The Institute for Sustainable Leadership uses the science and practice of Sustainable Leadership to enable organisations to achieve high performance while caring for the environment and society.

Sustainable leadership

Sustainable Leadership embraces those behaviours, practices and systems that create enduring value for all organisational stakeholders including investors, the environment, other species, future generations and the community.

Highly successful global companies like Munich Reinsurance, Infineon Technologies and BMW adopt Sustainable Leadership practices, as do many SMEs worldwide.

Research and practice

ISL supports leaders by using our knowledge that comes from observing successful business practice and engaging in original research.

With a strong practical orientation, we offer models and frameworks that have been developed from observations of best practice organisations based in different parts of the world.

The principles of Sustainable Leadership are well supported by evidence gathered by an international network of affiliated university collaborators.

Honeybee versus Locust leadership analogy

Honeybee leadership adopts a long-term, collaborative and inclusive approach. This is proving to be a more profitable, sustainable and effective way of running organisations than the prevailing “Locust” leadership philosophy.

Locust leadership has one purpose – to generate a continuous stream of short-term returns for its shareholders regardless of the impact on employees, society or the environment.
This is simply not sustainable.


Gayle Avery and Harald Bergsteiner are the founding directors of the Institute for Sustainable Leadership. Both are specialist researchers and educators in sustainable leadership.

Photo of Gayle Avery

Dr. Gayle C. Avery

Specialising in leadership, management development and creating sustainable enterprises, Gayle Avery advises senior managers from a wide range of national and international corporate and non-profit clients.

As a very experienced corporate and executive educator, Gayle brings extensive global experience in business, government and academe. She has been academic leader on numerous study tours to visit European enterprises to examine sustainable leadership practices first hand.

Author of many papers and books on leadership, she is honorary professor at Macquarie University Business School, and visiting professor at leading international business schools.

In Thailand she has advised the Crown Property Bureau on sustainable leadership and NIDA (National Institute for Development Administration) on leadership in sustainable and community development.

Dr. Harald Bergsteiner

Born in Germany and educated in Australia, Harry is a sought-after thought leader who specialises in sustainable leadership and country competitiveness.

His research has shown that countries that adopt sustainable practices enjoy superior performance on economic, social and environmental criteria.

Using additional skills from his earlier background in architecture and urban management, Harry provides insights into leadership throughout an organisation using graphical modelling in ways that lead to action. One example of this came from Harry’s process model explaining Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy that executives, teachers and researchers were able to use.

With a PhD from Macquarie University in Sydney, Harry has been adjunct and honorary professors at Macquarie Graduate School of Management and the Australian Catholic University. He is author of many books and papers, study tour leader and experienced advisor to government and the private sector.


Maria Lorenzo

Maria Lorenzo is the Communications and Executive Education Director at ISL. She is a globally experienced professional with double Masters degrees in International Relations and Translations from Macquarie University. Born in Spain, she has developed her professional career world-wide, specialising in cross-cultural awareness, adult education, and purposeful communication with a particular focus on internationalisation.

Maria brings extensive experience in developing learning programs for international teams, customised training, and leadership workshops designed to foster sustainable leadership across all levels of an enterprise. With her expertise in stakeholder relations and effective communication, honed through her work in the educational travel industry, the Spanish and LOTE language localisation sector, and the university community in Australia and the US, Maria is committed to delivering high-quality consulting and other services to help executives drive their organisations towards greater success.

Having achieved the level of Certified Practitioner in Sustainable Leadership, she is currently completing her Advanced Practitioner Licence to become a recognised consultant at the Institute for Sustainable Leadership.

Marilyn Smith

As Client Relations Manager at ISL, Marilyn says that she has “found her purpose” in delivering high-quality education, consulting and other services to help organisations enjoy greater success and resilience.

A highly experienced General Manager, Marilyn’s extensive knowledge covers business development, operations, strategic planning, project management, HR, marketing, and risk management.

She readily applies her skills in nurturing teams of professional staff given her background in diverse sectors: dental health, community pharmacies, education; environmental engineering, science, and planning; and international aid.

Marilyn administers ISL’s government relationships, ensuring compliance with government policies, procedures, as well as sponsorships and grants.

Adding to her Master of Management degree from Macquarie University, Marilyn is now a Certified Practitioner in Sustainable Leadership and is about to qualify as a Licensed Practitioner in Sustainable Leadership, enabling her to consult in the field.

Photographic acknowledgement
Kind thanks to Olga Mirkina, Harry Bergsteiner, Alan McDonald, iStock, Unsplash and Pixabay for use of images on this web site.