Meet Our Team
Founder and Director
Prior to founding Michelson Alexander, Steve Michelson enjoyed a diverse career spanning the private sector, politics, and the law. He is a respected corporate adviser and an experienced strategic communications strategist who has worked on several national campaigns.
He was a key architect in the fight for marriage equality in Australia, and more recently, he helped to establish the historic Rethink Addiction campaign, which is changing the conversations we have about addiction.
After growing up in north-east Victoria, Steve completed a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the Australian National University in Canberra, where he was awarded a full CAS Hawker Scholarship. He subsequently moved to Melbourne and has since worked for the Victorian Department of Health as a Senior Industrial Relations Consultant and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers as a Senior Lawyer, giving him an intimate understanding of employer, employee, private and public-sector issues.
He also spent six years as a trusted adviser to the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, then Leader of the Opposition. As Director of Caucus and Stakeholder Relations, he provided advice regarding highly complex policy, political and communications issues, often in sensitive media environments, and built Australia wide networks with business, unions, the media, and community sector.
Steve holds a Master of Laws from Melbourne Law School, where he was awarded the Frank Pinkerton Scholarship. He has also completed study at Harvard Business School.
He is currently on the committee of Wallara Disability Australia, Board of the National Theatre, International Association of Business Communicators and is an avid member and supporter of the Geelong Football Club.
James Fitzpatrick leads strategic communications campaigns for organisations that build public and stakeholder support around key social, economic and political issues.
His experience is steeped in crisis and issues management across Australia, the United Kingdom, and North America, having guided executive teams through high-profile responses to royal commissions, data breaches, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, court cases, policy developments, and local community campaigns.
Along with on-call response, he has facilitated media training and crisis simulations for organisations ranging from universities and tourism attractions to critical infrastructure and hospitals.
James is professionally trained in the Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS) and brings particular experience and expertise in how to communicate with internal and external stakeholders during a crisis or critical incident in order to help protect your people, strategic relationships, reputation, operations, and future.
Alongside his client work, James manages Michelson Alexander’s operations, helping support our team’s sustainable growth and long-term mission of results driven social impact.
Outside of the corporate world, James co-founded an online sports magazine in 2016 that publishes long-form analytical journalism, podcasts, and feature documentaries on the emotive stories behind professional and amateur sports.
Simone Gandur is a Special Adviser and brings more than 25 years’ experience in public affairs and communications to her advisory role at Michelson Alexander.
She has led the communications functions for many large complex organisations, often during times of significant cultural or structural change. Her career has included key roles at: Telstra, Burson-Marsteller, Turnbull Porter Novelli, National Express Group Pty Ltd, the Department of Infrastructure, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).
As Communications Director at DSE, Simone led some of Victoria’s most successful social change campaigns including Black Balloons, empowering the community to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the Our Water Our Future behaviour change program during the worst years of Victoria’s drought. This included the Target 155 campaign, which asked Melburnians to use 155 litres of water per person per day.
Simone has designed and implemented crisis communications plans for highly complex organisations in highly regulated environments. In the private sector, Simone was the Director of Communications for three of Victoria’s transport businesses post-privatisation. In this role Simone managed multiple crises including train fatalities, train derailments, tram and bus accidents and a runaway train that captured international headlines and bought most of Melbourne’s transport to a stand-still.
Simone has also managed the communications for oil spills and was the Director of Communications for seven bushfire seasons including the devastating Black Saturday fires of 2009. As Director of Communications for the Department of Human Services she led the communications response and recovery to the Victorian floods of 2011.
Fiona Sharkie is a Special Adviser to Michelson Alexander and has 20 years of senior leadership experience in the private, government and not-for-profit sectors, and has predominantly worked in major policy areas including public health, disability, and violence against women.
She has led change and achieved social impact by working effectively with different stakeholders who hold opposing views. Fiona has co-chaired State-wide Steering Committees in family violence and sexual assault with Victoria Police, working with a range of organisations including government departments, courts, police, and women’s and men’s services. She also worked with state and federal governments, and tobacco control entities, to introduce the legislative reforms that led to smoke-free areas and plain packaging.
Most recently, she led Amaze, the peak body for autistic people, in developing the highly successful TV campaign ‘Change Your Reactions’, a process that involved consultation with more than 200 autistic people and their families.
She holds a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact from Swinburne University.
Michael Long has a deserved reputation as one of the most influential and enduring Aboriginal figures and is a Special Adviser to Michelson Alexander.
An Anmatyerre, Maranunggu and Tiwi man, Long played 190 games for Essendon in the AFL from 1989 to 2001, including premierships in 1993 and 2000. He won the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground in the first of those victories. In 1995, he changed the game forever after he was racially vilified on the field in that year’s Anzac Day match. The stand he took led to the AFL’s racial vilification policy, which sporting codes in Australia and beyond went on to adopt.
