Our supporters and volunteers are the heart of our organisation, and we rely on volunteers for so much of what we do. We also have a small staff who ensure the campaign and organisational objectives as well as essential core functions are met. Let us introduce you to some of the key faces in the organisation:
Ellen Roberts, National Director
Ellen has a background in law and has worked in social change and advocacy for over twenty years, and on climate action and energy for ten years. She has worked for unions, universities, community legal centres and NGOs. Most recently she led GetUp's organising work in Queensland, and prior to that worked at the Mackay Conservation Group on sustainable development and climate change.
In 2018 she was listed in the Courier Mail’s 100 Most Influential Queenslanders. She currently lives in Brisbane, and indulges in bird watching, writing and drawing in her spare time.
Oliver Woodley, Digital Fundraiser
Oliver is a passionate campaigner and fundraiser, with expertise in digital media and data-driven problem solving. He brings more than a decade of campaigning experience to the team, and having worked with a broad range of NGOs and trade unions he understands that a strong collective voice is the most powerful tool to create change. Oliver knows that renewables are the future for Australian energy, and he uses his skills and experience to fight for a fairer, cleaner, sun-powered nation.
Stephanie Gray, Queensland Energy Strategist
Stephanie comes from a background in science communication, which explains her passion and enthusiasm for all things solar. She learnt the ropes of community organising from volunteering with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, where she spent countless hours building momentum and having conversations with the community, particularly about inappropriate coal projects in Queensland. Coming from the Sunshine State herself, Stephanie is dedicated to making the most of Australia’s wonderful weather.
Hannah Mitchell, Solar Campaigner
Hannah’s background is in psychology and social change, which first led her to community organising and campaigning with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Climate for Change. Born and raised in sunny South East Queensland, Hannah is deeply passionate about using our abundant solar and renewable resources to empower communities and build a clean and just future for everyone.
Tom O'Grady, Townsville Organiser
Tom is a Townsville local and has a background in economics, which explains his passion for a just transition to renewable energy. He brings years of experience campaigning in regional Queensland to the team, having previously volunteered with the North Queensland Conservation Council and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Tom enjoys hiking, days at the creek, a good book and the great outdoors.
Kanchana Pathirana, Organiser & Office Support
Kanchana has a background in psychology with experience in advocacy, research, and events and
volunteer coordination. She has been working within Adelaide community groups to build people power and advocate for climate justice. Her passion is to connect people with nature, themselves and their communities; and empower them and decision makers to take courageous and uncomfortable actions necessary to create a sustainable and thriving Australia. In her spare time, she loves hiking, snorkelling and dancing.
Ajaya Haikerwal, Clean Transport Campaigner
Ajaya is a problem solver, tech whiz and keen facilitator with a background in geography, and has volunteered in the youth development sector for over a decade. He has over four years’ experience in grassroots climate engagement programs, previously working with Climate for Change and the Climate Action Network Australia. Ajaya enjoys playing board games, ultimate frisbee and is based on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people in Melbourne.
Steve Fuller, South Australia State Coordinator
Steve’s interest in solar began when getting solar for his new ‘old’ home. Navigating the myriad issues was challenging and intriguing and he found that not only was he going to be saving money but becoming a part of the democratisation of the once monolithic energy system. With a background in the welfare sector, the labour movement and refugee assistance Steve wants to help ordinary citizens to come together to understand and promote this important part of the transition to a clean sustainable society. SA has been a pacesetter – now we need to up the pace!
Janet, Sunshine Coast Team Coordinator
Janet has been volunteering with Solar Citizens from our inception in 2013 and has been an instrumental part of our Queensland efforts. She is passionate about getting to a future powered by 100% renewable energy and has a background in university administration.
Janet ensures all the Sunshine Coast team meetings involve delicious food & drinks to accompany their strategic discussions.
Max Shipton, Treasurer
Max Shipton started his career as an auditor, and is now a charted accountant at a global NFP operating in the conservation space. Max believes that solar has an incredibly important part to play in the sustainability and health of the global environment, improving conditions for local communities home and abroad. His passion for solar citizens began after seeing the tremendous grass roots work done to support and protect renewable energy growth in Australia.
Mark Capps started out as an mechanical engineer, but soon moved onto business. His career has taken him through management consultancy with McKinsey, search giant Google and his own start up. Through this time he has never lost his engineering passion and is excited by the potential solar has to transform our energy generation onto a more sustainable footing.
Kristen Lyons is a Professor at the University of Queensland, with research interests in resource extractivism, climate change and human rights. Trained as an environment and development sociologist, she has worked across Africa, the Pacific and Australia researching the impact of climate mitigation on communities and her work is a grounded in a rights based approach. Kristen is director of the Master of Development Practice at UQ, and senior research fellow with the Oakland Institute, California.
Hema Raman is a lawyer with 15 years experience in encouraging good governance and behavioural change in the financial services industry. She is currently responsible for regulating crypto-assets at ASIC. She has a personal interest in encouraging the financial sector to integrate environmental, social and governance factors into the investment process. She is also a member of the Hills Montessori Preschool Board and observed Lifeline Australia’s Board and Governance Committee in 2019 as part of the Observership Program.
Ric Brazzale is Chairman of the Green Energy Group and has more than 30 years’ experience in the energy sector.
Prior to establishing the Green Energy Group in 2007, Ric headed the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), now the Clean Energy Council, a leading advocate for renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in Australia. Before this, Ric worked in a number of business development and finance roles with Fletcher Challenge Energy, John Holland and Woodside Petroleum.
Ric is also President of the REC Agents Association, President of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Association and a Director of the Energy Savings Industry Association. Ric is also Chair of the National Steering Committee of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.
Clara studied environmental and political sciences as well as engineering as a result of her passionate advocacy for sustainability and renewable energy. She recognises the important role of community based organisations like Solar Citizens’ in the national debate on energy.