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Inspiring Women Program

The CGGS Inspiring Women Program provides an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding contribution made by women connected to CGGS since its inception.

diamonds • embody the qualities of our honourees • rare and precious • a symbol of purity, clarity and wisdom • the toughest naturally occurring substance • a symbol of light and brilliance • embrace strength of character, ethics, and faithfulness to oneself and others

Our Current Honourees

Select a profile and discover more about our current Inspiring Women honourees.

Ms Jules Allen (1992)

B. Soc. Sci.

Jules Allen, an award-winning human rights activist and inspirational public speaker, has dedicated her life to making a difference in the lives of those in need. After graduating from CGGS, she focused on working in child protection and supporting young people in crisis. At 22, Jules became a mother and a foster carer, fostering 32 children and adopting three over 15 years as a single mother.

With a degree in Social Science from Southern Cross University, Jules has been actively involved in child protection, youth support and private practice.
She has implemented integrative programs for young people with disabilities and those recovering from trauma. Jules’ outstanding contributions were recognised by Southern Cross University when she was named their Alumni of the Year in 2017.

Jules’ dedication to social justice has taken her all over the world. In the Solomon Islands, she led a team to rebuild a refuge for women and children escaping violence, which remains the only one of its kind in the country. In Cambodia, Jules collaborated with organisations assisting victims of the sex slave trade.

Jules’ journey took an unexpected turn in 2013 when she appeared as a contestant on MasterChef. She seized the opportunity to raise awareness for the causes closest to her heart through this national platform. Her appearance on Australian Story in 2014 further amplified her message, allowing her to touch the lives of countless individuals.

Jules is a fierce advocate for survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence, using her influential platform to address audiences locally and internationally. Her compassion, resilience and unwavering commitment testify to the profound impact one person can have on the world.

Ms Patsy King (1946)

After completing her final year at CGGS in 1946, Patsy King studied acting at Melbourne’s National Theatre, making her professional stage debut in 1951. She showcased incredible versatility throughout her career, transitioning from juvenile lead roles to securing support and lead roles with renowned theatre companies like Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), St Martins and Playbox, co-starring with celebrated actors such as Frank Thring and Barry Humphries.

Notable highlights of Patsy’s theatrical career include her portrayal of Wendy in Peter Pan, Bubba in Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and the unforgettable role of Agnes in The Fourposter, which earned her the prestigious Erik Award for Best Actress. She made a mark on radio and television, captivating audiences with her performances in plays, poetry readings, children’s shows and long-running serials.

In the world of television, Patsy was one of the original presenters on Play School. She also featured in The Rivals, Power Without Glory, The Sullivans and Chopper Squad. However, her portrayal of Governor Erica Davidson in the popular 1980s series Prisoner garnered international recognition. She showcased her comedic talents in the TV special Prisoner in Concert, performed at Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison. In 1989, she recreated her role in the West End stage production of Prisoner.

Patsy’s dedication to the Australian entertainment industry extended beyond her performances. She played an integral role in championing Australian content on screens and was a key figure in establishing a Children’s Theatre at Monash University. Patsy married John Sumner CBE AO, MTC founder and artistic director and despite their marriage ending in 1967, their partnership within the arts community left an indelible mark.

Dedicated to service, Pasty has given her time as a volunteer at St John’s Toorak and St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. One of the most cherished moments of Patsy’s life was being presented to
the Queen at Buckingham Palace during her visit
to the United Kingdom in 1953-1954.

Patsy has had a profound impact on and off the stage. She has captivated audiences and enriched the Australian entertainment industry.

Professor Kate Darian-Smith (1978)

BA (Hons), Dip. Ed., PhD, GAICD, FASSA

Professor Kate Darian-Smith, the Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Arts, Law and Education at the University of Tasmania, is a trailblazer in the field of history and higher education. With an unwavering dedication to understanding Australia’s past and a belief in the transformative power of education, she has carved out a remarkable career that continues to inspire.

Kate’s passion for history, literature and gender equity was nurtured during her CGGS education. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), a Diploma of Education and a PhD in History from The University of Melbourne, she embarked on a journey that would shape her into a leading figure in Australian academia.

A lifelong learner, Kate’s contributions to her field are vast and impressive. With over twenty books authored and edited, along with 150 chapters and journal articles, Kate has delved into various aspects of Australian social history. Her research covers wartime, media, education, childhood, migration, Indigenous-Settler relations, and cultural heritage. This groundbreaking work has earned her national grants and prestigious awards for mentoring.

Kate has held many leadership roles in her career, including at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, University of London and The University of Melbourne. She has also been a visiting professor at universities in the United States, China and Japan.

As an elected fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Kate’s expertise and dedication have been acknowledged and celebrated. Her impact extends beyond the realm of academia. She has actively fostered collaboration and forged connections between universities, government bodies, industry partners and community organisations. As the former President of the International Australian Studies Association, she has further championed Australian scholarship globally, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. She also served on the Board of the Australia-Japan Foundation as part of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Kate has collaborated with major museums and contributed to documentaries, podcasts and exhibitions, shedding light on the people, places and events shaping Australia’s rich history. Her unwavering dedication, extensive research and commitment to fostering collaboration must be commended.

