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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Sally Spalding

Media Manager

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Sally Spalding has been a broadcaster, TV reporter, print journalist, lecturer in creative non-fiction and journalism, a poet and writer for the past 38 years since she completed studies at Curtin University in 1985. She is passionate about climate change and lives in the Perth Hills where she is affected by heat and bushfires every summer.

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Kylie Astell

Business and Relations 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.

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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Athena Dennis

Digital Strategist/Communications Manager

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Athena (Ngāti Porou, Ngā Puhi) has around 15 years of experience in health communications and marketing. She has worked mostly in the Not for Profit health and the education sectors, for NFPs such as Brain Research New Zealand – Ranga Roro o Aotearoa, The Salvation Army NZFTS, Australian Patients’ Association, The Coronary Atlas, the University of Auckland and the University of Otago. 

Prior to this she worked in a variety of different digital agencies in the UK and Europe and led teams that produced digital storytelling and advertising for international brands like eHarmony, AA insurance, Travelodge, Monarch Airlines, ASDA, Tesco and more.

She has postgraduate qualifications in content strategy and digital marketing and has lived and worked in Australia, New Zealand UK, Germany and Poland.  

Wild animals – saving them, celebrating them and preventing them from going extinct is her number passion. She loves non-human primates of all shapes and sizes. 

A year ago she created a global environmental movement called Palm Oil Detectives which strives to expose the extensive problem of corruption and greenwashing within the global palm oil sector at every level of the supply chain. 

Palm Oil Detectives showcases the 10,000’s of beautiful, rare and magnificent rainforest animals that will likely go extinct if rampant, out-of-control greed continues by extractive industries such as the palm oil, soy and cocoa sectors. 

In less than a year, the community has grown significantly. As a collective, the group hold to account corrupt individuals, along with greenwashing and corruption by global retailers, palm oil companies and organisations from within the palm oil sector. To find out more, look up the #Boycott4Wildlife hashtag. 

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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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