People

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Neil McCarthy

Executive Director

Neil is an international leader in natural resource management with a strong focus on policy and strategy. He brings innovation, paradigm challenging thinking, and a global perspective to Mosaic Insights’ work. Neil was originally educated in Forest Science at the University of Melbourne and holds an MBA in government policy and reform from Monash University.

Neil has extensive understanding and experience in the complexities in balancing environment and economic development for the betterment of the community. Neil has superior communication and negotiating skills, and networks at all levels of Australian government, and globally through his leadership of World Urban Parks.

Through his senior management roles at Parks Victoria and the North East Catchment Management Authority in Victoria, Neil has been responsible for leading some of the most significant global initiatives in parks management. These include the ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy People’ program, the creation of Parks Forum as a peak Australasian organisation representing parks agencies, and the implementation of World Urban Parks.

Neil has been recognised for many of his contributions and was World Urban Parks’ 2016 Distinguished Individual Award recipient.  In addition to his role at Mosaic Insights, Neil is the CEO of World Urban Parks and Co-Chair of the International National Park City Commission.

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Dr Cathy Oke

Director

Dr Cathy Oke has over 20 years professional and academic experience in urban sustainability and city leadership. She is a strong advocate for local and regional governments driving action on global environmental issues, and leading research for greater impact from informed decision making.

Cathy is currently Melbourne Enterprise Senior Fellow in Informed Cities in the Connected Cities Lab within the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, and in this role she is a senior advisor on research and innovation for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. Cathy’s previous role was as Knowledge Broker at the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes (CAUL) research hub, of the National Environmental Science Program.

As a Councillor at the City of Melbourne (2008 – 2020),  Cathy was in the Environment portfolio for 12 years and Transport portfolio for 10 years, and as a member of the ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) Global Executive Committee since 2009 and First Vice President (2018-2021), she has active in advocating on behalf of local and sub national governments at six United Nations Conference of the Parties (CoPs)– for climate and biodiversity. Cathy has a Bachelor of Science (marine biology, zoology) Hons (genetics) degree, and a PhD in Molecular Science.

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Jan Orton

General Manager

Jan is a well-respected and recognised champion, leader and strategist for liveability, sustainability and natural resource management. 

Jan has held senior management positions in local government for the past 15 – 20 years, she has managed and led large and diverse teams across environment and sustainability, parks and recreation, waste and recycling, works and infrastructure. Her strengths lay in using the evidence available with a wide range of voices and experiences bringing together diverse groups, interests and disciplines to address what are often complex urban management issues.

Jan has extensive experience in engaging communities, state and federal government agencies, researchers and other stakeholders in public land / public interest plans. She was at the forefront of open space planning in NSW working alongside the State Government in the implementation of the first plans of management for community land. Since then Jan has expanded the craft of collaborative planning across recreation, rivers, open space, infrastructure and services. She is an expert in developing strategy and policy that meet the needs of place and the people.

Jan has led change in many areas of sustainability and land management and been recognised through many awards. In 2008 Jan was named the public sector manager of the year by the Institute of Public Administration Australia for her leadership and impact in applying research around integrated urban water management to the local government sector. Jan has also recently completed Company Directors course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Sydney.

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Dr Dom Blackham

Senior consultant

Dom is a specialist in catchments and cities. As a geographer, he has particular expertise in bringing together blue / green infrastructure and restoration planning for environmental and social outcomes.

Over his 20 year career in consulting and research, Dom has delivered complex projects and helped clients solve intractable problems. His collaborative approach, advanced project management capability, workshop facilitation skills, and deep technical knowledge allows him to develop strategies, plans and on-ground actions that meet multiple, and often competing, objectives.

In additional to his technical leadership roles, Dom has held several senior management roles at Alluvium (Mosaic Insights sister company) including as a Board Director. He is experienced at engaging at senior levels in government agencies and working with stakeholders with competing perspectives and objectives. He maintains close links with leading research institutions, in particular the Smart Green Cities Centre at Macquarie University and the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne (where he gained his Ph.D).

