Who is Vanessa?

Vanessa is a social change practitioner and strategist with more than 20 years experience working with the community, government and corporate sectors, in Australia and abroad. Vanessa has been at the forefront of growing social innovation and impact investing in Australia and the Pacific. Her expertise includes social project design, management and impact measurement; social innovation and finance; organisational and cultural change; policy development, stakeholder engagement and empowerment.

Vanessa spent many years in the human rights field, fighting for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, people with disabilities, people in same-sex relationships, children, factory workers and human rights activists around the world.

While working for a New York-based NGO, Human Rights First, Vanessa led a range of global human rights projects involving global corporations, development banks, UN bodies, governments and civil society. Vanessa spearheaded a Cambodian corporate-community-government partnership focussed on improving labor conditions in Cambodian factories supplying US clothing retailer, Gap Inc. She also worked on Cambodian rule of law projects designed to improve the protection of Cambodian civil rights.

In Australia, Vanessa worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission for 12 years, leading the Human Rights Program and its many national inquiries, the Business and Human Rights Program and the Commission’s strategic and cultural change process.

Vanessa was a founding Director on Impact Investing Australia’s Board and is currently a Director on the Board of the National Association of Community Legal Centres, a Leadership Council Member at The Social Outfit, and an Advisory Committee Member at the Human Rights Law Centre. Vanessa has a BComm/LLB from the University of New South Wales and an LLM from New York University.