CEO, Homeward Bound Projects
I started my advertising career in England with Ogilvy & Mather Direct and then in Australia, I joined Leo Burnett Connaghan & May, Lintas:Melbourne. After a few years, I felt I really needed to align my work with my values – I wasn’t really interested in selling more cars or cheese – and went back to study and earned my Grad certificate in Business at RMIT. I then moved to the nonprofit sector, first by starting my own charity – The Wild Tiger Fund – raising awareness and funds for anti-poaching programs in India – we have lost 90% of the world’s wild tigers mostly to provide tiger bone for the traditional medicine market, and then I joined Oxfam Australia to run their direct marketing program. I really thrived in this sector and found my life mission which has centred around helping the most vulnerable, whether its women and children or wildlife. From Oxfam I moved to Plan International as Chief Marketing Officer, another international aid agency and was recognised for my work with Plan and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games as a Victorian Telstra businesswoman of the Year in 2006.
I found my way back to wildlife and conservation joining Bush Heritage Australia as Chief Marketing Officer. They have done a wonderful job of protecting entire landscapes around Australia. Then for five years, I was Foundation Director with Zoos Victoria, helping to raise more than $20million to restore the zoos’ infrastructure and contribute to protecting Victoria’s 20 most threatened species including the Helmeted Honeyeater which is down to tiny numbers in the wild and the Tasmanian Devil whose populations have been devastated by facial tumour disease.
My time with Bush Heritage began my love of birds. I am a keen photographer and the birds around Victoria and Hobsons Bay are a joy. So whenever I take a walk I take my camera – I have a bird photography facebook page: Pamela Sutton-Legaud photography. I’d love to have better skills to paint or draw birdlife but a camera can help me to capture their lives and threats and share them with those who also love our wildlife.
In my professional life I have been awarded several scholarships including to attend Stanford University through the Dyson Bequest to take a residential course to assist non-profit organisations with strategic development. That was life changing. I also received a scholarship from the AGSM Alumni to attend the University of NSW graduate school where I completed my Grad Dip in Management and then incredibly, a further scholarship from the Australian Scholarships Association to finish my MBA. I believe in taking control of your own professional development and my career and life has been greatly aided by all of the support I’ve received from different organisations who put their faith in me to complete my studies. It is a lesson to anyone considering further study – invest in your own professional development.
In October 2020, I ran for local council as I was concerned, with four of the incumbent councillors not standing three of whom were women, that there may be no women elected to the council unless more women ran as candidates. It was a difficult decision as I had not been politically active prior to the election. I wanted to be a voice for women and green space preservation and help to encourage community groups to speak out who perhaps usually get left out of conversations about new infrastructure.
I would love to see a complete ban on single use plastics including all those plastic milk bottles and plastic wrapping around vegetables and encourage everyone to recycle and reuse whatever you can. If we could remove single use plastic from the value chain i.e. before it gets to the end user, that would be the best way to deal with it.
I am very committed to the environment – once it’s gone, it’s gone. I have watched the decline of birds everywhere I’ve visited in Australia – woodland birds are so tiny, weighing just a few grams. We lose so many to foxes, cats but more than anything, to loss of habitat. I am involved in several great community groups including Hobsons Bay Wetlands Centre and Hobsons Bay Community Fund and I’m on the board of BirdLife Australia.
I encourage anyone who wants to make a difference to contact me and talk about what would make a difference to their lives. It’s been a particularly challenging and sometimes scary couple of years. I am looking for ways to make a positive impact on our community by engaging in open discussions and strive to be an active ambassador for women in leadership. I’m looking forward to these conversations – the more voices we hear, the better our plans will be and the more we can achieve for each other.