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Multi-award winning conservationist and change advocate


Jean Thomas is a multi-award winning conservationist, having worked extensively in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to protect the rainforest and save tree kangaroos from extinction. Along with developing environmental education programs in PNG for conservation, Jean created training programs for PNG communities that resulted in improvements in health for over 12,000 people in 50 villages.

Her life story is one of passion and purpose that inspired Independent filmmaker Mark Hanlin to document her life in a full-length feature film called Into the Jungle. This success story of her work in PNG provides fantastic insight and a unique perspective on a multitude of topics for all audiences.

Current Work:

As a passionate conservationist, Jean is the real deal and wants to fix the worlds environmental and social problems. She knows how to do it.

Jean is a powerful inspiration to motivate you to effect real social and environmental change in your organisation or community.

As a keynote speaker, Jean wears her heart on her sleeve and shares her story in a way that has you experiencing it as if you are there with her. This invites an opportunity to reflect on your own experience and tap into the part of you that wants to make a difference but doesn't know-how. Jean will help you see how you can make a valuable contribution to society and the environment.

Previous experience

Awards: Her awards include The Future for Nature Award (Netherlands), Australian Geographic Conservationist of the Year and Telstra Business Women for Social and Purpose Enterprise in Victoria.

Talking Points

Finding Your Passion

You don’t get to endure the things Jean has gone through without passion. Passion is in the gut and can give you the energy you need to get things done. Without it you fall in a slump, become unmotivated and plod along to achieve very little. This is not good for you personally or for any business. Jean will teach you how to reignite it and kick start your project or complete that job that seems to be taking forever.

The Triple Bottom Line - what does it really mean? Putting the social and environmental purposes into your business charter

Putting the social and environmental aspects into your business charter is not only about good marketing, it is about giving your business a purpose much greater than yourself or your business. Jean will explain in great detail about what addressing the triple bottom line really means from a grounded perspective. Her experience comes from being there on the ground in one of the most successful conservation programs in the Pacific. You will be hard-pressed to hard to find anyone more qualified to talk on the subject.

- You or your organisation can follow up with a tax deductible donation to her charity - Tenkile Conservation Alliance

Inclusiveness - what we really need to know about it

Inclusiveness is a buzz word in business at the moment. It has come from the not for profit sector and is often used in mainstream media. But what does that really mean. What does an inclusive society or business really look like? Jean will explain how it goes beyond policy development and charters, it is about people’s behaviour and their attitude which ultimately develops into our culture. If you are looking at changing your business culture and want to have more inclusiveness then Jean is the ideal speaker. Her perspective is grounded from the remote grassroots conservation project in the wild of Papua New Guinea. We can learn a lot from indigenous cultures around the world - tribes know about building a community culture better than anyone else.

How to save an endangered species - what conservationists are doing wrong and how you can help

Jean has helped save a critically endangered tree kangaroo in Papua New Guinea with limited resources and a limited budget. So why is it that the big multinational corporate Non-Government Organisations with all of their expertise are not getting the same result? Jean has a very grounded hands on perspective about why NGO’s have failed and what the general public and big donors and corporations can do about it. Be prepared to have your ideology challenged and debate this important topic so that you can go home knowing that you can make a real difference in this space.

Be Inspired - A conservation success story

Jean has spent over a decade living and working in Papua New Guinea to protect one of the most critically endangered mammals - the Tenkile Tree Kangaroo. With only 100 animals left due to over hunting by local communities, it was important to do something about it before they became extinct. Jean shares with you her strategic approach that incorporates both conservation and development, the lessons learnt both personally and professionally and how you can apply those same keys to success in your field whatever that may be.

Emotional Intelligence - How it will change everything in your workplace

Previously known as Interpersonal development, sometimes “soft skills”, emotional intelligence is the new buzz word that is only just hitting the business sector in the past five years. Jean has been developing her Emotional Intelligence (EQ) for over 15 years and has many unique skill building exercises you can include in your daily life and work place. If you are a Human resources Manager you need to get Jean at your next Professional Development workshop. EQ capacity development will build staff resilience, minimise staff turnover, improve relationships and increase your sales and productivity for your workplace. Combined with Jeans on-going coaching and mentoring program, Jean can really make a difference to your organisation culture.

From ordinary to extraordinary

How do you go from picking up pooh all day to sitting in David Attenborough’s house talking about echidnas? Jeans incredible journey will inspire and delight all the senses as you laugh and cry through the challenges and lessons learnt along the way. Her experience on the ground at the front line of conservation and development is unlike anyone else.

Sustainability - a different perspective

Many environmentalists are starting to hate the word sustainability because it has been misinterpreted by the corporate sector. Jean will present to you a conservationist’s perspective on what sustainability really means. She will define key terms like biodiversity, the difference between a conservationist and an environmentalist and climate change. She will open your eyes to a unique view on where business thinking needs to be if the corporate sector is serious about including sustainability into their business culture. Don’t be afraid to have a serious conversation about this with her - she will get you thinking outside the box.
The basis of effective wildlife conservation is working well with people; and this is where Jean has excelled. She is a great communicator and educator. She communicates well with people at all levels: in community education with traditional people and also in high level presentations and in global forums. Her passion and love for her work speaks to any audience and I believe that her story needs to be shared with the world. Perth Zoo

I have great admiration for the work she does with the Tenkile Conservation Alliance. I totally understand why she is an award winning conservationist. She is also an accomplished presenter. She was able to convey her passion for a small animal in a remote part of the world to a very mixed audience which was fascinated to learn of the development of her career and the impact her work was having.

International Women's Day

I’ve watched and listened to Jean as she’s presented formally and also when providing input to open forums. She has important lessons to share with others in conservation work and she has the ability to expresses herself plainly and with natural conviction. Her speaking style is clear, confident and engaging, whether the audience is large or small and no matter what the composition. Her passion for her work and lifestyle choices connects with audiences who, while recognising the often tough and pragmatic path she has followed, are often touched by her vulnerability and the obvious emotional bonds she develops with the communities she supports.

Biopama IUCN

Jean has presented her complex work at several zoo-based events, workshops and conventions including the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA) conference in front of hundreds of delegates. She has a professional and precise articulation and is able to speak confidently and with intense passion.

Krefeld Zoo CEO (Germany)
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