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Women in Ambulance



2024 CAA Women in Ambulance Awards

In 2020 the Council of Ambulance Authorities was proud to launch the inaugural Women in Ambulance Awards designed to highlight successful and hardworking women in ambulance services across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

This year the 2024 CAA Women in Ambulance Awards recognise 56 women for their work and career progression and are being championed as role models to the rest of the workforce.

This prestigious recognition celebrates the remarkable contributions of women in the ambulance services, shining a spotlight on their dedication, resilience, and leadership across Australasian ambulance services. 


In a world where diversity, equity, and inclusion are paramount, the CAA Women in Ambulance Awards embody the spirit of progress and empowerment. Through the theme "Imagine a gender equal world," we highlight the importance of fostering an environment where every individual, regardless of gender, is valued and respected.

This year's honourees exemplify the ethos of #InspireInclusion, each making significant strides in advancing women's equality within the ambulance services. From frontline paramedics to senior executives, their unwavering commitment to excellence and advocacy has propelled positive change and inspired countless others to pursue their passions fearlessly.

Congratulations to all the Honour Recipients.

2024 Honour Recipients


ACT Ambulance Service

Sandra Nissen

ComCen Quality Assurance Officer

Time in service: 12 years


Sandra Nissen is responsible for quality assurance related to call-taking within the ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) Communications Centre (ComCen). Sandra became the ACTAS ComCen Call-taker Quality Assurance Officer 6 years ago and has been instrumental in coordinating development of call-taking quality assurance processes and Clinical Dispatch Guidelines (CDGs).”). Sandra sees the call-taker role as the first point of ambulance contact, instigating patient rapport and pre arrival advice before paramedics arrive, so the importance of good quality assurance activities to ensure the role is provided at the highest level is an essential goal of Sandra’s. Sandra has led a team to recently undertake a complete review and overhaul of ACTAS CDGs including a strong focus on evidence-based pre-arrival advice. Her contribution to leading this team to produce outstanding results is a credit to Sandra's dedication in providing the highest quality and safe care to the ACT Community.

Sandra has been instrumental in ComCen change practices, with many systems change initiatives to improve service provision. This has led to improvements in safety and a drive to place the consumer at the centre of all ACTAS activities.


Career Highlights:

Development of ComCen feedback practices using 'NICE', which is a software solution where call takers can listen to the call and review feedback.

Leadership of a team to undertake an extensive review of ACTAS Clinical Dispatch Guidelines.

Development of evidence-based 'pre-arrival' advice to ensure that essential first aid is delivered while consumers are awaiting paramedic arrival.

Countless quality and safety change initiatives to improve service provision to the ACT Community. 

Nicola Smith

Ambulance Manager Clinical Governance

Time in service: 10 years


Nicola Smith is an Intensive Care Paramedic with the ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) and has been working as Ambulance Manager Clinical Governance for the last 2 years. Nicola has worked tirelessly to develop, implement and improve clinical governance, quality, safety and risk practices so that ACTAS staff provide the highest level of care to consumers. In the pursuit of national accreditation, Nicola has been a leader through developing and implementing the strategic direction of the service through the ACTAS Audit Plan, Communication and Engagement Policy and Procedure (including using 'Viva Engage' as the primary communication medium with our staff) and leading the drive to improve our services to First Nations community members in the ACT. Nicola's dedication to these initiatives places the ACTAS in an excellent position to improve service provision and safety for future years. 


Career Highlights:

Nicola Smith has developed and implemented the following initiatives, with the goal of providing the highest level of safe, quality care to the ACT Community: ACTAS Audit Plan development and implementation.

ACTAS Communications and Engagement Plan development and implementation.

First Nations engagement including a drive to implement scholarships and work experience programs.

Many other quality and safety initiatives, particularly around recognising deteriorating patients and safe referral of ambulance consumers where possible.




Ambulance Tasmania

Anna Ekdahl

Manager, Office of the Chief Executive

Time in service: 13 years


Anna commenced with Ambulance Tasmania in 2011 as an experienced paramedic serving an additional six years prior with Ambulance Victoria. As an experienced paramedic, deployment supervisor, project manager and Manager of the Office of the Chief Executive Anna is an invaluable, respected leader at Ambulance Tasmania.  Anna is passionate about our people and delivers a high standard.  Anna project managed the configuration, testing and implementation of the TasGRN into Ambulance Tasmania.  She has also completed a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a business analytics certificate. Anna has also represented Ambulance Tasmania at State and National level on committees.  Anna was involved in a cave rescue in 2016 and was awarded a Chief Executive commendation for her role in this rescue.  She also led the statewide bushfire response for Ambulance Tasmania in 2019 and was awarded a further Chief Executive commendation.


Career Highlights:

Paramedic - successful midnight Hole Cave rescue.

Deployment Supervisor

Coordinator Emergency Management - led the AT response to the 2019 Statewide Bushfires; developed the Ambulance Tasmania Escalation Plan.

Tasmanian Government Radio Network Project Agency Lead

Manager - Office of the Chief Executive

Cait Scaife

Operations Supervisor

Time in service: 9 years


Cait is a dedicated, motivated and passionate people-focused leader, currently working as an Operations Supervisor in Southern Region for Ambulance Tasmania. Her experience working as a Paramedic in London and Tasmania for 9 years has complimented her strong work ethic that has progressed her career into a leadership role. She is committed to supporting her team by fostering a psychologically safe environment, advocating for paramedics, volunteers and other first responders while simultaneously driving forward initiatives that balance both people and organisational priorities. Recently having completed her Graduate Certificate of Advanced Paramedicine, Cait continues to strive for excellence in providing high quality patient care. Cait has been awarded the Chief Executive's Commendation for Outstanding Patient Care with South East Coast Ambulance Service, was awarded Young Citizen of the Year for her contribution to the Huon Valley community and is often nominated to represent Ambulance Tasmania at conferences and events including International Women’s Day Breakfast and the Department of Health- Health Leadership 2040 Conference. Cait is a fervent advocate for equality for women and embodies her personal philosophy and organisational values in the workplace. She is a role model for the future of Women in Ambulance.


Career Highlights:

Instrumental in building a positive working relationships between public hospitals and Ambulance Tasmania. This has allowed for positive collaboration and communication between agencies to navigate the challenges of Transfer of Care Delays in Tasmania.


Made a significant contribution to the current Tasmanian Major Hospital Emergency Department Review to advocate for timely patient Care, paramedics and Ambulance Tasmania that will assist in positive change at a strategic level.


Cait has received many commendations from people in the community acknowledge her high standard of patient Care, compassionate communication and professionalism in her practice.

Carol Van Der Velde

Volunteer Ambulance Officer

Time in service: 8 years


Shortly after moving from North West Tasmania to Bicheno, Carol was approached by the then Volunteer Coordinator at Bicheno Ambulance Station to gauge whether she would be interested in joining the service. At the time, Carol was a retired registered nurse and midwife and had also done a stint as a psychiatric nurse. Carol thought about the offer and decided to give it a go. She also brought along her husband, Bob, who is now the Volunteer Coordinator of the station. Carol and Bob often worked together as a team, with Carol asking the questions and Bob taking the observations; now, they are currently the longest-standing volunteers at the station and commit a significant amount of time to ensuring the paramedics have good coverage. Throughout Carol's time as a Volunteer Ambulance Officer, she has witnessed the station convert from Volunteer-Only to a Single-Branch. When she isn't volunteering, Carol enjoys travelling and diving; she has undertaken over 400 dives since starting in her 40s and frequently enjoys 'dive holidays' with her husband. A known community member, Carol now has people approaching her to ask about volunteering with Ambulance Tasmania; things have come full circle!


Career Highlights:

A now-retired volunteer and Carol saved a woman as first responders. The patient had a known heart condition and an anaphylactic reaction to a Jack jumper sting at a camping site; their GCS was poor, and they had collapsed - pulse slow. Despite their small stature, the two volunteers got the patient in the ambulance vehicle, provided them with the required treatment, and transported them to the necessary site for helicopter transportation. At this point, the Bicheno community did not have a regular Branch Station Officer, so the volunteers provided most initial care to patients. This experience was a feel-good moment for Carol as she knew she had played a monumental role in helping a community member get much-needed care.