Ms Gen Dohrmann (Simmons, 2006)

BCom, GAICD

Gen Dohrmann’s illustrious career and dedication to gender equality in sports have her firmly recognised as one of Australia’s most influential women in sport. With over a decade of experience in sports administration, Gen has developed a wide range of skills and is presently the President of Women Sport Australia (WSA) and CEO of Table Tennis Victoria.

Gen has worked for Netball Australia, Racing.com, the Melbourne Rebels and Gymnastics Victoria. This experience working in traditionally male-dominated and female-dominated sports gave her firsthand knowledge of the gender inequities in the industry. Her involvement with WSA, including her participation in the mentoring program and subsequent board membership, has allowed her to make a significant impact. Under her leadership, the WSA board has achieved notable milestones, such as launching mentoring programs, the Women in Sport Photo Action Awards and facilitating virtual roundtables and uniform grants for grassroots sporting clubs.

Gen has been instrumental in promoting gender equality and has advocated for equal representation and opportunities for women in all areas of sport, from a grassroots to a professional level, and from the field to the boardroom.

Gen’s efforts have made her a role model for future female leaders in sport. Her commitment to gender equality and inspiring achievements have set an example for others. She has demonstrated that it is possible to break barriers and make a positive impact in a traditionally male-dominated field.

In 2023, Gen was listed as one of Australia’s 100 most influential women in sport. Her work has benefited women in the field and contributed to the industry’s growth and development. By challenging the status quo and championing equal opportunities,  Gen has paved the way for a more inclusive and diverse sporting landscape in Australia.

Ms Jules Allen (1992)

B. Soc. Sci.

Jules Allen, an award-winning human rights activist and inspirational public speaker, has dedicated her life to making a difference in the lives of those in need. After graduating from CGGS, she focused on working in child protection and supporting young people in crisis. At 22, Jules became a mother and a foster carer, fostering 32 children and adopting three over 15 years as a single mother.

With a degree in Social Science from Southern Cross University, Jules has been actively involved in child protection, youth support and private practice.
She has implemented integrative programs for young people with disabilities and those recovering from trauma. Jules’ outstanding contributions were recognised by Southern Cross University when she was named their Alumni of the Year in 2017.

Jules’ dedication to social justice has taken her all over the world. In the Solomon Islands, she led a team to rebuild a refuge for women and children escaping violence, which remains the only one of its kind in the country. In Cambodia, Jules collaborated with organisations assisting victims of the sex slave trade.

Jules’ journey took an unexpected turn in 2013 when she appeared as a contestant on MasterChef. She seized the opportunity to raise awareness for the causes closest to her heart through this national platform. Her appearance on Australian Story in 2014 further amplified her message, allowing her to touch the lives of countless individuals.

Jules is a fierce advocate for survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence, using her influential platform to address audiences locally and internationally. Her compassion, resilience and unwavering commitment testify to the profound impact one person can have on the world.

Ms Patsy King (1946)

After completing her final year at CGGS in 1946, Patsy King studied acting at Melbourne’s National Theatre, making her professional stage debut in 1951. She showcased incredible versatility throughout her career, transitioning from juvenile lead roles to securing support and lead roles with renowned theatre companies like Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), St Martins and Playbox, co-starring with celebrated actors such as Frank Thring and Barry Humphries.

Notable highlights of Patsy’s theatrical career include her portrayal of Wendy in Peter Pan, Bubba in Ray Lawler’s Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and the unforgettable role of Agnes in The Fourposter, which earned her the prestigious Erik Award for Best Actress. She made a mark on radio and television, captivating audiences with her performances in plays, poetry readings, children’s shows and long-running serials.

In the world of television, Patsy was one of the original presenters on Play School. She also featured in The Rivals, Power Without Glory, The Sullivans and Chopper Squad. However, her portrayal of Governor Erica Davidson in the popular 1980s series Prisoner garnered international recognition. She showcased her comedic talents in the TV special Prisoner in Concert, performed at Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison. In 1989, she recreated her role in the West End stage production of Prisoner.

Patsy’s dedication to the Australian entertainment industry extended beyond her performances. She played an integral role in championing Australian content on screens and was a key figure in establishing a Children’s Theatre at Monash University. Patsy married John Sumner CBE AO, MTC founder and artistic director and despite their marriage ending in 1967, their partnership within the arts community left an indelible mark.

Dedicated to service, Pasty has given her time as a volunteer at St John’s Toorak and St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne. One of the most cherished moments of Patsy’s life was being presented to
the Queen at Buckingham Palace during her visit
to the United Kingdom in 1953-1954.

Patsy has had a profound impact on and off the stage. She has captivated audiences and enriched the Australian entertainment industry.

Professor Kate Darian-Smith (1978)

BA (Hons), Dip. Ed., PhD, GAICD, FASSA

Professor Kate Darian-Smith, the Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Arts, Law and Education at the University of Tasmania, is a trailblazer in the field of history and higher education. With an unwavering dedication to understanding Australia’s past and a belief in the transformative power of education, she has carved out a remarkable career that continues to inspire.

