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

  • Peter Lewis


    Peter Lewis is executive director of the progressive strategic communications agency Essential Media, the founder of the collaborative engagement platform Civility and a fellow with the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology. For more than two decades he has worked with progressive organisations including unions, NGOs, not-for-profits and responsible businesses to affect progressive social change. He is a regular columnist with Guardian Australian and Fairfax newspapers as well as the author of five books including Webtopia and The Public Square Project.

  • Alana Mew

    Associate Director

    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.

  • Ariane Stark

    Senior Account Manager & Digital Adviser

    Ariane is a digital campaigns expert with over a decade of political campaign experience in Australia and America. She began her career in the non-profit sector, and has since worked on varied campaigns ranging from local council races to federal elections. She has worked on two political cycles in the US on coordinated Senatorial and Presidential campaigns. Ariane wrote her thesis on the use of data in political organising and has a Masters in Strategic Public Relations. Ariane has a passion for all technology, but specialises in the digital space, helping clients improve supporter engagement and loyalty.

  • 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.

  • Tamara Kotoyan

    Campaigns Consultant
  • 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.

  • Amelia Brock

    Account Manager

    Amelia is an Account Manager at Essential with a passion for campaigning on social justice issues. She has coordinated and delivered media campaigns at local, state and national levels for clients across the union and non-for-profit sector. With over 7 years of experience working in public relations, Amelia also holds a Bachelor of Media and Communications from the University of Sydney.

  • Bron Matherson

    Senior Campaigns Consultant
  • 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

    Senior Account Manager/Team Leader

    Alys joined Essential as an 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.

  • Hannah Barnett

    Research Manager
  • Catalina Casar

    Campaigns Consultant
  • 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.

  • Kayla Foster

    Senior Account Manager/Team Leader

    Kayla Foster is a Senior Account Manager and has managed some of Essential’s largest and most successful campaigns. She has worked across various integrated public affairs and communications projects in sectors such as disability, early learning, housing and environment. Kayla has particular expertise in digital engagement and persuasion. She has developed and executed multi-million dollar paid strategies across dozens of channels including influencer, programmatic online, traditional online, print and broadcast media.

  • Alissa Clement

    Research Manager

    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.

  • Mayank Gurnani

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