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Our People

Our Patron

Prof Peter Doherty AC FRS FMedSci
Prof Peter Doherty AC FRS FMedSci

Peter Doherty shared the 1996 Nobel Medicine Prize for his discoveries about transplantation and “killer” T cell-mediated immunity, an understanding that is currently translating into new cancer treatments. The first veterinarian to win a Nobel, he was also Australian of the Year in 1997. Peter is still active in research and also maintains a public profile. His twitter feed mixes his outspoken views on the need for urgent climate action with his fantastically dry sense of humour.

Our Board

Dr Jeannet Kessels - Founder & Chair
Dr Jeannet Kessels
Founder & Chair

Dr Jeannet Kessels is a creative entrepreneur and climate advocate based in Queensland, Australia. She is the founder/director of Greater Springfield Veterinary, founder/chair of Vets For Climate Action, and mother to four wonderful adult children.

Jeannet graduated from the University of Queensland School of Veterinary Science with First Class Honours in 1986 and embarked on an enjoyable 30 year veterinary career, with highlights including surgery and reproduction. She loved the deep connections formed with the community around her. Starting with a little two-room clinic at her home, allowing time with children, the practice grew into the Greater Springfield Veterinary Group, now with three hospitals, over 50 dedicated staff, and an excellent work culture. 

Dr Liz Clarke
Dr Liz Clarke

Dr Liz Clarke is an experienced senior executive having led teams and organisations in Australia and internationally (including in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe). She has a lifetime of involvement in various aspects of agriculture, sustainability, and natural resource management; as a policy advisor, practice-driven researcher, facilitator, educator, and farmer. As the former CEO of Soils for Life, Liz has successfully implemented a targeted strategy to facilitate and support transformational, regenerative change for Australian farmers.

Liz currently holds visiting fellowships at ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University. She also holds a PhD in Human Ecology from ANU.

Dr Helen Scott-Orr AM PSM - Board Director
Dr Helen Scott-Orr AM PSM
Board Director

Dr Helen Scott-Orr is former Australian Inspector-General of Biosecurity, Executive Director Research, Advisory and Education with NSW Agriculture and NSW Chief Veterinary Officer.

She served as Chief Veterinary Officer and Director, Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication, with NSW Agriculture and led veterinary capacity-building projects in Indonesia on zoonotic disease control, especially rabies, anthrax, brucellosis and leptospirosis.  She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and served on the boards of Animal Health Australia and the Cooperative Research Centres for Invasive Animals, Weeds, Beef, Sheep, Cotton and Rice. She has been the NSW Coordinator of the Crawford Fund since 2013. Helen received a Public Service Medal at the 2010 Australia Day Awards for Outstanding Public Service to Agricultural and Veterinary Science, and in 2021 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for "significant service to public administration, to biosecurity, and to veterinary science. 

Professor Mark Howden - Board Director
Professor Mark Howden
Board Director

Professor Mark Howden is the Director of the Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions at The Australian National University.

He is also an Honorary Professor at Melbourne University, a Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and is the Chair of the ACT Climate Change Council. Mark has worked on climate variability, climate change, innovation and adoption issues for over 30 years in partnership with many industry, community and policy groups via both research and science-policy roles. Issues he has addressed include agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems.

He has been a major contributor to the IPCC since 1991, with roles in the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and now Seventh Assessment Reports, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC participants and Al Gore.

Our Advisors

Kerrie Bennison
Strategic Advisor

Kerrie Bennison is both a veterinarian and conservationist, actively involved in managing protected areas and dealing with the big questions of adaptation, species movements, challenges to biodiversity in the face of uncertain climate predictions and changing government
approaches. She also holds a PhD in biodiversity conservation and is a Churchill Scholar(Threatened Species Conservation). Kerrie is the Head of Region Western Australia and South Australia with Bush Heritage Australia. 

Ben Tyler
Board Advisor

A proud Bininj man, Ben co-authored Walking In Gagudju Country and owns and operates Kakadu Kitchen, a proudly 100% Indigenous company producing wholesale beverages infusing Kakadu native botanicals for Australia's hospitality, tourism, and Indigenous bush food sectors. Ben supports the Board as as our Indigenous Advisor.

