Food Ladder Projects Changing the way asutralia eats
Food Ladder Student

It all starts with people

Alex Shead Founding Chairman

Alex Shead


Founding Chairman, Director, Board Member


Alex has been a passionate entrepreneurial business leader
for more than 25-years. It’s his passion for create lasting social change which led him to established ‘Fair Business’ in 2008 which, thanks to co-founder Kelly McJannett, evolved into Food Ladder in 2010. Their vision was to tackle inequality,
food security and environmental issues on a global scale.


Kelly McJannett CEO

Kelly McJannett


CEO and Co-Founder, Director Board Member


In Nov 2016, the AFR named Kelly as one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women. It’s even more fitting today. As the CEO and Co-founder of Food Ladder, Kelly has driven our growth throughout Australia’s Indigenous communities. Building on that success, Kelly is now helping us replicate our systems across in some of the most remote communities on Earth. How? By galvanising the power of organisations, individuals, and governments.

Jane Clifford

Jane Clifford


Director Board Member


Jane has worked in public education for more than 20-years. Her commitment to social justice and philanthropy has already helped multiple not-for-profit organisations – including Room To Read, Australian Wildlife Conservancy and The Bright Spots Schools Connection. As a Director of the JAAM Foundation since June 2012, Jane has helped support organisations in
the arts, education, health, domestic violence, and the environment. We were so pleased she joined the Board
of Food Ladder in July 2019.

Darren Milne

Darren Milne


Director Board Member


Darren is a specialist in writing strategic direction, growth planning and complex implementation. His extensive business contacts and considerable expertise is drawn mainly from the insurance industry. In a 40-year career, he completed eight broker acquisitions – managed integrating processes and driving ongoing business success. His entrepreneurial approach has helped Food Ladder adapt to our challenge of straddling both education and corporate environments.

Jane Clifford

Sudeep Gohil


Director Board Member


Sudeep is a strategy, marketing and branding specialist with over 25 years of global experience. Having started out in Australia, Sudeep’s career has seen him work in Singapore, Japan, England, the USA and India. He has worked with brands such as Nike, Adidas, CUB, Coca Cola, Qantas, Telstra, Tiger Beer, Levi’s and Instagram, and with agencies including BBH, W+K, Droga5, and Publicis.

Currently, Sudeep is a partner at KPMG, where he leads the Creative, Reputation and Insights practices in the Customer Advisory part of the Consulting Division. He joined the Board of Food Ladder in 2024 to throw his branding smarts behind a vision he believes in.

Darren Milne

Mike Abbott


Director Board Member


Mike Abbott is currently a Partner at Antler. He is a finance guy turned start-up junkier. He joined Uber pre-Australia launch and loved every minute of the next 6 years building the company Across Australia and NZ. He co-founded Kaddy – a B2B marketplace platform for the beverages industry (at least initially). Mike is passionate about using tech to revolutionise real world operations, scaling businesses, hiring and developing the very best talent and team culture. He joined the board of Food Ladder in 2024 as the NGO sets its course for scale.

Lucy Payne

Lucy Payne


Head of Partnerships


Unusual among investment experts, Lucy has a passion for food, nutrition, and sustainability. Before joining Food Ladder, she was Head of Clients at an Australian trading platform. It’s the perfect grounding for engaging with our invaluable partners and donors. Lucy has been critical to the success
of our School Rollout Program –an important focus for Food Ladder in the year ahead. Lucy believes Food Ladder is
a positive catalyst for helping school children understand
the importance of fresh produce, good nutrition, and
healthy eating.

Michelle

Michelle Brownstein


Head of Philanthropy


Michelle is a strong believer in the power of philanthropy to create change. She is passionate about improving Australia’s health landscape and believes Food Ladder’s approach to addressing food insecurity will generate real results for vulnerable communities. Michelle has built a strong reputation as a highly effective leader by combining integrity with strategic ability. She has unique blend of nutritional knowledge, management experience, and communication skills. Michelle
is determined to ensure everyone has access to healthy and nutritious food.

Nigel Mclean Project Coordinator

Nigel McLean


Project Manager


It is hard to imagine anyone with a broader understanding of modern agriculture than Nigel. He began his career in aquaculture in NSW then Tasmania. After 10 years managing farms in Macquarie Harbour, he then transferred his knowledge to the Tasmanian berry industry. Nigel combines his knowledge of sustainable food production with his passion for educating the emerging generations and food insecurity both here in Australia and overseas. 

Veronica O’Keefe<br />
Assistant Project Officer

Veronica O'Keefe


Project Co-ordinator


Veronica understands remote communities – she began her career in the NW Western Australia and Northern Territory in human and animal health and as Veterinary Practice Manager. It was here she noticed the ever-widening gap in food sustainability. She recognised the quality of food in remote communities was insufficient. Veronica began as a Food Ladder volunteer with 7 installations and now has become an employee due to her contagious passion for sustainability, education, nutrition, and indigenous values. 

Graeme Smith<br />
Greenhouse Technical Advisor

Graeme Smith


Greenhouse Technical Advisor


With over 25 years of experience in soil-less hydroponics, Graeme brings best-in-class knowledge and acumen to Food Ladder’s ambitious goal: to make its technology available to the most disadvantaged communities in the world.

From his roots as a vegetable grower in Victoria, Graeme long-held the position of Foundation Secretary at the Hydroponic Farmers Federation, before becoming the President of the Australia Hydroponic and Greenhouse Association, and most recently completing a tenure of five years as the Chairman of Protected Cropping Australia Ltd. Today Graeme consults on commercial projects internationally and facilitates quarterly training programs across Europe, North America and Asia.

Graeme’s expert insight and counsel is driving technical innovation at Food Ladder and ensuring maximum productivity across its systems in Australia and abroad. In a further commitment to see Food Ladder become ubiquitous worldwide, Graeme has integrated his unique mobile phone application for remote disease diagnostics, meaning communities with Food Ladder systems can identify and treat issues in the greenhouses before they threaten the system’s ecosystem.


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