Without mentioning your job title, how would you describe what it is you do now?
My current role has me operating at the forefront of the finance and clean energy sectors in Australia – providing strategic support and advising on the legal, contractual and regulatory frameworks that underpin the development and commercialisation of clean energy technologies. This places me in a privileged position – I am actively involved in implementing opportunities and effecting investments seeking to solve tough emissions challenge across our economy whilst leading and working with some of the most innovative and influential talent in this dynamic sector – a diverse and passionate cohort of women and men having a genuine impact on developing a sustainable future.
What was your main driver to enter the legal industry?
From an early age I have had a strong sense of fairness and doing the right thing. These values have continued to define and drive my professional development to this day. I have had an exceptionally unique and rewarding career – from providing legal and investigative support for a number of Australia’s counter-terrorism prosecutions to being the lead legal advisor for first-of-kind renewable energy projects – in each case leveraging off the opportunities the legal industry has to offer. My journey whilst challenging has been made all the more positive and rewarding as a result of the wisdom, encouragement and support of strong and impressive women – women at all stages of their own professional journeys with a shared commitment to fairness and doing the right thing.
What are the first three words you think of when you hear the word ‘diversity’?
Strength, fairness, commitment.
What do you think it will take to develop truly diverse thinking within the legal industry?
The argument is compelling, the research unequivocal – diversity in approach and in our thinking about perspectives, cultures and ideas is no longer optional for the legal industry – it is necessary to fuel better solutions, contribute to innovation and drive business success. Whilst change has historically been incremental in the legal sector, there are an increasing number of us advocating a different ‘pitch’ recognising the opportunity that truly diverse thinking offers. However, effecting real and sustained change across the sector will require much more – it will require leadership, it will require the collective commitment of all of us to question our assumptions, to advocate for inclusion and to actively promote and support diversity within our workplaces, businesses and communities.
Sheree is the Director-Legal of Clean Energy Finance Corporation.