Kate’s passion for history, literature and gender equity was nurtured during her CGGS education. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), a Diploma of Education and a PhD in History from The University of Melbourne, she embarked on a journey that would shape her into a leading figure in Australian academia.

A lifelong learner, Kate’s contributions to her field are vast and impressive. With over twenty books authored and edited, along with 150 chapters and journal articles, Kate has delved into various aspects of Australian social history. Her research covers wartime, media, education, childhood, migration, Indigenous-Settler relations, and cultural heritage. This groundbreaking work has earned her national grants and prestigious awards for mentoring.

Kate has held many leadership roles in her career, including at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, University of London and The University of Melbourne. She has also been a visiting professor at universities in the United States, China and Japan.

As an elected fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Kate’s expertise and dedication have been acknowledged and celebrated. Her impact extends beyond the realm of academia. She has actively fostered collaboration and forged connections between universities, government bodies, industry partners and community organisations. As the former President of the International Australian Studies Association, she has further championed Australian scholarship globally, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. She also served on the Board of the Australia-Japan Foundation as part of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Kate has collaborated with major museums and contributed to documentaries, podcasts and exhibitions, shedding light on the people, places and events shaping Australia’s rich history. Her unwavering dedication, extensive research and commitment to fostering collaboration must be commended.

Ms Gen Dohrmann (Simmons, 2006)

BCom, GAICD

Gen Dohrmann’s illustrious career and dedication to gender equality in sports have her firmly recognised as one of Australia’s most influential women in sport. With over a decade of experience in sports administration, Gen has developed a wide range of skills and is presently the President of Women Sport Australia (WSA) and CEO of Table Tennis Victoria.

Gen has worked for Netball Australia, Racing.com, the Melbourne Rebels and Gymnastics Victoria. This experience working in traditionally male-dominated and female-dominated sports gave her firsthand knowledge of the gender inequities in the industry. Her involvement with WSA, including her participation in the mentoring program and subsequent board membership, has allowed her to make a significant impact. Under her leadership, the WSA board has achieved notable milestones, such as launching mentoring programs, the Women in Sport Photo Action Awards and facilitating virtual roundtables and uniform grants for grassroots sporting clubs.

Gen has been instrumental in promoting gender equality and has advocated for equal representation and opportunities for women in all areas of sport, from a grassroots to a professional level, and from the field to the boardroom.

Gen’s efforts have made her a role model for future female leaders in sport. Her commitment to gender equality and inspiring achievements have set an example for others. She has demonstrated that it is possible to break barriers and make a positive impact in a traditionally male-dominated field.

In 2023, Gen was listed as one of Australia’s 100 most influential women in sport. Her work has benefited women in the field and contributed to the industry’s growth and development. By challenging the status quo and championing equal opportunities,  Gen has paved the way for a more inclusive and diverse sporting landscape in Australia.

Mrs Wendy Jenkins OAM (Anderson, 1990)

B. App. Sc. (Hosp. Mgt with Distinction),
PG. Dip. HR. Mgt

Wendy Jenkins’ journey has been one of determination and grace in the face of adversity. From her Applied Science Degree at RMIT University to being named Employee of the Year in international hotel management, Wendy has consistently shown her commitment to excellence. However, when Wendy was diagnosed with a life-threatening lung condition at a young age, life took an unexpected turn.

Given just two years to live, Wendy underwent a risky transplant procedure that left her with ongoing health issues, dashed dreams of motherhood and a battle with severe depression and PTSD. Despite these challenges, Wendy’s spirit remained unbroken. She bravely ventured into entrepreneurship, establishing her own global mobility consulting business and becoming a founding member of The Employee Mobility Institute. Simultaneously, Wendy discovered a passion for neuroscience-based resilience, delving into the workings of the human nervous system and brain to build mental strength.

Wendy is a certified Resilience Coach and Resilience First Aid instructor, a sought-after speaker and a successful entrepreneur. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Wendy has dedicated over 14 years to philanthropic work in lung transplantation. She has raised approximately $2.5 million for vital research through her efforts and launched a nationwide lung transplant peer support program.

Wendy’s story is a testament to courage, resilience and advocacy. She has an unwavering commitment to overcoming adversity and positively impacting others.

Wendy co-founded the Lungitude Foundation with her husband. The charity helps fund and facilitate transplant research, patient support and education. In 2022, Wendy was recognised for her contributions and service to community health, particularly in lung transplant research, with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Mrs Jennifer Ross AO (Newell, 1960)

TPTC, TTCTD

Jennifer Ross’ life journey began with a clear plan to teach children. After graduating as a primary school teacher and teacher of the deaf, Jenny found immense joy in her work. However, she made the
difficult decision to resign from her teaching position
as she welcomed the arrival of her two sons in 1967 and 1970. Little did she know that this pivotal moment would set her on a remarkable course, touching countless lives worldwide.

In the 1970s, Jenny joined the committee of The Haemophilia Society of Victoria, taking on an increasingly important role in liaising with other states. Now known as the Haemophilia Foundation Victoria, this Foundation supports people with haemophilia and associated bleeding disorders and their families.

