Doctors for the Environment Australia is supported by a small team of dedicated employees, who share our members’ passion for a cleaner, healthier and sustainable future.

Denise Cauchi

Executive Director

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Denise’s passion for climate justice and protection of the natural environment was ignited during the Jabiluka campaign in the late 90s.  

The following 20 years saw her in a range of roles in international development and human rights in Australia and Colombia, including as Executive Director and Co-founder of Diaspora Action Australia, consultant to the international development sector, lecturer at Australian Catholic University, Community Fellow in Law (honorary) at the University of Melbourne, and member of the Federal Government’s Advisory Group on Australia Africa Relations. She holds a Master of International Development from the University of Melbourne.

Denise has a strong governance background, having served on six boards including the Australian Council for International Development and Peace Brigades International.

In 2018 Denise was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for contribution to human rights and the multicultural community. 

Denise’s growing concern about the climate crisis brought her to Doctors for the Environment Australia in 2019. She lives in Melbourne on Wurundjeri land with a lovely gaggle of teenagers, two dogs and a very old turtle.

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Carmela Ferraro

Media & Communications Coordinator

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Carmela completed her diploma in journalism at RMIT after gaining a degree in Politics (Hons), in between back-packing across Europe and Turkey and a host of casual jobs (from airbed sales to kitchen-handing to child minding). She worked as a features journalist for a number of national and international publications – The Age, the Guardian Weekly, the Financial Times and more – for more than two decades before the 2014 iDEA annual conference, which she was reporting on, woke her up to the deplorable state of our environment and the need to protect it. A serendipitous part-time job vacancy soon after the iDEA conference led her to her current role at DEA. A passionate advocate for an inclusive and thriving community, Carmela has been involved in local media and assisting activist and multicultural groups to have a voice. Over the years, she has also volunteered for a number of NFP organisations, including Oxfam, Environment Victoria, The Humanitarian Crisis Hub (now Diaspora Australia) and others.

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Kylie Astell

Office Manager

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After completing a Bachelor of Commerce at La Trobe University, Kylie commenced her career in not for profit organisations working for both the Anti Cancer Council and the National Heart Foundation in administrative roles before moving to the government sector. After 16 years at the Australian Taxation Office in a variety of roles from Customer Service to Personal Assistant to Assistant Director, Kylie returned to the not for profit sector in late 2018 working as Operations Manager at Kinaway Chamber of Commerce. As Operations Manager, Kylie worked with Victorian Indigenous small businesses and the State Government to improve opportunities for Indigenous business owners. A keen camper, Kylie loves to get outdoors, is passionate about protecting Australian wildlife and loves to visit remote places in Australia.  Her favourite places in Australia to date are Loyalty Beach, Cape York and Adele’s Grove near Lawn Hill National Park in far North Queensland which she visited in 2014 and 2017. 

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Jode Cowie

Administration Officer

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Jode grew up in family dedicated to environmental protection, animal welfare, and social responsibility. Initially working in volunteer and retail positions with organisations including Public Transport Users Association, Oxfam and The Wilderness Society, Jode then transitioned to administration roles where she discovered her genuine enjoyment of organisation and data.

After a wonderful period at Environmental Justice Australia, inspired by a love of independent art, Jode combined her experience in retail and administration to set up Santa Carla, the boutique emerging artists’ store.

As the store ended Jode realised a need to provide administrative support to artists, which led her to study for her cert 4 in Accounting and Bookkeeping. This balances nicely with her return to administration support at DEA.

In between work and study, Jode enjoys night walks, good coffee and tabletop games with her family and friends, trying to learn the Welsh language, practical origami and creating a bee friendly garden.

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Jesse Thompson

Media & Communications Digital Communications and Campaigns Officer

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Jesse holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.

He is a freelance photographer, and has worked in digital communication for the United Nations in Lebanon and in the union movement in Australia

In his spare time, Jesse enjoys reading and playing the piano.

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Janelle Sewell

Campaigns Coordinator

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Janelle Sewell, Campaigns Coordinator has spent a significant part of her working life in advocacy, representing workers within the Public Sector & female-dominated industries. 

In 2016 she began working for the Conservation Council of WA as a Campaign Coordinator, and has worked for progressive, environmentally focused politicians & candidates in Western Australia & New South Wales over the last two and a half years. Janelle also works for WA Forest Alliance when she is not working for DEA & is a Councillor with the City of Kalamunda.

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