Kimberly Wessel

Acting Operations Manager

Time in service: 3.5 years


Kim is currently Acting Operations Manager North for Ambulance Tasmania and is a substantive Operations Supervisor in the Northern region.  Kim will commence as the Health Relations Manager North in early 2024. Kim has previously worked as Operations Support Manager and has been a Paramedic with Ambulance Tasmania since August 2020. Prior to commencing with Ambulance Tasmania, Kim worked as a highly regarded Paramedic and Acting Station Officer with NSW Ambulance between 2008-2020 and has completed a range of relevant management and leadership qualifications. Kim draws upon a range of knowledge, skills, and gained experience to provide demonstrated leadership, supervision and management of operational teams and others, in service delivery and tactical command and in utilising her interpersonal and communication skills in all engagements with external stakeholders and across health and community at a high level.  Kim provides outstanding people focused leadership and has greatly contributed across Ambulance Tasmania at a regional and statewide level in welfare support of colleagues as a Peer Support Officer.  Kim has contributed greatly in statewide recruitment processes including paramedic, branch station and graduate paramedic appointments. Kim is a graduate of the One Health Aspire Leadership Program in 2023, and is a positive representative across all levels for the organisation. 


Career Highlights:

Acting Operations Manager North for Ambulance Tasmania and successful and accomplished Operations Supervisor, shortly commencing in the Health Relations Manager in the North. Kim has been a Paramedic with AT since August 2020. Kim worked as a Paramedic & Acting Station Officer for NSW Ambulance between 2008-2020, completing a range of relevant qualifications. Kim provides outstanding people focused leadership and has greatly contributed in welfare support areas as a Peer Support Officer. Kim was a graduate of the One Health Aspire Leadership Program in 2023.

Krysta Hansch

Nurse Manager of Patient Transport & Interfacility Coordination

Time in service: 5 years


Krysta started with Ambulance Tasmania as a nurse involved in the coordination of interfacility transfers and aeromedical taskings. At the time this was a new role within Ambulance Tasmania that had previously been undertaken by communication centre supervisors. The role quickly crew to be an essential role in efficient retrieval and transfer services. The role is very demanding and requires a high level of communication skills and the role is at time very stressful trying to juggle all the demands of a busy service. Krysta aims to improve the systems she is involved in, and this is evidenced by her recent appointment to Nurse Manager. While Krysta excels in her role at work, she always prioritises supporting her family and their needs. 


Career Highlights:

Familiarisation flight in the aeromedical fixed wing aircraft.

Being involved in recruitment and selection process for new staff.

Promotion to Nurse Manager for Patient Transport & Interfacility Coordination

Margaret Chilcott

Volunteer Ambulance Officer

Time in service: 12 years


Margaret spent six years in the Pathology departments in Sydney as a Medical Technologist, and then 15 years working with street kids in Sydney, WA and Canberra alongside her husband and raising two boys. Her formal studies over those years included Medical Technology, Social Work, Health Education and Public Health Nutrition. An opportunity to establish the position of Equity Officer for Students with Disabilities at Canberra Uni broadened her understanding of an often marginalised section of our community. Margaret then worked overseas in humanitarian aid work for 24 years with various Australian and international non-government organisations and the British government. Living in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe enriched her life. It humbled her as she worked alongside people of other cultures willing to share even when they had little according to our way of living and had often suffered enormous catastrophes. Moving to Tasmania in 2012, Margaret continued overseas deployment; her final trip was to Sierra Leone in 2015 during the Ebola outbreak.  In 2012, she had the opportunity to volunteer with Ambulance Tasmania initially as part of the Poatina Community Emergency Response Team and do regular shifts at Campbelltown and then at Longford when it became a Branch Station.


Career Highlights:

Margaret says that Ambulance Tasmania has been an integral part of her time spent in Tasmania, touching on her highlights with paramedics, volunteers, patients and the organisation alike. "The many paramedics I have worked with, young and older, who come with their own experiences, have helped me grow. The Volunteer Ambulance Officers I have worked with and helped mentor, the warm friendships that have flourished, the patients I have met, and the strength and resilience many of them have. The faith Ambulance Tasmania has had in my abilities by asking me to be on selection panels and working groups." Margaret expressed that it was hard to put into words but had fond memories of all aspects of the complex role of a Volunteer Ambulance Officer.



Ambulance Victoria

Belinda Delardes

Ambulance Paramedic & Resuscitation Coordinator

Time in service: 7 years


Belinda completed her graduate paramedic training with Ambulance Victoria in 2018 and saw room for improvement in paramedic to GP referral processes. As a result, she enrolled into an Honours degree to supplement her operational skills with research training and subsequently published two peer-reviewed papers as first author.


Since 2020 Belinda has continued to work full time on road as an ALS Paramedic and Clinical Instructor - instructing the next generation of ALS graduates – whilst simultaneously completing her PhD examining how to improve the paramedic to GP referral process for low-acuity patients, a growing area of interest following the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, she works with the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry as the Resuscitation Coordinator, auditing all resuscitation attempts by Ambulance Victoria paramedics - ensuring appropriate interventions are applied, and then using the collated data to improve the outcomes of cardiac arrest patients. Amongst these achievements, Belinda has authored and co-authored several academic papers and enjoys mentoring Honours and Masters students in their research projects at Monash University. She has contributed to several internal committees within Ambulance Victoria, including the Research Committee and the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee.


Career Highlights:

Recipient of the Ric Bouvier Honours Scholarship from the Department of Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice at Monash University

Recipient of the Monash Department of Paramedicine 2019 Academic Excellence in Research Award

Authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed papers

Presented at the New Zealand Resuscitation Council Conference regarding gender disparities in resuscitation quality & processes-of-care for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients.

Victorian representative of the Global Resuscitation Alliance

Invited to speak at the New South Wales Cardiac Arrest Symposium regarding quality improvement strategies for OHCA

Rebecca Veitch

Emergency Medical Response Educator

Time in service: 24 years


Bec’s passion to educate others first began when she was a Registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Box Hill, where she completed her critical care course and went on to work in the Intensive Care Unit and theatre/recovery. This experience provided her with the ability to develop her clinical skills as well as educating others.


Bec begun her career with Ambulance Victoria in 2000 as a MUCAPS Student Paramedic, becoming a Qualified Paramedic in 2001. After working years in the City as a Paramedic, she began teaching first aid for Ambulance Victoria with the Emergency Medical Response Department (EMR). 


Bec has a wonderful ability to communicate and a natural ability to engage people. She is driven by her passion to upskill people. She loves to help people understand how our body works and how applying knowledge and skills in a systematic way makes things easier to understand. 


When asked what drives her passion for teaching, Bec can recall watching a first aider deliver a course on anaphylaxis, and on reflection thought there must be a better way to deliver this information and engage the audience. Because of this and similar experiences, she is fastidious regarding the information she shares ensuring it is relevant. She is thoughtful in how she presents and takes the time and effort often in her own hours to prepare presentations with interesting visual content which is relevant and practical. She asks herself – ‘what is it that I teach and how can I do that in a meaningful way’.


Career Highlights:

EMR (Emergency Medical Response) - In addition to regularly undertaking the role of EMR Paramedic Educator since 2001, Bec was a leading facilitator as part of a small team that delivered over 7,500 hours of training to 550 fire fighters across Victoria over a 3 year period 2015-2018. This role saw Bec travelling across Victoria and living away from home for periods in order to deliver the training in local communities. CFA firefighters have regularly expressed their thanks for the training and particularly for the standard and enthusiasm of Bec as a lead trainer. 


PAD (Public Access Defibrillation) - Bec is the stalwart of the PAD program, developing, maintaining and growing the relationship with the 21 PAD sites across Victoria. Bec is a regular feature at some of Victoria’s most iconic locations where she ensures the AEDs are ready to save lives, and delivers value-adding training to ensure the staff and volunteers at these locations are just as ready to provide life-saving CPR. Bec’s involvement dates back to the early days of the program (we can identify records of her involvement back to 2008!)


RAN (Remote Area Nurse) - Bec is part of a team of facilitators who deliver training to approximately 60 Remote Area Nurses that work across 15 Bush Nursing Centres in some of the most remote and regional parts of Victoria. Bec has been involved in the program since 2016 and delivers her training with enthusiasm, good humour and great care to nurses that go on to provide Best Care to all parts of Victoria.

Cardiac Arrest - Through her involvement in the above programs, Bec has trained, empowered and impassioned thousands of Victorians to improve survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. It would not be an exaggeration to state that there are dozens if not hundreds of Victorians who are alive today due in no small part to Bec’s role in ensuring that their bystanders, fire fighters or first responders were trained and ready to provide care when it mattered most.

Carina Gibson

Acting Area Manager

Time in service: 20 years


Carina is an outstanding role model for all clinicians in AV. She is dedicated to her clinical practice and holds herself to the highest standards of clinical excellence. She encourages and shares this attitude with her colleagues and those she leads and works with. Carina diligently excelled in her clinical abilities by progressing from an ALS paramedic through to a MICA single responder. To complement this, Carina has also held roles from Team Manager, Senior Team Manager, Area Manager, Clinical Support Officer, Clinician, Paramedic Educator, Clinician, Peer responder and Health and Safety Representative- all with the goal of progressing and advancing her colleagues, our organisation, and our profession. Her leadership style is one of support, encouragement, empowerment, and mentorship- always building others up to help them achieve. Carina further progresses the interests of our profession by organising and coordinating multi-agency training scenarios to foster excellent working relationships within our organisation and between other agencies. In her time away from work, Carina volunteers with a colleague as medical support for the Cancer Council Shit Box Rally, assisting to raise more than $30,000 for cancer research. In addition to this, Carina volunteers to support the mental health of emergency service personnel.


