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John James

Dr John James is passionate about enabling change and innovation, and helping others to learn and build their capacity in this area.

For his PhD, he investigated the factors that affect the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies. You can read a summary of his PhD thesis or download the whole document if you’re keen.

After completing a degree in horticultural science, John’s first role was as an industry development officer. During that time he created an industry newsletter, an information centre and delivered numerous technical workshops. During this time he began to understand the purpose of extension, and realised that to enable change he needed to better understand people and how they approached decision making and change. So it was to uni…

John completed a Masters degree focusing on adult learning, psychology and business management. That eventually led him to working at the Rural Extension Centre, coordinating the delivery of post-graduate courses in agricultural extension where he was able to share his passion and expertise with students from across Australia and beyond.

He has also been heavily involved with the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN), the professional association for those involved with extension from Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Amongst other roles, he was elected APEN President for five years. He also established the APEN mentoring scheme and is still involved with that today. John was inducted as one of the first APEN Life Members in 2018. 

Denise Bewsell

Denise loves chocolate! She wishes she worked as a taste tester for Whittaker’s Chocolates (Whittaker’s if you are reading this, please get in touch!) but instead spends her days helping support facilitators (…with Whittaker’s chocolate usually).  

After completing a degree in Agricultural Science, Denise took up a role as an extension officer working on irrigation management. She worked in this area for a number of years before getting involved in extension research and understanding adoption of new practices. This led to a Masters degree focusing on how people respond to information using biosecurity as an example. Now she works with the red meat sector, supporting facilitators, and helping spread ideas on effective ways of enabling change.

Like John, Denise has been involved in APEN. She was the NZ representative for six years and now is an associate editor for the APEN journal – the Rural Extension and Innovation Systems journal. 

Denise wants people to have the opportunity to hear more about enabling change – in whatever role they have – so is excited to get this Enablers of change project underway!