Inspiring Stories: webinar series

In this monthly discussion series Professor Natalie Hannan, Associate Dean Diversity and Inclusion, invites women in leadership to join her for a conversation about their careers, to share their advice, knowledge and experience.

"I hope that by creating this series for all MDHS colleagues we open up conversations about women in the workplace and feel inspired for our futures, better connected and confident to achieve our best."
(Professor Natalie Hannan)

Register for the next event

Professor Lou Harms: Promoting Equity and Resilience - Adapting to Change

13 September 2022

Lou Harms is the Chair and Head of Social Work at the University of Melbourne, and Deputy Head of the School of Health Sciences, in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. From 2015-2019, Lou was Associate Dean (Diversity and Inclusion) for MDHS, reflective of her long-standing concern with facilitating structural and cultural change. Lou’s research focusses on the interplay between adversity, growth and recovery at both an individual and community level. She has a particular interest in strengths-based approaches in understanding trauma and resilience in post-disaster recovery contexts.

The Hon. Mary Wooldridge: Workplace gender equality - Where to from here?

16 August 2022

Mary Wooldridge is an experienced leader in the non-profit, public and corporate sectors, and is currently Director of the Federal Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency. For 13 years, Mary was a senior leader within the Victorian Liberal Party, serving as Leader in the Legislative Council, Shadow Minister for Health, Jobs, Innovation & Trade, Training, Skills and Higher Education and as Minister for Mental Health, Community Services and Women’s Affairs. These portfolios saw Mary at the forefront of the Coalition Government’s major overhaul of the state child protection and out of home care system, securing a full roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Victoria, whole-of-government action plans in alcohol and drugs and family violence and reform of community mental health and alcohol and drug treatment systems. Read the transcript

Related article: Fourth edition of the She's Price(d)less report released

Lord Mayor Sally Capp: From corporate to council - And all the chapters in between

21 July 2022

Sally Capp is the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, and the first woman to be directly elected to the role. Sally came to local politics following a long career as a lawyer, a senior executive and a businesswoman, having started her own business in venture capital and subsequently listed on the ASX. She had senior positions at KPMG, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and the Property Council. Since recovering from cancer, Sally’s professional life took on a community focus, working as CEO for the Committee for Melbourne and as Victoria's first female agent-general in London. Sally entered local government in 2018 and was re-elected as the Lord Mayor in 2020. She is involved in various charities and is currently on the board of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the Mary Jane Lewis Scholarship Foundation.  Read the transcript

Senator Janet Rice: Welcome to the party - A career in academia, advocacy, public life and politics

14 June 2022

A prominent politician and Senator for the Australian Greens, Janet Rice is also a former Mayor, local Councillor, environmentalist and facilitator. Janet has been a passionate campaigner for justice, people, and the planet for more than thirty years. A climate scientist by training, she began her working life campaigning to protect our forests. Janet was part of the 1983 Franklin River Blockade, and a leader of the campaign that resulted in the creation of the Errinundra National Park in East Gippsland. Within a decade, she was a founding member of the Greens Party in Victoria. Read the transcript

Associate Professor Ada Cheung: Research, advocacy and allyship – Working with the trans and gender diverse community

17 May 2022

Ada is an NHMRC/Dame Kate Campbell Research Fellow and Board Member of the Endocrine Society of Australia. She has a staunch passion for equity, driven largely from her personal experiences of disadvantage. Since completing her PhD in 2017 and listening to numerous barriers to health faced by her patients, she established the Trans Health Research Group at the University of Melbourne with a goal to provide robust evidence to improve the health and wellbeing of the transgender (trans) community. Her team is one of few worldwide that undertakes clinical trials to better understand gender-affirming hormone therapy, evaluate optimal models of care and improve the mental health of the trans community. Read the transcript

Professor Sandra Eades: Indigenous academic development: gender equity and intersectionality

26 April 2022

Returning to the University of Melbourne this year, Professor Sandra Eades was appointed the Rowden White Chair and Associate Dean, Indigenous for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. We are thrilled that she will be joining us in conversation for the next instalment of our Supporting Women in MDHS (SWiM) Inspiring Stories. Professor Sandra Eades is a Noongar woman with family from the Minang and Goreng mobs in south-west Western Australia who has made pioneering contributions to the epidemiology of Aboriginal child health throughout her career. Read the transcript

Dr Gioconda Di Lorenzo: Equity, gender and leadership in progressing academic and professional career paths

15 March 2022

Gioconda has almost 20 years of experience as a professional and academic member of staff at the University of Melbourne. She commenced in the role of University Secretary in January 2015. Before commencing her career as a professional member of staff, Gioconda completed a PhD in History, and worked as a sessional lecturer and tutor. Her doctoral thesis focused on the post-war mass migration to Australia of a southern Italian community. Read the transcript [pdf].

Associate Professor Lilon bandler: Career detours, the problem with chasing perfection and what a meaningful career looks like

7 December 2021

A/Prof Bandler is principal research fellow for the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education (LIME) Network.  She has a long history of involvement in medical education.  She is a member of the Macquarie University Humanities and Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee.  She provides regular GP services to rural and remote western NSW.  She has been a member of the Far West Local Health District (NSW) Board since 2018. Read the transcript

Professor Nancy Baxter: Systemic barriers facing women in STEMM, moving towards gender equity

9 November 2021

Professor Nancy Baxter moved to Australia in February 2020 for the next adventure, and COVID did not disappoint! Her public role in the Victorian and Australia-wide responses to the pandemic, including her work with media as a sought after public health expert has been a highlight of her career.  Read the transcript

