Emergency Media and Public Affairs
Emergency Media and Public Affairs

Emergency Media and Public Affairs

Fellows

EMPA is proud to have awarded the following Fellowships as recognition of these individuals' achievement and commitment to EMPA and our industry. More information about our Fellows will be posted shortly.

Jenny Barrett, Adelaide

Jenny is Corporate Communications Advisor to the City of Burnside, one of Adelaide'soldest residential areas,well known for its tree lined streets, period architecture and plentiful reserves and gardens.Located in the South Eastern corner of Adelaide and just 10 minutes from the Central Business District, the City of Burnside covers 28 suburbs and has a residential population of 42,000 people.

From March 2010 to September 2012 Jenny was Director of Communications for Anglicare SA, the largest not-for-profit welfare organisation in the state.

With 24 years experience as a police officer and four years as a police media liaison officer, Jenny has specialised in media and crisis management. For three years Jenny was the Media Adviser for Centrelink covering South Australia and the Northern Territory.  She spent three months working in Alice Springs after the Federal Government intervention was announced in 2007.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) and a Masters in Communication Management and lectures part time at the University of South Australia on crisis management and journalism ethics.

  • Media liaison
  • Strategic communications
  • Recovery communications

Phil Campbell, Wollongong

Phil Campbell is the Corporate Communications Manager for the New South Wales State Emergency Service. Phil is responsible for a small and dedicated team who manage media, corporate communications, Ministerial liaison and the Service’s online and social media presence.

Phil has an Honours Master of Science degree that provides him with a strong understanding of the natural hazards that underpin the core SES responsibilities of flood, storm and tsunami. Phil has worked in the media, public affairs and community engagement area for over 15 years for such diverse organisations as a waste management agency, conference and events company and international high school. Phil has received an SES Director General’s Commendation for his work in media and public affairs at the SES. Phil is a passionate believer in the use of new technology to support existing media practice and in the skilling of staff and volunteers to national standards.

  • Strategic communications
  • Media liaison

Bruce Esplin, Melbourne

Bruce is a board member of Regional Arts Victoria, a board member of the Kinglake Ranges Foundation and a fellow of Emergency Media and Public Affairs. His company (BruceEsplin Pty Ltd) is employed in providing expert advice in the corporate and not for profit sector. He is a regular presenter on radio.

The former, and first, Victorian Emergency Services Commissioner (a position he held for 10 years), he held senior positions in emergency management in Victoria for over 20 years. He was awarded the Centenary Medal for his public service in the emergency management sector.

Bruce was an advocate for an inclusive approach to emergency management, and encouraged collaborative partnerships between community, all levels of government, the emergency services and the private sector.

Bruce maintains an ongoing commitment to the emergency management sector and holds a vision for progressive emergency management arrangements where communities are not passive recipients of services, but active participants in their own safety planning and decision making.

He is a committed advocate for change in the emergency management sector.

Bruce is a photographer and sculptor and is a very passionate advocate and frequent speaker on the roles art can play in assisting individuals and communities rebuild their lives after trauma.

 

Dr Peter Hughes, Melbourne

Dr Peter Hughes is Deputy Head (Research and Innovation) of the School of Education at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Previously he was coordinator, (and established), the Strategic Communications Program at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

He has lengthy experience in teaching in Media Studies, Strategic Communication and Journalism, has extensive experience in postgraduate supervision and published on Media Research Methods (with a particular emphasis on Discourse Analysis), the roles of digital communications in contemporary society, and documentary film and television.

From 2003 to 2006 he was one of a team of three researchers undertaking research for the Bushfires Cooperative Research Centre on the Media and Bushfires. This work produced four research reports, several journal articles and several book chapters. More recently he has been undertaking research on the roles of social networking technologies (such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging) in Emergency Communications.