Career Highlights:

Carina’s career highlights include receiving the National Emergency Medal for her contributions during the 2019 bushfire events. This was recognition for tireless efforts in supporting the community as much as possible during a devastating time for the Gippsland community. Another highlight for Carina was achieving her qualification as a MICA Single Responder Paramedic before acting in the Clinical Support officer and Clinician roles. This achievement was the culmination of years of study, practice, and honing her skills to be able to deliver support to her colleagues, and best care to her patients and her community. Receiving such a qualification also meant assisting in increasing the visual presence of women and diversity in all roles of our organisation and profession helping to fight the “you can’t be what you can’t see” factor. Carina also describes her leadership of the Sale and East Gippsland ALS and MICA team of 40 staff as one of her best achievements and proudest moments of her career. Carina was able to support the welfare of, lead and develop this team into the amazing, cohesive, supportive, inclusive team they are today who strive to deliver the best care possible to Gippsland communities.

Deb Bright

Ambulance Community Officer - Team Leader

Time in service: 2 years


Deb originally began as a community advocate working for neighbourhood house in Clunes. When Grampians started their first Heart Safe Community at Clunes Deb was invaluable with her knowledge , community connections and drive to improve the health an well being of the local community. Deb's commitment to the community saw her respond as a Good SAM responder to several cardiac arrests which has recently led her to being award a GoodSAM trophy for her continued efforts. Deb has gone on to become and ACO and team leader and continues to champion the health and well being of the Clunes community in her nominal role at the neighbourhood house and delivering community engagement sessions with Ambulance Victoria. Deb is still studying via vocational education.


Career Highlights:

GoodSAM responder

International GoodSAM Award 2023

Ambulance Community Officer

Working with Ambulance Victoria to help recruit an ACO team to her local area

Ambulance Community Officer Team Leader

Participating in Community Engagement advocating for Heart Safe Communities and access to AEDs.

Emily Nehme

Research Governance Manager

Time in service: 12 years


Emily Nehme is Ambulance Victoria's (AV) Research Governance Manager and a Biostatistician with expertise in prehospital emergency care research. Emily has an exceptional track record relative to opportunity, having published more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts in leading international journals and being among the first emergency medical services' (EMS) researchers to be awarded a prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) post-graduate scholarship to investigate quality and safety outcomes in EMS, as part of a PhD program. Emily has attracted almost $2 million in competitive research grants and has been recognised with awards for leading transformative programs at AV, including the prestigious Victorian Public Healthcare Awards for Excellence in Quality and Safety (2017), and the Council of Ambulance Authorities STAR award (2017 and 2022) and Excellence in Technology Award (2023). In her portfolio as Research Governance Manager, she oversees 120 active research projects and is Ambulance Victoria’s lead for developing a linked data capability between AV, emergency departments and admissions data in Victoria.

Career Highlights:

Emily is an emerging international research leader in EMS and has published 88 original manuscripts, 1 editorial, 4 letters and 1 book chapter in the last 5 years. She has led real innovations in quality and safety systems in EMS, including:


Emily wrote Australia’s first cardiac arrest Annual Reports from the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry, addressing a key recommendation from the Global Resuscitation Alliance. These pioneering reports have been replicated by ambulance services nationally and internationally, including the CARES registry (United States).


Emily has generated more than 50 cardiac arrest publications but is best recognised for her pioneering work examining the long-term quality-of-life of survivors. She has leading publications in Circulation (PMID=25355914), Heart (PMID=28258247) and Resuscitation (PMID=29545136), and has helped inform international consensus statements [e.g. ILCOR’s COSCA statement].


Emily pioneered the evaluation of Ambulance Victoria’s Clinical Response Model (CRM) in 2016 and 2021. Her work was recognised with the Victorian Public Healthcare Award for Excellence in Quality and Safety (2017) and the CAA STAR Award (2017). In 2023, her team was also recognised with a CAA Excellence in Technology Award for revisions made to the dispatch grid during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Jo Algie

    Team Manager

    Time in service: 15 years


    Commencing with AV in 2009, Jo is an Advanced Life Support Paramedic and Team Manager who acknowledges the importance of her role in establishing a supportive work environment and advocate for her team.

    Along with her beloved peer support dogs Lexi & Ted, Jo is a long-time member our peer support team, where she has promoted the importance of wellbeing and supported paramedics and first responders at times of distress whilst being a strong advocate for promoting mental health awareness.

    Five years ago, Jo commenced the Uniform Recycling Project and over time has “rehomed” 30 tonne of used paramedic uniform, allowing other communities to benefit from clothing they may not have been able to acquire and ensuring the uniform doesn’t go to landfill.  Leading a large co-hort of AV paramedics, Jo has held many working bees to disseminate the uniform after it has been debadged by a keen group of volunteers from local Rotary, Lions, CWA and craft clubs.  The success of community engagement combined with paramedic participation in creating a more environmentally sustainable workplace has been very rewarding for all involved. 

    In addition to all of the above, Jo has recently joined our newest Auxiliary as a volunteer – the Baw Baw Auxiliary (formerly Warragul & Neerim Noojee Auxiliaries).


    Career Highlights

    Qualified as an ALS Paramedic

    Appointment to position of Team Manager

    Founder of AV Uniform Recycling Project

    Member of the AV Peer Support Dog Program

    2021 – Recipient of the Ambulance Service Medal

    2021 – Recipient of the Ambulance Victoria Excellence Award for Social and Environmental Responsibility

    2021 – Recipient of the Victoria Premiers Sustainability Award



    Hato Hone St John

    Anna Pownall

    Area Operations Manager

    Time in service: 9 years


    Anna began her career with Hato Hone St John in Thames as an Operational volunteer while studying the bachelor or Paramedicine. Anna became a full time employee with Auckland in 2015 where she worked as a front line paramedic excelling in patient care and leadership. In 2021 Anna became a relief Shift Supervisor, in 2022 a full time Watch Operations Manager, and in 2023 Anna became an Area Operations Manager. 

    Anna has displayed a real passion for people leadership and process development, streamlining many new and existing plan for Auckland Operations.


    Career Highlights:

    2020 - Paramedic ATP

    2021 - Relief Shift Supervisor

    2022 - Permanent Watch Operations Manager

    2023 - Area Operations Manager

    Debra Larsen

    General Manager Ambulance Operations - Health Services

    Time in service: 3 years


    After starting work in an office, Debra decided she wanted to be a nurse and successfully completed her training in 2001. Debra started as a mental health nurse before moving to medical nursing. Whilst working in a high stress ever changing role she recognised what qualities she wanted in a leader. After having her two children, she moved into theatre and perioperative nursing, where she became 2IC and then the charge nurse. From there she progressed to Clinical Nurse Director and Service Manager for ambulatory and outpatients in Waikato, where she built her first connections with Hato Hone St John (HHSJ).

    In 2021 she joined HHSJ as the National Operations Manager Patient Transfer Services (PTS). Her ability to negotiate and communicate built this division of HHSJ and in December 2022 her portfolio was enlarged to include Events Health Services and she took the role of General Manager, Ambulance Operations-Health Services. During the last 12 months Debra has grown Health Services - “ securing major contracts with Health NZ and making the Events business more profitable. She is now looking for opportunities to contract our paramedics to other parts of the Health system within NZ.


    Career Highlights:

    Since joining HHSJ Debra has led significant growth and improvement in service delivery for Event Health Services and turned a loss-making service into a break even and heading towards profit making service. 

    Debra is a key team member of the HHSJ Multi Union Employment Contract negotiation team.
    Debra is the Chair of the HHSJ Women in Leadership Committee. 

    Debra is a key member of the Ambulance senior leadership team. She has also taken on the role of National Commander of some significant emergency situations including HHSJ response to severe weather events. She is an extremely capable leader in a crisis, with a calm but firm style to get results.


    Millie O'Grady

    Volunteer Support Manager

    Time in service: 9 years


    Millie is a driven, capable, and passionate leader within the Emergency Ambulance Service, and wields considerable influence in operations due to her ability and willingness to meet challenges head on. 

    Millie started with Hato Hone St John (HHSJ) in 2014 as a fundraising administrator, before making the leap into frontline operations in 2016 as a volunteer ambulance & events officer. 

    In 2017, Millie moved from her paid role as a Fundraiser, to support the clinical team in administration. In January of 2020, Millie was then appointed as the National Clinical Internship Manager, where she supported the progression of personnel through clinical practice levels. 