In the 1980s, the HIV epidemic struck, affecting this small community and leaving a lasting impact on their lives. Recognising the urgent need for haemophilia support groups in every state and territory, Jenny tirelessly worked to rally support for families, hospitals and healthcare providers. She met with Health Ministers, hospital personnel and blood transfusion service directors, establishing haemophilia societies across the nation.

From 1984 onwards, Jenny served as a member of the Australian National Advisory Committee on AIDS, representing the haemophilia group in all matters related to HIV. In 1987 she was elected to the Council of the World Federation of Haemophilia, where she chaired the Education Committee. Her focus was on countries needing assistance to establish treatment and support systems for individuals with haemophilia. A special bond formed between Australia and New Zealand during this time, with Australia welcoming their health professionals and families for workshops while Jenny regularly visited major hospitals in
New Zealand.

In recognition of her service to community health, particularly in the field of haemophilia, Jenny was awarded the prestigious Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1990. Her tireless efforts, right up until her retirement in 2001, compassionate spirit and dedication have left an indelible mark on the haemophilia community in Australia, and around the world.

Ms Wendy Swift OAM (1962)

Wendy Swift’s impact on the field of burn care is immeasurable. She oversaw the Burns Unit of the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne for over 19 years. This dedication to service showcases her unwavering commitment to promoting excellent burn care. As a highly respected Clinical Nurse and Administrator, Wendy’s extensive knowledge and expertise inspired trust and confidence in children and families, while serving as a role model for all health officials in the field.

Wendy’s passion for learning and sharing knowledge was evident throughout her career. She worked at The Great Ormond Hospital for Children in London and obtained a midwifery qualification at Sydney’s Crown Street Hospital. Her contributions also extended beyond the hospital. In 1976, she was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship, which allowed her to observe the work being done at leading burns centres in Denmark and the United States of America, with a particular focus on children suffering from burns.

Wendy was Co-Chairman of the Burn Nursing and Recruitment Subcommittee of the International Burn Society for many years. The International Society for Burns Injury established The Wendy Swift Scholarship for Nurses. This program allowed nurses from developing countries to enhance their knowledge and expertise in burn care by visiting renowned burn centres worldwide.

During the 1980s, Wendy lectured on burn nursing and actively participated in the burn education course at Bombay University.

Wendy’s dedication and service to burn nursing was recognised in 1985 when she received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to nursing, particularly in the field of burns injuries. She also received the Churchill Scholarship in 1986, which allowed her to study burn care at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and Buenos Aires.

Wendy passed away in 1996 and her tireless efforts to advance burn care and improve patient outcomes, have left an indelible mark on the lives of numerous patients, families and healthcare professionals. Her legacy continues to shape the field of burn care, encouraging healthcare professionals to go beyond boundaries, share their expertise and work towards improving patients’ lives worldwide.

Mrs Chyka Keebaugh (Siney, 1986)

Chyka Keebaugh’s journey is a testament to the power of following one’s passions and embracing opportunities. After leaving school, she found herself at a crossroads, unsure of her career path. Chyka’s love for cooking and entertaining led her to working in a local French patisserie store in Melbourne, followed by an internship at The Australia Hotel. This experience allowed her to explore the world of hotels and travel to London; however, she soon realised that her heart lay in food and design, so she enrolled in a course at Cordon Bleu.

Chyka’s career took off when she landed her dream job at Laura Ashley, where she honed her styling skills. However, it was during a dinner party catered by the Peter Roland Group that she had an epiphany. Witnessing the transformative power of creativity as a team adorned her home with tablecloths, flowers and props, Chyka knew she had found her passion. She ended up working at Rowlands, where she met her now husband and business partner, Bruce.

Chyka and Bruce went on to establish The Big Group company, which today stands as Australia’s largest privately owned events and catering company, having enchanted clients across Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Within The Big Group, Chyka established Flowers, Decoration and Design, sharing her passion for styling. Her expertise led her to morning television show, Good Morning Australia, where she spent four years discussing all things styling. Chyka’s love for design led her to open The Veranda Garden Room, a charming decorating store, alongside
her mother.

In 2014, Chyka ventured back into the world of television as a cast member of The Real Housewives of Melbourne. This experience provided valuable insights and allowed her to focus on her career aspirations and personal brand. Since then, she has authored two bestselling styling books and collaborated with numerous esteemed brands.

Chyka is particularly proud of Chyka Home with Harris Scarfe, where she curated a stunning homewares collection. She generously shares her practical tips and advice on Chyka.com, covering home decor, outdoor living, travel and food.

Chyka’s journey reminds us of the power of pursuing passions, embracing opportunities and creating a life that reflects one’s true self.

Mrs Wendy Jenkins OAM (Anderson, 1990)

B. App. Sc. (Hosp. Mgt with Distinction),
PG. Dip. HR. Mgt

Wendy Jenkins’ journey has been one of determination and grace in the face of adversity. From her Applied Science Degree at RMIT University to being named Employee of the Year in international hotel management, Wendy has consistently shown her commitment to excellence. However, when Wendy was diagnosed with a life-threatening lung condition at a young age, life took an unexpected turn.

