Meet the Elm team

We are a small but passionate team of communication professionals with strong experience in government communications and love nothing more than a good strategy!

Melanie Gibbons, Director

“I believe that communications provides significant value to any business. Done well communications can tell the world what you are great at and get you out of a sticky situation. I passionately believe that a professional, effective communications should be at the heart of any business.

Melanie Gibbons director of Elm Communications

Elm Communications is owned and managed by Melanie Gibbons. Melanie is a passionate communications professional who believes quality communications can provide immeasurable value to your organisation. Melanie worked in in-house communications teams for most of her career, so understands where you are coming from and what you need to succeed. 

Melanie has over twenty years’ experience in communications across government, not-for-profit and the private sector in Australia and the United Kingdom. Before moving into consulting, she managed a full-service communications team in the Australian Government working on climate change policy and administration.

Managing full-service communications teams for the past decade has given Melanie a wide range of experience, including:

  • Developing and implementing short-term rapid communications plans, and long-term complex strategies. With both internal and external communications experience, Melanie believes in an integrated approach to communications. 
  • Melanie has gotten her hand’s dirty drafting more media releases than she can count, creating hashtags and writing hundreds (maybe thousands) of pages of web content. 
  • Leading the communications for new government programs like the launch of the carbon pricing mechanism and the Emissions Reduction Fund and working on taskforce teams. 
  • Experience in issues management having worked on programs like child support compliance, the closure of the Home Insulation Program and Green Loans. 
  • Successful delivery of internal communication programs including a successful enterprise agreement communications strategy, a complex cultural change program and multiple organisational restructures. 
  • Undertaken team development and planning, building teams from scratch and coming into well-established groups. Melanie has mentored junior staff and led teams through difficult periods of change. 

Melanie’s experience is complimented with academic qualifications including a Master of Strategic Communications with a dissertation on the Australian Governments use of social media, a Graduate Certificate in social media and public engagement, and a Bachelor of Communications specialising in public relations and advertising. She is also a certified Strategic Communications Management Professional.

Sue Loftus, Consultant

Sue Loftus consultant at Elm Communications

Sue Loftus is an enthusiastic communications professional focused on delivering best-practice strategic communications. With over five years of experience in internal and external communications, Sue is passionate about working with her clients to find communications solutions.   

Before venturing into the consultancy world and joining Elm Communications, Sue was a Strategic Communications Advisor in the Commonwealth Government leading external communications on complex climate change policy programs and initiatives in a regulatory context. Sound complex? It was. However, Sue’s experience in end-to-end strategic communications means she can help you develop your high-level organisational strategy right through to content creation and implementation – no matter the complexities.  
Sue also has experience in workshop facilitation, issues management, media and events, and recently completed a Diploma in Social Media Marketing.  

Amy Arbery, Consultant

Amy is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience working in various policy sectors, including environment, energy, water, agriculture, biosecurity, defence, and social welfare. Her expertise lies in understanding the motivations that drive behaviour and culture change, which is crucial for the success of any strategy implementation and program.

Before moving into consulting, Amy led a behavioural insights and innovation team in a federal government department, leading the way on using behavioural science to design more effective policy and regulatory processes, as well as implement new ways of working to improve internal efficiencies and staff engagement. This experience informs Amy’s approach to working with clients and stakeholders, fuelled by curiosity and empathy. By prioritising a deep understanding of the individuals and communities at the heart of any change, she can effectively anticipate and mitigate risks, foster enduring relationships, and ultimately achieve shared objectives.

Amy’s deep experience working in government, across multiple departments and agencies means that she understands the very real constraints that public servants work within. She loves collaborating with teams to help them recognise their individual and collective strengths so that they can adopt effective ways of working that drives and sustains high-performance cultures and improved outcomes.

Amy combines her behavioural science and communication expertise with her skills in research, stakeholder engagement, facilitation, and evaluation. This holistic approach leads to innovative but feasible solutions tailored to your specific context. Moreover, Amy works closely with you to ensure seamless implementation and long-term impact.

Amy’s experience is underpinned by her academic qualifications including a Bachelor of Communications, a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)(Honours) and a Graduate Diploma in Psychological Studies. She is also a Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) certified assessor. 

Nikola Sofatzis, Communications Assistant

Nikola Sofatzis is a third year Media and Communications student at the University of Canberra, majoring in corporate and public communications. Nikola is passionate about end-to-end strategy development, relationship building and social media. Her experience managing the social media accounts for a local Canberra gym have allowed her to build up her expertise and understand the importance of social media in communicating with audiences and creating two-way relationships in today’s digital world.

With strong customer service skills, the ability to learn and adapt to new challenges and experience in monitoring and developing social media content for small businesses, Nikola is always eager to learn and broaden her knowledge of the communications industry.

Nikola joins our team as a communications assistant after recently completing an internship with Elm Communications as part of her university degree.

Charlie & Murphy, Emotional Support Officers

Photo by Janine Fabre

Charlie & Murphy are experts at brightening up our work days. Murphy is the office ball-fetching aficionado, whereas Charlie you’ll often find dozing off on the job.

One thing they both excel at is providing unwavering support to our team. They are always there to lift our spirits or give a quick cuddle on a challenging day.

They are paid in pats, treats and the occasional ball throws and compensated appropriately for the value they bring to the team.