AFR Boss Change Makers 2010
Miriam Lyons is in it for the long haul. “It’s not just about ideas that tinker at the edges,” Lyons says. “We aim for broad-reaching, long-term development and a wide circle of inclusion in debate.” She heads up the Centre for Policy Development, the Sydneybased think tank dedicated to fresh ideas about the relationship between governments, markets, society and the environment.
Lyons grew up in Northern NSW, studied politics and international relations at the University of NSW and has been an energetic agitator for more inclusive public debate ever since. She’s helped set up networks and ideas forums to get broader engagement in the democratic process. In 2004, she co-founded Plus20 – a network dedicated to long-term social change – with University of Western Sydney academic James Arvanitakis. That same year, she also helped set up Vibewire.net, a national organisation that supports young people in media, arts and entrepreneurship.
Lyons worked with her mentor, John Menadue, a former head of Prime Minister and Cabinet, as a policy co-ordinator with the now defunct satirical news and social analysis website NewMatilda.com. She admires his assurance. “One of the most inspiring things about working with John,” she says, “is that he’s had direct experience of trying to implement reform in the face of opposition from powerful groups, yet he’s still optimistic about the potential for citizens and government to bring about positive change.
“Real leadership is not about exercising authority, but helping people face up to hard decisions. The measure of success is not whether you’ve made it big; it’s about finding work meaningful and inspiring.”
Download a copy: ‘Change_Makers’_AFR Boss Magazine 2010