    As part of the 2021 operational emergency ambulance service restructure, Millie moved from her role in Clinical to assume the role of Volunteer Support Manager for Canterbury. Millie has created tangible output in this role, and her skills in dealing with other leaders and managers to achieve results in her area, as well as support those managers in theirs, has been invigorating to watch. Millie has also provided relief, stepping across into an Area Operations Manager role briefly to provide experienced support, which demonstrates Millie’s character. Millie works to create a better service, rather than working for personal credit.


    Career Highlights:

    9 years into her career in HHSJ, Millie O’Grady can usually be found working on volunteering in Canterbury, alongside supporting the wider District with her adaptable, unflappable working style. Canterbury District is extremely fortunate to have a leader like Millie advocating, creating positive change for volunteering, and stepping in to tackle tricky issues that may require her developed leadership style of a delicate balance between forthrightness and tact.

    Pauline Buchanan

    St John District Operations Manager - "Southland Otago"

    Time in service: 54 years


    Pauline is a nationally renowned, trailblazing leader within Hato
    Hone St John, who serves as an inspiration of what can be
    achieved those aspiring to be leaders within our organization.
    Pauline is currently the District Operations Manager for
    Southland Otago, where she is responsible for over 650 staff
    throughout a geographically wide and often isolated area. Her
    journey in leadership began in the small rural town of Mataura,
    where she became (what is now known as) an Assistant Divisional
    Manager of the local youth division. From humble roots, she
    became a female ambulance attendant, then rose through the
    ranks to become Gore’s first female Station Manager, then onto
    becoming the District Manager for, Upper Southland, Southland,
    Southern Lakes and now Southland Otago.

    Pauline’s journey to becoming a respected role model, at a senior
    level, has not been without challenges. Sadly, early in her career
    this discrimination as a female leader, included comments from
    previous managers who believed she should be “bare foot and
    pregnant and at home waiting on my husband”. This only served
    to strengthen her resolve to be the best, whilst retaining her
    humility and confidence.

    Pauline’s success, her commitment and respect she has gained
    throughout her 54 years serve as an inspiration for others who
    wish to aspire to become leaders within Hato Hone St John.


    Career Highlights:

    First appointment as District Operations Manager 1997 (Upper

    Southland District Operations Manager appointment

    Southern Lakes District Operations Manager appointment

    Southland Otago District Operations Manager appointment

    Commander of the Order of St John

    Implemented a range of new initiatives

    Electronic Patient Reporting

    Double Crewing Project

    Reprioritization Project


    Build and inspired a new District Management Team
    throughout a recent restructure

    Chair of St John Women in Leadership Group

    Acting District Operations Manager of Canterbury (due to the
    departure of a previous District Operations Manager)

    Survived several restructures

    Operations Manager St John EOC - “Christchurch earthquake

    Rachel Hallam

    Consumer Experience - Healthcare, Manager

    Time in service: 9 years


    Rachel has been at Hato Hone St John since 2014 and has worked in a number of managerial and ambulance roles. She has been an ambulance officer and held positions in rostering and clinical internship support. Since 2021 she has worked in Patient Safety and Quality which is part of Clinical Services, most recently taking on the newly created role as Consumer Experience (Healthcare) manager.


    Career Highlights:

    Rachel has worked for St John in a number of compliance roles including writing reports for the coroner and other external third parties related to the care provided to ambulance patients. She has recently established the Consumer Experience team and has been instrumental in developing and leading a patient centric, restorative approach to engaging with patients and families who have experienced a harm event. This includes ensuring that disclosures routinely occur for a range of issues in patient experience and that these are culturally appropriate and reflect the needs of both the patient and healthcare provider.  She has also guided and supported ambulance personnel involved in coronial and health disability cases ensuring that they are able to navigate an often complex and confronting experience.  She has led the new consumer experience team and established the systems of work and engaged broadly across the organisation to build restorative practice into consumer experience. This includes centralizing all complaints and patient concerns into a single team and structure with responsibility for supporting emergency ambulance operations across the country.

    Sue Farquhar

    Payroll Manager

    Time in service: 16 years


    Sue Farquhar is the Payroll Manager at Hato Hone St John; with an extensive background in payroll management and over 16 years of service at HHStJ, she navigates the unique nuances of the organisation with ease. Sue plays an active and pivotal (yet often unseen) part in many people-related projects and initiatives. 

    Sue is well known, respected, and trusted by staff, assisting managers with leave, fatigue, and workforce management matters. Always accessible, Sue’s known for being just a phone call away, readily available to provide support and resolve queries. 

    Her diligence, service-orientation, and straightforward communication style set Sue apart. Her commitment to excellence is evident in her track record of successfully passing audits, accurate and timely payroll processing, and making significant contributions to operational efficiency. 

    Sue's reputation for reliability, accuracy, and unwavering integrity has firmly established her as a respected leader within the organisation. Her impact is felt throughout Hato Hone; Sue’s not just the Payroll Manager but a driving force behind the culture at Hato Hone.


    Career Highlights:

    In addition to her Payroll Manager position, Sue is an Order Member, a HHStJ volunteer, and has been involved in the Dunedin Area Committee. Sue is a highly valued specialist within the People, Communications, and
    Engagement Directorate, playing a key role in many people-related projects, including technology implementations (e.g. implementation of TimeFiler, our Timesheet system); she’s also been involved in many cost savings programs, in addition to contributing a great deal in the way of recall savings. Sue and her team also have an excellent reputation for passing audits.




    NSW Ambulance

    Belinda Boothroyd

    Body Worn Camera (BWC) Project Manager

    Time in service: 15 years


    Belinda began her career at NSW Ambulance as a dedicated paramedic, showcasing her passion for the well-being of both patients and colleagues. Over the years, she has consistently proven herself as a reliable and empathetic professional, earning the respect of her peers.


    Career Highlights:

    In 2022, Belinda transitioned into a project management role within the Occupational Violence (OV) team, taking on the challenge of overseeing the Body Worn Camera (BWC) trial. Under her guidance, the project underwent a significant re-design and successful relaunch, doubling the size of the trial's initial cohort. Notably, Belinda's collaboration with Charles Sturt University has been instrumental in the ongoing assessment of the BWC's efficacy in mitigating violence against paramedics. Belinda's exceptional ability to engage with, relate to, and inspire paramedics to actively participate in the BWC trial has been a key factor in it’s success. Prior to the trial's expansion and relaunch, she skilfully engaged with unions and other stakeholder, leading to successful negotiations and garnering support for the initiative. Belinda also strengthened governance activities, ensuring transparency, compliance with legislation, and adherence to organizational policies.

    Dr Clare Richmond

    Prehospital and Retrieval Specialist, Director of Training, Aeromedical Operations

    Time in service: 11 years


    Clare is a Pre-hospital and Retrieval Medicine physician with a background in emergency medicine (FACEM - Fellow Australasian College for Emergency Medicine). She was first involved with Aeromedical Operations as a registrar in 2010, and returned as a staff specialist after working in the UK with London Air Ambulance (London HEMS). She became the Supervisor of Medical Training in 2018, and through her passion and commitment to excellence, a program that is, without exaggeration, world-renowned has continued to develop and improve. Through engagement with other retrieval services throughout the state, and formalising this through the Statewide Retrieval Training Assurance Review (STAR) project, which Clare has lead, all Critical Care Paramedics, and the vast majority of Aeromedical doctors (all from NSW Ambulance and the majority from the NSW regional retrieval services) now receive the same excellent induction training at the Bankstown ACE training centre. On top of this Clare provides medical input into the ongoing Cyclic training program, supervises registrars for their specialty College requirements, has further supervision of doctors undertaking the ACEM (Australasian College for Emergency Medicine) Diploma in PreHospital and Retrieval Medicine (DipPHRM).


    Career Highlights:

    With increasing demands in Aeromedical Operations, Clare has found ways to increase her workload to provide solutions; during the COVID-19 pandemic this meant developing training resources so aeromedical clinicians effectively learned to don and doff PPE. More recently she has helped developed a process for transfer of critically ill patients with high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) to the NSW Biocontainment Centre at Westmead Hospital.
    Clare is an examiner for the ACEM DipPHRM.

    On top of her training and teaching responsibilities with Aeromedical Operations, Clare is an excellent and active clinician, demonstrating clinical leadership and excellence as well as teaching it. She is a clinician in the PRECARE trial, providing prehospital ECMO to patients in cardiac arrest. She also works as a State Retrieval Consultant, coordinating retrieval of critically ill and injured patients from across the state, whilst supporting referring clinicians in the care of these patients. She is one of a small cohort of AO medical specialists trained for deployment as part of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team. Somehow she finds time to also work as an emergency medicine specialist at RPAH one day per week.

