In November 2013, Elissa was named one of YWCA Queensland’s 125 Leading Women – as a woman who has made a significant contribution to her community and modelled leadership through her actions and words.
I live as part of a multispecies community in Gubbi Gubbi/Joondoburri country on Bribie Island in Queensland. I am a first generation Australian of Sicilian, English and Welsh descent, but identify as a global citizen (she/her/hers). I regularly suffer wanderlust, but am blessed to regularly satiate it as well, at least as much as this ghastly pandemic allows.
I manage an invisible illness (a rare, autoimmune eye disease called Scleritis), so I spend a lot of time trying to save my vision, finding the right cocktail of meds, and managing the side-effects of meds. I have a wonderful team of about 12 health practitioners who support me. As a way to lift my spirits, I like to focus on those things that bring me #EverydayJoy and #WideEyedWonder on Facebook and Instagram.
While valuing and pursuing health is not a moral imperative, I am personally extremely health-conscious and choose to live my life in a health-enhancing way. I am also a fat, happy, diet culture escapee!
By profession I am a puppeteer, performer, producer, dramaturg, publisher and non-profit practitioner. I am also a writer of plays, films, songs, poetry, articles and stories.
I am a passionate environmentalist, sustainability educator, HAES (health at every size) advocate, and facilitator of wide-eyed wonder for children. I was an early adopter of the Internet, have been chatting online since 1996, and have a love/hate relationship with technology.
I have a 22 year career in media, marketing, communications and management; three degrees including a Master of Arts; a collection of awards; a bunch of life experience; and many beautiful memories to cherish.
I juggle multiple passions and wouldn’t have it any other way. I work from home and also on the road which makes me a bit of a digital nomad. I often work from libraries, motels, cafes and parks. I love to travel!
I am a children’s entertainer, puppeteer and educator with popular puppetry arts company Larrikin Puppets, a South-East Queensland based performing arts business that performs puppetry for stage and screen. My husband Brett Hansen and I perform and tour together across Queensland, interstate and internationally. In 2021 we won Best Live Kids Show at the national What’s On 4 Kids Awards, Australia’s industry awards for children’s entertainment and activities.
I am the publisher and editor-in-chief of Sustainability Hackers, an online community for those who want to make lifestyle changes that will inspire and achieve sustainability. The publication’s specific focus is on supporting enterprises and sharing initiatives that are socially, environmentally and financially sustainable.
I am a professional campaigner, supporting environmental and social justice non-profit organisations to develop and execute public relations, marketing, communications and fundraising campaign strategies.
I have worked for a multinational media corporation, in the non-profit sector, in the renewable energy sector, in arts and entertainment, and have supported small to medium businesses and social enterprises to flourish. I am an ideas person and an action person – I make things happen.
I have a Bachelor of Business (Organisational Communication) from QUT and a Graduate Diploma of Editing & Publishing from USQ. My most recent degree was a Master of Arts. In 2011 I wrote a Masters thesis in 2011 titled ‘Eco-Social Enterprise: A Hop, Skip & A Jump To Prosperity Without Growth’. I received Griffith Award for Academic Excellence in 2009 and achieved a GPA of 7 for my Master Of Arts. I’m still proud as bloody punch about all that.
Prior to working remotely, I was with solar energy firm BioSolar, growing residential solar sales through media, social media, marketing, referral and testimonial campaigns. While there BioSolar grew from a small $1 million start up with a team of 20 to a $34 million company with a team of 200 and an extraordinary ‘big brand’ story to tell.
In my early career, I worked for 6 years at The Courier-Mail/Sunday Mail as a writer and editor for real estate, employment and IT. I was widely respected as an IT writer and Internet analyst in the sector’s dot com heyday.
Following that, for 6 years I worked for community services non-profit Lifeline Community Care (now UnitingCare Community), supporting their communications and fundraising. While there, I raised $1 million in a week (250K in 24 hrs).
Elissa is a leader in the social justice and environment movements, locally and globally.
I have run 5 times for public office. In 2013 I ran as the Greens federal candidate for Moreton, Queensland’s most marginal electorate. I ran on a platform of care (compassion, community and courage), attending countless public forums and some high profile radio and TV interviews. In 2010, again as the federal candidate for Moreton, I led a grassroots campaign that resulted in a doubling of the primary vote to secure 15.9% – one of the highest swings to The Greens in the country. I ran as a candidate in the state by-election for Chatsworth in 2005, again in the state election for Chatsworth in 2006 and in the federal seat of Bonner in 2004.
In November 2013, I was named one of YWCA Queensland’s 125 Leading Women – as a woman who has made a significant contribution to her community and modelled leadership through her actions and words.
I am retired from running for federal, state and local public office, but I do still enjoy supporting my Greens friends and colleagues to run. I’ve discovered other ways to contribute to social and environmental change (e.g. my work in the arts as well as supporting the work of The Green Institute and Green Agenda).