Working in complex systems from an early age, Chelsea was an active leader in youth climate movement building in New Zealand and globally as part of the UN Copenhagen Summit. Following this experience Chelsea went on to cofound Generation Zero, a movement of young kiwis aiming to build cross party political support for net zero emissions by 2050. Studying Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, Chelsea researched future practice for policy making and explored the success factors of collaborative governance which authentically include Māori voices for the management of commons resources such as water. With an everlasting impulse to understand how change happens, Chelsea shifted to working in local government to try putting these ideas into practice, and then with central government to engage with communities across the country through initiatives such as a collaborative re-assessment of the Census questions for New Zealand.
Enspiral is a powerful network of social entrepreneurs, founded in Wellington, this group has been a home for Chelsea’s work since March 2013. Working with Enspiral ventures, Chelsea has gained a deep understanding of social business; leading the consulting & services work for Loomio.org across 3 start-up years – enabling inclusive decision making through technology, as well as founding the Low Carbon Challenge in partnership with Wellington City Council.
Funded by MSD, Enspiral implemented a social innovation lab called LifehackHQ to leverage innovative approaches to address the NZ youth suicide rate. Chelsea joined as a co-lead in 2013 and connected cross-sector systemic action labs/programs for youth wellbeing and suicide reduction. This work was highly experimental and created fresh outcomes and insights which are being taken up by youth and mental health groups across the country.
Since late 2015, Chelsea has travelled Europe, Latin America, Canada and USA to understand what the most pressing leverage points are for global systems change today. As a result she is working on a research project to identify the key success factors of funding arrangements which enable systems change practitioners to truly change systems. There is a funding bottleneck for this work, and numerous opportunities for greater shared understanding across the funder/fundee relationship. This work aims to produce tools to support the uptake of systems oriented funding approaches by entrepreneurs, governments, investment funds and philanthropic foundations across the world.