Our Team



Julia Leske
CEO, Managing Director



Julia has a great understanding of company sustainability assessments and reporting frameworks. She has been involved in the collation and construction of sustainability indices and has contributed to a range of thematic reports on corporate ESG challenges. Through working with a broad range of investors to incorporate ESG criteria into their investment processes, and participation in multi‐stakeholder groups and investor collaborations, Julia also has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement. Julia has a Master in Environmental Management and Development from the Australian National University, and a combined Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration/European Studies and Sustainable Development from the Universities of Münster (Germany) and Twente (Netherlands).





Konrad Knerr
Executive Director, Operations



Konrad completed his studies at the Universität Bielefeld, in Germany and at the Australian National University in Australia. He worked for the ASX-listed fund manager Australian Ethical Investment Limited from 2000 to 2002. Subsequent to that he helped establish CAER in 2002 and continues to work for the business. He is currently also a board member of the Association for Responsible Investment Services (ARISE) based in Brussels, Belgium.



Phil Sloane
Executive Director, Research Services



Phil has over 15 years’ experience in the responsible investment industry. He is responsible for coordinating CAER’s research and providing clients with advice and support to make the most of CAER’s products and services. Phil holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment.




Duncan Paterson
Executive Director



Duncan has worked extensively in the field of responsible investment, both in Australia and in the UK with EIRIS. Duncan enjoys working with a broad range of investors to incorporate environmental, social and governance criteria into their investment processes. In addition to his work with CAER, Duncan served for 10 years on the board of the industry body for responsible investment in Australia, the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) (the last few years as Chair), and for 10 years as a director of the Hong Kong-based Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA).



Nina Haysler
Research Project Manager



Nina joined CAER after completing a Bachelor of International Relations (Honours) from the Australian National University. She has a particular interest in methods of negative screening in the investment process and indigenous and human rights issues.  Nina has also specialised in human capital management and psychosocial health in the workplace. This interest began with an engagement with ACSI concerning psychosocial health in the utilities, mining and financial sectors.




Nithya Iyer
ESG Strategy Advisor



Nithya has worked across ESG research, responsible investment analysis, and financial services advocacy. Her previous experience includes managing environmental and social research at the Australian Council for Superannuation Investors, research and analysis at the Responsible Investment Association Australasia and leading advocacy for trustee policy at the Financial Services Council. Nithya holds a Bachelor of Arts (Politics & International Relations) and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance & Accounting) double-degree from Monash University. She is passionate about the development of sound ESG practices across all forms of investment.


Emma Batchelor
Website and Communications Assistant

Emma has a background in communications, event and project management and publishing. She is the Founder and Editor of Leiden Magazine, an online destination for fashion, beauty, health and fitness and holds a Bachelor of Medical Science with Honours in Immunology. Emma is looking forward to applying her knowledge of communications and website development to the field of ESG research at CAER.



Alex Clark
ESG Research Assistant





Haseeb Ikram
ESG Research Assistant





Ruby Jones
ESG Research Assistant




Jacob Laurent
ESG Research Assistant






James Thier
Chair, Non-executive Director



James co-founded ASX-listed Australian Ethical Investment and was an executive director for 20 years. James was an inaugural board member of the Ethical Investment Association (now the Responsible Investment Association of Australia). Throughout his career James has  held senior positions within peak bodies of the credit union, local government and academia. James has also worked as an Investment Advisor for a US global impact/microfinance firm.  Through a Churchill Fellowship, James studied shareholder advocacy mechanisms in the United States and Europe. In addition to his commitments with CAER, James is currently a director of Future Super and a member of its investment committee.



Howard Pender
Non-executive Director



Howard received a university medal in economics from the Australian National University. He worked at the Commonwealth Treasury and then as senior economist at Bankers Trust in Sydney. From 1992 to 1997, he was a visiting fellow in the Centre for International and Public Law at the Australian National University. Howard has been a director of three ASX-listed companies. Currently, he is the Deputy Chair of the ACT Long Service Leave Authority and an Office Bearer of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility.