Bridging Issue #48

The energy. The excitement. The relief! Graduation week in Canberra is always special. May 2022 graduation week was extra, extra, special. A week full of inspiration with session 2 of the leadership program, the Fellows Professional Development Day, and the inaugural Chairperson’s Round Table.

From the Chief Executive Officer

By Darryl Day, CEO

The iconic Shine Dome last hosted a Trust graduation event in 2019. It made us realise what we have missed in not having a face-to-face graduation in two and a half years. The 2022 Science to Policy Leadership Program Graduation was rated by our Patron, the Reverend Vicky Cullen, as the best. An incredible presentation by the graduands, recognition of the 2021 Women in Water Fellows, who completed their program on-line in November last year, and the Graduation Address.

The Graduation event is covered separately in this edition of Bridging by our Programs Director, Dr Bek Christensen. However, I would like to highlight how each element of the program constructed a narrative that deeply connected, challenged us to reflect, and lead transformation with curiosity and courage.

The Welcome to Country address by Ngunnawal Elder, Wally Bell, inspired through his stories of country and culture and an invitation to embrace traditional knowledge and contemporary science with curiosity and respect.  The 2022 Science to Policy presentation demonstrated WHY the PCT Leadership Program is truly transformative.

Then the Graduation Address by Professor Emeritus Cynthia Mitchell. Cynthia inspired and challenged not only the graduates, but all of us, to be courageous. To draw strength from our own vulnerability. Cynthia shared insights from her transdisciplinary learning. The need to step back and reflect, then again step back, and reflect on our reflections.  The challenge and opportunity to be in that space of reflexive contextualise. To be in that space of being deeply reflective and letting the context drive things and to hold our nerve there. Cynthia left us with the challenge to have a regenerative orientation. It is not just good enough to focus on doing less harm to our environment. We must do much more. You must make the time to watch, or rewatch, Cynthia’s powerful message via the link in Bek’s update. An inspiring challenge. Thank you, Cynthia.

The Hon Karlene Maywald, Chair of the Trust announced the Board’s decision to award the first Life Membership to Leith Boully. There will be much more to be said about the recognition of Leith’s inspiration in designing the leadership program and directing the 15 leadership programs the Trust has delivered since 2010. An incredible legacy. Thank you, Leith. You have inspired so many in taking the over 230 Fellows on a truly transformative journey.

I am absolutely delighted to welcome Lesley Ryall as Fellows Network Coordinator. A new role so important for the journey of Fellows and the future of the Trust. We are very fortunate to have you in our team Lesley.

Fellows Network Coordinator Appointed

By Lesley Ryall, PCT Fellows Network Coordinator

In a rare moment of planet alignment, an opportunity to make a contribution to environment and leadership came across my radar and, remarkably, some amazing people decided that I could.  My name is Lesley Ryall and I’ve recently started in the role of Fellows Network Coordinator at the Trust. I join you from my offices on my bush block in North Warrandyte, on Wurundjeri country, 30km or so north-east of Melbourne, and 500m from the Yarra River.  I have a background in leadership programs (Fellow of Leadership Victoria); environment (WWF, Bug Blitz Trust, Be Ready Warrandyte (bushfire recovery); alumni programs (Monash Alumni Association, Dafydd Lewis Trust); community engagement (IAP2); and events and have worked in all levels of government.  For the past 20+ years I’ve operated my own small business providing a wide range of services to the not for profit sector. I’m excited to be taking on the mantle of Fellows Network Co-ordinator and thank the many who have welcomed me so warmly.  I look forward to working with and for you and will always respond to messages sent to

The PCT Staff Team – Lesley Ryall, Linda Cumming, Dr Bek Christensen and CEO Darryl Day

Programs Update

By Dr Bek Christensen, PCT Programs Director

OzWater ‘22

With reference to great leaders like Darth Vader and Brené Brown, PCT’s great debate at OzWater ’22 was a clear highlight from the last few months. Our debate topic was ‘Our water sector needs more people experts and less technical experts to ensure a brighter future’, or in short: we need more leaders and less experts.

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PCT community at the OzWater ’22 Great Debate, including Friends, Fellows, WSAA YUL participants, and PCT staff.