    Dr Frances Miao

    Senior State Retrieval Consultant, Aeromedical Operations

    Time in service: 17 years


    Frances has been a Pre-hospital and Retrieval Medicine (PHRM) physician for over 20 years, and has a background in emergency medicine (FACEM). Frances’ joined NSW Ambulance in 2007, transferring from South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD). Frances initially worked in operational pre-hospital and retrieval medicine with a gradual increase in fraction in retrieval coordination through the then-Medical Retrieval Unit, and has worked exclusively in aeromedical coordination since 2012.


    Career Highlights:

    As a State Retrieval Consultant (SRC) Frances coordinates retrieval of critically ill and injured patients from across the state, whilst supporting referring clinicians in the care of the patients. Frances shares the Senior Second On-Call (SSOC) roster with 3 other clinicians; a role in which Frances assists SRC’s and provides advanced clinical advice and trouble-shooting solutions. Frances supports the Director Aeromedical Clinical Operations as the lead clinician in the quality assurance program. She has developed links throughout aeromedical and the wider critical care community to identify incidents and potential issues through various channels. Frances is the force behind the very successful State Retrieval Fellow program, where junior specialists with a background in PHRM undergo a year-long (part-time) fellowship in the Aeromedical Control Centre (ACC). These positions are now sought after with doctors who have undertaken this fellowship moving into senior positions as State Retrieval Consultants.

    Judith Butcher

    Duty Operations Centre Officer, Western Control Centre

    Time in service: 23 years


    Judith boasts a distinguished 23-year career with NSW Ambulance, commencing as a triple zero call taker, and dispatcher, and to her current role as a dedicated Duty Operations Centre Officer at the Western Control Centre. Judith is also the lead Peer Support Officer for the Western Sector and Control Centre.


    Career Highlights:

    Judith's illustrious 23-year career with NSW Ambulance is underscored by her exceptional contributions during critical incidents. Notably, Judith played a pivotal role in managing the control centre during the Eugowra floods, demonstrating unparalleled leadership in the face of what has been described as a "tsunami" and a "wall of water" that decimated a small country town. Her ability to coordinate resources and guide the response effort showcased her composure and resilience under extraordinary circumstances alongside her colleagues and fellow control centre team members.

    Judith received a Commissioner's Certificate for her role in taking the triple zero call for the Oatlands car accident, where four siblings under the age of 13 tragically lost their lives. Her professionalism and empathy in the aftermath of such a devastating incident earned her accolades from her peers and superiors alike.

    Additionally, Judith’s remarkable career highlights include her leadership during the Wallerawang motor vehicle accident, a complex incident involving 21 patients and the deployment of 31 ambulance resources. Her effective coordination in this high-pressure situation once again exemplified her exceptional skills and commitment to the well-being of those in need. Judith's contributions during these critical incidents truly define her as an outstanding and compassionate leader.

    Kha-Van Pennefather

    Deputy Director of Finance

    Time in service: 10 years


    Kha-Van has made an enormous long term contribution to the Finance function at NSW Ambulance. Kha-Van holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting and Finance), Master of Business Administration and Certified Practicing Accountant. Kha-Van has been acting in the role of Director, Finance since January 2022. Previous to this role she has honed her skills for 8 years as the Director, Finance Business Partnering and was selected to complete the NSW Health Finance Executive Development Program.


    Career Highlights:

    Kha-Van has been instrumental in turning the Finance function into a highly regarded centre of excellence within NSW Ambulance, closely aligned with the operational needs of the organisation, and moving to the forefront of forecasting and budgeting performance within NSW Health.

    Kha-Van was originally tasked with developing the management accounting capability of Clinical Operations with an emphasis on understanding and monitoring the cost profile of the complicated employee and logistical costs. She spent considerable time and effort meeting on-road staff and sector operations to better understand cost pressures and to provide tailored solutions in managing budgets. In 2019, she proposed and implemented the Finance Business Partner model for NSW Ambulance which has been extremely successful and has been fully embraced across NSW Ambulance.

    In 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kha-Van efficiently moved the Finance operation to its - working from home’ footing.  For the first time in the organisation’s history, Financial Statements were completed remotely, without audit issues or qualifications, and with almost all staff working remotely. Kha-Van repeated this success in 2021, 2022 and 2023.  In those three years, NSW Ambulance returned to ‘on budget’ performance.

      Phoebe Wood

      Extended Care Paramedic (ECP)

      Time in service: 10 years


      Phoebe began her career in health as a registered nurse with a strong paediatric focus working at Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick until re-training as a paramedic with NSW Ambulance in 2013. She has worked in Sydney South-East for most of her Ambulance career - “Ambulance career, training at Mascot Station, then undertaking a rural 12 month placement at Dorrigo, before returning to the Sydney Ambulance Centre for 6 years as a P1 (Qualified Paramedic). In 2022, Phoebe was accepted into the Extended Care Paramedic (ECP) Specialist Course and since then has worked as a Paramedic Specialist at both Northmead and Kogarah Super Stations.


      Career Highlights:

      Phoebe has been a Peer Support Officer in Sydney South East and greater Metro Sydney Zones for over 6 years. She was a top performing student through the ECP course and presented to the Sydney South-East Career Progression workshop in 2023. She received an award for her contribution to Paramedicine in the 2023 Ambulance Appreciation Day.



      Queensland Ambulance Service

      Brooke Rolfe

      Manager Clinical Education, Metro South Region

      Time in service: 20 years


      Brooke commenced her career with QAS as a Paramedic in 2003 and has served for over 20 years with her currently the Manager Clinical Education for the Metro South Region. Her experience and knowledge have seen her progress throughout her career to roles as Officer-in-Charge, Area Director, Executive Manager and Manager Operations Centre.

      Brooke also worked in the State Operations Coordination Centre (SOCC) during the pandemic and when leading a team ensures the team is on the same direction she is. Brooke is always positive about new processes and education opportunities and imparts this positivity to the staff. She leads by example and is incredibly supportive of the team.


      Career Highlights:

      Appointed Officer-in-Charge in 2008

      Appointed Area Director in 2009

      Appointed Executive Manager 2012

      Appointed Manager Operations Centre 2013

      Relieved in multiple positions  - Clinical Support Officer, Senior Clinical Education Officer, Manager Clinical Education, Executive Manager Operations, Director, Central Region.

      Christine Axelby

      Director, Employee and Industrial Relations

      Time in service: 17 years


      Christine commenced with the Queensland Ambulance Service in January 2007 and is currently the Director, Employee and Industrial Relations.

      During Christine’s tenure with the QAS, the agency has undergone multiple machinery-of-government and other organisational changes, moving in and out of corporate cohabitation arrangements with multiple other public sector agencies. Two changes of government (in 2012 and 2015) resulted in significant alterations to employment principles within public sector agencies, including the QAS.

      The QAS has moved through four enterprise bargaining cycles during this time, with two of those imposing lengthy and complex arbitration processes in the industrial tribunal. In 2017, the QAS and its main representative union reached agreement on a suite of measures including the most significant structural changes to employment arrangements in the agency since its establishment.

      Through all of the key events described above and for the duration of her tenure, Christine has been a very senior and in recent years, the primary industrial relations advisor, guiding the agency and its decision makers through sensitive and complex considerations. Christine has been entrusted by the QAS Commissioner to lead the implementation of the QAS Workforce Plan 2023-2028, a project of critical importance to the future success of the agency.


      Career Highlights:

      • Commissioner Commendation 
      • For significant contribution to the negotiation process leading to the QAS Determination 2010 issued by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
      • Meritorious Service Award
      • For her contribution, commitment and time as part of the Enterprise Bargaining team gaining certification of the 2016 QAS Certified Agreement 2017.
      • Commissioner certificate of appreciation - 2019 - outstanding contribution for the successful implementation of the Aurion Payroll Project for the QAS.

      Hayley Salethorne

      Acting Assistant Commissioner

      Time in service: 16 years


      Hayley’s career with the QAS spans for more than 16 years. Commencing as a Paramedic in Sandgate with the QAS in 2007, Hayley has been an integral part of the QAS team working in several leadership positions such as Officer in Charge, Manager Workforce Readiness, Executive Manager Operations, District Director, and numerous relief opportunities as Assistant Commissioner.

      Hayley’s skills and experience across a multitude of leadership roles has provided her with multifaceted knowledge and skills for a dynamic, multi-disciplinary ambulance service. Throughout all her roles Hayley has been a well-respected female role model for withholding the QAS values, providing service to the local community and supporting, influencing, and implementing the QAS Strategy.


      Career Highlights:

      Commenced as a Paramedic in 2009

      Appointed Manager Workforce Readiness in 2019

      Appointed Officer-in-Charge in 2020

      Appointed District Director in 2022

      Acting Clinical Support Officer

      Acting Executive Manager Operations on multiple occasions

      Acting Assistant Commissioner on multiple occasions and currently acting in this role.

