Kim McKay AO
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, 1981
Director and CEO, Australian Museum; Founder and Managing Director, Momentum2; Co-Founder, Clean Up Australia
UTS Vice-Chancellor’s Industry Advisory Board Member
UTS Chancellor's Award for Excellence 2010
Kim McKay's international career in media, social and sustainability marketing, and communications spans over 25 years and every continent. A highly skilled communicator and entrepreneurial marketer, Kim has created and managed many visionary and large scale international projects.
In June 2008 she was recognized by the Australian government for distinguished service to the environment and the community and was awarded an Order of Australia (AO), one of that country's highest civilian honours.
I think UTS is one of the most exciting and dynamic tertiary institutions in Australia, for sure, and I'm very proud to be a graduate of UTS.
She is currently a Director of Momentum2, a Sydney based social and sustainability marketing consultancy and has worked on local and global projects for National Geographic Society, Qantas and Harpo Productions among other clients.
McKay has worked consistently in support of the local and global environment for two decades starting when she co-founded Clean Up Australia and then later Clean Up the World with Ian Kiernan, AO. Along with a group of friends, they were on a mission to raise awareness and take positive action in support of their local environment. The message that everyone can make a difference has been the driving theme behind her actions.
She is the co-author with Jenny Bonnin of five True Green books published in Australia (ABC Books) and in the United States (National Geographic Books):
- True Green…100 Everyday Ways You Can Contribute to a Healthier Planet
- True Green @ Work…100 Ways You Can Make the Environment Your Business, with Tim Wallace
- True Green Kids…100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet*
- True Green Home…100 Ideas to Help You Create a Greener Home
- True Green Life…200 ideas to make your life greener in every way
McKay is a regular media commentator on practical environmental action and is a sought-after inspirational public speaker addressing business and not-for-profit conferences as well as schools and community groups on her rich experiences.
Most recently, McKay debuted in October 2011 as a feature panelist on episode 2 of the top-rating Gruen Planet show on ABC TV; MC'd Oprah Winfrey's only media conference in Australia; presented a series of on-camera 'True Green Tips' for Sky News in Australia (part of the weekly Eco Report in 2009; co-authored a weekly 'True Green' column for the Sunday Telegraph 'Body and Soul' newspaper in 2007; and was named in G Magazine's Top 20 Australian Eco Heros list in the November 2009 issue. She also presents a weekly True Green radio spot for ABC regional radio in NSW.
To mark the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day 2011, McKay was included in the book 'The Power of 100…One hundred Women who have shaped Australia'.
In 2010 McKay and Momentum2 teamed up with Karen Eck of eckfactor to manage the local media and stakeholder relations for Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure on behalf of Oprah's company, Harpo Productions – one of the largest and most highly acclaimed media events held in Australia in recent years. McKay returned to Australia in 2004 after almost seven years working in the United States in cable television for two of the most respected non-fiction channels, Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channels International. She joined NGCI as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications in June 2000.
Since then, McKay has co-created The Genographic Project for National Geographic with population geneticist, Dr Spencer Wells. One of the largest and wide-ranging projects in National Geographic's 120 year history, the five year+ global study traces humankind's migratory history during the past 60,000 years.
The Genographic Project actively involves the general public in citizen science through the purchase of a DNA cheek-swab test kit to identify an individual's deep ancestry. McKay conceived the project with Dr. Wells and secured global corporate support from IBM. To date, more than 410,000 test kits have been sold raising millions of dollars for the Genographic Project's Legacy Fund to benefit cultural preservation and education projects in indigenous communities around the world.
Her career has been dominated by adventure pursuits and the environment – she was a project manager on all four BOC Challenge solo around the world yacht races in the 1980's and 90's; a media representative on the APSA World Pro Surfing tour in the 1980's; executive director of Discovery Channel Eco-Challenge in Australia, Morocco and Argentina in the late 1990's; and in recent years, part of National Geographic research and filming expeditions to Peru, Egypt and India.
In 1989, after staging the historic Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day, McKay co-founded Clean Up Australia and served as Deputy Chairwoman for 20 years (1989- 2009), helping direct the growth of the organization. Today, Clean Up Australia is the one of the largest community environmental projects in Australia annually attracting more than half a million volunteers.
Following the success of this effort, in 1992 she co-founded Clean Up the World, securing partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and international corporate support. The program now operates in 120+ countries and annually involves over 30 million participants.
McKay's current not-for-profit roles include: Chair, Editorial Advisory Committee, CSIRO's ECOS Magazine (Australia's oldest environmental publication); foundation board member of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS); a board member of the EYE Foundation; steering committee member of the National Business Leader's Forum on Sustainable Development; and a committee member of the Genographic Project Legacy Fund. She is also an Advisory Board member and Ambassador for the 1 Million Women campaign.
In the past she served for 20 years on the Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World boards; was a board member of the Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University, Washington, DC and a communications advisory committee member of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. She was a member of the Community Relations Committee for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Bid; voluntarily helped coordinate the Million Mom March in Washington DC in 2000; and was one of the co-founders of the Short-handed Sailing Association of Australia. In January 2008 she traveled to Antarctica as part of the Expedition Team, lecturing on board the Australian-based cruise ship, ORION.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from UTS and has won numerous Australian and international awards for her work in the environment and communications including a PRIA National Golden Target Award, a United Nations citation for Clean Up the World and IPRA's Golden World Award for Excellence in Environmental Communication. She was awarded the University of Technology, Sydney Chancellor's Award for Excellence in 2010 – the highest honour awarded to a former UTS Alumni.
"I think UTS is one of the most exciting and dynamic tertiary institutions in Australia, for sure, and I'm very proud to be a graduate of UTS. It's an Institution to me that is moving forward. It's really going places, and I think that's incredibly exciting for the student body to know that they are in an institution that is looking to the future."
She has also been appointed as an Honorary Adjunct Professor at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) to help build the Women in MBA Program.
She has lived in the USA, UK, Morocco and Argentina for extended periods and now lives in her hometown, Sydney, Australia.
*True Green Kids is the winner of one of the USA's most prestigious children's science book awards, the AAAS/Subaru Book Prize for Best Hands On Science Book and has been featured in the journal, Science Magazine- awarded in Chicago, February, 2009.