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Our People

Some of Our Volunteers

Cass is a small animal veterinarian from Sydney who is very passionate about sustainability and minimising our ecological footprint. She works within the Climate Care Program team on developing course content, some graphic design, surveying participants and helping out with the technical platform we use. We love Cass for her slightly dry humour, her wit and her ability to get things done!
Terry is a vet nursing lecturer from Perth and cared about climate since, well, caring about climate first became a thing! Terry works within our Climate Care Program team where her expertise in educational development shines. She has also delivered talks and written articles on climate in a veterinary context. We love Terry for her experience, her energy and because she's just so down to earth.
Tony is veterinary student at Murdoch University. He has the privilege of working with a small group of students who lead a climate action special interest group there. With VfCA Tony hopes to help integrate vet students from all over the country and better unite them with VfCA. We love Tony for his careful demeanour, his passion and his respect for people around him.
Elise is a vet in a mixed practice in a small town in north east Victoria, and her favourite things are her kids, her garden, and her beautiful rural community. She’s a firm believer in the power of grassroots movements, and works with VfCA in the Rural and Policy teams. We love Elise because she's really considerate, she's down to earth and she's a strong believer in the power of communities to create political change.
Ron (the one on the right) is a former Chief Veterinary Officer for Queensland. His 43+ years working in biosecurity was rewarded in 2020 with the David Banks Australian Biosecurity Lifetime Achievement Award. Ron is particularly concerned about the climate change legacy that will be passed on to our grandkids. He initiated formation of the group of former CVOs to 'play our part’ in saving the planet. We love Ron because of his humour, his ability to communicate and work with a wide church, and for his love of his grandkids.
Anna is a small animal veterinarian with an interest in One Health. She has a Master of Public Health degree and is a PhD candidate focusing on antibiotic resistance. Anna is deeply passionate about taking early preventative action to protect and enhance human, animal and environmental health. She has significant experience in non-violent direct action and organising community events to support a safe climate.
...and heaps more!
...and heaps more!
We have more than fifty volunteers at VfCA - far too many to list here! If you'd like to get involved, we'd love to meet you too!

Our Board

Dr Jeannet Kessels - Board Chair
Dr Jeannet Kessels
Board Chair
Jeannet is responding with conviction and commitment to growing alarm at the effects of climate change on animals and the environment. She leads Greater Springfield Veterinary in Queensland, engages in business consulting, and dearly enjoys her family. A driving force behind our organisation, she dedicates substantial time and forward energy to VfCA.
Dr Angela Frimberger - Deputy Board Chair
Dr Angela Frimberger
Deputy Board Chair
Angela is a biologist, veterinary oncologist, mother, small business owner and climate advocate. She brings years of experience in small-scale climate advocacy, ranging from her Climate Reality training, to regular speaking engagements, to founding Climate Vets, a global network of animal health professionals concerned about climate change.
Dr Helen Scott-Orr AM PSM - Board Director
Dr Helen Scott-Orr AM PSM
Board Director
Helen comes from an extensive career in public service, including being the first female Chief Veterinary Officer of NSW, and is deeply passionate about climate and the potential for the veterinary community to advocate for and achieve emissions reductions. Helen compliments her great sense of energy and humour with a wealth of experience in governance and strategy.
Dr Jonathan Happold - Board Member
Dr Jonathan Happold
Board Member
Jonathan graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Sydney in 1998, he completed a Masters Degree in Epidemiology at the University of London and is a Fellowship Candidate of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists.
Professor Mark Howden - Board Member
Professor Mark Howden
Board Member
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. He is currently the Director of the Institute for Climate, Energy & Disaster Solutions at The Australian National University and has experience in issues including agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems.
Nick Williamson - Board Member
Nick Williamson
Board Member
Nick is delighted to have joined the VfCA board, growing up somewhere between a zoo and a vet school and having been surrounded by animals large and small for most of his life. He has a background in law, healthcare and for-purpose organisations, and is the father of two kids deeply concerned about our climate.

Our Staff

Tara O'Connell - CEO
Tara O'Connell
Tara brings over 25 years of diverse experience including 6 years as CEO of a national environmental NFP; Chairman and Director on regional tourism boards; Head of Digital Transformation for a national NFP; and as a consultant to Government Departments and NGOs. Tara has also developed and sold her own technology company, and enjoyed guest lecturing at University during the past 20 years. Tara says she feels honoured to work with so many talented people in such a values-aligned organisation.
Sarah Wooltorton - Project Manager, Climate Care Program
Sarah Wooltorton
Project Manager, Climate Care Program
Sarah brings a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience to VfCA. Most recently, she spent a number of years developing products for some of Australia’s biggest pet insurance brands. She is highly skilled in large product launches and developing content for knowledge management platforms and customer portals. She is also a communications expert. Sarah is passionate about climate action and animal welfare and has enjoyed coordinating volunteers for animal welfare charities throughout her career. She has worked in the vet/animal health space for close to a decade and has never looked back.
Katie Sheehan - Project Coordinator, Climate Care Program
Katie Sheehan
Project Coordinator, Climate Care Program
Katie has worked in the not-for-profit sector for the last 14 years. Recently, she worked at Climate Action Network Australia providing membership and admin support, and project coordination for the Better Futures Australia initiative. She was also a member of the Policy & Advocacy Team at Cancer Council NSW, contributing to the planning and execution of state-wide advocacy campaigns. Katie is passionate about uniting people and purpose to create positive change.
Jesse Fox - Community Engagement Manager
Jesse Fox
Community Engagement Manager
Jesse is a veterinarian who has previously worked as a mixed practice veterinarian in rural NSW. They also have experience working in community organising for a variety of causes. They are passionate about climate action and the power of communities to make political change. They love working closely with our volunteers to create meaningful impact!
Jethro Hardinge - Team Assistant
Jethro Hardinge
Team Assistant
Jethro studied Zoology, Ecology and Marine Conservation at university, and has worked as an animal attendant at a wildlife park. In most recent years, Jethro has been running a small business (a swing dance school!). As such, he knows what it's like to build up and maintain a small organisation - and has a versatility of skills that help VfCA run smoothly.
Liz Malcolm - Product Development Manager, Climate Care Program
Liz Malcolm
Product Development Manager, Climate Care Program
Liz’s broad range of skills and experience stems from a foundation in education, and an innate drive to engage, inspire and inform. As a Diversity Consultant, Liz created and facilitated training programs embedding workplace equity and inclusion, and is now excited to bring her love of instructional design to the passionate VfCA team.

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.

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