Given just two years to live, Wendy underwent a risky transplant procedure that left her with ongoing health issues, dashed dreams of motherhood and a battle with severe depression and PTSD. Despite these challenges, Wendy’s spirit remained unbroken. She bravely ventured into entrepreneurship, establishing her own global mobility consulting business and becoming a founding member of The Employee Mobility Institute. Simultaneously, Wendy discovered a passion for neuroscience-based resilience, delving into the workings of the human nervous system and brain to build mental strength.

Wendy is a certified Resilience Coach and Resilience First Aid instructor, a sought-after speaker and a successful entrepreneur. Beyond her professional accomplishments, Wendy has dedicated over 14 years to philanthropic work in lung transplantation. She has raised approximately $2.5 million for vital research through her efforts and launched a nationwide lung transplant peer support program.

Wendy’s story is a testament to courage, resilience and advocacy. She has an unwavering commitment to overcoming adversity and positively impacting others.

Wendy co-founded the Lungitude Foundation with her husband. The charity helps fund and facilitate transplant research, patient support and education. In 2022, Wendy was recognised for her contributions and service to community health, particularly in lung transplant research, with the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Mrs Jennifer Ross AO (Newell, 1960)

TPTC, TTCTD

Jennifer Ross’ life journey began with a clear plan to teach children. After graduating as a primary school teacher and teacher of the deaf, Jenny found immense joy in her work. However, she made the
difficult decision to resign from her teaching position
as she welcomed the arrival of her two sons in 1967 and 1970. Little did she know that this pivotal moment would set her on a remarkable course, touching countless lives worldwide.

In the 1970s, Jenny joined the committee of The Haemophilia Society of Victoria, taking on an increasingly important role in liaising with other states. Now known as the Haemophilia Foundation Victoria, this Foundation supports people with haemophilia and associated bleeding disorders and their families.

In the 1980s, the HIV epidemic struck, affecting this small community and leaving a lasting impact on their lives. Recognising the urgent need for haemophilia support groups in every state and territory, Jenny tirelessly worked to rally support for families, hospitals and healthcare providers. She met with Health Ministers, hospital personnel and blood transfusion service directors, establishing haemophilia societies across the nation.

From 1984 onwards, Jenny served as a member of the Australian National Advisory Committee on AIDS, representing the haemophilia group in all matters related to HIV. In 1987 she was elected to the Council of the World Federation of Haemophilia, where she chaired the Education Committee. Her focus was on countries needing assistance to establish treatment and support systems for individuals with haemophilia. A special bond formed between Australia and New Zealand during this time, with Australia welcoming their health professionals and families for workshops while Jenny regularly visited major hospitals in
New Zealand.

In recognition of her service to community health, particularly in the field of haemophilia, Jenny was awarded the prestigious Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1990. Her tireless efforts, right up until her retirement in 2001, compassionate spirit and dedication have left an indelible mark on the haemophilia community in Australia, and around the world.

Ms Wendy Swift OAM (1962)

Wendy Swift’s impact on the field of burn care is immeasurable. She oversaw the Burns Unit of the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne for over 19 years. This dedication to service showcases her unwavering commitment to promoting excellent burn care. As a highly respected Clinical Nurse and Administrator, Wendy’s extensive knowledge and expertise inspired trust and confidence in children and families, while serving as a role model for all health officials in the field.

Wendy’s passion for learning and sharing knowledge was evident throughout her career. She worked at The Great Ormond Hospital for Children in London and obtained a midwifery qualification at Sydney’s Crown Street Hospital. Her contributions also extended beyond the hospital. In 1976, she was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship, which allowed her to observe the work being done at leading burns centres in Denmark and the United States of America, with a particular focus on children suffering from burns.

Wendy was Co-Chairman of the Burn Nursing and Recruitment Subcommittee of the International Burn Society for many years. The International Society for Burns Injury established The Wendy Swift Scholarship for Nurses. This program allowed nurses from developing countries to enhance their knowledge and expertise in burn care by visiting renowned burn centres worldwide.

During the 1980s, Wendy lectured on burn nursing and actively participated in the burn education course at Bombay University.

Wendy’s dedication and service to burn nursing was recognised in 1985 when she received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to nursing, particularly in the field of burns injuries. She also received the Churchill Scholarship in 1986, which allowed her to study burn care at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and Buenos Aires.

Wendy passed away in 1996 and her tireless efforts to advance burn care and improve patient outcomes, have left an indelible mark on the lives of numerous patients, families and healthcare professionals. Her legacy continues to shape the field of burn care, encouraging healthcare professionals to go beyond boundaries, share their expertise and work towards improving patients’ lives worldwide.

Mrs Chyka Keebaugh (Siney, 1986)

Chyka Keebaugh’s journey is a testament to the power of following one’s passions and embracing opportunities. After leaving school, she found herself at a crossroads, unsure of her career path. Chyka’s love for cooking and entertaining led her to working in a local French patisserie store in Melbourne, followed by an internship at The Australia Hotel. This experience allowed her to explore the world of hotels and travel to London; however, she soon realised that her heart lay in food and design, so she enrolled in a course at Cordon Bleu.

Chyka’s career took off when she landed her dream job at Laura Ashley, where she honed her styling skills. However, it was during a dinner party catered by the Peter Roland Group that she had an epiphany. Witnessing the transformative power of creativity as a team adorned her home with tablecloths, flowers and props, Chyka knew she had found her passion. She ended up working at Rowlands, where she met her now husband and business partner, Bruce.

