Our people are industry experts with cutting edge ideas and specialist knowledge.

  • Peter Lewis


    Peter is one of Australia’s leading public campaigners and commentators with more than two decades experience in media, politics and communications. One of Essential’s principals, he has been behind some of Australia’s most successful and innovative campaigns including Every Australian Counts for the NDIS and Never Alone of the Luke Batty Foundation. He oversees the fortnightly Essential Report and is a regular columnist for the Guardian Australia.

  • Alana Mew

    Senior Account Manager

    Alana Mew is a Senior Account Manager with over 13 years experience providing strategic communications advice and support to unions, not-for-profits, health and professional organisations.

    Since first joining Essential in 2006, Alana has worked on a range of clients and campaigns including the SDA’s Protect Penalty Rates campaign; the Commit to Community Radio campaign; the Australian Jockeys’ Associations’ Racing for Our Lives campaign; the Rail, Tram and Bus Union NSW; the NSW Police Association and the Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Keep Our Doctors campaign.

  • Amelia Brock

    Senior Communications Consultant

    Amelia is an experienced communications specialist with a passion for social justice. She had coordinated and delivered media campaigns at local, state and national levels for clients across the union and non-for-profit sector, including the Yes Campaign for Marriage Equality and the Protect Penalty Rates campaign.

    Amelia holds a Bachelor of Media and Communications from the University of Sydney, and specialised her studies in Public Relations in the NGO field.

  • Tony Douglas


    For 20 years Tony Douglas has designed winning communications strategies. Tony works with organisations to help them tell their story, grow their audience, own their issues and achieve their goals. Tony’s successes include the ACTU’s significant IR campaign for the 2007 federal election, the Greens 2010 Federal election campaign that saw them poll a record vote for a third party in Australian political history and a Senator in each state and the ‘Australian Made Defence’ campaign which won $97B of defence contracts for South Australia.

  • Gavin White

    Research Director

    Gavin has worked in research since 1997, managing projects in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He set up a UMR office in Melbourne in 2015, and since then has run major projects for a variety of clients, including Energy Consumers Australia and Industry Super Australia.

    Prior to this, he designed and managed a new reputation monitor for Contact Energy, one of NZ’s largest electricity generators and retailers, and has also managed numerous projects for the Electricity Authority. Most of these projects involved both qualitative and quantitative research, and Gavin has extensive expertise in both kinds of research.

  • Sophie Weiner

    Senior Campaigns Consultant

    Sophie is a communications specialist with ten years of experience in social media, journalism, and campaigning in Australia and the United States. She uses her deep knowledge of digital tools and her communications background to build powerful campaigns. In her six years as a journalist she wrote for publications including Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, Gawker, Vice and The Age. Sophie is a passionate advocate for social justice, with special interest in inequality, social policy and mental health.

  • Peter Stahel

    Managing Director

    Peter manages Essential’s national team of campaign consultants. He has led public affairs, government relations and strategy development for clients across diverse sectors including health, social service, environment, legal, foreign aid and local government. Before joining Essential in 2015, Peter was a senior political adviser and press secretary in roles at a state and federal level. He has a particular interest in crisis communications, supporting clients through system failure, organisational change and intense public scrutiny.

  • Alys Gagnon

    Account Manager

    Alys joined Essential asan Account Manager after a short stint as a federal Parliament media adviser. Prior to this, Alys was Executive Director of The Parenthood, Australia’s largest independent voice for parents, and worked as a journalist and editor in women’s media. Alys harnesses her unique background in politics, media and advocacy, along with a strong network of national and local media contacts, to create communications and campaign strategies that make a difference.

  • Dishi Gahlowt

    Campaigns Consultant

    Dishi is a Campaigns Consultant providing media support and advice to clients like the Australian Education Union and ChildFund at Essential. Driven by a commitment to creating social impact through her work, Dishi uses her past experience in digital advocacy and effective communications with organisations like the United Nations Development Programme and Australian South Asian Centre to execute strategic and meaningful campaigns. Dishi holds a Masters of Management (Marketing) degree from the University of Melbourne.

  • Natalie Dubois

    Chief Operating Officer

    In her role as Chief Operating Officer, Natalie is responsible for managing the Operations and strategy of Essential.

    Natalie is passionate about the design and implementation of Project Management, Human Resource and Accounting systems ensuring all process are aligned with Essential’s strategic vision.

    Prior to joining Essential, Natalie worked in a variety of Operational and Finance roles, most recently as General Manager with Raines Carpets and as Group Financial Controller for Ogilvy Public Relations.

  • Alissa Clement

    Senior Research Consultant

    Alissa has six years expertise in research in Australia and in Germany. Prior to joining our research team in early 2019, she managed quantitative projects for a Melbourne-based research agency, including segmentation and choice modelling. In Germany, she was mainly a qualitative researcher, conducting focus groups and writing reports on a wide range of topics. Since joining Essential, Alissa has been working on qualitative and quantitative research projects across a range of public and private sector organisations.

    Alissa has a Bachelor of Political and Social Science from Julius-Maximilians University, Wurzburg, Germany, andis a member of the AMSRS.

  • Robert Leaver

    Research Consultant

    Rob is a Research Consultant at Essential, responsible for the design, analysis,presentation,and management of quantitative research projects.Prior to joining our research team in 2022, he was developing his research skills through his studies of psychology at university. Since joining Essential, Rob has been working on quantitative research projects across a range of public and private sector organisations. Heis also responsible for theproduction andmanagementofthe fortnightly Essential Report.

Join the team

Join our team

No roles are currently open. We are always on the look out for excellent communicators to join our team.
Contact us to discuss opportunities.