Shani has a background in education, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and a Masters in Educational Management. She worked for over 20 years in schools as a special education teacher, visiting consultant, teacher educator and school principal. To the delight of students and parents, and the chagrin of the more conservative teachers and education department, she loved dressing in silly clothes every Friday. She is highly regarded as an expert presenter, facilitator, trainer and public speaker (even when wearing fairy wings).
A “sustainable sea change” in 2006 led Shani and her partner Tim to establish a small B&B in South Fremantle called The Painted Fish – Sustainable Accommodation in a Seaside Garden, which catered for the slight alternative green left of all occupations. Soon life was full – running this business, presenting the award winning Living Smart program, coordinating the famous Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta and combining creativity and craft while retrofitting houses for sustainability.
Shani and Tim now run Ecoburbia, a business aimed at giving people the sustainable skills they need to look forward to the future with hope in our unsustainable world. Their work ranges from presenting workshops on good solar house design at local councils, to inspiring corporate executives to introduce a worm farm to the office kitchen. They are aware that developing community is essential to this work, and so make sure there is lots of interaction, fun and play in whatever they are doing.
Shani and Tim’s business Ecoburbia won a Fremantle Chamber of Commerce award in 2011, and a West Australian Best Small Business Environmental award the same year. Shani was the Fremantle Citizen of the Year in 2011. The next year they were honoured to win the Australia wide Banksia Award for Excellence in Small Business.
Discovering that awards made very little difference to her life, Shani stopped applying for them and is content milking goats, talking to her neighbours and tending to her garden.