International Women's Day 2024 | Celebrating EIANZ Members

Published 8 March 2024

On International Women's Day 2024, we are pleased to share a Q&A with three esteemed EIANZ members: Bronwyn Dwyer, CEnvP and Climate Change SIS committee member; Melissa Harrison, Board Member and WA Mentoring Champion; and Di Buchan, Honorary Life Member and CEnvP Alumni. With this year's IWD theme being 'Inspire Inclusion', we asked Bronwyn, Melissa and Di about their what inspires them and their advice for future environmental practitioners.

Bronwyn Dwyer, Certified Environmental Practitioner & Climate Change Special Interest Section Committee member

Bronwyn is a passionate and pragmatic environmental manager who draws on all her life experience: from growing up on a farm, and backpacking in developing countries; to working for the Environment Protection Authority and multinational oil companies to develop effective controls for environmental risks and processes that provide for legislative compliance.

Tell us about your current role and what a typical workday looks like for you.

With over twenty years’ experience under my belt, I now run my own consulting business out of home at Nug Nug, in northeast Victoria. A typical workday starts after I drop children at the bus stop, sitting in front of the computer and looking out at the hills.

I tend to do the kind of work that benefits from a quiet space to allow for thinking: reviewing legislative obligations and working out how they apply to a particular industrial activity; writing management plans to communicate the control measures that provide for compliance and risk minimisation; and assessing activities for their potential to cause environmental impacts. I spend some time on the phone to clients and regulators, and visit operating sites and attend off-site meetings as required.

I am also an active member of the EIANZ Climate Change Special Interest Section, which is very inspiring and rewarding, and do some training on climate change for local leadership programs.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the environment sector?

I grew up in a regional area and enjoyed spending time amongst nature. I didn’t appreciate disrespect shown to my environment, so my career started at a young age, looking for identifying material in dumped waste and getting my mum to call the perpetrator and suggest they clean it up.

Do you have any advice for someone considering a career as an environmental practitioner?

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s easy to enter the field with high hopes for saving the world and become despondent as you learn more and start to understand the size of the challenge. It’s still nice to know that the work your doing is making a positive contribution to the world.

It also seems to be beneficial for mental health if you’re a person who worries about the future of the planet. Maybe because you have a clear idea of what you’re worried about, rather than a general, undefined existential dread. Maybe because you’re doing something to contribute to solutions, rather than just being part of the problem.


Melissa Harrison, Board Member & WA Division Mentoring Champion

Melissa recently joined the EIANZ Board and has been a member of the EIANZ WA Division Committee since 2018. She is the mentoring champion for the WA Division, as she is passionate about developing people and supporting those around her to grow into the best version of themselves.

Tell us about your current role and what a typical workday looks like for you.

I’m currently General Manager Approvals, Environment and Heritage at Perth Airport. It’s a fantastic role as I get to work on a diverse range of environmental matters on the Perth Airport Estate; from seeking approvals to facilitate developments, supporting day-to-day airport operations, to honouring culturally significant Heritage values. My typical work day looks like: lots of catch ups with my team to ensure we are delivering on our operational and approvals tasks, collaboration between various teams within the organisation, and stakeholder engagement to provide an excellent customer experience to all our passengers and enable airline partners to bring our passengers safely to their destinations.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the environment sector?

I have always been fascinated by biological science and my happy place is in nature. Environmental Science allows me to combine these two passions. The challenge of balancing stewardship of our natural environment with societal needs for infrastructure and resources drives me to always look for the best outcome to meet both needs. I love the diversity of experiences and places my career is bringing/has brought me. The ability to educate, influence and enhance environmental considerations in planning and engineering designs, ensure compliance and develop competency in the people around me is why I enjoy what I do.

Do you have any advice for someone considering a career as an environmental practitioner?

Aligning your values with your chosen role(s) provides the basis for a fulfilling and engaging career that will go the distance and provide job pride. As an environmental practitioner, it is particularly important to ensure you hold tightly to your ethics but lightly to your opinions. An evidence and outcomes based approach to your work and a constant curiosity for the “Why” in all you do will enhance your development and career.

Di Buchan, Honorary Life Member & Certified Environmental Practitioner Alumni

Di Buchan has been a member of EIANZ since 2007 and a CEnvP since 2012, serving on the EIANZ Board for 6 years. She was made an Honorary Life Member in 2023.

Di began her environmental career in Social Impact Assessment in 1985 and was part of a working group set up in Aotearoa New Zealand to develop the methodology for this discipline. In 1989 she went into private practice as an SIA practitioner, but quickly expanded to cover both social and environmental assessments.

She retired in 2016 but since then has been fully engaged as a volunteer in a number of community-based organisations.

Tell us about your current role and what a typical workday looks like for you.

My days can seem quite chaotic – with time split between my local museum, chairing a charitable trust aimed at restoring one of our town’s most historic buildings, and my role as a Trustee of an organisation aimed at making our town carbon neutral through a variety of projects, one of which I lead.

The Ōtaki Carbon Forests project aims to plant enough native forest around our town to absorb the carbon we can’t get rid of through other means such as solar installations, home insulation and reducing car travel. 

I also chair the environmental trust that I established 10 years ago to provide funds to landowners wanting to adopt more sustainable land management practices and NGOs involved in environmental extension work, particularly with young students.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the environment sector?

Initially it was my love of sociology and working with people to improve community outcomes from major development projects. The connection between thriving communities and healthy environments became increasingly clear especially after I spent a year with the IUCN in Gland, Switzerland working on a publication about how to involve communities in conservation. Since then, I have focused more on urban development and land and water restoration projects.

Do you have any advice for someone considering a career as an environmental practitioner?

It is really important to be passionate and ethical in what you do, and to be truly committed to achieving outcomes that with both social and environmental benefits. It is important to use your knowledge and influence to spread understanding of the consequences of human activities, and to empower and encourage more people to act in ways that will help restore our local and global environment.  

EIANZ Membership

No matter your experience or interests, professional recognition and support can be exceptionally valuable when dealing with the complexities of environmental practice. As an EIANZ member, you are part of a supportive, professional community contributing to the development and implementation of good practice environmental management by government, industry and the community. If you are interested in membership, we encourage you to get in touch via email to office@eianz.org.

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