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Our People

Jade Kudrenko
General Manager

A lifelong Central Australian, Jade brings experience in advocating and working for the healthy futures of arid lands and its people, having held operational and leadership positions within the Natural and Cultural Resource Management, Local Government and Aboriginal Employment sectors. 

Over the past decade Jade has worked with Traditional Owners and Indigenous people across the Southern half of the Northern Territory, leading the workforce development efforts of the Aboriginal Ranger Program across Central Australia. Extensive work throughout the Central region has ingrained Jade’s appreciation for the arid environment and a commitment to be an effective ally of Aboriginal custodians caring for country. 

Previously, as an elected member to Alice Springs Town Council, Jade is known for defending Australia’s iconic desert and strategically driving inclusive and progressive change. 


Jess Xavier
Communications and Campaigns Manager

Jess has worked with a variety of for-purpose organisations in the areas of Content Strategy, Copywriting, Facebook Marketing, Public Relations and Fundraising. Prior to joining ALEC in 2020, Jess was producing story and video content for Act for Peace, including for the award-winning Ration Challenge campaign to raise funds for refugees. Jess was fortunate to visit several international aid and development programs in countries including Ethiopia, Jordan and Gaza, to gather first-hand stories. 

Alex Vaughan
Policy Officer

Alex relocated to Mpartwe/Alice Springs from Sydney, where he completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney majoring in Environmental Studies and Plant Science, as well as completing Honours in Geography. Alex has published an academic paper on Sydney’s renewable energy transition, in addition to tutoring geography at USyd.  Alex loves to hike and camp, read about Indigenous history and Indigenous land management practices, cook tasty savoury treats and develop his native plant identification skills.  He is excited to be in Mpartwe/Alice Springs, to continue the fight to protect water, land, climate and culture. 

Kaz Philips 
Community Garden Network Coordinator

Kaz has recently returned to live in Alice after many years working in the food security, fair food sector in Melbourne with a small NGO called Cultivating Community. She is a passionate food gardener and has worked most recently as a Public Housing Community Garden Support Worker and Local Food Systems Project Worker. Kaz is a qualified Community Development Worker and Trainer. She brings a high level of cultural competence and strong communication, relationship building and networking skills. 

Kaz' lifelong passion for edible gardening is influenced by regenerative permaculture design principles and her professional practice is informed by human rights, social justice and feminist principles and analysis.

Hayley Michener
Program Manager - Community Solutions - Future Grid

Arid Edge Environmental Services


Ra Sim
Landscape Designer, Horticulturist

Ra is an Alice Springs based designer, junior architect, horticulturalist and community worker, with 10 years experience working in both urban and remote contexts. She is passionate about well designed, sustainable and practical solutions for housing and public spaces in central Australia and particularly remote Aboriginal communities.


Sunil Dhanji
Environmental Consultant & Landscape Supervisor

Suni is a passionate conservationist and experienced horticulturalist who has worked in the rural sector and land management arena across arid central Australia and central Queensland for over twenty years. This work has included Parks and Wildlife management in Queensland, natural resource management and community engagement for Greening Australia, Northern Territory, and fire planning and control with Bushfires NT. He is the author of the book “Weeds of Central Australia, a field guide” and is involved with Alice Springs Landcare to help protect and conserve patches of remnant urban bushland.

James Gomez
Landscaper & Waste Consultant

James is an experienced Landscaper with a passion for the environment and sustainable waste management. James has been involved in a variety of projects across central Australia including extensive experience in leading diverse teams and on-site project delivery in challenging work environments. James Prides himself on work safe practices and employee welfare.