October 30, 2019


Be like Gus!

Every now and then you come across someone who radiates enough energy to power a small town. Gus Balbontin is one such someone.



Every now and then you come across someone who radiates enough energy to power a small town. Gus Balbontin is one such someone. Formerly Executive Director of Lonely Planet, Gus now travels around changing the world on his own terms through his design and innovation agency, Roshambo. When he’s not inspiring the populace en masse, he hangs out at home in Victoria, taking many small steps to walk the talk of creating a resilient, adaptable future.


Gus in action at MONA


Gus recently partnered with Fifteen Trees to sponsor 100 trees. These were planted at the beautiful Stony Creek Reserve by enthusiastic volunteers from ANZ Bank under the watchful eye of the Kinglake Landcare Group. The seedlings included many of the rare Round-leaf Pomaderris (Pomaderris vacciniifolia), Silky Goodia (Goodia pubescens) and Lemon Dogwood (Pomaderris intermedia) varieties, all either native or specifically indigenous to the Reserve. They are intended to add diversity to the Reserve’s existing flora and provide habitat for its fauna.



Gus’s consulting agency is technically referred to as a small or boutique business. But it deals with huge ideas – the future, for example, as well as adaptability, flexibility and systemic resilience in the face of major change. These are exactly the same ideas that drive the work of Fifteen Trees. We plant small seedlings to make big trees, or to form part of complex eco-systems. That habitat will give our soil, our water catchments and our native wildlife the cover it needs to adapt to changes in climate, to survive the era of human-driven upheaval.



We love it when big thinkers, like Gus, recognise that the broader picture is supported by a lot of small steps. By individuals who can articulate ideas. By volunteers who give up their time. By a single Lemon Dogwood seedling planted in the right place at the right time. Contact us if you, like Gus, want to take your own small steps toward making huge, positive changes.


Article by Sarah Hart.


Sarah is an emerging self-taught artist whose passions include the stories and experiences of women and narrative driven creative work. Her aim is to delight, to reveal glimpses of everyday beauty, and to celebrate flights of the ordinary. Sarah works across a range of media, with an abiding interest in pen and ink, mixed media and the human form.




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