2022 Science to Policy Leadership Program.

Session 2 of the 2022 Science to Policy Leadership Program in Canberra in May was the first in-person completion of a PCT Program since 2019 – something worth celebrating! As usual, the Fellows PD Day coincided with Graduation Day (you can read about PD elsewhere in this edition), and our graduation event was a double-header with the 2021 Women in Water Leadership Program Fellows attending to receive their certificates and celebrate in person after completing their program online last year. We were privileged to have PCT Friend and Professor Emeritus Cynthia Mitchell speak at the event, in a presentation that was heartfelt, thought-provoking, and motivating. If you missed it, you can watch it here: . This was also the first graduation event that we livestreamed, and it was encouraging to see so many Fellows online to connect and support the newest program graduates.

Congratulations to the 2022 Science to Policy Leadership Program graduates (L-R) Front: Cath Atkinson, Lisa Hamilton, Kirsty Savage, Jason Wilson, Meg Humphrys, Rhys Coleman, Kate McBride; Middle: Chris Golding, Kathryn Silvester, Rob Fittock, Amanda Hazell, Dan Mollison, Belinda Lovell; Back: Eric Vanweydeveld, Arash Zamyadi, Paul McInerney, Josh Hindson.
Congratulations to the 2021 Women in Water Program graduates (L-R) Front: Katie Hammer, Tamara Jackson, Nerida Horner, Celine Roux, Michelle Campbell; Middle: Fiona Dyer, Ruth McDonnell, Karen White, Di Mead, Karla Halliday, Simone Stewart; Back: Lucy Shoobridge, Alanna Wright. (Absent: Gabby Yates, Jen Longstaff, Wenyan Wu)

Leith Boully Retires

Those who attended graduation heard the news that the 2022 Science to Policy Leadership Program is the last that Leith Boully will direct for PCT, as she is retiring from this role. All readers will know that there are not sufficient words to express Leith’s impact on our PCT community, or to express our gratitude. Plans are underway for an event to thank Leith in person, as well as some other activities to recognise her leadership through the life of the Trust. We will keep you up to date as these plans progress.

Upcoming PCT Events and Opportunities

The dust has barely settled on the rich program of events that featured through Graduation Week in May, but planning is already well underway for the next wave.  Look out for more information on these forthcoming PCT events and opportunities:

2022 Lunch with a Leader Series

Your City Leads are working hard to bring opportunities for local gatherings in our major centres across the back half of 2022.  Look for details coming your way via email and social media over the next weeks and months.

2022 Women in Water Leadership Program

We look forward with excitement to the 2022 Women in Water Leadership Program commencing in September.

2012 Fellows 10-year Reunion

With the PCT brand of optimism, we are planning our first ever in-person 10-year reunion for the 2012 Fellows cohort in the final quarter of the year.

2022 Peter Cullen Lecture

The touchstone of our annual calendar, The Peter Cullen Lecture is scheduled on Wednesday 16 November in Canberra.  This important event will be bookended by Session 2 of our 2022 Women in Water Program and the next Fellows PD Day.

2023 Science to Policy Leadership Program

APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN for The Peter Cullen Trust 2023 Science to Policy Leadership Program

Applications are now invited for the Trust’s 2023 Science to Policy Leadership Program. The Trust’s highly regarded flagship Program enables the people at the forefront of Australia’s water and environment sector to develop their leadership capabilities, communication skills and ability to drive change.

The Program is limited to 16 participants drawn from across Australia. Applicants must be available to attend both residential sessions and take part in the intervening project work. People who complete the whole program successfully join the community of Fellows of The Peter Cullen Trust.

Session dates for 2023 are:

  • Session 1: 20-24 March 2023
  • Session 2: 22-26 May 2023

Information for applicants and sponsoring organisations, together with the application form, are available via the Trust’s website

The 2019 Science to Policy Leadership Program Fellows at their Graduation Event in Canberra

The cost of the Program includes all course fees, flights, accommodation, and a Graduation Cocktail Event where Graduates will be welcomed as Fellows and have an opportunity to connect with other alumni, PCT Friends and Trust Board Directors.

Please encourage all the emerging water and environment leaders in your network to apply.

For further information about the Program please contact Trust CEO, Darryl Day, at

PCT Mentoring Program

Don’t forget that the Trust offers a mentoring program. If you are a PCT Friend who would like to mentor a Fellow, or if you are a Fellow who would like a mentor, please fill out the Expression of Interest which is downloadable from the PCT website

PCT Updates

Shaking the Foundations: Fellows Professional Development Day

Thursday 19th May at ANU Canberra
By Trent Wallis, PCT Fellow 2017

After a long hiatus with the last two years of Covid, it was great to have the Fellows Network reconnect “face to face” on a sunny autumn day in Canberra, for the first time since 2019.  We had a superb PD Day program with some fantastic topics and discussions: 

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PCT Fellows attend the Fellows PD Day in the ANU Fenner Room, May 2022.

