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ALGA “BossLady” send-off event - The Kittyhawk, Sydney

Elisabethe Dank, ALGA's CEO also affectionately known as The BossLady or The Elisabethe, was the guest of honour at her goodbye party, held at The Kittyhawk in Sydney on the 21st June 2019.

The evening was a bittersweet event for many in attendance, as Elisabethe has been with the Association since 2008, and has been instrumental in achieving the level of success it currently enjoys.

We have compiled the evening speeches for your enjoyment, in an attemt to capture the spirit of the event:


Craig Cowpers speech:

"Welcome to Elisabethe’s farewell party! I am the current chair of the ALGA board of directors and the MC for the formal proceedings of tonight. Tonight is not really a farewell, but a celebration of more than 10 years at the helm of ALGA..

The association has become a real family for many of us. The team in the Robertson office led by Elisabethe, truly behave like a family ... and for good reason.

I’ve seen Elisabethe’s husband, her sister, her aunty, her uncle and her kids all pitching in for ALGA over the years ... … and there’s been another sister, a father, a mother and a sister in law … nepotism is strong in the NSW southern highlands!!" 

Anyway, in conclusion I would like to thank the "BossLady" for all her initiatives over the years, and wish her all the very best for her future!"


Peter Nadebaum's speech:

ALGA has had a long history with Elisabethe and her family. Quitz Pty Ltd (Margaret Bates (Elisabethe's aunt), David Bates and Rosalind Vrettas) were instrumental in starting up ALGA back in June 2007 – 12 years ago by providing the seed funding to start up ALGA. Rosalind acted as our Secretariat.

And then, August 2008, Elisabethe was engaged to assist, and we formally engaged her as our Secretariat. I located her first employment contract – you may be interested to know, the first thing that she was primarily responsible for was: answering the telephone and responding to the fax machine. Also, financial and event organisation. One of our key activities was to contribute to EcoForum conferences – which at that time was set up as a conference of peak environmental bodies – Water, Environment, Air and Land and Groundwater, and Waste, by Quitz Pty Ltd.

In these first years it was a benign dictatorship – we did what we could ourselves – and made it all up.

Then Elisabethe took over – a far better outcome! Elisabethe had great skills in organisation of the Association and its events, and financial matters. It was at this time under her management we commenced our steady upwards growth in members, events and finances – to now where we have more than 2100 members.  Most importantly, she could placate and jolly along all the diverse personalities in our membership – not to mention the diverse personalities of our Board of Directors. There were a series of new Boards that Elisabethe had to deal with – our Board members might have thought they were providing direction to the Association, but I think Elisabethe was the one really calling the shots – as she is cleverly able to do.

So here we are – close to 11 years later with continuous growth as the Association, continuous evolution of the Industry – and I think – continuing evolution of Elisabethe herself.

The other notable thing that Elisabethe has put together is a superb and capable team - who run the day to day activities – the conferences and branch meetings. So Elisabethe has set us up to continue the evolution of our Association – there is no shortage of opportunities, and I think we will all be surprised if we were able to look forward another 10 years. It would be remiss of me to not remind you of our mission: for Australia to lead the world in the sustainable management of contaminated land and groundwater. And we are deadly serious in this – it is not motherhood – I believe it is possible and this is what we are setting out to do.

And so – we have to thank Elisabethe for guiding us along our path and equipping us to successfully complete our mission.

We owe a great debt to Elisabethe – thanks Elisabethe!"


John Hunt’s speech

"Hello Everyone.

I’m sorry that I cannot attend this important event in ALGA’s history of ALGA. I have been travelling and returned with a virus that has gone to my voice. So, I though it better to put some words into writing and spare you the virus.

I have been asked to briefly say a few words about Elisabethe, which is difficult given the occasion and the depth of Elisabethe’ contribution to ALGA. I believe that the first time I met Elisabethe was at one of the Ecoforum conferences organised by her father David. Hello David if you are present. Dad and mum certainly have a daughter to be proud of. Even at that early stage it was obvious that Elisabethe knew the ropes of conference organisation and had the organisational skills and style of someone who could breathe life into the dream that was ALGA. One thing lead to another and it was no surprise when Elisabethe was subsequently hired to create something out of nothing – well out of the good ideas and plans of a senior member of the industry now holding the microphone. Over the next few years as we developed the branches, myself and the other forum organisers were always pleasantly surprise by how easy it was, how smoothly things ran, with the growing and talented team that Elisabethe put together to service the association. This resulted it the continued growth and engagement of the association with the industry that still shown no signs of slowing down. It was in organising the Ecoforum conference that Elisabeth really stood out. The venues were carefully chosen, the attention to detail was legendary, the program ran like clockwork and the dinners were to die for. All we technical folk had to do was find and herd the cats - I mean organise the speakers. I particularly remember the Ecoforum Conference at the Jupiter’s on the Gold Coast when I was President. To my great surprise we were met at the airport by a limousine and appropriately attired driver and shown to the president suite.

