Q&A

SEI welcomes Emma Bones as General Manager

We hear from Emma Bones, our new General Manager, about her work experience from consulting to not-for-profits, and the importance of advocacy in the climate space.

Native Australia flower blooming.
Image by Alvin Lenin via Unsplash.

SEI: Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

Emma Bones: My background is in the charity sector, management consulting, and before that, accounting. While I was working in consulting, I worked for state and federal government, universities and not-for-profits to design operating models, develop strategies and manage change. I then moved into operations and program management roles in the charity sector, including for an environmental NGO that provided capacity building and shared services to climate advocacy groups. I am passionate about the important role of advocacy, particularly in relation to the climate crisis and volunteer for a number of small organisations who are working in this space, including Groundswell Giving.

What appealed to you about working at the Sydney Environment Institute, and what do you hope to bring to your new role as General Manager?

I have been aware of the Sydney Environment Institute for many years and used to regularly attend SEI events in pre-Covid days. I am really excited by SEI’s purpose of extending and amplifying the scope of engagement on environmental issues and bringing together expertise from across disciplines to address key problems in favour of the public good. The environmental challenges we face are multidisciplinary so the solutions need to be too.

In the General Manager role, I hope to bring my expertise in developing and delivering strategies that create impact and effect change, as well as my experience in all things operations, including finance. The years I spent training as an accountant do come in handy sometimes!

You’re interested in policy solutions for meaningful climate action, and are actively involved in climate organisations. What environmental issues or problems are you most drawn to?

I am passionate about bringing new voices and perspectives into the conversation on climate change, and strongly believe in the power of advocacy to accelerate and amplify progress in tackling the climate crisis. The climate crisis affects so many aspects of our lives, and the world in which we live. I am particularly interested in justice as it relates to the crisis, as well as in the action we take to address it.

Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?

I love being outside, ideally with my partner, Tom, and cattle dog, Pippa. I also enjoy cooking (and eating). I have a very nerdy hobby and play the cornet in a community brass band. We compete at state and national competitions and yes, we do march!


Emma Bones is the General Manager of the Sydney Environment Institute. With a background in consulting and the not-for-profit sector, she has broad ranging skills across operations, strategy and finance. She has worked as a management consultant, developing strategies and designing operating models for government agencies and not-for-profits, and held senior roles in charities with a focus on building impactful and sustainable organisations.

With a keen interest in policy solutions addressing the climate crisis, Emma is passionate about bringing new voices into the conversation on climate change and achieving bipartisan support for meaningful climate action in Australia.

Emma is a registered Chartered Accountant, an advisor to Groundswell Giving and a committee member of Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action.