Board & Management

Our Patron

Reverend Vicky Cullen

The Reverend Vicky Cullen is Patron of the Peter Cullen Water and Environment Trust. Vicky has been an outstanding advocate for Peter’s work, a regular speaker at Trust Programs and a generous donor, offering Indigenous Scholarships on our flagship programs.

Our Board

Professor Emerita Cynthia Mitchell AO (Chair)

Cynthia’s outstanding contributions to water, environment and community have spanned more than three decades; she is recognised as an exceptional inter-disciplinary and inter-generational leader. Her worklife journey has been driven by a passion to find longer levers to make more of a difference. During her early years in engineering faculties, Cynthia led programs in the ‘new’ discipline of environmental engineering, whilst initiating women in engineering programs and becoming an ardent advocate for learning and teaching. On discovering the fledgling Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS, it was a perfect match and one that sustained her for 20 years; her work as Deputy Director helping grow it into a world-leading transdisciplinary research organisation. The desire to do more, to go deeper, remained, because what had become abundantly clear through her research was that the only way to create lasting change in the world is to find the courage to go inwards and create lasting change in ourselves – it is an inner-outer dance of transformation. In 2021 Cynthia stepped away from the Institute to start her own business, the good ancestor, aimed at doing precisely that. In January 2024, Cynthia was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the environment.

Susie Williams

Susie Williams is the Kimberley manager for the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation based in Kununurra, a remote northern town in one of the most rugged and beautiful parts of the country. Not only has Susie extensive and expert knowledge of resource management in northern Australia and how the region is placed, socio-economically and geopolitically, she is committed to its sustainable development. She has contributed to nationally significant public policy about indigenous rights to water, northern development, water allocation and ecological flow regimes in the Kimberley. She has diverse experience and unique insights into the future challenges and opportunities facing a remote and rural water sector. Susie was one of the founding members of the National PCT Fellows Committee and as Chair, she effectively transformed a work program that was un-strategic and thinly spread, to one which was aligned, clear, and communicated to all stakeholders. She now continues this work as a Board Director for collaborative impact towards sustainable water management and NRM in Australia.

Chris Arnott

Chris Arnott has over 21 years of experience in public policy, extensive networks and a proven ability to lead teams of high-performing problem solvers. He has worked extensively for a range of state, federal departments and their associated agencies, particularly in the area of performance management, monitoring, evaluation and reporting (MER). Chris is regularly engaged across investment programs to help establish effective performance frameworks, including the use of investment logic models, as well as ex-post evaluations. Chris led Aither’s systematic review of evaluations conducted by the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources over the last 2 years. Spanning a diverse range of investments from transport to Creative Victoria, Chris and the Aither team identified factors that are critical to successful performance.

Dr Andrew O'Neill

Dr Andrew O’Neill is Healthy Land & Water’s Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for driving innovation and guiding Healthy Land and Water’s talented scientists and engineers as they work to improve South-East Queensland’s environment. Andrew is an expert in sustainable urban water management and water sensitive urban design and is recognised globally for his innovative work in building leadership and technical skills in professionals and students. Andrew has a proven track record of designing and delivering award-winning integrated water policy and water sensitive urban design projects and has researched and delivered projects in many countries around the world including collaborations between universities, first nations, government and industry to improve our natural environment.

Dr Lisa Ehrenfried

Dr Lisa Ehrenfried is Manager for Environment and Community Resilience at Yarra Valley Water, where she leads the development of its climate resilience plan and circular economy strategy. She has previously worked as Manager for Research and Innovation at the Water Services Association of Australia, in integrated water planning in the Victorian State Government, and in engineering roles at Yarra Valley Water. All these roles have tapped into her ability to connect people and run collaborative projects. Lisa has published book chapters and papers, presented at international conferences, and been engaged to deliver public speaking training and investment logic maps. Lisa has a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from the Munich University of Technology and a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Cambridge.

Our Staff & Volunteers

Rosie Wheen, Chief Executive Officer

Rosie Wheen joined the Trust as CEO in February 2024.

There are three threads that run through Rosie and her way of being no matter where you encounter her in the world – compassion, courage, and service. Her commitment to service and thirst for adventure saw Rosie begin her career in education. With a love of languages and other cultures, she jumped at an opportunity to volunteer at a school in Indonesia. This formative experience as a young person had a big impact on Rosie – the school was resource poor with no electricity, running water or teaching resources but rich in so many other ways. At many points in her life, Rosie can point to examples like this where she has had the courage to seize opportunities that take her out of her comfort zone and help her to grow personally and professionally. Her openness to new opportunities propelled Rosie into International Development. After six years in Indonesia, she joined WaterAid Australia at its inception in 2004 and, after a significant period as Director of International Programs, became Chief Executive in 2016. She has remained grounded in a focus on human rights, gender equality and universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene. She loves the possibility created by the intersection of her passion for diversity and inclusion with innovation. As a leader fueled by compassion, courage and service Rosie is well known for creating space for others to blossom in all aspects of her life.

Dr Bek Christensen, Programs Director

Dr Bek Christensen, Programs Director, joined the Peter Cullen Trust in 2021. Bek has shaped her career around enabling impact from science, facilitating collaborations, and capacity-building. She has worked in ecosystem research, policy and communication across university, NGO, and government sectors, including leadership of major national initiatives in collaborative research infrastructure. Bek is passionate about developing people, and building bridges between groups of people to enable collective impact. Alongside her work with the Trust Bek is current President of the Ecological Society of Australia, serves on the STEM Sector Policy Committee of Science and Technology Australia, and is member of several advisory boards to national ecosystem research infrastructure.

Lesley Ryall, Fellows Network Coordinator

Lesley Ryall joined the Trust in 2022, in the new role of Fellows Network Coordinator. Lesley’s professional journey includes senior roles in marketing, communications, community development, events and professional development across NGO, government and community sectors. But it is her year of living dangerously with the Williamson Community Leadership Program, and her subsequent life as a Fellow, that has shaped and transformed her values and her passion. Lesley has lead her own consulting business, The Good Work Group, for the past 20+ years, applying her skills and intent to her professional aspiration to do work that’s worth doing and do it well.

Linda Cumming, Executive Officer

Linda Cumming, Executive Officer, joined the Trust in 2019 after working as a full-time parent and living in New Zealand for several years. Her background is in the Museum and Heritage Sector, having worked as a Curator at Old Parliament House (now the Museum of Australian Democracy) and the National Museum of Australia. Linda has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Australian National University, majoring in History and Classics.