He has also made a lasting impact since retiring from the game. In 2004, he walked to Canberra to meet Prime Minister John Howard and raise several issues concerning Indigenous communities. Since that journey, he has founded the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre in Darwin to provide Indigenous youth with education opportunities through sport, and The Long Walk Trust, a charity that promotes Indigenous cultural awareness through The Long Walk and other programs. Long’s dedication to advancing Indigenous causes was recognised in 2018 when he was named the Northern Territorian of the Year, and when Essendon built a statue of him at their Tullamarine headquarters.
Michael is available to provide strategic counsel on First Nations issues and inclusion, advocacy, government relations, policy design and development for a range of corporate, government and not-for-profit clients.
Senior Associate & Head of Clean Energy Practice
Elyse Gatt is a Senior Associate at Michelson Alexander with a proven track-record providing policy and communications advice in spaces where there’s a lot of red tape.
She has also worked as a press secretary for a Federal Cabinet Minister and joins us after her most recent role at multinational energy company bp Australia, where she helped to drive the Australia wide implementation of the company’s net-zero ambitions by developing and leading government relations and communications campaigns for low-carbon projects.
Elyse has a particular commitment to achieving social impact and is experienced at working with stakeholders from different spheres to achieve that end. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Government and International Relations, and English) from the University of Sydney, and is a passionate member of several community organisations based in Melbourne’s inner north.
Nelson Savanh is a Senior Associate at Michelson Alexander and has worked as a trusted adviser to industry, state, and local leaders, including the Lord Mayor of Australia’s largest local government, and has a wealth of experience spanning across the transport, infrastructure, and property sectors.
Nelson has held advocacy roles with peak industry associations and has been recognised as a leader in transport policy and innovation in Queensland after introducing shared micro-mobility to Australia in 2018. In this role, Nelson worked with one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing start-ups and focused on launches in Australia and across the Asia Pacific.
As transport and infrastructure policy adviser to a Queensland cabinet minister and leaders of the opposition for over six years, Nelson guided the public policy response to a number of transport reforms – including the introduction of ridesharing in Queensland.
Nelson’s network brings together industry, politics, government, and media, and he is passionate about using his experience to create positive change for Michelson Alexander’s clients and the community as a whole.
Anna Mincham is an Associate at Michelson Alexander. Prior to starting at Michelson Alexander, Anna worked in Federal politics and specialised in a number of policy areas including multicultural affairs, foreign affairs, and climate change. She has held stakeholder, advisory, and communication positions, and has invaluable specialist media advisory experience.
Anna has a deep understanding of the media landscape and valuable insights into how journalists work and what makes a story newsworthy. She is known for her ability to craft compelling pitches that capture the attention of audiences and develop media strategies that are tailored to clients’ specific needs and objectives.
Anna is passionate about using her experience to achieve positive social impact. She has a Bachelor of Jurisprudence (International Relations) from Bond University and her love of learning stretches far beyond her professional life. Anna loves trying new foods (and wine) as well as exploring nature and the outdoors (Melbourne weather notwithstanding). As a former West Australian, she is miserable in the winter and is a tragic Fremantle Dockers supporter.
Stephanie Hobbs is an Associate at Michelson Alexander with extensive experience in media and public affairs. She believes in the power of storytelling to connect people and inspire change.
Prior to joining Michelson Alexander, Stephanie played a pivotal role working in the Victorian Premier’s Office to generate positive media coverage surrounding initiatives aimed at supporting jobseekers and significant investment in mRNA vaccines.
With a keen understanding of the media landscape and an exceptional ability to communicate complex issues in a clear and compelling manner, Stephanie has developed a unique skill set that enables her to shape public opinion and uphold reputations.
Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Journalism from James Cook University, Townsville, and outside of work enjoys exploring Melbourne’s culinary scene.
Matilda Finn has a diverse background in law, global affairs, and journalism.
She has worked in communications in London, working for the legal and educational charity Young Citizens, as well as writing for news mastheads The Age and Crikey back in Melbourne.
Matilda has a Bachelor of Law/Global Studies from the Australian Catholic University and a Master of International Journalism from the University of Melbourne. She has written on a range of topics from female youth activism, to spikes in self-harm in female prisoners and international politics.
Matilda’s legal expertise enables her to understand complex socio-political issues and channel that knowledge into achieving communications objectives. Her work in journalism and communications has enabled her to engage with federal and state government representatives and understand the nuances of Australian politics.
Her journalism background means she has the ability to produce high-quality written and audio content for Michelson Alexander and its clients. Matilda also has a creative background in producing and choreographing productions, meaning that she is always thinking of new and innovative ways to engage people.
Head of Content
Head of Content
Jack Banister is Michelson Alexander’s Head of Content and has an extensive background in journalism and content creation. He is also a skilled photographer and a regular podcast host. He worked for more than two years as a copywriter and content editor at The Township, a digital and social agency, while completing a Master of Journalism at the University of Melbourne.
During the final year of his degree, Jack was a part of the Guardian Australia team that won a Walkley award, and a Quill award from the Melbourne Press Club, for Deaths Inside, an interactive database tracking every Indigenous death in custody since 2008.
In 2019, Jack was the recipient of the Schiavon Cadetship, and in that position, he worked for a year on The Citizen, a publication of Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism.
