongoing asset to the EcoCentre. 

“I believe in the ethos of “think global, act local,’” says Pam, “that If humans are to tackle the global climate emergency, we need to join with others and start at home. This is what the EcoCentre does so well. It is genuinely part of the local community and empowers people to take actions that cultivate long-term environmental wellbeing. I’m proud to lead the organisation towards this goal.”

Dr Lis FenwickDr Liz Fenwick
Committee Vice President

Liz has had a diverse career spanning the scientific research, health, corporate and government sectors. She is recognised for energy efficiency and carbon footprint initiatives in government, business and community environments. Liz brings skills in project and financial management, governance, consulting, business development, strategic planning and marketing to the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management. She holds a PhD in Biochemistry, is a published author and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

As a Port Phillip resident and small business owner for over 30 years, Liz is inspired by the work of the EcoCentre. “The EcoCentre is dedicated to the values that I hold dear,” she says. “Respect for others and for biodiversity; sustainability; and working together towards a healthy future for our one and only magnificent planet.”  
 

Deborah SykesDeborah Sykes
Committee Secretary

Deborah has served on numerous not-for-profit boards including as a Board Director and Chair of the Governance Committee of Thorne Harbour Health (formerly the Victorian AIDS Council), as a Board Member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and as Vice President of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government alumni committee. She is currently the Manager of the Strategic Projects and Regulatory Policy team within the Victorian Government’s Public Health unit. After beginning her career in nursing, Deborah transitioned into public health and brings over 20 years of leadership, risk management and strategic planning experience to the EcoCentre. She holds qualifications in business and human resources management as well as an Executive Masters in Public Administration, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Deborah is inspired to bring her skills to the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management because of the organisation’s proactive culture, community focus and its location in the City of Port Phillip, which has been her home for the last 20 years. “We need sustainable solutions in all that we do,” she says, “and this way I can start at home.”

Harpreet SidhuHarpreet Sidhu
Committee Treasurer

Harpreet brings skills in financial, risk and asset management to the role of EcoCentre Treasurer. Currently a Commercial Tax Associate with IFM Investors, she previously spent over 10 years as a tax advisor with PwC in both their Australian and UK global consulting teams. Harpreet has experience working with companies undertaking domestic and international corporate transactions, acquisitions and restructures. She holds degrees in Law and Business and is also a practicing solicitor. 

“After a number of years away from Melbourne,” says Harpreet, “I am looking forward to being involved locally with the EcoCentre and a community invested in preserving our environment and building a sustainable future.”

Jan CossarJan Cossar
Committee General Member

Jan brings over 25 years’ experience in organisational management and governance, program design, and monitoring and evaluation to the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management. As the Managing Director of Strategy Matters, a consultancy company focussed on the international aid and development sector, she works throughout the Asia-Pacific with clients including Australian Government departments, United Nations agencies, local and international not-for-profits, and private companies, helping them to think strategically and improve the quality and reach of their work. Jan holds postgraduate qualifications in Organisational Management, Social Policy and Evaluation, is a Board member of ActionAid Australia, and works as a pro-bono advisor to the Marninwarntikura Women's Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia.

“I envision a future in which human beings value, take joy in and learn to live in balance with the natural world,” says Jan. “The EcoCentre team works towards this goal with energy and dedication, and I am proud to be a part of this terrific organisation.”

Geoffrey LoveGeoffrey Love
Committee General Member

Geoffrey is an active member of the Port Phillip community and brings experience in advocacy, networking and community engagement to the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management. He is currently the Secretary of Elwood Floods Action Group and sits on the City of Port Phillip's Consultative Committee on the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Project and the Elsternwick Park Nature Reserve Community Reference Group.

Born and raised in St Kilda, Geoffrey is energised by the work of the EcoCentre. “My hope for the future of our planet is pretty much what I envisioned in the 1970s,” he says. “Environmentally sustainable, co-operative, non-consumerist and incorporating eco-friendly technology.” 

Isabel RobinsonIsabel Robinson
Committee General Member

Isabel is a writer, evaluator and community development practitioner, and brings skills in communications, strategic planning and community building to the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management. She began her career in the international development sector managing Australian Government-funded programs in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and China, and held positions on the governance councils of both the Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu Church Partnership Programs. Currently a consultant with Leanganook Yarn, Isabel provides training and evaluation services to non-profits, manages the City of Voices Inclusive Theatre Group (a creative arts program of the SouthPort Community Centre), and writes at Glenfern Writers Studios. She is raising a young family in Port Phillip not far from where she grew up. 

“In a world that can sometimes feel environmentally bleak, the EcoCentre is a beacon of hope on the hill,” says Isabel. “I love the way it unites people - connecting them with the natural world, inspiring them to take sustainable action - and builds social and community links along the way. Treating the earth and each other with kindness and respect is vital, and that’s what the EcoCentre fights for every day. I’m pleased to offer my talents, ties and time to this important work.”

