We are led by a small team of seasoned campaigners and are connected to a global network of climate organisations.
John is the founder and Executive Director of The Sunrise Project. Prior to founding The Sunrise Project in 2012, John spent ten years working in senior positions with Greenpeace Australia Pacific, where he performed a wide variety of roles, including managing the climate and energy campaign, the genetic engineering campaign, and the outreach and mobilisation department. Prior to working for Greenpeace, John co-founded several non-profit recycling businesses and worked on a wide variety of environmental campaigns at a grassroots level. John holds degrees in Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Business Management from the Queensland University of Technology and before becoming an activist worked for several years as an engineer making components for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries.
Aviva joined the Board in mid- 2015. She is the Deputy Director of the International Energy Programme at the European Climate Foundation (ECF), which she joined after two years with The Sunrise Project as Pacific Coal Network Coordinator for the international coal network. In this role she supported the activities of a diverse set of groups in the Pacific coal region, working to develop the support structures and infrastructure for the international coal network. Prior to joining The Sunrise Project, Aviva worked with International Rivers first as Southeast Asia Program Director and then as Campaigns Director, managing the organisation’s Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa and re-granting programs. Aviva has extensive experience in campaigning, fundraising, grants management, and financial and organisational management.
Mark has held leadership positions in the Australian environment movement over the last 20 years, including as CEO and Campaigns Director of Environment Victoria, Director of the Environment Centre of the Northern Territory, and Renewable Energy campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific. He’s been involved in successful campaigns to stop the Jabiluka uranium mine in Kakadu, introduce national and state renewable energy targets and retire our oldest coal-fired power stations. He has degrees in Economics, Adult Education and Australian History, and was the winner of the Jill Reichstein Award for Social Change in 2016. He’s a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is currently working as a strategy, governance and advocacy consultant for not-for-profit organisations.
Miranda is Principal in Class Actions at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. Her legal practice in the field of class actions is centred on corporate governance, market integrity and consumer protection. She has a long standing interest in environmental protection and has advised and conducted litigation on behalf of environmental organisations on many occasions.
Erna de Vries
Erna de Vries
Erna is a retired petroleum geologist and financial analyst with a keen interest in sustainability and corporate ethics. She studied Earth Sciences and worked as a geologist with international oil and gas companies including Shell, BHP and Ampolex. After working in the Netherlands, UK and Brunei, her career brought her to Australia. Erna obtained her MBA in Sydney and went on to work as a senior executive in corporate and institutional banking with Bankers Trust and then Westpac as Head of Resources Research and Commonwealth Bank as a senior risk manager. She has been involved in the financing decisions of many major mining and energy projects. For the last 15 years Erna has been an active volunteer in various local community campaigns.
Julie Lyford OAM
Julie Lyford OAM
Julie Lyford OAM is a strong, dedicated and experienced advocate for rural and regional communities. As a former registered nurse, local councillor and mayor, Julie is committed to the core values that build progressive and resilient societies. Her priorities are sustainable, liveable communities with fair, transparent and trustworthy political processes. Julie has extensive board and decision-making experience with Hunter Councils, Regional Development Australia (Hunter), Midcoast Water, Upper Hunter Arts, tourism and economic development committees. As a young mother concerned about climate change, Julie co-founded the Gloucester Environment Group in 1990 and went on to chair Groundswell Gloucester; a volunteer team protecting the Gloucester and Manning Valley from coal and coal seam gas extraction.
Catherine has been an activist for a number of decades, working primarily in Australia, the Pacific, Canada, China and Southeast Asia. Catherine first got involved in activism during the Franklin campaign in the 1980s, working for the Wilderness Society for almost 8 years.
Since 1996, Catherine has campaigned full-time on climate and energy issues and was a climate specialist at the David Suzuki Foundation in Canada from 1996 until 2002, leading their successful air pollution and climate campaign. Catherine then returned to Australia to work for Greenpeace Australia Pacific where she was a renewable energy campaigner before leading their climate and energy team. After that, Catherine worked in the Greenpeace China/East Asia office for 4 years as an energy adviser and finally as Deputy Communications Director.
Since 2013, Catherine has worked for Greenpeace International on international teams focusing on Audience Engagement and Campaign Strategy, primarily in Southeast Asia and Japan.
Catherine joined the Sunrise Project board in July 2019.