He has twice received a Michael Gordon Fellowship from the Melbourne Press Club, and has covered a host of issues, including Indigenous suicide, climate change, politics, and sport.
His writing has been published by The Age, Guardian Australia, Wisden, AFL Record, The Walkley Magazine and The Footy Almanac.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Politics from the University of Exeter, and also has extensive experience playing and coaching field hockey in high-performance environments.
Head of Creative
Head of Creative
Jack Angliss has been working within the creative industry for over a decade, delivering high-end mixed multimedia solutions for a diverse range of clients including Wired Magazine, Bunnings Warehouse and the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Specialising in communication design and branding identity, Jack prides himself on his creative communication, being skilled at taking the vision out of a client’s heads and onto the page.
As well as being a talented designer, Jack is highly adept at photography and videography, and is a fully licensed RPA pilot. Jack has a relaxed manner, but a diligent work ethic that is essential for delivering high-quality creative outcomes. Jack has a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Design from Monash University, and uses his spare time to make custom hardwood furniture.
Clare Coulter is a Communications Specialist at Michelson Alexander.
Clare is currently completing a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Business Management at The University of Queensland and has worked as a journalist for an independent print publication in Brisbane.
Clare’s background in journalism and her energetic and people-oriented nature means she can produce high-quality written work and foster long-lasting and positive relationships with clients.
Content & Podcast Producer
Content & Podcast Producer
Gordon Meredith is an experienced content and audio producer who has worked at all stages of the content cycle for Sportsmate Technologies.
His professional focus is to plan, produce and proliferate content that informs, entertains, and educates, using the best available medium.
He regularly writes, edits, and presents content, and he has produced a suite of multimedia products including Michelson Alexander Explains…, Sportsmate Podcast Network, Humans of Real Estate, Invis-ability, What Are The Odds?! and The People’s Game.
Natalie Wade is Michelson Alexander’s Executive Assistant.
Natalie has over 20 years’ experience working in the media, entertainment, and advertising industries.
Prior to joining Michelson Alexander, Natalie worked at a communications and advertising agency for 5 years and, prior to that, worked in high profile media companies such as Fairfax Media, The Age, Southern Cross Broadcasting and Village Roadshow.
Hayden Davies is the Practice Manager of Michelson Alexander. His commercial and legal background helps achieve maximum productivity across task allocation, time management, costs and processes.
He studied Law and Japanese at the Australian National University in Canberra and has spent most of his career in the private sector.
Before starting at Michelson Alexander, Hayden worked as Global Training Manager at a luxury consumer product brand where he oversaw the sales and training programs for the company across Asia-Pacific, Europe and the United States.
He helps the firm deliver outstanding client service through seamless billing and invoicing and by ensuring all projects and tasks are completed on time and budget. He manages the business, inducts and supervises staff and oversees the firm’s people and culture.
Hayden is passionate about ensuring that the firm’s core mission, values, beliefs and behaviours best reflect the company culture and serve client best interests.
Sonja Davenport brings more than 30 years of human resources and senior people leadership experience to the Michelson Alexander business, gained from working across multiple industries such as: retail, hospitality, manufacturing and supply chain, sales and marketing, IT, professional services, fire safety, construction, higher education, allied health, and property services.
As a human resource professional, Sonja’s area of expertise centres on supporting businesses with both operational and strategic human resource planning, remuneration and benefits, and HR compliance governance.
Devindhe Ratnaayake CPA has over 10 years of experience in accounting, finance, auditing and taxation across various industries.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from Monash University and is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) with CPA Australia. He has also completed internships at KPMG and BPM Vision, where he gained valuable exposure to financial audits and budgeting.
Devindhe is also an active member of the community and has served as the Head of Clubs and Societies at Monash University, where he managed the funds and activities of 48 student clubs. He enjoys surfing, tennis and travelling in his spare time.
Chief Wiggle Officer
Chief Wiggle Officer
Meet Eddie, our office’s resident Chief Wiggle Officer (CWO), and the undisputed champion of belly rubs with the mission to keep our workplace pawsitively delightful. This lovable cuddle bear came into our lives when he was adopted from Stafford Rescue Victoria by our EA Natalie, and since then, he’s been wiggling his way into our hearts.
Eddie is on a lifelong mission to spread joy and laughter throughout the office. With a tail that wags faster than a coffee machine on Monday mornings, he knows just how to turn a stressful day into a belly-rubbing good time. Whenever you’re feeling down, all you have to do is look at Eddie and his infectious enthusiasm will have you grinning from ear to ear.
When he’s not busy being the Chief Wiggle Officer or patrolling the office for crumbs, Eddie enjoys rolling on his back, paws up to the sky, ready for an impromptu belly-rubbing session. He’s a true master of relaxation and encourages everyone to take a break and enjoy some well-deserved downtime.
Eddie is more than just an office dog; he’s a testament to the power of adoption and the incredible love that rescue pets bring into our lives. We couldn’t be happier to have him as our Chief Wiggle Officer, reminding us all to find joy in the little things and to never pass up an opportunity for belly rubs!