Alex Shead – Founding Chairman

With a wide range of entrepreneurial business experience, Alex has a 25 year track record in large scale merger and acquisition activity.

As an entrepreneur CEO, Alex has been a founder of numerous insurance businesses including Stuart Alexander in the UK and Winsure in Australia, both of which were sold to public quoted companies. Alex is also the Executive Chairman of Lockton Australia.

Alex conceived of and established Fair Business in 2008 in order to use his experience in business to create lasting social change. From this foundation in 2010, together with Kelly McJannett, Food Ladder was created to tackle inequality, food security and environmental issues on a global scale using the model of social enterprise for scale.

Kelly McJannett – CEO and co-founder

Kelly McJannett – CEO and co-founder

Kelly McJannett is experienced in the development of high impact start ups that create broad reaching, sustainable impact and change.

As the CEO of Food Ladder, Kelly has driven the organisation’s growth throughout Indigenous communities in Australia and its international replication across some of the most challenging communities on earth.

With a background in communications and public relations Kelly holds a Bachelor Degree from UTS and recently completed her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) at The University of Sydney, where she held a full scholarship for her leading work in social enterprise development.

Kelly is passionate about creating sustainable solutions for pervasive social issues affecting communities around the world, and galvanising the power and passion of organisations, individuals and governments to do this.

In November 2016, the Australian Financial Review named Kelly among Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women.

Lucy Payne – Head of Partnerships

Lucy is charismatic and diligent with a passion for food, nutrition, sustainability and culinary content creation. Lucy graduated from the Australian National University in 2014 with a double degree in Arts and Commerce and since then has been working in full-service stockbroking and wealth management. More recently, Lucy moved from being the head of direct clients at a trading platform in Australia.

Lucy joined Food Ladder in 2021 with a view to utilise her strong understanding of platforms and client management to engage with our invaluable donors. Additionally, to facilitate partnership development, and aid in the success of the School Rollout.

Program which is a strong focus going forward. Lucy believes Food Ladder is a positive catalyst for fostering school age children to have a greater understanding of the importance of fresh produce, good nutrition, healthy eating, engaging cooking principles and their long term wellbeing.

Head of Philanthropy 

Michelle is driven by her fundamental belief that all should have access to healthy and nutritious food and is passionate about changing the landscape of health in Australia. She is a strong believer in the power of philanthropy to create change and has a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit sector both, in Australian and abroad. Michelle has built a strong reputation as a highly effective leader combined with integrity and strategic ability.

Michelle has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Development and more recently completed her Bachelor of Health Science – Nutritional Medicine degree, following her passion for good food and nutrition for all. She believes Food Ladder’s approach to addressing food insecurity will be a catalyst for change in resulting in sustainable results for vulnerable populations. Her unique blend of nutritional experience combined with extensive experience in stakeholder engagement, and excellent interpersonal and communication skill make her ideal asset for Food Ladder.

Nigel McLean – Project Coordinator

Nigel has worked in the agriculture sector since 1991, after he graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Diploma in Applied Science in Aquaculture. 

He served as a Farm Manager growing Atlantic Salmon and Ocean Trout on the West Coast of Tasmania, before turning his hand to hydroponics and the emerging berry industry in 2010.

Holding the position of Technical Manager at Tasmanian Berries for five years, Nigel has a passion for using hydroponics to combat water wastage and food insecurity.

In 2014, he completed a certificate in Greenhouse Management at Shepparton, Victoria, and the following year attended the Hydroponics and Aquaponics Conference on the Gold Coast. In 2017, Nigel was invited to attend a Berry Plant Physiology workshop in Xishuangbanna, China.

As Food Ladder’s Project Coordinator, Nigel combines his knowledge of sustainable food production with his desire to empower communities through food and economic security.

Greame Smith

Graeme Smith – Greenhouse Technical Advisor

With over 25 years of experience in soil-less hydroponics, Graeme brings best-in-class knowledge and acumen to Food Ladder’s ambitious goal: to make its technology available to the most disadvantaged communities in the world.

From his roots as a vegetable grower in Victoria, Graeme long-held the position of Foundation Secretary at the Hydroponic Farmers Federation, before becoming the President of the Australia Hydroponic and Greenhouse Association, and most recently completing a tenure of five years as the Chairman of Protected Cropping Australia Ltd. Today Graeme consults on commercial projects internationally and facilitates quarterly training programs across Europe, North America and Asia.

Graeme’s expert insight and counsel is driving technical innovation at Food Ladder and ensuring maximum productivity across its systems in Australia and abroad. In a further commitment to see Food Ladder become ubiquitous worldwide, Graeme has integrated his unique mobile phone application for remote disease diagnostics, meaning communities with Food Ladder systems can identify and treat issues in the greenhouses before they threaten the system’s ecosystem.