      Lauretta Howarth

      Senior Operations, Supervisor, Far Northern Region

      Time in service: 28 years


      Lauretta is known for her extensive clinical and operations experience and her positive workplace leadership and stewardship.

      During her career Lauretta has performed in roles such as Regional Operations Supervisor, Manager Staff Development, Critical Care Paramedic, Critical Care Flight Paramedic and most recently, Senior Operations Supervisor. Lauretta was pivotal in the formation of the Specialist Response Team responsible for extra-ordinary specialist response to disasters, remote deployments, special events etc. She identified a safety risk and worked to address the issue with remote access incidents and associated workplace injuries. This resulted in a in a dramatic decrease in workplace injuries and improved the coordination of response, patient outcomes and interagency working relationships. Lauretta coordinated the recruitment of the team and training camps for the team and other emergency agencies. The team played a strong part in the response to Tropical Cyclone Jasper and the following flooding disaster. The positive feedback from community members, agencies and colleagues proved the development and selection of the team, without a doubt, assisted in the response and recovery affected communities.

      Lauretta is an inclusive leader dedicated to ongoing support and improvement of Ambulance Services and focus on safety, staff welfare and positive workplace culture.


      Career Highlights:

      Australia Day Achievement Medallion 1999

      Pivotal in the formation of the Specialist Response Team. This team is responsible for extra-ordinary specialist response to disasters, remote deployments, special events etc.

      The team played a strong part in the response to Tropical Cyclone Jasper and the following flooding disaster.

      Natalie Schutt

      Specialist Pharmacist

      Time in service: 8 years


      Natalie is a very experienced Pharmacist and previous Registered Nurse and a vital member of the QAS senior clinical leadership team. She was appointed as the first QAS Pharmacist in 2015. Natalie quickly developed a deep understanding of the complexities in out of hospital practice. She developed the inaugural QAS Drug Management Code of Practice. This policy instrument has guided a vastly improved approach to the safe use of medicines in out of hospital practice. On top of the code of practice Natalie has developed and continually refines the organisation's digital drug management system.

      Natalie regularly inspires paramedics with her education sessions on pharmacology and safe use of medicines. It is obvious Natalie cares deeply for the patients receiving ambulance care. She reviews many cases where opportunities to learn are highlighted and manages these patient centered opportunities with kindness and compassion.


      Career Highlights:

      Appointed as the first QAS Pharmacist in 2015

      Developed the inaugural QAS Drug Management Code of Practice.

      Developed and continually refines the organisation's digital drug management system.


      Suzanne Nehring

      Acting Executive Manager, Rockhampton Operations Centre

      Time in service: 15 years


      During her career with the QAS, Suzanne has progressed through the ranks to her current role of Acting Executive Manager, Rockhampton Operations Centre. Suzanne is known for her exemplary leadership.

      She has proven her leadership skills through her progression in the QAS and was instrumental in managing the relocation of the Rockhampton Operations Centre back into the new refurbished location which consisted of multiple training activities, staff consultation and negotiation on resettlements and new equipment etc.

      Suzanne is a very personable leader who ensures that she understands each of her staff, provides an environment of opportunity and then shares her skills and knowledge with her team to bring the best out in each of them.


      Career Highlights:

      Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Rockhampton 2008

      Operations Centre Supervisor, Rockhampton 2014

      Acting Executive Manager OpCen 2022 to current



      SA Ambulance Service

      Belinda Amber

      SAAS MedSTAR Kids Nurse Consultant

      Time in service: 14 years


      Belinda Amber is a SAAS MedSTAR Kids Retrieval Nurse, who started in 2010. She was one of the founding members of the SAAS MedSTAR Kids service and was integral in its implementation. Belinda was the inaugural SAAS MedSTAR Kids Operational Lead Nurse and has been a tireless advocate and educator in neonatal and paediatric retrieval in South Australia. 

      Belinda holds a Bachelor of Nursing and graduate certificates in Paediatric Critical Care, Aeromedical Retrieval and Neonatal Intensive Care. She is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at Charles Darwin University, teaching subjects within the Master of Aeromedical Retrieval program.

      Belinda has regularly taught Newborn Life Support to SAAS clinicians and volunteers. She leads the familiarisation of neonatal nurses and midwives from the neonatal units around South Australia to the retrieval environment. During her time at SAAS MedSTAR Kids, Belinda has supported every group of new registrars and fellows through individual support, mentoring and hands-on teaching.

      Belinda has been the Co-Chair of the SA Neonatal Resuscitation Committee and integral in aligning South Australia with a nationwide standardised approach to newborn resuscitation. She is a regular presenter at national aeromedical retrieval conferences and facilitator of associated teaching sessions.


      Career Highlights:

      14 years of service as a SAAS MedSTAR kids Nurse Consultant with significant prior service in the WCH Paediatric Intensive Care Unit

      Inaugural SAAS MedSTAR Kids Operations Lead Nurse

      Co-Chair of the SA Neonatal Resuscitation Committee

      Senior Lecturer at Charles Darwin University

      Holding Graduate Certificates in Paediatric Critical Care, Aeromedical Retrieval and Neonatal Intensive Care

      Ongoing community engagement through facilitation of the country women’s knitting group that supplies SAAS MedSTAR kids with soft toys for the babies and children that they have retrieved

      Mentoring and supporting over 100 training medical staff (SAAS MedSTAR kids registrars and fellows) that have rotated through the service since 2010

      Tireless advocacy for improving patient care and supporting clinical colleagues at SAAS MedSTAR Kids through hands-on teaching, mentoring and individual level support

      Diane Sanders

      Manager, Technical Services

      Time in service: 30 years


      Diane is a valued member of the Critical Systems team at SA Ambulance Service (SAAS).  She is a dedicated leader who is well respected across the organisation.  During Diane’s 30 years’ experience at SAAS she has attained a wealth of expertise in the communications and biomedical engineering technical fields.  Starting as a Technical Assistant, Diane has progressed to being the Manager of the Technical Services team which reflects her development from a technician into a leadership role. In this role Diane manages a team responsible for the communications and biomedical equipment in ambulance vehicles and stations – with her primary focus being the strategic activities of asset management, sustainment, and replacement. 


      Career Highlights:

      1986 - Started with SAAS as a Technical Assistant
      1989 - Promoted to Technical Officer
      2008 - Switched to Biomedical Engineer
      2013 - Promoted to Team Leader, Technical Services
      2017 - Promoted to Manager, Technical Services

      Diane has been instrumental in the following projects over her career from technical advice, procurement through implementation and maintenance:
      - Adelaide Formula One GP Emergency Network
      - Motorola / Panasonic Mobile Data Terminal Rollouts
      - Stryker Stretcher Replacement Program
      - Life Pak 5 / MRx / Corpuls Replacement Programs

      Dr Angela Martin

      Community Paramedic / Regional Team Leader

      Time in service: 21 years


      Dr Angela Martin PhD is a Registered Paramedic, researcher, published author and advocate for Community Paramedicine. Over her 21-year career with SAAS, Angela has worked as a Regional Team Leader and as a Community Paramedic in Ceduna, applying her passion for the model into practice, delivering culturally sensitive, primary healthcare services to local and transient Aboriginal people. Her PhD thesis was an international exploratory study on perspectives of Community Paramedicine through multiple stakeholder lenses, and her research was instrumental in the development of the Community Paramedic pilot in rural SA. Angela is an active member of the Australasian College of Paramedicine (ACP) Community Paramedicine working group and recently led the ’Community Paramedicine across Australasia (COMPASS)’ study, exploring the current and emerging landscape of Community Paramedicine across Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand.


      Angela is also an Adjunct Senior Lecturer for Edith Cowan University, WA and Adjunct Lecturer for Flinders University, SA, and a post-doctoral researcher with International Health Research Institute (IHRI). Her qualifications include a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master in Paramedic Practitioner (Cand.), Grad. Diploma in Nursing Science (Emerg.), Bachelor of Nursing, Diploma in Paramedical Science, Diploma in Management, TAE 40116 Certificate IV in Training & Assessment and AIIMS certificate.


      Career Highlights:

      Being awarded the SA Ambulance Service Rod Kershaw Scholarship in 2013 was life-changing for Angela, as it catapulted her career from a rural paramedic with an innovative idea, to a leading international researcher and expert in Community Paramedicine. Angela became a member of a highly respected Australian research team led by Professor Peter O’Meara. Her world-first North American research findings were published in peer reviewed journals which contributed to her achieving her Doctor of Philosophy in 2022.  