Chyka and Bruce went on to establish The Big Group company, which today stands as Australia’s largest privately owned events and catering company, having enchanted clients across Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Within The Big Group, Chyka established Flowers, Decoration and Design, sharing her passion for styling. Her expertise led her to morning television show, Good Morning Australia, where she spent four years discussing all things styling. Chyka’s love for design led her to open The Veranda Garden Room, a charming decorating store, alongside
her mother.

In 2014, Chyka ventured back into the world of television as a cast member of The Real Housewives of Melbourne. This experience provided valuable insights and allowed her to focus on her career aspirations and personal brand. Since then, she has authored two bestselling styling books and collaborated with numerous esteemed brands.

Chyka is particularly proud of Chyka Home with Harris Scarfe, where she curated a stunning homewares collection. She generously shares her practical tips and advice on Chyka.com, covering home decor, outdoor living, travel and food.

Chyka’s journey reminds us of the power of pursuing passions, embracing opportunities and creating a life that reflects one’s true self.

Ms Julie Lander (1977)

BBA, Grad. Dip. Org. Lead

Julie Lander is a pioneer in the finance industry, educating women about money and finance and advocating for women’s financial independence. Julie’s passion for helping people retire well, was the driving force behind her successful career and what drove her to be CEO of the leading industry fund, CareSuper, for over 20 years.

Julie never imagined that she would lead an industry superannuation fund after completing her HSC at CGGS in 1977. Her journey to the top was a challenging one. She worked full-time and studied part-time for a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Human Resources in her early 20s, earning her a place on Deakin University’s Dean’s List at graduation. More recently, she earned a Graduate Diploma in Organisational Leadership from the Melbourne Business School.

Before joining CareSuper, Julie spent many years with a multi-industry employer organisation, ultimately becoming the National Human Resources Manager, which provided further learning in superannuation. She then moved to RACV before finally joining CareSuper in 2002.

During her time at CareSuper, the fund experienced significant growth in funds, staff and capability, winning multiple industry awards and developing a solid reputation as an employer of choice. Julie considers managing people’s retirement a privilege and her dedication to the cause has not gone unnoticed. She received the Fund Executive of the Year award in 2022, recognising her standing in the sector.

Julie is also committed to giving back to the community. She has served on the Boards of several industry bodies and policy committees in the super sector and on a Government Committee to advise on introducing new legislation. Julie is proud to have raised over $150,000 for breast cancer research through the Mother’s Day Classic.

Ms Helen Parker OAM (Staniforth, 1996)

When Helen Parker graduated from CGGS in 1996, she had initially intended to pursue a career in architecture. However, her plans took a different turn when she discovered she was pregnant while studying at Deakin University in 1999. This life-changing experience made her acutely aware of the lack of support available to women during
a crisis pregnancy.

Motivated by her own struggles and the realisation that many women faced similar challenges, Helen was determined to make a difference. She noticed the gaps in existing pregnancy support models and designed and ran a support program at Box Hill Hospital for three years. It was then, in 2009, that Helen founded The Babes Project.

The Babes Project is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at filling the gaps in pregnancy support in Australia. Their vision is to create a society where all women can access perinatal support.  Over ten years later, The Babes Project has three Pregnancy Support Centres, Croydon and Frankston in Victoria and Cairns in Queensland. They also reach women nationwide with remote support. The impact of The Babes Project was evident from the beginning, with numerous women finding support and community within the organisation.

Helen authored the organisation’s book, Rewriting Motherhood, in 2017, challenging societal perceptions of motherhood with interviews, photos and poetry. A related exhibition was held in the Victorian Parliament.

Helen’s exceptional work was recognised in 2019 when she received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to pregnant women in need. Throughout her adult life, she has tirelessly dedicated herself to identifying the evolving needs of vulnerable mothers and advocating
for change.

Helen’s commitment and compassion have transformed the lives of countless women and children. She has changed individual lives and paved the way for a more inclusive and compassionate society for mothers across Australia.

Helen embodies the power of empathy, support and the importance of redefining societal norms.

Ms Jane Thompson (1989)

MBA, B.Com (Hons)

Jane Thompson is a trailblazer in the world of technology, social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Her innovative thinking and deep understanding of the tech sector allowed her to identify untapped opportunities and leverage machine learning to acquire customers, and maximise their value. This led her to establish The Fusion Labs, a highly successful portfolio of digital businesses worth millions.

Beyond her entrepreneurial pursuits, Jane’s passion for creating a more equitable and inclusive society has driven her to invest in, support and mentor aspiring entrepreneurs. She has empowered individuals and transformed lives through her efforts, leaving an indelible impact on those she has touched.

Jane’s philanthropic endeavours have also played a significant role in building programs to support refugees, climate change, homelessness and gender equality, to name a few. One cause close to Jane’s heart is the British Red Cross, an organisation dedicated to providing vital humanitarian assistance to those in need. Her philanthropic efforts have played a pivotal role in building programs in the UK, where she now resides, and globally to help support refugees. Her contributions have provided much-needed aid and support to those who need it most.

