To the world, Melanie is a calm, collected and undeniably clever social impact powerhouse.
With a knack for process-driven problem solving, evidence-led storytelling and qualitative social research – we have never met someone so hungry for data. Heading up the social impact team, Melanie brings an international lens and a passion for social change to all aspects of her work at Ellis Jones.
Beyond work, Mel wears many other hats. She’s our resident chocolatier, fanatic meal prepper and supermum! A master of work-life balance, you will either find Mel walking (read: juggling) her three little ones to and from daycare, or very casually attending an intense fitness class.
Without further ado, it’s time for you to meet Melanie!
Sum yourself up in three words.
Calm. Determined. Go-getter.
After a number of years working in social impact, you remain inspired and determined. What drives you?
It’s not hard to be driven to come to work every day when you work in social impact. That said, working and collaborating with leaders and team members who are equally determined to create a better society keeps me going when the chips are down. Having children also puts an intense focus on the need to do more and do something impactful with my time.
What are some emerging trends in the social impact space?
Having worked in Europe and Asia for seven years, I feel like Australian businesses and leaders have been slower to take a stand on social and environmental issues. Having said that, Australian businesses are starting to think more strategically about aligning sustainability to business goals. Ad hoc practices are crystallising into business policy. Encouragingly, institutional investors are playing an increasingly prominent role in challenging sustainability practices. For example, Coles was asked for the first time about its modern slavery and climate change practices at its AGM last year. The Investor Group on Climate Change has been working closely with investors to address the risks and opportunities of climate change.
What is the best part of your day at EJ?
I love my work and the people I work with. And I’m not just saying that because I have three young kids at home who make balancing the demands of five clients look like child’s play. It really is great to surrounded by like-minded, smart, motivated people.
How would you spend an ideal weekend?
A morning run, brunch with my family followed by an afternoon in the park with the kids, ending with dinner somewhere nice…maybe at a wine bar (without the kids!).
If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be?
I would want it to be easier and less environmentally damaging for us to explore the world. As someone who was born in one country, grew up in another then worked in several different countries, I recognise how much these experiences have helped me to see the world, its a problem and solution in its different ways. I wish we could all experience these different worlds without the negative impact it has on the environment.
If you ran a “Melanie’s Wisdom” campaign, what would the Flinders Station billboard tagline say to the world?
Let it go (That Elsa is a smart woman!)