Anastacia Howe spent most of her life overseas as a “third culture kid”, returning to Australia when she was 16. St Stephen’s School was the first school she attended upon her return, which she recalls as a welcoming and positive experience that prepared her for life.
Anastacia graduated from the Duncraig campus in 2001 and then studied sports science, completing a Bachelor of Science at ECU. Her life has taken her in many different directions since, with Anastacia now the Founder and Managing Directors of Conyat Create (www.conyatcreate.com) – the first female-led sustainability consultancy and social change agency in Myanmar.
From her time at ECU, Anastacia ventured over to Melbourne to study a Masters in Public Health at Melbourne University. She then moved to Mentawai Sumatra Indonesia – a chain of islands known for its tsunamis, earthquakes and surfing.
“Whilst there I worked for an organisation called Surf Aid and was responsible for managing a community-based health program which required me to live in the local villages where, at the time, there was no electricity, telecommunication network or shops,” she said.
“In 2009 I was caught in an earthquake in Padang, Sumatra… as a response to the earthquake I designed a psychosocial support program for children impacted by the earthquake.
“The program incorporated art, music and dance therapy to help reduce post-traumatic stress – it was successful and featured on CNN and ABC.”
After three years in this role, Anastacia moved to Yangon, Myanmar to work in the private sector.
“After living with indigenous communities in Mentawai and learning the importance of community engagement I felt it was equally important to obtain experience from the private sector,” Anastacia explained.
“As a result, I worked in the country’s largest Oil & Gas company as the Corporate Social Responsibility and Communications Manager – I spent five years in this role developing the organisation’s approach to sustainability, improving their understanding of human rights and developing a series of programs and partnerships with communities they worked with.
In 2017, Anastacia thought it was time to open her own consultancy in Myanmar, which is where Conyat Create began in an emerging market, which she said was not easy.
“As a start-up we’ve managed to grow rapidly and attract a number of clients despite our small size and niche services.”
Her role involves growing the business and expanding its services to businesses interested in operating responsibly and working with communities to manage their environmental and social impact.
“I am passionate about human rights and community engagement,” Anastacia said. “My company and role allows me to work with like-minded people who are passionate about creating a better world and together we get to work across different sectors ranging from hydropower to agriculture, climate change, waste management, forestry etc. There is never a dull moment and you are always kept on your toes.”
Anastacia has also been accepted to Cambridge University to study her Masters in Sustainability Leadership.
She loves to cook and currently has a pop-up supper club in Yangon.
“I also play touch rugby club and was the president of the first rugby club in Yangon for three years.”
Anastacia recently returned to Perth to have her first child, Nolan Hunter and will be staying longer than expected due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“If there is anything I learnt through my education is to study what you love and not what you think is best.”