In addition to her executive roles, Jane serves as a Non-Executive Director of NYSE-listed luxury fashion group, Capri Holdings, further cementing her influence and expertise in the business world.

Jane’s impressive educational background includes an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Commerce with Honors from The University of Melbourne. She is also an Associate of the Securities Institute of Australia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Jane Thompson’s unwavering dedication and visionary leadership have transformed lives and shaped a better future for all.

Associate Professor Dr Helen Rawson (Past Parent & School Council, 2010 - 2022)

PhD MSc BSc (Hons) RN MACN FHEA

Associate Professor Dr Helen Rawson is a remarkable nurse leader, academic and researcher who has significantly impacted her field. As the Deputy Head of School at Monash University Nursing and Midwifery, she oversees one of Australia’s largest nursing schools, ranked 5th in the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Helen’s passion and dedication to education and governance was evident during her time as a member of the CGGS School Council from 2013 - 2022. Helen chaired the Education Policy Committee and was Deputy Chair of Council for the last five years of her tenure.

Helen’s research promotes safe, evidence-based care for older individuals in residential care settings. Her expertise in gerontological nursing excellence has led to leadership roles in nursing and aged care, including positions on prestigious boards and committees. She is a board member and Chair of the Clinical Governance and Care Committee for a notable aged care provider in Melbourne.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Helen was crucial in upskilling Victoria’s residential aged care workforce in infection control. Her efforts as the aged care lead for Monash University’s training program, significantly contributed to the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities. Helen’s outstanding work was recognised with the Dean’s Award and Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Excellence in Industry Education Programs.

As a researcher, Helen has secured over $7 million in research support. She has undertaken commissioned and tendered research for the Department of Health Victoria, the Public Sector Residential Aged Care Leadership Committee and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Helen’s academic achievements include a PhD, a Master of Science from Oxford University and a Bachelor of Science (Honours). She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Australian College of Nursing.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Helen is a devoted mother of two daughters. Both girls are proud Old Grammarians who attended CGGS from 2010 - 2019. Her personal experiences as a parent contribute to her understanding and empathy in supporting young minds.

Helen’s dedication, expertise and leadership have profoundly impacted nursing, education and research.

Ms Julie Lander (1977)

BBA, Grad. Dip. Org. Lead

Julie Lander is a pioneer in the finance industry, educating women about money and finance and advocating for women’s financial independence. Julie’s passion for helping people retire well, was the driving force behind her successful career and what drove her to be CEO of the leading industry fund, CareSuper, for over 20 years.

Julie never imagined that she would lead an industry superannuation fund after completing her HSC at CGGS in 1977. Her journey to the top was a challenging one. She worked full-time and studied part-time for a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Human Resources in her early 20s, earning her a place on Deakin University’s Dean’s List at graduation. More recently, she earned a Graduate Diploma in Organisational Leadership from the Melbourne Business School.

Before joining CareSuper, Julie spent many years with a multi-industry employer organisation, ultimately becoming the National Human Resources Manager, which provided further learning in superannuation. She then moved to RACV before finally joining CareSuper in 2002.

During her time at CareSuper, the fund experienced significant growth in funds, staff and capability, winning multiple industry awards and developing a solid reputation as an employer of choice. Julie considers managing people’s retirement a privilege and her dedication to the cause has not gone unnoticed. She received the Fund Executive of the Year award in 2022, recognising her standing in the sector.

Julie is also committed to giving back to the community. She has served on the Boards of several industry bodies and policy committees in the super sector and on a Government Committee to advise on introducing new legislation. Julie is proud to have raised over $150,000 for breast cancer research through the Mother’s Day Classic.

Ms Helen Parker OAM (Staniforth, 1996)

When Helen Parker graduated from CGGS in 1996, she had initially intended to pursue a career in architecture. However, her plans took a different turn when she discovered she was pregnant while studying at Deakin University in 1999. This life-changing experience made her acutely aware of the lack of support available to women during
a crisis pregnancy.

Motivated by her own struggles and the realisation that many women faced similar challenges, Helen was determined to make a difference. She noticed the gaps in existing pregnancy support models and designed and ran a support program at Box Hill Hospital for three years. It was then, in 2009, that Helen founded The Babes Project.

The Babes Project is a not-for-profit organisation aimed at filling the gaps in pregnancy support in Australia. Their vision is to create a society where all women can access perinatal support.  Over ten years later, The Babes Project has three Pregnancy Support Centres, Croydon and Frankston in Victoria and Cairns in Queensland. They also reach women nationwide with remote support. The impact of The Babes Project was evident from the beginning, with numerous women finding support and community within the organisation.

Helen authored the organisation’s book, Rewriting Motherhood, in 2017, challenging societal perceptions of motherhood with interviews, photos and poetry. A related exhibition was held in the Victorian Parliament.

Helen’s exceptional work was recognised in 2019 when she received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to pregnant women in need. Throughout her adult life, she has tirelessly dedicated herself to identifying the evolving needs of vulnerable mothers and advocating
for change.

Helen’s commitment and compassion have transformed the lives of countless women and children. She has changed individual lives and paved the way for a more inclusive and compassionate society for mothers across Australia.

