1 Our Story - International RiverFoundation
 

Our Story

About us

The International RiverFoundation champions integrated river basin management for the restoration, protection, sustainable management and resilience of the world’s rivers. We do this by facilitating leadership, celebration and collaboration.

Water is crucial for all life—and we need healthy rivers, lakes and wetlands for sustainable development. We promote and support effective management of these resources by facilitating knowledge sharing, education and best practice river basin management, and by recognising and rewarding those making a difference.

Our goals

  • To recognise, reward and replicate exceptional efforts in the protection, restoration and sustainable management of the world’s rivers,
  • To facilitate global knowledge sharing in sustainable, integrated river basin management,
  • To raise awareness of environmental, economic, scientific, social and cultural aspects of rivers,
  • To facilitate multi-sector partnerships and alliances that further global action to protect and revive rivers, and
  • To empower and support individuals to make a positive contribution for the world’s river basins.

We draw upon our large networks, and seek to build new ones, to revive the world’s rivers through multi-sector partnerships around the world. We are committed to supporting positive ecological, economic and social outcomes through our programs, which aim to change the lives of individuals and communities.

Global network

70

Scholarships

43

Riverprizes

34

Twinning Partnerships

15

River Recovery Projects

Who we are

Our Team

Jodie Bignall

Jodie Bignall

CEO
Our story – Eva Abal

Eva Abal

Strategic Advisor – Resilient Rivers
Olivia Wallace

Olivia Wallace

Marketing and Branding Officer
Marion Schembri

Marion Schembri

Finance Officer

Our Board <a id=”board”></a>

Michael Wright

Michael Wright (Chair)

Our Story – Philip Weller

Philip Weller

Our Story – Bill Dennison

Prof Bill Dennison

  • Over the past twenty-five years Jodie has enjoyed a successful career in communications, media and mining working for some of the world’s leading brands in both Australia and abroad. 
     
    Prior to being appointed as the CEO of The International RiverFoundation, Jodie worked for Thiess, the world’s leading mining services provider and was responsible for driving its Innovation and Client Relationship Management strategies. Preceding her time in mining, Jodie worked in media as the State Director of Fairfax Media and successfully led the Fairfax business in Queensland, driving the commercial strategy across all platforms, audiences, events and partnerships. During her time with Fairfax, Jodie also held leadership positions as the State Director (Digital), National Sales Training Director, State Sales Manager and Business Development Manager. Prior to this Jodie held marketing, sales and client relationship manager positions with Goldman Sachs, Octagon Marketing, Turner Group, Seven Network and Network Ten.
     
    Jodie is an active mentor for women and the co-founder of The Coterie, a peer-to-peer mentoring network for female Queensland business leaders. She has actively volunteered on The Churchie Emerging Art Prize Committee and as the Partnerships Manager for TEDxBrisbane and is an avid ambassador for OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue charity having participated in the CEO Cook-Off. Jodie is a member and recent graduate of Women in Technology’s Board Readiness and is a passionate advocate for educating girls. In June 2018 Jodie was appointed as a Director on the board of the Somerville House Foundation, Brisbane High School for girls. 
     
    With a passion for driving business growth and transformation through, people, innovation and technology, Jodie brings with her, a results driven commercial and strategic skillset coupled with extensive sales and marketing experience, connecting people and opening doors and opportunities for them. Jodie has a keen interest in developing professional and personal partnerships, trusted and authentic relationships are at the core of Jodie’s career success, evidenced by what others have said about her from across all corners and industries. 
    Jodie enjoys a busy family life and is a devoted wife and mother to three children.

    E: jodie@riverfoundation.com.au

  • Dr Abal joins the International River Foundation after years of experience with the University of Queensland, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, SEQ Healthy Waterways Partnership (now Healthy Land and Water) and more recently as Strategic Projects and Partnerships Adviser of the International WaterCentre. In these roles, Eva has demonstrated skills in leading and managing large-scale trans-disciplinary programs towards paths to impact, establishing and maintaining collaborative networks, strategic alliances and applied research initiatives.  Eva sits on a number of independent expert/advisory panels such as for the Great Barrier Reef 2050 Plan, Healthy Land and Water, Fitzroy Partnership for River Health, Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership, Greening Australia and Gold Coast Water.  Eva’s passion and commitment in integrated water resources management in the Asia Pacific region is evidenced in her being one of the authors of the Asian Development Outlook 2011 and 2016, which chart progress towards water security in the region.

    E: eva@riverfoundation.org.au
    CV: Eva Abal CV
    L: www.linkedin.com/in/eva-abal-85000915/

  • Olivia is completing her final year in Digital Media Communications at the Queensland University of Technology. She comes to IRF with experience in delivering communication strategies across a range of platforms, industries and audiences.

    E: olivia@riverfoundation.com.au

  • Marion has a background and skillset toward small business in different roles. She joined the International RiverFoundation in July 2019, as a Bookkeeper. Marion works 2 days per week, her main role is to maintain the accounts of the company and assist the rest of our team with other administrative tasks.

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    Michael has over 30 years’ experience across the resources & industrial industries in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Prior to being appointed to the joint role of Executive Chair and CEO of Thiess, Michael was the CEO of ASX listed CIMIC Group, responsible for leading Sedgman, UGL, CPB Contractors, Leighton Asia and Thiess. He joined Thiess in 1998, starting as a Project Manager, and has held leadership and operational roles in the mining, construction and services sector, giving him expertise across operations, technical, commercial and strategy.

    Michael is a highly regarded and innovative leader focused on delivering value to clients and inspiring operational excellence by building strong, safe and performance-driven teams. He serves as a Director of the Minerals Council of Australia and the Sustainable Minerals Institute.

    He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Civil from the University of Sydney and a Master of Engineering Science from the University of New South Wales.

  • Philip Weller is an environmental planner, consultant in Canada and Austria, and the Danube Water Program Coordinator for the International Association of Danube Water Companies (IAWD). He was previously Director irector of Great Lakes United, Executive Secretary of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), and Programme Director of WWF International (Danube Carpathian Programme, 1995-2002), driving the ‘Lower Danube Green Corridor’, an agreement between Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine for the largest wetland protection and restoration initiative in Europe. Philip has considerable experience in the restoration of natural ecosystems and public involvement in environmental decision-making, and is the author of three books on environmental topics including ‘Freshwater Seas’, an environmental history of the Great Lakes of North America.

  • Bill leads the Integration and Application Network, a collection of scientists interested in solving, not just studying, environmental problems. He is actively involved in the Chesapeake Bay Program, USA and had an active role in the Healthy Waterways Campaign of South-East Queensland, Australia. Bill has a marine science background, and has published books and papers on a wide range of marine topics. In his current role as Vice-President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, his focus is on developing ways to effectively communicate science and to create credible and rigorous environmental report cards.

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    Michael has over 30 years’ experience across the resources & industrial industries in Australia, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Prior to being appointed to the joint role of Executive Chair and CEO of Thiess, Michael was the CEO of ASX listed CIMIC Group, responsible for leading Sedgman, UGL, CPB Contractors, Leighton Asia and Thiess. He joined Thiess in 1998, starting as a Project Manager, and has held leadership and operational roles in the mining, construction and services sector, giving him expertise across operations, technical, commercial and strategy.

    Michael is a highly regarded and innovative leader focused on delivering value to clients and inspiring operational excellence by building strong, safe and performance-driven teams. He serves as a Director of the Minerals Council of Australia and the Sustainable Minerals Institute.

    He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Civil from the University of Sydney and a Master of Engineering Science from the University of New South Wales.