“Sustainability is broader than just the environment,”
says James Balzer, a Master of Sustainable Development graduate, currently working as a policy officer for the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
“We have to think about it in four pillars; society, governance, environment and economy.”
James' interests in sustainability and social entrepreneurship began early on in his studies.
HEX provided James an avenue where he could use entrepreneurial ventures to create change. James participated in HEX 3.2 in Singapore, where he was able to learn about the power of entrepreneurial thinking and the impact these skills can have on accelerating important projects.
“Something HEX does really well is build your ability to look at big problems from a macro perspective, but also show you how to look at things from the micro perspective and take action on an idea. You need a mixture of both to make tangible change on the ground.”
James is a huge fan of the diverse and intelligent community of HEX, and loves having a direct line to our enormous group of innovators and changemakers.
James has also explored social entrepreneurship by spending time in Malawi and Timor-Leste where he was pursuing social ventures and assisting on projects relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Returning to Australia, he began to explore diplomacy and entrepreneurship which helped deepen his understanding of how the private sector and startups can contribute to social impact at greater scale.
As he’s grown professionally, James has generously ‘paid it forward’ and mentors new Hexies as they come through the program. He’s now also a mentor at Catalysr, Australia’s accelerator that supports migrant and refugee entrepreneurs.
James’s broad experiences have enabled him to manage a range of projects from bee conservation ventures to rural sanitation missions, where he has been able to marry his project management skills with entrepreneurial frameworks to execute on overarching problems to localised issues to create the sustainability and policy change he wants to see in our world.
Looking at the bigger picture, James wants to build his skills in the area of impact strategy consulting, where he can play a key role in driving innovation. His moonshot career dream is to one day be the President of the Rockefeller Foundation.
“I have watched their work for a while and I think what they do is very cool. They're probably the most effective sustainable development think tank I have come across.”