Jill and Mark recently joined our team. They have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to share with us!
Jill has a bachelor’s degree in education and a graduate diploma in instructional design & technology. Since 1976, she has been a teacher, learning designer, writer, and editor in a range of school, tertiary and corporate settings. From 2004-2018, Jill ran her own consulting business designing online learning for professional associations, corporations, and universities. During this time, she worked in several sectors including financial planning, business, law, securities trading, general medical, and logistics.
From 2018 – 2021, she worked for the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University), Melbourne, in the School of Business & Law, training academics in educational principles and practice. She was also in charge of helping academics formulate authentic assessments, an approach that sees assessment replicate real job outcomes, while still embodying the essentials of a given discipline. As Covid broke out in Melbourne in 2020, she was part of the quality assurance team that oversaw mass conversions of courses, from face-to-face delivery, into online versions supported by lectorials, webinars, and online tutorials. At the end of 2020, she retired to work on projects of personal and Dharma interest.
In 1979, while hiking in the Solo Kumbu region of the Himalayas, Jill met Lama Zopa Rinpoche in Lawudo. She was impressed by his view on difficult emotional topics coupled with his deep caring for those who were listening. Soon after, she met Lama Yeshe and the Dalai Lama. As the principles of Buddhism were so helpful, and the lamas so intelligent and compassionate, she became a Buddhist in 1981 and has been a student ever since. Jill is currently working on compiling and editing a vegetarian cookbook on behalf of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Mark Allaway has worked in various roles both in Australia and overseas, since the mid-1970’s when he graduated in agricultural science from Latrobe University in Melbourne, Victoria. He began working in his own business as a landscape designer/builder in regional Victoria for about 18 months following graduation in 1976. He then took a role as a landscape construction manager for an Australian irrigation company operating out of Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf for two and a half years. On returning to Melbourne, he worked as a plant breeder on vegetable seeds in Victoria for two years, before attending Melbourne University and completing a master’s degree in landscape architecture in 1984.
Mark began working for the Victorian public sector as a landscape architect for 3 years until he started his private practice in 1987. In 1994, Mark took a two-year break to work as a regional planner in western New South Wales assessing the clearing of native rangelands by graziers on public leasehold land. On returning to Victoria and resuming his practice, he went on to complete more than 1,000 residential and commercial projects until he ceased his practice around 2002.
By that time, having developed skills in broad environmental policy areas, Mark decided to shift his focus to government policy. He joined the Victorian state government agriculture department as a senior policy advisor and worked as a ministerial advisor for the next 7 years on such areas as soil health, biodiversity, and climate change. Significant achievements were the departmental response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into soil acidity in 2004 and the release of the first departmental Soil Health Policy Framework for Victoria 2006 and the first biodiversity policy for agriculture in 2007. From 2000 to 2009, Mark was a part-time doctoral thesis candidate in Environmental Science (Policy) at RMIT University, Melbourne, investigating “New paradigms for environmental management in Gippsland.” The thesis is not completed.
Since retiring in 2009, Mark has volunteered at Tara Institute as the buildings manager (2010-2018) and for the Heart of Wisdom Retreats at the Great Stupa (2015, 2017) as a member of the event facilities team.
Together, from 2010 until now, Jill and Mark have operated a philanthropic business venture importing and marketing hand-printed cotton textiles from India (Rajasthan) into Australia. They support various charities including the Sarnath Universal Education School, Maitri Trust, Kopan Monastery, and Sera Jey Monastic University. In 2008, Jill and Mark established a philanthropic trust to support community organizations operating in areas of social justice, environmental education, community health, and environmental activism, conservation, and protection, in Australia and overseas.
Thank you for sharing your precious time, energy, and wisdom with us, Jill and Mark.
We are very excited to learn from you!