      Elisabeth (Liz) Charles

      Service Development Manager

      Time in service: 18 years


      Liz started with SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) as a call taker in the Emergency Operations Centre in 2005. Liz’s skills and attributes quickly saw her promoted to the Quality Assurance team talent pool. Liz continued to work in the QA team in both Training and Development portfolios. Liz is currently the Service Development Manager accountable for the development, implementation, maintenance and review of effective quality assurance programs, business process, new business initiatives and the vocational training and staff development requirements within the EOC and associated business units.
      Liz in her portfolio as the Service Development Manager is responsible for the development, implementation and review of all policies, standards, procedures and work processes and the development and implementation of risk management strategies within the business unit. Her work directly impacts SAAS’s ability to meet corporate Key Performance Indicators and benchmarks. Liz takes on these important responsibilities with professionalism and her skills are invaluable to SAAS.

      Liz has led the SAAS Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) implementation and maintenance since 2009 and has been responsible for SAAS being recognised as an Accredited Centre of Excellence in the use of the MPDS telephone triage program for three consecutive years.


      Career Highlights:

      Management of the Accredited Centre of Excellence submission for SA Ambulance Service with 3 successful consecutive applications

      SA lead in the Priority Dispatch Australasian Cultural Committee

      Development of recruiting program inclusive of video to attract new staff into the EMDSO portfolio

      Development of leadership models that align with team purpose, SAAS strategy and high performance for EOC Team Leaders 

      Developed audio visual training tools to provide better staff engagement in the EOC

      Developed enhanced staff feedback pathways for team development

      Public speaker at Navigator Conference Melbourne

      Assisted in developing education packages and courses to meet the demands of Covid-19

      EOC lead in the Statewide Inter-Facility Transfer program supporting SA Health 


      Olivia Delli Quadri

      Clinical Team Leader

      Time in service: 18 years


      Olivia Delli Quadri is the current Clinical Team Leader of Metro East G shift. She has worked for SAAS for 18 years and is qualified as both an Intensive Care Paramedic and Extended Care Paramedic. Olivia is a compassionate and caring clinician, and a fierce advocate for her patients - going above and beyond to ensure they receive high quality prehospital care that aligns with their individual situation and goals of care. Olivia is a strong positive role model for women in ambulance and is extremely supportive of all staff she works with. She inspires and helps others to reach their full potential and will go out of her way to build up those around her, always putting others before herself. She has fostered an extremely positive team environment that helps all members feel safe, included, and cared for. Olivia is highly respected by her team and her colleagues and leads by an excellent example. Olivia champions the SAAS patient focused values, she truly cares for all of her patients and is a fierce advocate for them.


      Career Highlights:

      Intensive Care Paramedic

      Extended Care Paramedic

      Represented SAAS on Paramedics Australia

      Clinical Team Leader - G shift

      Paula Parker

      Regional Team Leader

      Time in service: 30 years


      Paula has been with SA Ambulance Service for the past 17 years but was also employed when ambulance services in South Australia were supplied by St John. Overall, Paula has worked in ambulance for over 30 years.

      Paula is a very experienced Intensive Care Paramedic who has a passion for the volunteers she works with but also for patient care and advocacy. Paula goes above and beyond for her volunteer teams and is always seeking ways to engage her teams in training. She is very supportive of new recruits through their education and inspiring them to be excellent, reflective clinicians. Paula is also innovative, coming up with new ideas for recruitment and will take on any challenge put to her.

      Paula has very strong leadership values, is willing to share them and implements them with her leadership team.  Paula is always willing to support people no matter where they are in their journey with SAAS.

      Paula has used her leadership skills to act as the Operations Manager in the Murray Mallee.


      Career Highlights:

      Paula is a highly experienced Intensive Care Paramedic.

      Has held numerous leadership positions such as Clinical Team Leader and Regional Team Leader.

      Has implemented a strong leadership focus with her Volunteer Team Leader group.

      Has implemented alternate training methods to meet the needs of all her volunteers in her region so they receive excellent training to maintain their authority to practice.

      Has and continues to dedicate a vast amount of work and personal time to the ongoing recruitment of volunteers in her region.


      St John Ambulance NT

      Angelina Butler

      Training Administration Officer

      Time in service: 17 years


      Angie has worked in the Training department of St John NT for more than 17 years. During that time, she has supported administration staff, management and trainers, helped create and implement policies and procedures, while always delivering excellent customer service. Angie's dedication to St John whilst battling cancer and the aggressive treatments is not only admirable but also an inspiration to her fellow colleagues.

      She is a member of the Order of St John and recently received a 40-year service medal for her volunteer work.

      She is a dedicated team member who is passionate about her role to deliver quality First Aid training to the community. Due to her years in the department, she has built an excellent rapport with our corporate stakeholders who have welcomed the news of hearing her return to full time work.

      Career Highlights:

      More than 17 years supporting St John NT staff and delivering excellent customer service.

      A member of the Order of St John.

      Awarded a 40-year Service Medal for her volunteer work with St John.

      Erin MacZkowiack

      Clinical Dispatch Supervisor and Paramedic

      Time in service: 15 years


      Over the past 15 years Erin MacZkowiack has filled various roles as a Duty manager, Extended Care Paramedic (ECP) and Clinical Dispatch Supervisor. Erin made the decision to move to a part time role to allow her to complete a nursing and midwifery degree. Erin now juggles three separate registrations and practice, as a nurse, midwife and paramedic. Erin brings a wealth of clinical knowledge and experience to the organisation.

      Erin was one of the key drivers in the ECP HWA program and her commitment was one of the reasons the NT program was a success. Recently Erin has secured a position as a relief Clinical Dispatch Supervisor. The wealth of clinical experience in various healthcare settings is a massive benefit to the role and organisation. Erin always displays the values of St John NT and is committed to passing her knowledge and skills on to intern paramedics fostering a fantastic mentoring environment.

      Career Highlights:

      Over 15 years with St John NT in various roles as a Duty manager, Extended Care Paramedic (ECP) and Clinical Dispatch Supervisor.

      Three separate registrations and practice, as a nurse, midwife and paramedic.

      A key driver in the success of the Extended Care Paramedic program in the Northern Territory.

      Kim Szymanski

      Accounts Payable Officer

      Time in service: 9 years


      For close to a decade Kim Szymanski has worked in the Finance department of St John NT. She is a quiet achiever who works in the background to ensure the smooth running of the organisation from a finance perspective. Her tireless energy makes her an asset to the team at St John NT where she is looked up to as a role model for her hard work and dedication.

      Career Highlights:

      For close to a decade Kim Szymanski has worked in the Finance department of St John NT to ensure the smooth running of the organisation from a finance perspective.

      Her tireless energy makes her an asset to the team at St John NT where she is looked up to as a role model for her hard work and dedication.

      Mareesa Bates


      Time in service: 7 Years


      Mareesa is a Katherine local who has worked for St John NT for the past 7 years as a Paramedic. She is hard working, dedicated and supportive with a passion for women's health issues and sharing her knowledge with others. As an RN and Midwife combined with her role as a university lecturer, she has a wealth of experience and knowledge to support staff training and development in her additional role as a casual Clinical Services Officer for St John NT.

      Mareesa has also stepped up when required into the role Acting Area Manager Katherine and empowers those around her by allowing everyone the opportunity to learn in a safe environment.

      Career Highlights:

      As a Paramedic, RN and Midwife, along with her role as a university lecturer has made Mareesa an asset in her role as a casual Clinical Services Officer.

      Mareesa has stepped up into an acting role as Area Manager Katherine.

      Renee Guesnon


      Time in service: 3 years


      Renee Guesnon is a dedicated and compassionate Paramedic who has made an undeniable mark on the Alice Springs station. For the past three years, she has been an invaluable asset to the community, where her unwavering commitment to delivering outstanding patient care sees her working not only on road with St John NT but also in the Emergency Department of Alice Springs Hospital as Registered Nurse.

      Her dual qualifications showcase her versatility and commitment to holistic, culturally safe patient care. Beyond her clinical expertise, Renee has emerged as an advocate for the creation of safe and appropriate lactation spaces at the station after returning to on road duties as a paramedic after the birth of her baby boy. This will undoubtably help future Paramedics return to their on-road positions moving forward.

      Renee’s impact also extends to new and seasoned paramedics alike, continually asking questions, seeking answers and educating all. She is always using her limited free time to inspire her colleagues to undertake extra professional development days that she has organised.

      Career Highlights:

      Her dual qualifications showcase her versatility and commitment to holistic, culturally safe patient care.
      Renee has emerged as an advocate for the creation of safe and appropriate lactation spaces at the station after returning to on road duties as a paramedic after the birth of her baby boy.