  • Media in emergencies

Robert R. Jensen, Washington DC

Photo of Robert R. Jensen

Bob Jensen is currently the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), supporting efforts to tell the DHS story as well as senior leadership communication across the department. He co-chairs Executive Steering Committees on Cybersecurity Strategic Communications and departmental web operations, represents Public Affairs on the Counter-Terrorism Advisory Board, and leads the department’s public affairs operational planning and strategy development.

Previously, he served as Acting Director of External Affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) where he was responsible for the direction and management of all strategic communication and outreach efforts to all the agency’s key external and internal stakeholders, as well as directed the national-level efforts for disaster and crisis communications. Other former positions in his 29 years of civil service include Assistant Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Director for Public Affairs and Communications for the National Security Council at the White House; Deputy Director of External Affairs for FEMA; Director for Communication Operations for Iraq and Afghanistan and Director of the Iraq Communication Desk with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs; Director of National Media Outreach and Senior Communication Advisor to the Spokesman for the Multi-National Force-Iraq; Executive Officer for Public Affairs and acting Spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq; Director of Air Force News Operations and Director of Communication Design with the Air Force News Agency and Senior Visual Information Officer with the Air Force Orientation Group.

In addition to serving two years in Iraq, he deployed to help set up and support the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Government communications efforts during the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill response in April 2010; deployed to set up and lead the U.S. Government Joint Information Center after the massive earthquake in Haiti in January 2010; led a White House team to survey U.S. strategic communication efforts in Afghanistan in early 2008; and deployed to Prince Sultan AB, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the Chief of Media Operations and News Generation for the Combined Forces Air Component Commander at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He is a career member of the Senior Executive Service, is a graduate of Air War College and has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design from The Ohio State University.

  • Strategic communications
  • Media liaison
  • Military operations

Anne Leadbeater, Melbourne

Anne Leadbeater formerly of the OESC, Victoria, is now Community Engagement Manager with the Murrindindi Shire Council, Victoria.

Following the 2009 Black Saturday fires, Anne worked on behalf of Council to coordinate the initial recovery efforts for the Kinglake Ranges communities. The recovery model that developed was subsequently highlighted as a case study in the final report of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. 

Anne is completing a Master of Social Science with RMIT and her study interests include community resilience, disaster recovery, communication and human rights.  She is currently researching community leadership in disaster recovery.

Anne is a resident of Kinglake, Victoria, where she lives with her family and raises Suffolk sheep. 
  • Community engagement
  • Recovery communications

Catherine Matheson, Vancouver

With nearly 30 years experience in journalism and communications, Catherine Matheson trained in Canada at the provincial and national levels in emergency response and crisis communications. Her field experience includes wildfires, protests on logging sites, public outcry over health care cutbacks, and First Nations – Government disputes.  Her areas of expertise include inter-agency communications, public participation and community engagement, communications planning, media relations, training, research and writing.

  • Strategic communications
  • Media liaison
  • Crisis communications planning

Dr Susan Nicholls, Canberra

Dr Susan Nicholls taught Professional Communication at the University of Canberra for seven years and Environmental Communication at the Australian National University. She has also taught Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of Wollongong, and English Literature at the University of New South Wales (ADFA). Widely experienced as a metropolitan newspaper journalist and public affairs officer with the Commonwealth Government prior to becoming an academic, her current area of research interest is government communication, particularly in relation to emergency and disaster recovery. She has undertaken research on the role of communication in risk management and disaster recovery, and has given seminars and workshops for Emergency Management Australia and the Australian Red Cross on these topics. She has also published a number of papers in the Australian Journal of Emergency Management and the Asia-Pacific Public Relations Journal, and has contributed chapters to books on risk and crisis management and on resilient communities. She is currently researching representations in media of people in flood events and their role in encouraging dangerous behaviours.  She lives in Canberra.

  • Recovery communications
  • Community engagement

Peter Rekers, Brisbane

After completing a degree in Media Studies, Peter joined the Navy where he trained as a Seaman Officer and Naval Police Officer. He led 100 bush fire fighters in the Blue Mountains in 1993 and coordinated the media liaison for the Navy for the Tony Bullimore rescue. He was the Australian Naval Commander’s Media Advisor during the 2003 Gulf War and later in Baghdad was the Coalition Media Director.

