Starfish’s Associates program has been suspended indefinitely due to the impacts of Covid-19. The future of the program will be considered as part of Starfish’s next strategic planning process.


Starfish Associates

Starfish’s sustainability specialists bring extensive professional experience, expertise and passion for rural and regional sustainability. The breadth of Starfish’s initiatives and services reflects this.

SF_Email_AssociatesStarfish Associates are freelance contractors as well as collaborators in creating Starfish itself ~ its services, systems, methods, intellectual property and initiatives.

Fit-for-purpose teams are formed for each Starfish initiative or engagement. This is to achieve high quality results by ensuring the necessary capabilities are involved. Starfish Associates are key members of Starfish’s Network because they are the primary pool of professionals for our contracted work. This is mostly in collaboration with other organisations and specialists, as indicated by the 600 such partnerships in the last five years alone.

Associates can contract work independently of Starfish, so long as it is relevant to rural and regional sustainability in a meaningful way.

We are aiming to triple the number of Associates by 2021.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Starfish Associate, check out our recruitment campaign:

What Associates bring …

Individually, each Associate brings their sustainability specialisations, experience and expertise ~ in areas as listed earlier ~ as well as capabilities in collaboration and change, namely:

  • Communications (e.g. Homes North Annual Reports, Starfish’s Strategic Plan)

  • Conferences (e.g. Complex Case Management & Behaviour Support, North Coast Energy Forum), Training (e.g. UNE Student Association) & Workshops (e.g. EdFest)
  • Facilitation (e.g. Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail Alliance Forum, New England North West Youth Accommodation Forum)

  • Governance (e.g. Home North Governance & Strategy Retreats, Coalition for Community Energy Governance Charter, Coledale Place-based Collaborative Governance Model)

  • Leadership development (e.g. New England North West Place Teams)

  • Project coordination (e.g. Biochar for Sustainable Soils, Northern Inland Sustainable Business Network)

  • Research (e.g. New England Wind Feasibility Study)

  • Strategy & planning (e.g. New England Sustainability Strategy, PCYC Strategic Positioning)

Collaboratively ~ with the Starfish Network ~ Associates can form teams involving other specialists who are a perfect fit for the purpose and requirements of each unique fee-for-service contract. They can also utilise Starfish’s Auspice Service for start-ups (e.g. earthfunerals) or multi-party projects that need a neutral collaboration space (e.g. Coalition for Community Energy).

In our experience, highly effective change can be achieved when the people and organisations who are involved are highly fit-for-purpose. While alignment of purpose is not enough on its own, it can create greater shared benefits and outcomes.

We’ve been a part of several successful change collaborations of this kind where teams have found flow and achieved fantastic results together.To ensure each project has the maximum potential for creating meaningful change, Starfish will even consider whether another service provider we know might be more fit-for-purpose than us. This unusual approach reflects our genuine commitment to focus on what is needed and what will work best ~ rather than on our self-interests!

Is there any way we can be of service to you with your change work or changes within your organisation?

Even though this fee-for-service work is one of the ways that we earn our living, we genuinely ask this question without any pressure or expectation; rather, we are simply looking for situations where our capabilities are useful and where there is an opportunity to work in a collaborative way.

Our clients will vouch for the fact that we’re not in this for the money. Doing meaningful work with peers who share our purpose and priorities is our passion.

We’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how we might be of service to you in your work for rural and regional sustainability.

The benefits of becoming a Starfish Associate include:

  • Leveraging Starfish’s track-record and reputation in rural and regional sustainability
  • Utilising Starfish’s Supporting Systems (as detailed below)
  • Creating, leading and implementing rural and regional sustainability initiatives, and more specifically:
    • Providing professional services on a fee-for-service basis to support others
    • Developing and leading their own sustainability initiatives and enterprises
    • Contributing to rural and regional sustainability more generally
  • Having the flexibility to work independently of Starfish, as a freelance contractor
  • Holding a preferred supplier status for sub-contracted work generated by Starfish.

To date, Starfish has developed the following systems and supports for Associates:

  • Fund Raising
    • Tax deductibility for grants and donations through the Starfish Foundation
    • Income tax exempt status for grant and government funding
    • Access to subscription services with regular updates regarding grants and tenders
  • Governance & Strategy
    • Strategic oversight by Starfish’s Board of Directors to ensure the financial and legal integrity of all sustainability initiatives and services
    • Independent financial audit by Roberts & Morrow
    • Mechanisms to manage multi-party collaborations and contracts
    • Access to expertise and peer support from other Associates and their networks
    • Access to Starfish’s Auspice & Incubator Service to manage contracts and hold intellectual property, licences and other assets in trust
    • Banking, finance, accounting, reporting and administration
    • Insurance coverage for initiatives led through Starfish Initiatives
  • Profile & Branding
    • Co-branding, and the associated recognition and reputation arising from Starfish’s track-record with grants, tenders, contracts and delivery of projects and services
    • Communication systems including email (with cloud back-up), websites, social media and subscriber databases
    • Collateral, such as business cards, web presence and car decals
  • Library of templates, open-source software, policies, etc. for project coordination

Contact us  if you are interested to find out more about becoming a Starfish Associate.

“The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life.

“And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.”

~ Henry Moore

“It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.”

~ Arnold Toynbee

Starfish Associates apply their professional capabilities and passion to bring about the essential changes needed for sustainability.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

~ Socrates

“When an old culture is dying, the new culture is created by those of us who are not afraid to be insecure.”

~ Rudolph Bayo