Helen embodies the power of empathy, support and the importance of redefining societal norms.

Ms Jane Thompson (1989)

MBA, B.Com (Hons)

Jane Thompson is a trailblazer in the world of technology, social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Her innovative thinking and deep understanding of the tech sector allowed her to identify untapped opportunities and leverage machine learning to acquire customers, and maximise their value. This led her to establish The Fusion Labs, a highly successful portfolio of digital businesses worth millions.

Beyond her entrepreneurial pursuits, Jane’s passion for creating a more equitable and inclusive society has driven her to invest in, support and mentor aspiring entrepreneurs. She has empowered individuals and transformed lives through her efforts, leaving an indelible impact on those she has touched.

Jane’s philanthropic endeavours have also played a significant role in building programs to support refugees, climate change, homelessness and gender equality, to name a few. One cause close to Jane’s heart is the British Red Cross, an organisation dedicated to providing vital humanitarian assistance to those in need. Her philanthropic efforts have played a pivotal role in building programs in the UK, where she now resides, and globally to help support refugees. Her contributions have provided much-needed aid and support to those who need it most.

In addition to her executive roles, Jane serves as a Non-Executive Director of NYSE-listed luxury fashion group, Capri Holdings, further cementing her influence and expertise in the business world.

Jane’s impressive educational background includes an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Commerce with Honors from The University of Melbourne. She is also an Associate of the Securities Institute of Australia and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Jane Thompson’s unwavering dedication and visionary leadership have transformed lives and shaped a better future for all.

Associate Professor Dr Helen Rawson (Past Parent & School Council, 2010 - 2022)

PhD MSc BSc (Hons) RN MACN FHEA

Associate Professor Dr Helen Rawson is a remarkable nurse leader, academic and researcher who has significantly impacted her field. As the Deputy Head of School at Monash University Nursing and Midwifery, she oversees one of Australia’s largest nursing schools, ranked 5th in the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Helen’s passion and dedication to education and governance was evident during her time as a member of the CGGS School Council from 2013 - 2022. Helen chaired the Education Policy Committee and was Deputy Chair of Council for the last five years of her tenure.

Helen’s research promotes safe, evidence-based care for older individuals in residential care settings. Her expertise in gerontological nursing excellence has led to leadership roles in nursing and aged care, including positions on prestigious boards and committees. She is a board member and Chair of the Clinical Governance and Care Committee for a notable aged care provider in Melbourne.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Helen was crucial in upskilling Victoria’s residential aged care workforce in infection control. Her efforts as the aged care lead for Monash University’s training program, significantly contributed to the prevention of COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities. Helen’s outstanding work was recognised with the Dean’s Award and Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Excellence in Industry Education Programs.

As a researcher, Helen has secured over $7 million in research support. She has undertaken commissioned and tendered research for the Department of Health Victoria, the Public Sector Residential Aged Care Leadership Committee and the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Helen’s academic achievements include a PhD, a Master of Science from Oxford University and a Bachelor of Science (Honours). She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Australian College of Nursing.

Beyond her professional accomplishments, Helen is a devoted mother of two daughters. Both girls are proud Old Grammarians who attended CGGS from 2010 - 2019. Her personal experiences as a parent contribute to her understanding and empathy in supporting young minds.

Helen’s dedication, expertise and leadership have profoundly impacted nursing, education and research.

Honouree Archive

Discover the inspiring stories of our previous honourees.

Honouring the inspiring women of CGGS.

This program provides an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding contribution made by women connected to CGGS since its inception.

These inspiring women will be honoured at a special ceremony and will serve as strong role models for current students. In addition, the recipients will have their profiles hung in a prominent position in the school.

Key Considerations For Selection Nominations can include former students, staff and parents and current staff.

This new program was launched in 2020, our centenary year.

Inspiring Women are exemplars in one or more of the following domains:

A Love of Learning​

The application of a love of learning with a commitment to attain prominence in her career through worthy accomplishments.

Leadership

The demonstration of strong and wise leadership resulting in a greater recognition of her profession, locally, nationally or internationally.

Global Mindset

A global mindset dedicated to fostering a more just and sustainable world, locally, nationally or internationally, either professionally or as a volunteer.

Compassionate To Others

The provision of consistent, dedicated and compassionate care for the wellbeing of others, either physical, emotional, psychological, social or spiritual.

Noteworthy Contributions

Sustained and significant contributions, professional or as a volunteer, in one or more of the following areas: community involvement, cultural enterprise, sporting achievement, advocacy of women in leadership and other pursuits.

Giving Back

The demonstration of unconditional commitment to using her skills and talents to give back to the community.

Nominate an Inspiring Women Today

Do you know an old grammarian who would be a perfect candidate for our Inspiring Women program?

You can nominate her using the online form below.

Selection Panel

All nominations will be considered by the Foundation and Community Subcommittee of Camberwell Girls Grammar School. The Subcommittee will make recommendations to the School Council for final approval.

Further Information
Kate Daffy
Community Programs and Events Coordinator
E daffyk@cggs.vic.edu.au
T 03 9813 1166

Create Your Tomorrow