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Our team

Meet the staff who run our day-to-day activities
Led by Professor Marc Stears, our core team offers you expertise in all dimensions of the policy-making process, stretching from facilitating community meetings to developing your own theory of change and shaping cutting-edge media strategies.

Our team

Marc is Director of the Sydney Policy Lab. Previously, Marc was professor of political theory at the University of Oxford and chief executive of the New Economics Foundation, one of the United Kingdom's largest think tanks. His work focused on deepening partnerships with community groups who are often overlooked in the policy process. Between 2012 and 2015 he was chief speechwriter to the UK Labour Party, a co-author of the party’s 2015 election manifesto and a member of the party's general election steering committee.

He has also advised a number of commercial and non-commercial organisations on strategic communication, democratic inclusion and community engagement. In his academic work, Marc is an expert in democratic theory and the history of ideologies and social movements. He is the author of Demanding Democracy (2010), Progressives, Pluralists and the Problems of the State (2002) and an editor of many volumes, including The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies (2014). 

Louise is the Chief Operations and Engagement Officer at Sydney Policy Lab and has more than 15 years experience in local and state governments, universities and entrepreneurial environments in Australia and internationally. Before joining the Sydney Policy Lab, Louise was based in Singapore as Director of Executive Education at the National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, where she worked with governments across Asia and the Middle East to design programs to inspire leaders and transform policymaking.

She has also worked with civil society and advocacy organisations, including sitting on local and national advisory boards. Louise holds a Bachelor of Economics and Social Sciences (Hons) from the University of Sydney and a Master in Public Administration from the National University of Singapore.

Lisa is the lab’s acting Chief Operations and Engagement Officer. Having worked at the intersection of academia, civil society and advocacy for almost a decade, she is passionate about building powerful alliances to tackle the most pressing questions of our time.

Lisa comes to the lab after leading the Sydney Peace Foundation, where she elevated voices of some of the world's most effective changemakers. Before this, Lisa coordinated the Electoral Integrity Project at the University of Sydney and Harvard University. Lisa also worked on transitional justice for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa.

Lisa studied peacebuilding and conflict resolution at Gothenburg University and the University of Amsterdam, and public administration at the Hague University.

Isabelle is the Project Manager at the Sydney Policy Lab. Isabelle has been building programs, public dialogue and partnerships that transform our understanding of community, environment and policy for a decade. Isabelle was previously based in Copenhagen, where she managed programs for international non-profit MAD and was a consultant to the Danish Government’s Ministry of Food and Environment. She now manages MAD’s Australian activities in collaboration with art precinct Carriageworks and chef Kylie Kwong.

Isabelle studied ethics, politics and economics at Yale University and the Sorbonne and later held a fellowship at Yale’s Sustainable Food Program. At Yale she researched politics and markets and worked with actors across agri-food systems to research and push levers for broad-based social and political change.

Amanda is the Education Lead for Sydney Policy Lab, and a well-known community organiser and social change scholar. She co-founded the digital campaign group and founded Australia’s largest community coalition, the Sydney Alliance. She has also been the president of the National Union of Students, co-founder of Labor for Refugees and an elected official of Unions NSW.

She currently hosts the ChangeMakers Podcast, one of the most popular social change podcasts globally. ChangeMakers tells stories of people from across the globe trying to make the world a better place. She holds a PhD on social change strategy, and she authored Power in Coalition, a book on coalition building. She is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship on organising cities at the University of Sydney.

Frances Flanagan is a 2019 Sydney Fellow, researching the topic of ‘work and social citizenship in Australia’ in the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies.  Between 2015 and 2018 Frances was the national research director at United Voice, where she worked to deepen the links between policymakers, academics, government, civil society organisations and workers.

Frances trained as a historian at the University of Western Australia and Oxford, and has been a senior scholar at Hertford College Oxford, a Royal Historical Society Marshall Fellow at the London Institute of Historical Research, and a researcher at Birkbeck. She is the author of Remembering the Revolution: dissent, culture and nationalism in the Irish Free State, and has published articles in journals that include the Journal of Industrial Relations and the Economic and Labour Relations Review.