I thought I had said 'goodbye' Canberra, the place I had grown up in, when I graduated from The Australian National University in 1985. And, after years of working away from the ACT, it wasn't until I returned to Canberra as CEO of Intelledox that my relationship with the University was rekindled.
Now, I am happily living back in my home state and re-connecting with ANU is one of the most impactful things I have done - thanks to a group run by ANU alumni (like me) and friends: the Game Change Enablers.
At the start of 2020, the birthday party of a friend, Graham Waters was cancelled due the the pandemic. The Black Summer bushfires had just burned 1.8 million hectares across south-east Australia, devastating the lives of so many Australians. So, Graham asked his guests to put whatever money we were going to spend on a present or travel, towards helping those impacted by climate change.
Inspired by this initial action, Graham, myself, and other like-minded friends, got together and developed the concept of the Game Change Fund. The Fund provides critical support to ANU PhD students who are working on urgent solutions to climate change and its impacts.
This fund has strengthened the connection I have with the ANU community. I feel a strong connection with those who donate to the Game Change Fund, who, like me, acknowledge that future generations will be living with the consequences of climate change. I also have a strong connection to the students supported through the Fund , who we hope to arm with the resources they need to make decisions about one of the greatest challenges of our time.
ANU played a key role in solidifying and growing the ideas, relationships, and know-how of the Game Change Fund. This allowed me and other 'Game Change Enablers' to continue passionately fundraising for the Fund. Most recently, this saw my wife, Kate Carnell and I undertake the Great Murray River Paddle in which we paddled a total of 400kms in five days - raising $5,500 for the Fund. It was a fitting fundraising activity - paddling down the Murray really drove home the impacts climate change is having on Australia and the world.
As ANU alumni, you are part of a community that cares about making positive change in the world. The support the ANU has given in helping the Game Change Fund empower students to find solutions to climate change, and make decisions about optimal responses and actions, is phenomenal. For this reason, I count myself lucky to be an ANU alumnus.