Woman Beynon, Nicola Jane

Adviser, Advocate and Environmentalist

Written by Judy Lambert (edited from blogs prepared by Jane Elix), Australian National University

Nicola Beynon was born in Swansea, South Wales in 1972 and spent her teen years between boarding school in England and Indonesia where her parents lived. Nicola loved geography at school. She was strongly influenced by Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, which was part of the preparatory reading for her studies at Oxford and shaped the way she approached her tertiary studies and later work.

Nicola left the UK in 1994, to accompany her future husband Chris to his new position in Australia. While seeking work, she volunteered for both the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers and The Wilderness Society and in 1996 secured a job as the latter's Office and Volunteer Manager. There Nicola saw in her colleague Felicity Wade 'a natural leadership personality - confident, inspiring and competent' (http://janeelix.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/nicola_beynon/.)

In 1998 Nicola moved to the Humane Society International (Australia) as a biodiversity campaigner. Working at the Australian and international level in an organisation that is a major non-government force for wildlife conservation and animal protection, she travelled frequently as an adviser to the Australian Government at international treaty meetings.

With the arrival of her two children, Nicola scaled back to part-time work. With two pre-school children to support, she found the lower wages available in the environment movement a challenge. She summed up the influences on leadership in a comment that 'I don't think there's any institutional barriers to women becoming leaders in the environment movement. I don't think there's discrimination from within the environment organisations. It's more that the logistics remain difficult' (http://janeelix.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/nicola_beynon/). The support Nicola receives from her husband Chris, who is not involved in the environment movement, plays an important role in enabling her to 'switch off' and enjoy her time at home with family.

In 2011, after 13 years as a high profile environmental advocate, Nicola moved from Humane Society International to a position as policy adviser to the NSW Greens MPs. She describes the differences between men and women in leadership roles in the environment movement as being 'more personality...rather than gender based'. She identifies a strong need for environmental leaders to be 'expert negotiators within the movement as well as with government and the private sector' and stresses the importance of having 'the ability to know when to use advocacy and when to use negotiation' (http://janeelix.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/nicola_beynon/).

Published Resources

Online Resources

See also