Professor Jennifer Philip: Flexible work arrangements for gender equality

5 October 2021

Professor Jennifer Philip is a palliative care clinician, researcher and teacher whose particular areas of interest include improving the ways supportive and palliative care are delivered, ensuring care is underpinned by high quality evidence and that it is delivered by well trained professionals and carers. She leads the Palliative Nexus Research Group, partnering with the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, to advance equity, access and quality of care in serious illness. She has a lead role in improving palliative care clinical trial capacity and participation in Victoria. Read the transcript

Dr Rita Hardiman: Navigating barriers faced after extraordinary life events

7 September 2021

Dr Rita Hardiman is a teaching and research academic in the Melbourne Dental School. In 2011, after a return to work from maternity leave, and less than a year post-PhD, Rita was involved in a life-threatening incident: she was run over by a semi-trailer on her way home. This had devastating effects on Rita and her young family, as well as doing significant damage to her emerging career in academia. After five months in hospital and physical rehabilitation, Rita started to re-establish her research career; succeeding in her recovery and progression in part through supportive networks and strong advocacy. Read the transcript

Professor Jane Gunn: Listening, learning and renovating workplace culture

10 August 2021

Professor Jane Gunn is a general practitioner with a distinguished academic career and over 25 years of experience in implementing research into clinical practice. As the university's inaugural Chair of Primary Care Research, her work in mental health addresses a leading cause of disability burden and she is a current member of a number of health service boards. Jane is also passionate about ensuring we have a safe, inclusive work environment where we are all able to thrive and has made improving workplace culture a priority as Dean.  Read the transcript

Julia Page: Key ingredients for progression towards gender equity in STEMM

13 July 2021

Ms Julia Page was appointed chief executive officer of veski in 2004 after a career spanning the public, private and philanthropic sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom. In the time she has been with veski, Julia has actively lead initiatives for women in science and research and was instrumental in the development of the veski inspiring women program including a series of professional development activities and the inaugural veski inspiring women fellowships. She is passionate about delivering diverse and inclusive programs, including the veski inspiring women STEM sidebyside program, developed to empower women at differing career stages with the skills, networks and mindset to develop and achieve their career goals within STEM industries.

Leonie Walsh: Two careers in one, the why and the how

8 June 2021

Leonie Walsh is a Board Chair and  strategic adviser in technological innovation with over 30 years of local and international experience across a broad range of industries. More recently Leonie completed a three-year term as Victoria’s inaugural Lead Scientist from 2013 to 2016. In this capacity Leonie was a contributing member on the Future Industries Ministerial Advisory Council, helped establish the Inspiring Women Fellowship program, represented Victoria on the Forum of Australian Chief Scientists and participated as an industry expert on a range of Government grant and scholarship programs.

Professor Sharon Lewin: The critical importance of good leadership in crisis

11 May 2021

Professor Sharon Lewin is a leading infectious diseases expert, inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity, Professor of Medicine and a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Practitioner Fellow. Professor Lewin's leadership of the Doherty Institute and calm and informed media presence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have been nothing short of inspirational.

Professor Laura Parry: Fixing the system while smashing imposter syndrome

13 April 2021

Professor Laura Parry has three decades of experience in higher education, as a researcher, research leader and award-winning educator, and is internationally renowned for her expertise and ground-breaking research in reproductive and vascular biology. In September 2020, she was appointed interim Executive Dean of Sciences at the University of Adelaide, after a 10-month appointment as Head of School, Biological Sciences. Furthermore, she is a champion of the greater participation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).


Professor Til Wykes: gender equality and mental health

16 March 2021

Til is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation and Head of The School of Mental Health and Psychological Sciences at Kings College, London.Her research has been various with explorations in cognitive science, developing treatments and evaluations of those treatments - mostly for people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Til is the editor of the Journal of Mental Health, holder of a Guinness World record for the largest mental health lesson and has been awarded a Damehood for her work in mental health. Read the transcript


Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea AM: mentorship, sponsorship and allyship

15 December 2020

Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea AM is a scientist and entrepreneur. She is Executive Director of the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) with the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), and co-founder and CEO of Women in STEMM Australia. In this conversation, she talks about finding a mentor, knowing your career 'why' and believing in yourself during uncertain times. Read the transcript


Dr Ngaree Blow: the visibility of First Nations women

17 November 2020

Dr Ngaree Blow is a Yorta-Yorta, Noonuccal, Goreng-Goreng woman living on Wurundjeri country. She is currently working as the Director of First Nations Health for Medical Education at the University of Melbourne, as well as medical lead in the COVID-19 case, contact and outbreak management team at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Ngaree discusses the social determinants of health, the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype and how we need to address racial inequities before barriers for women can be broken. Read the transcript


Professor Julie Bines: the importance of mentoring for women academics

20 October 2020

Professor Julie Bines is a Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne and a Paediatric Gastroenterologist and Head of Clinical Nutrition at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She leads the Enteric Disease Group at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute working to develop an affordable novel rotavirus vaccine, RV3-BB vaccine, aimed at preventing rotavirus disease from birth in infants worldwide. She is Director of the WHO Collaborative Centre for Child Health and consulted to the World Health Organization. Read the transcript

A/Prof Susan Hurley: a career in STEMM, culminating in a novel

22 September 2020

Associate Professor Susan Hurley is a writer and medical researcher with expertise in health economics, pharmacoepidemiology and public health policy. She is the author of the novel Eight Lives (Affirm Press, 2019), which has its origins in a catastrophic first-in-human trial of a monoclonal antibody. Susan has published more than fifty papers in high profile journals like the Lancet and her projects have influenced health policy, particularly in the areas of mammographic screening, HIV/AIDS, pharmacoepidemiology, immunisation and tobacco control.