In partnership with lauded environmental advocate, Ian Kiernan, Kim founded the successful Clean Up Australia campaign in 1989, and duplicated that success by taking it to the world in 1993 under the banner Clean Up the World. Kim’s message of reducing environmental impact is wide reaching.
Through positioning herself as an author, media commentator and partner in social and sustainability marketing consultancy Momentum2, her entrepreneurial spirit, drive and vision have helped her to create and manage numerous large scale and international projects.
A native Australian and lifelong believer that everyone can make a difference, Kim McKay has worked for over 25-plus on every continent in media, sustainability and social marketing. A highly skilled communicator and entrepreneurial marketer, Kim has created and managed many large scale and visionary international projects.
In 1989 she co-founded Clean Up Australia, now the largest community environmental project in that country, followed in 1993 by Clean Up the World, which operates in over 120 countries. She is also the co-author of the popular True Green, book series, published by National Geographic, which identifies simple things that individuals, families, corporations and communities can do to reduce our impact on the environment.
A regular media commentator on environment issues and presenter on Sky News in Australia/New Zealand, Kim is a sought-after public speaker addressing non-profit, business and government audiences.
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). She is currently a partner in Momentum2, a Sydney based social & sustainability marketing consultancy working on local and global projects for National Geographic Society & Qantas among other clients.
Kim 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 solo ‘round the world yachtsman, and 1994 Australian of the Year, 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.
with Jenny Bonnin
A fifth ‘True Green’ title is now in development.
In 2004 Kim returned to Australia 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 (NGCI). She joined NGCI as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications in June 2000.
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.
Since 2004, Kim has co-created The Genographic Project for National Geographic with population geneticist, Dr. Spencer Wells. The five year+ global study traces humankind’s migratory history during the past 60,000 years and actively involves the general public through the purchase of a DNA cheek-swab test kit to identify an individual’s deep ancestry. Kim conceived the project with Dr. Wells and secured global corporate support from IBM. To date, more than 260,000 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.
In 1989, after staging the historic Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day, Kim co-founded Clean Up Australia. As Deputy Chairwoman from 1989 to the present, she continues to help direct the growth of the organisation. Today, Clean Up Australia is the largest community environmental project in Australia.
Following on from 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 volunteers.
In addition to her Board roles at Clean Up Australia/Clean Up the World, Kim is on the steering committee of the National Business Leader’s Forum on Sustainable Development, an advisory board member of the EYE Foundation, a communications advisory committee member of the National Breast Cancer Foundation and is a board member of the Centre for Australian and New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University, Washington, DC and a founding board member of the Tasmanian International Adventure Film Festival. She has recently been appointed to the board of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS).
In the past she has served on the Community Relations Committee for the Sydney 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.
Kim holds a BA (Communications) from UTS (University of Technology, Sydney) and has won numerous Australian and international awards for her work in the environment and communications including a United Nations citation and IPRA’s Golden World Award for Excellence in Environmental Communication.
“News Corp has introduced a global program to reduce the organisation's carbon footprint and our team is trying to do its bit. Kim was fantastic. She uses a blend of knowledge and humour to really engage with her audience and to provide a global overview as well as an insight into her own personal journey championing the environment. As a speaker, Kim conveys both authority and accessibility in equal measure. Team members are still walking around quoting Kim. The tips she provided were translated into almost instant action too. Kim's presentation really energised staff and created conversations across departments."
Editor, careerone.com.au , News Ltd
“Kim McKay reminds us that big change starts with small, individual actions. In discussing True Green at Work at the Treasury Executive Institute, she gave a compelling call to action for each person to make changes that can help save this planet we share. She moves beyond gloom and doom predictions to share practical, easy changes to our daily behaviour that cumulatively can make a big difference".
Director, Treasury Executive Institute, US Federal Government
"Kim's was the jump-start we needed. Her knowledge and passion for the topic is extraordinary. She held the audience captive with her stories, her facts and her humour. I feel we moved forward one year in one hour."
Vice President of Human Resources, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System
“It has been my great pleasure to work with Kim McKay on three events. She is the consummate professional! Her talk on the environment is fun, fact filled, convincing and animated. She is an engaging speaker whose passion for her work shone through each time. Audiences left feeling inspired rather than depressed and she stressed her theme of one person making a difference."