Sam La Rocca
Sam La Rocca
Sam has over twenty years experience building people powered movements for a socially just and ecologically sane world. While completing his first class honours thesis on grassroots mobilisation, Sam co-founded activist education outfit The Change Agency to deliver campaign training to community groups around Australia and internationally. He’s worked as a senior political advisor in federal parliament and demonstrated his capability as a an effective field organiser and electoral campaigner. He’s facilitated movement-wide processes to reset Australian climate movement strategy, and led GetUp’s Environmental Justice, election and organising strategies.
Peter has worked at the intersection of environmental justice and finance for over twenty years, including in senior leadership roles with International Rivers and the Berne Declaration. Starting in 2006, he pioneered engagement of western NGOs with Chinese state-owned financiers of major projects, helping to prevent Chinese investment in destructive dam projects. He has strong international network experience and helped initiate the World Commission on Dams, the Public Eye on Davos, and several NGO networks including ECA-Watch and Banktrack. Peter is a Swiss national and lives with his family in Berkeley, California.
Lyn manages The Sunrise Project’s office operations. She has many years of experience in both non-profit and commercial environments, having worked as a Program Director in the Finance sector for over 20 years and as Operations Manager for small not-for-profit organisations. Lyn joined The Sunrise Project in July 2018.
Claire has 20 years’ experience in journalism, communications and campaigning in Australia and around the world. Claire has held a number of leadership positions, including most recently at Amnesty International Australia and as National Director of community-led renewable energy advocacy organisation Solar Citizens.
Claire has a broad history of organising and campaigning in the labour movement and for organisations of social impact, including overseeing communications for Australia’s successful Every Australian Counts campaign for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Justin Guay is the Director for Global Climate Strategy. He has a decade of experience in nonprofit advocacy and foundation strategy development.
Prior to joining Sunrise he managed grant-making and strategy development for global coal campaigns at the ClimateWorks Foundation and Packard Foundation. At the Packard foundation he oversaw a $40 million grant making portfolio across all climate and energy priorities in India, China, the US, the EU and South East Asia. He also assisted in leading the Foundation’s Innovation in Climate Solutions strategy and energy focused Program Related Investments (PRIs).
He has also run the Sierra Club’s International Coal Campaign as the Associate Director for the International Climate Program. The program focused on global efforts to transition energy systems beyond coal to clean energy with a special focus on international finance. He worked for the Sierra Club since 2009, in roles involving lobbying, media relations, policy research and advocacy.
He has lived and worked in Mumbai, India where he supported local community groups advocating for clean energy solutions and partnered closely with distributed solar companies serving poor communities. Justin received a Master’s Degree in International Development from the University of Denver and received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah.
Ross has extensive experience working on critical policy issues like opening up the UN & World Bank to civil society, promoting strict regulation of the tobacco industry, and challenging the political power of the fossil fuel industry.
At the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids & the Framework Convention Alliance he helped usher in the world’s first public health treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. He then created & program to fund & support citizen groups as part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.
At Friends of the Earth, he used FOIA to publicly expose conflicts of interest in the environmental review of the
Keystone XL pipeline leading to an official State Department Inspector General inquiry.
Most recently, he served as US Campaigns Director at Stand.earth where they successfully defeated multiple West Coast oil train terminal proposals and pressured Starbucks to recommit to making a recyclable cup. A native of Buffalo, he holds a BA in African Studies from UC Berkeley & an MA in Applied Economics from American University.
Holly has over 10 years’ experience working on mining, energy and climate justice campaigns at the grassroots level, in non-profit organisations, and for national labour unions. Recently she directed the NSW state political and community organising campaign Land Water Future, that saw fossil fuel mining licenses drop from covering 80% of the state to just 8%. She has a journalism and law degree – majoring in corporate and environmental law – from the University of Technology, Sydney. Previously, Holly worked with the labour union United Voice as national campaign director on climate justice and fair economy.
Georgia has 20 years experience as an environment and social justice campaigner and a passion for bringing together analysis and activism. Georgia spent seven years coordinating Friends of the Earth Australia’s nanotechnology project, has worked as a political advisor and election campaign manager, as liaison officer to parliament for NSW’s environment groups, and as a research assistant investigating health and medical research policy.
Georgia has a PhD in Science and Technology Studies and an honours degree in Environmental Science.