JanieDr Janie Maxwell
Committee General Member

Janie is a doctor, lecturer and health researcher with an interest in the link between environmental sustainability and human health, a passion that led her to serve on both state and national committees of Doctors for the Environment Australia and to complete a Sustainability Fellowship with the Centre for Sustainability Leadership. She brings skills in advocacy, media strategy, community campaigning and education to the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management. Currently working as a General Practitioner and Honorary Academic Fellow at the Nossal Institute for Global Health at The University of Melbourne, Janie has published research on the intersection between climate change and health; for example, a paper on the link between thunderstorm asthma and climate change, and another on teaching climate change in medication education.  

As a Port Phillip local raising her young family in the area, Janie is inspired by the way the EcoCentre connects people to the wonders of their local surroundings, and the many health, environmental and community benefits that flow from this. 

LauraLaura Grant
Committee General Member

Laura is a professional facilitator and brings skills in strategic planning, governance, fundraising and team building to the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management. As a Senior Facilitator at MosaicLab she assists local governments and for-purpose organisations across Victoria. Laura has worked for humanitarian and peacebuilding organisations in Mali, Palestine, Liberia, France and Australia and has advised numerous not-for-profit boards on strategic planning, governance and fundraising. She is also a qualified lawyer with a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies and an Advanced Diploma in Group Facilitation. 

“I believe in the dual mandate of the EcoCentre,” says Laura, “building local community connections and educating and taking action for a sustainable environmental future. Transforming our relationship with the natural world and strengthening our sense of community connectedness are vitally important for a just society and personal and community wellbeing. The EcoCentre staff inspire me with their creativity, tenacity and capability and I am grateful to be able to support the work of the EcoCentre in a governance role.” 

ElliotElliot Costello
Committee General Member

Elliot is a social and environmental entrepreneur and brings skills in fundraising, marketing, strategic planning and community building to the EcoCentre’s Committee of Management. He is the Co-Founder and former CEO of YGAP, a global non-profit organisation that finds and backs locally-based impact entrepreneurs in some of the world's toughest communities, and Polished Man, a digital campaign that encourages people to paint a fingernail to raise awareness and funds for the prevention of violence against children. A qualified accountant, Elliot recently completed his Masters of Theology at Oxford University and is currently raising capital for Phantm, a business working to solve food waste and pollution issues through the introduction of bioplastics into the Australian circular economy.

“I have been a proud member of the Port Phillip community my whole life,” says Elliot. “After ten years working in the international development industry, I have pivoted my focus to climate justice. The EcoCentre fulfils my newfound interest in environmental change with a focus on supporting the community I proudly call home.”

Michele NewMichele New
Public Fund Manager

Michele plays the valued role as one of our Public Fund Managers but her involvement with the EcoCentre does not start and end there. Taking the position as one of our very first Treasurers, Michele set a great precedent within this vital function for the organisation and finished up in 2004. Before creating her beautiful family of five, Michele was employed within the financial sector and also holds Undergraduate and Post Graduate qualifications. Michele had the dedication to homeschool her middle son for more then five years and to add subsequent strings to her bow she is now also a Yoga Instructor!  Michele and her family are committed to an ecofriendly way of life; with her kids spending so much time at the EcoCentre that they call the St Kilda Botanical Gardens - "Neil's Park". 

Nic CapesNic Capes
Public Fund Manager

Nic was schooled in Zimbabwe and completed his tertiary studies at the University of Capetown with a Bachelor Comm (Honours). He is qualified as a Chartered Accountant (South Africa). He has worked in the private sector in South Africa for Arthur Andersen and Co, and Otis Elevator Company, and in the Soloman Islands and the UK for Commonwealth Development Corporation. In Australia he has worked for the Repco Cycle Company as their General Manager, and Walt Disney Company Australia as their Chief Financial Officer. He is now retired and involved in voluntary work in the not for profit sector including as Treasurer of Port Melbourne Neighbourhood Centre, Board Member and Treasurer of Inner South Community Health, and Board Member and Treasurer of Napier Street Aged Care. The EcoCentre is fortunate to call him one of their Public Fund Managers!

Louise KyleLouise Kyle
Public Fund Manager

Louise holds Degrees in Law, Arts and Environmental Science and also Certificates in teaching. Her work experience spans legal research, project management, report and other writing, community legal and environmental education, community development and tertiary level teaching (currently lecturing in Environmental Policy at RMIT University). Louise has also undertaken numerous consultancies including legal and environmental research and community development projects and publications. Louise's love of learning is currently being satisfied through the study of yoga philosophy and now through her yoga teaching.

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Boon Wurrung Foundation Logo The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional owners of the land on which we are located. We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Elder members of our multicultural community.