He was the Manager of Media and Strategy at QLD’s then Department of Emergency Services managing all media liaison for Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Emergency Management Queensland including coordinating all media liaison for Cyclone Larry. 

He is a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve, was appointed as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast, lectures at the University of Queensland, sits on the Advisory Board of the World Conference on Disaster Management and is a co-founder and Chairman of Emergency Media and Public Affairs.  In his spare time he runs Brisbane based consultancy Crisis Ready.
  • Strategic communications
  • Industrial crises
  • Media liaison
  • Military operations

Barbara Ryan, Toowoomba

Barbara Ryan has been a lecturer in public relations since 2005, when she joined the University of Southern Queensland after a 20 year career in public relations and journalism. She became interested in disaster communication when she was working as Manager of Corporate Communication at Toowoomba City Council and as part of this job was seconded to the local disaster management group with her media team during the 2002 bushfires.

When she began work at the university and started to undertake research, this field drew her in and she has since undertaken a number of research projects on disaster communication. Around the same time she joined the university, she was approached by Toowoomba District Disaster Management Group to set up a more formal media and community communication capability and she stayed in that role until 2011.

Barbara is also a founding director of EMPA and has held the role of chair of the research committee. She holds a Master of Professional Communication and is currently undertaking a PhD with the University of South Australia on how people get information in a disaster. She is very keen to see a bigger research profile for the discipline of emergency communications, which she believes will ultimately support practitioners in their bid for best practice. She teaches crisis communication at under- and post-graduate levels and uses her research to inform her teaching into these courses.

  • Strategic communications
  • Media in emergencies
  • Media liaison
  • Recovery communications

Alastair Wilson, Canberra

Alastair has had a longish career in the media and in emergency management – a bit over four decades in total.

After time in the army and the police force, in New Zealand, he began his media career as a radio journalist and then came to Australia where he worked in radio, television, and newspapers. He worked in public relations and then joined the federal government as a media manager for the Customs Service based in Sydney. In 2000 he took on public affairs roles firstly in the Industry Department, then the Immigration Department at the time of the Tampa asylum-seeker incident and through the children overboard political incident.

In 2003 he went to Emergency Management Australia in the Attorney-General’s Department as a media liaison officer covering such major disasters as the Indonesian Boxing Day tsunami and Cyclones Ingrid and Larry, and then part of the Media and Crisis Communications team within Attorney-General’s where he brought his considerable expertise to support community awareness programs in disaster preparation.

He has been a lecturer in media issues management and crisis communications at the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) in Victoria and in 2005 he co-founded the Emergency Media and Public Affairs association.

Alastair retired from the Australian Public Service mid-2011 to establish his own crisis communications consultancy specialising in facilitating exercises and workshops and writing on disaster resilience topics.

  • Media liaison
  • Strategic communications
  • Disaster preparedness communications

Michele Poole, Queenstown

Michele Poole is the Public Information Manager for the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s emergency management unit, based in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Her experience in emergencies began as a journalist in 1984, reporting on major flooding in Invercargill City. She moved into public sector communications in 1990 and has been involved in emergency Public Information Management ever since, first on behalf of individual councils and latterly as the Group Public information Manager for Emergency Management Southland.

Her experience has spanned snowstorms, earthquakes, tsunami alerts, storms, pandemic influenza, oil spills, rural fires and countless floods.

After major earthquakes struck Christchurch in September 2010 and February 2011 she was seconded to Civil Defence in Canterbury and in the 2011 response led the development of the Public Information Management structure for National Controller John Hamilton.

Michele is also a member of Maritime New Zealand’s National Oil Spill Response Team.

In her day job, Michele is the Senior Communications Advisor for the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

  • Emergency communications
  • Media liaison
  • Stakeholder relations
 

 

 

 

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