But enough. I understand that people need ongoing challenges to grow professionally and Elisabethe has decided to take one on, not too far from us. She has created and nurtured a very professional, enthusiastic and committed team to service ALGA going forward. All that remains is for us to thank her for the tremendous job she has done as ALGA’s founding telephone answerer and CEO, all to wish her, John and family every success in the future."


Ian Brookman’s telegram:


















Karoline & Shardai’s speeches (on behalf of ALGA Staff):

Elisabethe, you will never truly know how many lives you changed during your time at ALGA. Thank you for the opportunity you have given us. For how you have created a part of an industry that feels like a family. We can honestly say on behalf of all the ALGA staff that you are the best boss lady that we could’ve ever had!  We know you’re a tight ass. We’ve all had to take stamps off used envelopes to save a dollar. We’ve cut every corner and DIY’d everything we possibly could......including our office. However, we know every effort you made was for the good, and you have never taken for granted the kindness of our industry. 

We are going to miss you sooooo much and wish you the very best on this adventure ahead, however we would also publicly like to state that ‘Pete and Mike......you are both dead to us’ hahaha jokes. On that note, we have bought a little something to show you our appreciation.
By the way, you actually left a few things behind in the office. We just wanted to make sure that there’s nothing missing...... 

All jokes aside, we love you, have a great night & we will miss you boss lady!


Jon Miller’s speech:

"There will be many kind words spoken about Elisabethe tonight but the point I would like to highlight is that the success of ALGA is in large part as a result of her embracing people with a bee in their bonnet.

From personal experience I can well remember back in 2007 and 2008 calling Elisabethe and ranting about this issue or that and while she could have simply told me shut up and go away, she said, “Well Mr Miller you have two choices. You can either keep ranting or you can get involved with ALGA and try to bring about some change”. As many others have done, I chose the latter although I was grateful for the therapy sessions during my rants. Incidentally, this doesn’t mean I have stopped ranting and if anybody would like to buy me a whiskey and form an orderly queue up the back of this room, I will gladly share my latest.  As many of you will know, under the constitution members of ALGA are not able to receive a financial benefit and so as an employee, Elisabethe is not a member of ALGA. Now the last board meeting finished at 2.00 this afternoon which brought to a close Elisabethe’s employment, so having been free for 5 hours it is high time that Elisabethe became a member - you are not going to get away that easily. However, I think Elisabethe will be the first and most likely the only person to ever make the transition from non-member to Honorary Life Member of ALGA in one step.

So, it is my privilege to hand Elisabethe this award for her contribution to the Contaminated Land Industry and to welcome her to the ALGA family. Congratulations!'


After this, Tina Girard and Dru Marsh from ALGA's Board of Directors presented Elisabethe with some lovely parting gifts, one of which was particularly memorable: A plaque proclaiming Elisabethe as an Honourary Life Member!
Elisabethe's speech:

"Firstly, I need to sit down as I am feeling a little faint!

For me ALGA has truly become a part of my family - you just need to ask my daughters the youngest of whom is 11. For her, she can never remember a time when Mummy wasn't wotking for ALGA!  The 3 of them were really unhappy that they could not be a part of tonight... 

It goes without saying that the office team are awesome! Thank you for making my job easier and more enjoyable. We have all grown together on this journey so much and have become workmates - and friends.

As to the Board of Directors, thank you for the beautiful presents and all your support, the Association will just grow and grow with strong leadership.

Lastly to the Members: The success of ALGA is really due to you - whether volunteering in formal positions, providing funds to support an endeavour or simply jumping in whenever asked..it is this that has continued to feed my energy and drive over the years. I hope you all know that in one way or another you have had an impact on my personal growth over the last decade, so thank you – without you ALGA is nothing!

Thank you all again for such a lovely evening, I couldn't imagine it better than this.. All the best to you all on your own paths, I wish all the best for all of you - goodbye!"

This was the point were there were a few tears.. So it seems although she is gone as the CEO, since she is now a Life Member, ALGA has not heard the last of Elisabethe Dank!


The evening's photos are here.

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