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.

  • Ariane Stark

    Senior Campaigns Consultant

    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.

  • 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.

  • Afsah Haque

    Campaigns Assistant

    Afsah is an experienced media and campaigns officer with a keen interest in social justice and inclusion. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce/Media (PR and Advertising) from the University of New South Wales, where she discovered a passion for public relations in the social and political fields.

    Afsah works with a variety of Essential clients on their media relations and the full range of external communications. She has assisted with campaigns for unions, social service providers and political groups. Afsah currently helps deliver the Every Australian Counts campaign, which secured the NDIS and now advocates with people living with disability to make it work. She also was central to the NSW Public Libraries Association's Renew Our Libraries campaign that delivered $60 million in additonal funding to the sector during the 2019 state election. Afsah runs media relations for organisations as varied as Multicultural Australia and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Hannah Craft

    Campaigns Consultant

    Hannah works across earned media and digital advocacy to execute research-driven campaigns at state and federal levels, helping organisations shape public discourse and set the political agenda in the election cycle. She also manages strategic media relations for a range of NGOs, unions and peak bodies, navigating contentious issues and putting community needs in the spotlight.

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.