Perth Lunch with a Leader

By Stacey Hamilton, PCT Fellow 2018 and Perth Lunch Lead
Friday 3 June

In the middle of National Reconciliation Week and significantly on Mabo Day, the WA Fellows and Friends came together for our first Lunch with a Leader session for 2022.  Michelle Andrews, Director General of Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) was our guest speaker and she delivered in spades!

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PCT Fellows and Friends attend Lunch with a Leader in Perth. From left to right: Digby Short (Head of Environment – Watercorporation WA), Stacey Hamilton (City Lead and 2018 Fellow), Dehlia Goundrey (Senior Principal – Environment, Watercorporation WA), Susie Williams (2011 Fellow), Kathleen Broderick (2014 Fellow), Jen Longstaff (2021 Fellow), Michael Douglas (Fellow 2011), Michelle Andrews (Guest Speaker), Brett Dunn (Fellow 2019).

Conferences and Seminars

The Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group Inc. Conference will be held between the 26-30 September 2022, followed by a post-conference field trip from 1-5 October. Conference registration is planned to open shortly – see the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group Inc. website for further information

The Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, will be hosting the 2023 Society of Freshwater Science conference in Brisbane in June 2023. This is the first time the Society will have held a meeting outside of North America and it will be held jointly with the New Zealand and Australian Freshwater Science Societies.  A ‘save the date’ announcement is at Freshwater Sciences 2023 (

Awards and Appointments

Fellows and Friends of PCT are widely acknowledged for their individual achievements on many fronts, including:

Well-deserved honour for one of our first Fellows and Board Directors!

Our congratulations to Dr Katherine Daniell (Fellow 2010) who was recently awarded the insignia of Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre National du Mérite by the French Ambassador HE Jean-Pierre Thébault.  Katherine has served the relationship between France and Australia in a number of roles, including as President of AFRAN, to strengthen scientific and university cooperation between the nations and regions, and to contribute to research and innovation in the water governance field and beyond.  The award is bestowed for distinguished civil achievement, and it is rare for an Australian to be so recognised.

PCT Fellow appointed National Lead for Climate and Energy at Dairy Australia

Elissa McNamara (Fellow 2016) takes on the mantle of National Lead for Climate and Energy at Dairy Australia, where she will be leading implementation of their Climate Change Strategy and working with the industry to reduce carbon emissions.

Making a Positive Change for Marine Life

Kaye Cavanagh (Fellow 2011) recently joined the board of Positive Change for Marine Life – an Australian based NFP focussed on waterway and ocean programs, working with marginalised coastal communities. PCFML shares a strong passion and ethical approach to making a positive change in coastal environments and the communities that rely on them. 

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Friend of PCT, Professor Stuart Bunn, appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.

Our hearty congratulations to Friend of PCT, Professor Stuart Bunn on his recent appointment as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.  See Academy announces 2022 Fellows for outstanding contributions to science | Australian Academy of Science  and Scientists honoured for contributions to sustainability research – Griffith News

Friend of PCT, Professor Quentin Grafton, joins the Global Commission on the Economics of Water.

Professor Quentin Grafton, Friend of PCT and Laureate Fellow has been appointed, in a pro bono capacity, as a Lead Expert and Commissioner of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water. The Global Commission is composed of 17 experts, community leaders and practitioners from a broad range of science, policy and front-line practice expertise from all regions of the globe. Collectively, they will provide an independent review of ‘The Economics of Water: An Agenda’ to be presented and discussed at the 2023 UN Water Conference. Further details about the Global Commission are available at:

Articles and Publications

See links below to recent publications by PCT Fellows and Friends.

Water resources planning in a drying climate in the south-west of Western Australia

Dr Kathleen Broderick (Fellow 2014)

Written for a special issue of AJWR on water resource planning, this is an important  case study that explored the similarities and differences of Perth and South West Australia. We read so much about Murray Darling and we just don’t have the same sorts of rivers in the West.

Water resources planning in a drying climate in the south-west of Western Australia

The Importance of Legislative Reform to Enable Adaptive Management of Water Resources in a Drying Climate

Simone Stewart (Fellow 2021)

This work was presented in Dubai in March at the “Water Resources Management and Sustainability: Solutions for Arid Regions” Conference which formed an important part of World Water Day at the Dubai Expo 2020.

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