Sonja Giese.

Executive Director

Our experiences in the first few moments, hours, days and years of life define the lifelong architecture of our developing brains in extraordinary ways. The active interplay between genetics and environment means that every one of us is shaped as much by the world we are born into as we are by the DNA we inherit from the individuals who bring us into this world.

The hope and despair this knowledge offers drives my commitment to early years innovation – to inspire, create, test and scale services, systems and products that positively transform the early life experiences of our most vulnerable citizens.

My interest in this interplay was first sparked in my undergraduate years, with dual majors in Psychology and Zoology. During and post university I witnessed the devastating long term impact of early deprivation through my work with neglected, abused and institutionalised young children. These early academic and practical lessons have informed everything I have done since – in the design and delivery of a number of large-scale child-focused programmes, in national policy reform, systems enhancements and in my current role as Executive Director of Innovation Edge.

I believe that innovation happens when we open ourselves up to the unexpected; when we are mindful of and question our assumptions; and when we purposefully connect with people and processes that challenge us.