With 20 years experience as a communications professional, Alison worked for eight years as a senior media and policy advisor in state and federal parliament. With an Arts/Law degree from Sydney University, Alison began her career in law reform, working for NSW and Federal government agencies where she held senior positions at the Australian Law Reform Commission, Federal Health Department and NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. She has been an advisor with the NSW Cabinet Office and head of Media and Public Relations for the NSW Department of Community Services. Alison has managed media for federal, state and local government election campaigns. During university she worked as a journalist and editor in the print, radio and desktop publishing fields.
Mary brings over 13 years of organizing, activist training, and campaigning experience to her work at the Sunrise Project. She was most recently at Greenpeace US, where she managed a team of field organizers working to shore up support for climate action in key Congressional districts, became the Grassroots Training Director for a few years, and then worked as a campaigner on iconic oil fights including Arctic drilling and pressuring banks to stop lending money to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
As Outreach Manager, Mary works with cities, businesses, and other actors to pressure their insurance companies to divest from fossil fuels and stop insuring coal and tar sands projects.
Diana has over a decade of organising and campaigning experience. Before joining the Sunrise Project team, Diana worked with Greenpeace USA to reform federal fossil fuel leasing policies, stop critical new fossil fuel infrastructure projects like export terminals and pipelines, and engage global financial institutions to restrict lending to new oil projects.
Diana works with a coalition of institutions and partner organizations to move Blackrock’s more than $6 trillion business away from climate and forest destroying investments.
She is a graduate of Vassar College and lives in Denver, Colorado.
Roberta, born and raised in Rome, has over seven years of project management, development, and campaigning experience. While in college at the University of California, Berkeley, Roberta worked to pressure the UC to move its money out of fossil fuels investments, and once graduated, Roberta continued to work with coalitions in California to help cities and counties cut their ties with Wall Street Banks.
Prior to joining the Sunrise Project, Roberta worked with Amazon Watch where she helped launch a campaign to expose BlackRock’s investments in oil and gas companies operating in the Amazon basin and directly threatening indigenous communities and territories.
Roberta currently lives in El Cerrito, CA. During her free time, she loves to spend time in the outdoor rock climbing and backpacking. She also volunteers with Sunrise Movement, a youth led organisation working on implementing a Green New Deal in the US.
Casey has two decades of experience directing successful international climate and corporate accountability campaigns for groups ranging from Greenpeace International to ForestEthics. He helped start the anti-sweatshop movement in the U.S. in the late 1990s, conducted the largest test for mercury exposure in U.S. history, and led campaigns that engaged the tech sector to eliminate toxic chemicals from its supply chains and move industry leaders (Facebook, Google, Apple) to invest in and lobby for 100% renewable energy. He is a graduate of Duke University and lives with his family in Oakland, California.
Hungry to fight for environmental and social justice since her time as a political science student at universities in France and South Africa, Lucie joined Friends of the Earth France in 2013 as a campaigner focussing on the French export credit agency and private financial institutions. Since then, she has developed a strong track record of convincing French private banks and insurers to adopt sector-wide policies cutting their support of coal and other extreme fossil fuels. She also worked to push the French government to cut its export support to French corporations for coal projects abroad. Lucie is passionate about the role of finance in ecological transition and its impact on social inequalities and works closely with grassroots communities and the finance industry alike. She recently joined the Sunrise Project in order to scale up her contribution in the fight against climate change.
Jess’ foray into coal and gas issues was at NSW Farmers Association where she delivered over 35 training sessions to farmers on their legal rights when approached by coal or coal seam gas companies for exploration or extraction on their land. Having trained as a lawyer and studied International studies, Jess has also worked at NSW Parliament, EDO NSW writing legal materials for Local Land Services staff, and on shark conservation at Humane Society International (HSI) where she represented HSI Australia at the Convention on Migratory Species shark conference in Costa Rica. Jess also runs a small illustration business providing illustrations for environmental campaigns and small businesses in her own time.
Adam has four years’ experience on the climate team at GetUp, working to stop Adani, keep coal seam gas in the ground, save Australia’s Renewable Energy Agency and generally make federal climate policy less woeful. He has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Bushra works in the Sunrise operations team supporting the executive, deputy, operational and finance directors. She has extensive experience providing administrative support in the Not-For-Profit space. Prior to working at the Sunrise Project, she was a project officer providing practical and emotional assistance to young carers and their families across NSW (with a focus on young carers in regional communities). Bushra has a Health Science degree and an Arts degree from Macquarie University.