Woman Walsh, Philippa Jane

Alternative Names
  • Walsh, Pip

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

Pip Walsh was born in Cowra in 1968, and grew up on the family farm. Her maternal grandmother, who studied forestry, managed family pine plantations and worked for the Ministry of Agriculture in the United Kingdom during World War II, was a strong influence. Pip studied science at university and in 1991 began work as the Australian Consumer Association's first Environmental Officer. Like many of her subsequent positions, part of her focus was on defining the role and its policy content, thus contributing to the direction of the organisation. In 1993 Pip joined the New South Wales National Parks Association (NPA) as Office Manager -'a great learning experience in administration' - and established a Young NPA group.

After a part-time position with the Australian Heritage Commission assessing places for their heritage values - another position providing 'vast amounts of latitude' and opportunities to network widely - Pip moved to WWF Australia. A variety of leadership positions followed over the next decade, interrupted only by a year (1997) with Green Korea United, where Pip was frequently the public face of the organisation. To this she attributes her confidence in public speaking and dealing with the media. At WWF Pip worked closely with then CEO Dr David Butcher, who provided Pip with support and the ability to expand her skills. Her final position at WWF was as Programs Director, responsible for all the on-ground programs, performance across the organisation and interaction with marketing and fundraising.

During her short time as the inaugural Executive Officer for the New South Wales Nature Conservation Trust, Pip again used her strategic, governance and policy skills to help shape that organisation. Pip then took up a position as New South Wales Program Manager of Greening Australia, with responsibility for running the New South Wales program. She worked closely with then CEO Carl Binning, to change the structure and focus of the organisation. Pip oversaw the introduction to Greening Australia of The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Action Planning approach, giving programs a new strategic, science base. In 2010 she became CEO of Greening Australia, New South Wales - the only woman among nine Greening Australia CEOs.

Since 2011, Pip has been Senior Conservation Manager with Bush Heritage Australia. She now enjoys managing people. Not being a 'fierce individualist', she sees coaching as an important part of leadership and regrets that it is not a more highly valued activity. Pip sees her leadership qualities as 'a mix of having a vision of possibilities and what should happen, and being able to communicate that in reasonably compelling ways' alongside 'a strong element of being able to ask probing questions to help people think about what they want to do and where they want to go, and how that might fit in'. Reflecting on why there are so few women in Greening Australia's senior executive, Pip suggests that perhaps women are conditioned to be more self-limiting, or that they worry too much about making difficult decisions that might hurt other people.

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