Our Ambassador

Dr Geoff Wilson

Dr. Geoff Wilson is a world-class polar explorer, dynamic keynote speaker, entrepreneur, family man and veterinary surgeon. Geoff holds multiple records for unsupported solo expeditions in Antarctica including the longest unsupported solo polar journey in history. He was also the first person to summit Antarctica's Dome Argus. In partnership with his son, Geoff’s next project is a docu-series as they explore the world's most isolated and vulnerable environments. Geoff also founded VetLove in 2015, which is a family-run and Australian-owned company of 13 state-of-the-art animal hospitals across Northern NSW and South East QLD, all focused on Love, Compassion and Excellence in Vetcare with a goal of becoming carbon neutral in two years. 

Our Staff

Steff Goldring -CEO

Over 20 years of experience in operational, logistics and business strategy. Having lived and worked across Europe and Australia, Steff has a background in team management as well as program delivery. As a former lawyer, Steff is both detail-oriented and big picture-oriented. She has led multiple complex logistics projects for clients, making the user experience simple and streamlined while masking the complexity being managed in the background. As a business administrator she has worked across the spectrum from admin support through to Director level C-suite roles such as being a COO. This gives Steff unique insights into both the visionary and practical elements of project management and delivery.

Steff is passionate about solving climate change and has experience in working for climate advocacy organisations such as Environmental Leadership Australia.

Dr Jeremy Watson
Climate Care Program Advisory Committee Chair

Dr Jeremy Watson BVSc (Hons) MANZCVs (SA surgery)graduated from Melbourne Uni in 1986 and by 1998 had established the Brimbank Vet Clinic - now a 5 vet small animal practice in suburban Melbourne. In 2011 the Brimbank Vet Clinic was rebuilt incorporating the latest environmental design features facilitating a pathway to make the practice carbon neutral. It is now the first veterinary clinic in Australia to be become certified carbon neutral on the Australian Government Climate Active Register.  Jeremy has completed short courses in Circular economics and Net zero for business through Cambridge University. Jeremy joined VfCA to help amplify the role veterinary teams can play in motivating the vet community to take urgent action on climate change and has played an integral part in developing the Climate Care Program, and is now Chair of the CCP Advisory Group.

Clare Werbeloff - Programs Lead
Clare Werbeloff
Programs Lead

Over 15 years experience in service and project management, Clare has a background in campaigning, events management and leadership roles. Clare has an embedded passion for the environment, animal welfare and climate change with professional experience in enhancing customer experience, and delivering quality long term vision solutions. 

As a former community engagement lead, Clare is experienced in successfully driving business performance and improving business outcomes with a proven ability to establish rapport with clients, colleagues, volunteers and the wider community. As a business owner, Clare has worked with a variety of people with differentiating abilities, and this gives Clare distinctive insight into people management and the ability to collaborate with, and motivate a diverse range of people to successfully achieve positive outcomes.

Clare is passionate about making positive changes for the good of the environment through the minimisation of both personal and professional impacts on climate change, and has experience working for climate advocacy organisations such as Surfrider Foundation Australia, Australian Marine Conservation Society, Humane Society International and Action for Dolphins on key events and campaigns.

Dr Elise Anderson - Regional Lead
Dr Elise Anderson
Regional Lead

Dr Elise Anderson graduated with honours from the University of Melbourne in 2003. Over the last 20 years she has practiced as a veterinarian in a wide range of clinical settings, including mixed and small animal practice, and animal welfare, both here in Australia and in the UK.  Most of her life has been spent living and working in rural and regional communities, and she has experienced first hand the threat that climate change poses to the animals and people in these areas.  Elise's work with Vets for Climate Action enables her to combine her professional life as a vet with her deep personal concern about climate change, and her firm belief and experience in the power of grassroots community advocacy as a vehicle for change. She lives with her family in a small town in north-east Victoria. 

A Voice for All Animals!