The Next Economy Board

Lizzie Brown

Lizzie BrownLizzie loves getting new social ventures up and running and is the current Chair of The Next Economy’s board. She is CEO of Kindred Spirits Enterprises and a board director with multiple social change organisations. At Kindred Spirits Enterprises, Lizzie and her team are working in partnership with First Nations entrepreneurs on the development of the Australian native botanicals industry, including unique and healthy food and beverage products. In her board roles, Lizzie supports early stage change organisations to put strong foundations in place and demonstrate their impact in preparation for scale. Lizzie is a coordinator of the new Australian Engineers Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency movement, and as a former CEO, played a key role in the development of Engineers Without Borders Australia for more than a decade.

Dr Amanda Cahill

Amanda CahillAmanda is the CEO of The Next Economy. She has spent over two decades working with inspiring people across Australia, Asia and the Pacific to create positive change on issues as diverse as economic development; public health, gender equality; and climate adaptation. The focus of her work at The Next Economy is to support communities, government, industry and others to develop a more resilient, just and regenerative economy. Most of this work involves supporting regional communities in Australia to strengthen their economies by embracing the transition to zero emissions. She is also widely sought after as a presenter and media commentator and has appeared in a number of books and films including the film 2040. Amanda completed her PhD at the Australian National University on participatory action research approaches to economic development in the Philippines. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at The University of Queensland, an Industry Fellow at the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, and a 2020 Churchill Fellow.

Sandi Middleton

Sandi has over 20 years’ expertise in leadership development, community engagement, strategic foresight, program design and delivery, personal coaching and organisational capacity building. She has a strong background in sustainability and transformational learning and is a dynamic and skilled operator across all community, NGO, government and business sectors. Her recent positions include Manager of Enova Community Energy, QLD Regional Leader of the National Energy Efficiency Network, NSW Regional Manager of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership, and Byron Shire Council Sustainability Officer. In her current role at Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation, she manages fundraising, sponsor relations and operational projects. Sandi is also a board director of the organisations Human Nature Adventure Therapy and With Nature. Sandi threads her rich knowledge of leadership, mindfulness, nature reconnection and sustainability through all that she does.

Dr Jarra Hicks

Dr Jarra HicksJarra is a Founding Director of the Community Power Agency, a leading organisation supporting communities to establish renewable energy projects. With 10 years’ experience in the community energy sector in both Australia and overseas, Jarra’s knowledge spans business models, community engagement, facilitation, policy development and partnership building. Jarra has a unique blend of practitioner and researcher experience and throughout her career and has led projects on the ground as well as working at sector and policy levels. Jarra completed a PhD in Law/ Built Environment at the University of New South Wales on the outcomes and impacts from community-owned wind energy projects in small regional communities. From 2014 to 2016 Jarra was an advisor to the ACT government in the design and delivery of the Community Engagement and Benefit Sharing component of their Renewable Energy Auctions. In 2017 Jarra co-authored the Victorian Government’s Community Engagement and Benefit Sharing in Renewable Energy Development A Guide for Applicants to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target Auction and worked with the Clean Energy Council to produce a comprehensive national review of current and best-practice community engagement and benefit sharing in the wind industry, titled Enhancing Positive Social Outcomes from Wind Development. Jarra was a key participant in the ARENA-funded Social Access Solar Gardens project.

Lisa Hyden

Lisa HydenLisa joined the Next Economy board in 2018 and has over ten years’ finance experience across multiple industries and over five years in senior management and executive not-for-profit roles. Lisa is currently the Chief Finance and Operations Officer at YGAP, a global organisation that backs local entrepreneurs to support economic and social development. Prior to this, Lisa was the Financial Controller at Small Giants, an organisation dedicated to impact investing and working toward a more empathetic, sustainable and just world. Lisa holds Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Science degrees from Appalachian State University and is a Certified Public Accountant (US).

Lauren Haas Jones

Lauren Haas JonesLauren is an advocate of using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Having worked globally in strategic roles in large corporates for over fifteen years, she is a pioneer in the field of sustainability, CSR valuation, social and environmental impact and impact investing. Lauren is also a keen adventurer and an advocate for women in the outdoors. She believes adventure is a pathway to resilience, creativity, innovation, grit and growth. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting and Finance) from the University of Washington (USA) and a Masters in Sustainable Development from the University of New South Wales (Australia).

TNE Advisory Council

Both the TNE Board and Staff are supported by an Advisory Council of respected experts including:

Professor John Wiseman, Melbourne Sustainable Societies Institute and Energy Transition Hub, University of Melbourne.

Professor Katherine Gibson, Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney.

Professor Marc Stears, Sydney Policy Lab, University of Sydney.

Nicky Ison, Energy Transition Manager, World Wildlife Fund.

Alex Kelly, Communications Strategist.

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