Our co-founders

WELA was co-founded by a group of women who have been leaders in Australia’s environment movement for decades. Now, with WELA, they are inspiring a new wave of women’s leadership for our environment and climate.

Margaret Blakers OAM

Founder and past WELA Steering Committee Member

Margaret is a long-term environmental activist and political adviser and a great champion of Australia’s forests.

Marg organised the first Atlas of Australian Birds, worked on environmental campaigns, and established the Victorian Greens and the national environmental policy of the Australian Greens. Margaret worked as Chief of Staff to Senator Bob Brown, organised the first Global Greens Congress, and founded the Green Institute, of which she was founding Director.

She describes her leadership roles as ‘one of those things that has to be done’. She has been a mentor to many and her vision and drive for women and our environment were core ingredients in the creation of WELA and our success to date.

Karen Alexander OAM

Founder and 2021 - 2023 Board Member, WELA

Karen is a campaign and not-for-profit governance expert. A former Chair of Bush Heritage and Environment Manager of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Karen was a lead organiser of the famous campaign to stop the Franklin Dam and helped form the Tasmanian WIlderness Society and was co-director of the National Wilderness Society. She was on the first Council of the Victorian Greens and developed strategy and communications for Federal elections. She has worked with the Environmental committees for her local council and developed the Victoria Naturally Alliance, led by Victoria National Parks Association.   

Karen’s leadership has focused on enabling others to do their job well. Her vision of an active program of support for women to become leaders in the environment movement, that recognises everyone has a leadership role to play, has driven the format of WELA to date.

Dr. Sue Lewis

Founder and Board Member, WELA

Sue has had extensive experience of working in both gender and the environment, on many industry, government and educational committees and Boards over the years.  She was Director of Swinburne University’s Centre for Gender and Cultural Diversity where she worked in dense masculinities : those male-dominated and technology-based industries that include the military through to engineering and fire-fighting organisations.  This involved undertaking organisational research and designing and delivering organisational and educational change programs in such difficult environments.

Sue also has a strong background in environmental science through her undergraduate and post-graduate education as well as her lecturing experience in environmental science at Rusden, RMIT and Swinburne universities.  As a biologist she has always been passionate about our unique and wonderful flora and fauna and her drive to conserve and regenerate our precious Victorian and Australian forests through campaigns to stop native forest logging now.

Judy Lambert AM

Founder and 2021 - 2023 Board Member, WELA

Judy is a passionate environmental advocate and collaborator. She helped found the NSW Wilderness Society, and was National Liaison Officer for The Wilderness Society in Canberra. She became a consultant to the Federal Environment Minister and co-founded an environmental consulting business, Community Solutions. She was the first national campaign coordinator and policy coordinator for the Australian Greens and was elected to Manly Council, and has held leading roles in many community environmental groups. 

Judy sees herself as someone who sees a need and fills the gap by stepping in. She places strong emphasis on working with people, and operates on respect and trust based on sound, fact-based argument. She has been instrumental in the governance and foundations of WELA since it was conceived.

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