Dom has led some significant initiatives to improve the liveability and resilience of Australian cities. In partnership with Melbourne Water he led a project to identify and design creek naturalisation projects across Melbourne to improve the ecological and social values of these significant green infrastructure assets. He advised the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning on the development of the Metropolitan Open Space Strategy for Greater Melbourne, and speaks regularly on the need to bring evidence to the fore in urban planning and design.

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Mette Kirk

Senior Consultant

Mette is a Social Scientist and engagement practitioner widely known for her holistic approach to creating more resilient and connected communities through evidence-based strategies and policies as well as program evaluations and feasibility studies. Mette’s collaborative approach ensures not only a strong evidence base on which to make informed decisions, but also a solid reference for shared and positive action across internal departments and externally.

Based on a 20-year career in local government, private consulting and non-governmental sectors, Mette offers rich perspectives and policy advice across social, cultural, environmental, corporate, strategic, and urban planning. Mette effectively brings together diverse disciplines and fields of knowledge to explore complex challenges in new light and deliver strategies that transcend silos and interest areas.

Throughout her career, stakeholder and community engagement has been a core and unifying theme. Mette’s engagement and facilitation experience spans a wide range of cultural settings, including community development in Papua New Guinea; engagement with Traditional Owners on the Murrumbidgee; facilitation of strategic workshops for WWF International; and recent engagement on environmental sustainability and resilience projects for councils in Greater Sydney.

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Claudia Pelizaro

Data Science and Spatial Lead

Claudia is a Data Science and Spatial Lead and has over 15 years of experience and a track-record in a variety of projects related to urban utility, transport analytics, city science and natural resources management. She has contributed to a diverse portfolio of projects in the public, private and academic sectors with her experience and knowledge in data analytics, machine learning, and a passion for data visualization.

Claudia brings a strong blend of academic and consulting experience with her as well as a global perspective. She has spent the last 4 years at Jacobs in a senior GIS and Data Science role, completing projects for a number of clients in the Water and Energy Sectors. Prior to that Claudia worked in the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) at the University of Melbourne developing decision support tools for land use and planning. A previous role with Department of Primary Industries involved her in modelling regional landscape and climate change impacts.

Claudia held a Post Doc Position with the Transport, Health and Urban Design Research Lab (THUD) at The University of Melbourne. She earned her PhD from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and has a Master’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil.

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Bianca Benjamin

Consultant

Bianca is an urban designer and planner with a particular interest in evidence-based research as a foundation for designing places that work for people. Bianca has been involved in open space planning, major transport infrastructure, regional strategic planning and state-significant industrial projects in Western Australia, Abu Dhabi and Victoria that seek to balance the complex interplay between the built and natural environment.

Having worked in private consultancy and the public sector, Bianca is experienced in delivering masterplans, structure plans, scheme amendments, research and policy, coastal adaptation strategies, open space strategies, urban forest and cooling strategies, urban design frameworks and guidelines, as well as providing technical advice in design and planning. Combined with her experience and certification in project management and stakeholder engagement, Bianca is able to support her clients and guide the sustainable growth of places and their communities.

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Chandni Gupta

Consultant

Chandni is a spatial analyst specialising in data analysis and modelling. Chandni has in-depth knowledge of data processing and visualization using various programming languages like Python, R and tools like Tableau and Power BI. She is skilled in creating dashboards supporting fast decision-making for businesses. She has designed dashboards to investigate crimes in different areas using R. She has used machine learning algorithms to perform sentiment analysis on yelp product reviews by classifying text into multiple classes.

Chandni has worked to propose a proof of concept to visually represent the operation of the Melbourne drainage network using the latest technologies and how this would positively impact the future workforce. She carried out research to find out which technologies or integration of multiple technologies would help the Melbourne Water to effectively visualize the drainage network in the future and effectively check the performance of their assets as well.

Chandni is currently using Python to analyse spatial demographic, open space and vegetation data to prioritise urban cooling opportunities on Melbourne water land. She has produced dynamic clickable maps to visualize these opportunities. She is also analysing walking accessibility to the Little Yarra River and suggesting access points by analysing the benefiting population.