After more than ten amazing years at Environment Victoria I’ve let the Board know I will be finishing in the CEO role at the end of this year.
When I started at Environment Victoria back in 2008 I had no idea I would be here for so long. But I’ve found this to be the most effective, inspiring and energising organisation I’ve ever been a part of. There’s been no better place to work towards solving our climate and environmental crises.
And over the past decade with the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors we’re a more powerful and effective organisation, and movement, than ever.
I’m really proud of some of the big achievements the Environment Victoria community has made over the past decade. A few highlights that stand out for me include stopping export coal projects and HRL’s coal-fired power station from being built in the Latrobe Valley (remember that one!), making something good of the Hazelwood mine fire by achieving major mining rehabilitation reforms, and of course Hazelwood’s eventual closure and the work we did to secure a large transition package for the Latrobe Valley.
It’s been rewarding to help rebuild Victoria’s leadership on climate change and renewable energy in recent years. In no small part that’s been a product of our volunteer-led community organising program which has built a powerful presence in Melbourne’s south-east ‘sandbelt’ electorates over the past six years. And while it’s never been an easy campaign, the Murray-Darling river systems now have much larger environmental flows than they had a decade ago.
I’m really proud that I will be leaving Environment Victoria as a strong, stable and independent organisation. We have over 150,000 Victorian supporters (about 10 times the number we had in 2008), and have successfully completed the transition away from government funding through the incredible support of our growing donor base. Thank you so much to everyone that has made that transformation possible.
These are not just my achievements though – they are the work of the Environment Victoria community and our allies and friends. While I’ve often had the privilege of being the organisation’s front-person, we’ve always had a strong and committed team of staff, Board and volunteers. That has never been more true than now – the current crew of campaigners, organisers, communications whizzes and the behind-the-scenes staff who keep the show on the road with minimum fuss, are a very talented and experienced bunch.
But before you start sending your farewells, I’m not going anywhere yet! As you know, there’s an incredibly important state election in November this year that will determine whether our state rises to become the climate and environmental leader the world so urgently needs, or returns to being a laggard fuelling our sustainability crises. This election is too important to sit out, and I’ll be at Environment Victoria through until the end of the year working to put the environment at the centre of every party’s political agenda.
And once the Board recruits a new CEO, I’ll help that lucky person settle into the role.
I don’t yet know what I’ll do next (after recharging a bit with family and in nature), but I do know that Environment Victoria will always be a part of me, and I hope I’ll always be a part of it. I’m particularly looking forward to celebrating Environment Victoria’s 50th birthday with many of you next year.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. Time to get back to work and make the most of the opportunity we have before us to ensure November’s election delivers some giant steps forward for people and planet.
It’s been such a privilege working with you all. I look forward to working with you on the election campaign over the next five months, and then beyond that on the path to environmental and social justice and a better world for all.
There are some, but not many people that truly live by their values – Mark Wakeham is one of them.
Environment Victoria has been lucky to have Mark’s passion, intelligence, talent and drive for nearly 11 years. During this time he has led the team to many great achievements, and will leave a legacy of a powerful, vibrant organisation with a strong team culture. Although we are sad to see Mark move on to other adventures, we are well placed for the next exciting chapter for Environment Victoria, with a highly skilled and strategic board, and fantastic staff team.
Last year the Board and Environment Victoria team developed a five year strategy with the vision for Victoria to be a global leader and national catalyst for solving the climate crisis, and a model for a thriving, sustainable society that protects and values nature. Implementation of this plan is now well underway. We’re looking for a strategic, focused, authentic and impactful leader to ensure we continue to deliver on this strategy.
The board has appointed Searchlight Group to lead the search for our new CEO. If you or someone you know have the qualities and skills it takes to continue to lead Environment Victoria in taking on the biggest threats to our climate and environment, please contact Michael Holdway, Director Searchlight Group 03 9600 1137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to introducing our successful new CEO to you later this year, and of course celebrating Mark’s more than a decade with Environment Victoria and wishing him well in his future endeavours – if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that he will continue to leave a positive impact on the world wherever he goes.
With deep thanks to you for supporting Environment Victoria and a better world,
Mark Wakeham and Emma Humann