      St John Ambulance Papua New Guinea

      Joddy Bolony

      Lead Pharmacist

      Time in service: 3 years


      Joddy Bolony joined St John Ambulance PNG service amidst the COVID wave in January of 2021. Graduating from the University of Papua New Guinea; Joddy had previously been engaged in retail pharmacist roles in the public and private sector in Papua New Guinea. Upon taking up the challenge to serve as a prehospital service pharmacist; this role has challenged her to rise to new heights as the organization has grown. She now has to manage a variety of tasks from satisfying clinician and Ambulance Officer requirements, to managing enterprise activities and keeping abreast of the equipment requirements of a emergency ambulance and paramilitary service that engages in tasks in remote and austere environments and urban responses. The ambulance service is currently present in only 5 of the 22 provinces of Papua New Guinea. But with the expected expansion of our reach; Joddy is looking forward to meeting the expectations that lie ahead.

      Career Highlights:

      The few memorable achievements that Joddy has managed to accomplish thus far are:
      1. Certifying as a first aid provider and completing ambulance officer training. A feat she is proud of, and found quite satisfying; as she was never exposed to resuscitation training in her 5 years of Pharmacy training.
      2. Transitioning from retail and wholesale pharmacy roles in the private sector to now being responsible for procurement of medicines/ medical consumables and equipment that are to replenish the stock requirements of event health providers, ambulance officers, ambulance clinicians, paramedics and doctors.
      3. Having the opportunity to test and use all new equipment and have more in-depth knowledge of what the ambulance service utilises.

      Shirellyn Pielo

      Director - People, Workforce & Culture (PWC)

      Time in service: 6 years


      Shirellyne joined the team in 2018, She brought with her experience in working in fast paced FIFO environment within the private sector. Shirellyne was instrumental in recruiting the required workforce during the COVID pandemic when SJPNG partnered with the government of PNG during the pandemic.

      Career Highlights:

      • Successfully coordinated the recruitment of local ambulance officers for both APEC 2018 and COVID19 national response.
      • Coordinated and developed the recruitment of corporate volunteers data base for SJPNG.
      • Currently leading the rollout of the new workforce management and payroll software for SJPNG.





      St John WA

      Belinda Marsh

      Volunteer Ambulance Officer - Emergency Medical Response

      Time in service: 9 years


      Belinda “Bel” Marsh commenced her volunteering journey with Wundowie Subcentre in November of 2015. Bel is currently heading towards her ninth year of service as a volunteer.  Since joining, Bel has been a big part of St John Wundowie. She always puts herself forward for any and all tasks from community engagement, catering and organising busy bees at the subcentre. Bel is always a friendly, kind, caring and compassionate individual who always has others best interests at heart and will do anything to put a smile on someone’s face if they are having a bad day. She always checks in on everyone to see how they are doing.

      All of her hard work around the clock has never gone unnoticed, she has recently been admitted as a Member to the Order of St John as well.  Bel is always putting the interests of volunteers first and this is why everyone views Bel as such an approachable person.

      Career Highlights:

      Bel has held numerous roles within St John including Emergency Medical Responder, Emergency Medical Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician, Volunteer Support Officer, Community Engagement Officer. Bel has also received multiple commendations including a Commandery Commendation and has also been admitted as a Member to the Order of St John. Bel is also a member of the Volunteer Advocacy Team for the Wheatbelt. Bel has also held positions on the committee as a member and also has served as the vice chairperson.

      Karen Stewart

      Acting Head of Department - Country Ambulance Operations

      Time in service: 12 years


      In January 2021 Karen completed a Master’s in healthcare management through Murdoch University, during this study she undertook a research project which focused on the transition from clinical to manager from a paramedic’s experience. This research was published in the Australasian Journal of Paramedicine in January 2021. Karen is an Associate fellow with the College of Health Service Management and a certified health manager. 

      Karen graduated as the youngest female paramedic in Scotland in 1997 with an IHCD in Paramedicine, she completed 19 years in the Scottish Ambulance Service in various clinical and leadership roles before emigrating to Australia in 2012.  In 2010 Karen undertook a Bachelor of Science degree which she completed in 2012. In that same year Karen joined St John WA initially as a paramedic before securing the role of Clinical Governance Operations manager.  Since then, Karen has held senior positions including Acting Head of Clinical Services, Acting Head of Country Operations and her current substantive role of Senior Operations Manager- Regional Operations.

      Career Highlights:

      Youngest Female Paramedic in Scotland in 1997

      Master’s in healthcare management

      Presenting at the CAA Women in Leadership Conference on her research work “From Clinician to Manager.”

      Katy Aviles

      Area Manager

      Time in service: 15 years


      Katy is an exceptionally well-meaning and staff welfare focused area manager who will always put the needs of her officers first. Katy is known throughout our district as a manager who is always approachable and knowledgeable. 

      During a recent tragic event, Katy put her personal plans on hold and came in several evenings and over a weekend to support her staff during a very distressing time. She was a shoulder to cry on for many enabling the officers to show their feelings then move on to carry out their duties on the road. 

      Katy is our district 'rostering expert' and ensures our crews work as close to home as possible and with colleague they enjoy spending time with. Rostering has also highlighted Katy’s Excel skills and logical thinking skills. 

      Katy has worked in various roles within St John and is evidence of St John inclusive workforce, Katy is 'mum' to many staff and is a role model many young paramedics aspire to be like. 
      Despite the red manager badge Katy wears, she is seen as one of team by the on-road staff, and often recalls the experiences she went through herself to try and improve the Service for all officers.

      Career Highlights:

      Katy has progressed from Ambulance Officer through to Area Manager with responsibility for approximately 65 officers, although even more go to Katy for assistance. During the journey Katy has worked as Paramedic and Station Manager gaining experience as she went along. Katy recognises the Area Manager role is her career highlight which gives her the ability to care and advocate for her many officers.

      Lauren D'Arcy

      Ambulance Paramedic

      Time in service: 11 years


      Laurens been an active member of SJWA staff for 12 years and is currently an active member for the ADF reserve force. A compassionate, integrous leader, Lauren has displayed pro-active leadership across the last 3 years. 
      Lauren’s St John WA role history:

      • Event Health Officer
      • Ambulance Transport Officer
      • Student Ambulance Officer
      • Ambulance Paramedic
      • Paramedic Mentor
      • Curtin University Lecturer (Paramedicine)
      • Present - Ambulance Paramedic

      Career Highlights:

      Championing and leading the WA AUSLAN service over 2022/2023. A true advocate and leader in the sense, Lauren has been focused in championing the initiative within the wider service and contributed to many ambulance staff being formally trained in sign language. A true inspiration to her colleagues and a real 

      Nicki Foster

      District Area Manager

      Time in service: 13 years


      Originally from the UK Ambulance Service, Nicki has been with SJWA for over 12 years. In this time Nicki has served in the Ambulance Paramedic, College of Pre-hospital care Educator, Hospital Liaison Manager and Area Manager roles.  Nicki is passionate about extending the paramedicine profession, modernising leadership practice and is a particular role model for women in clinical leadership roles.

      As a yearly lead for the RAC WA State Roadsafe conference, Nicki passionately engages all stakeholders and ensures diverse representation for the initiative.

      Over Nicki's many managerial roles, Nicki consistently displays her caring nature, humorous disposition, an ability to listen to understand with staff welfare always at the forefront of her mind.

      In her spare time Nicki likes walking her dog 'Buffy', reading, egg painting and is a fantastic 'doodler'.

      Career Highlights:

      1. Strong advocacy and support for women in leadership across her career.

      2. A champion and statewide lead of the yearly RAC WA state trauma 'road safe' campaign.

      Pamela Toyne

      Event Services Team Leader

      Time in service: 21 years


      Pam has been a key member of the St John WA - Event Health Services staff. She was the 1st paid staff member what was then called Volunteer First Aid Services and has been seen the department change over the years, from staffing changes to being renamed Event Health Services, be awarded the contract for Optus Stadium, and weather through the COVD-19 pandemic. Pam and her team has been an integral part of ensuring EHS personnel are rostered in a timely manner, records kept up to date, and supported appropriately.

      Career Highlights:

      Feb 2003 – Admin Clerk (VFAS)

      June 2007 – Public Events Coordinator (VFAS)

      July 2013 – Event Services Team Leader  (EHS)

      Wellington Free Ambulance

      Emily Regtien

      Emergency Medical Call Taker and Dispatcher

      Time in service: 5 years


      Emily is a fantastic team member who is hyper aware of the environment around her. Because of multiple skill sets that she possesses, she is extremely versatile able to help out with different areas in communications, including EAS, PTS, Non-urgent or call taking.  An empathetic individual, Emily is patient, understanding and perennially positive.

      Emily is a stickler for rules, which not only makes her an amazing dispatcher but also an excellent Health and Safety representative, taking all of her roles very seriously.

      Emily is an excellent call taker, having taken many exemplary calls.  Emily endeavours to better herself everyday by learning constantly and upskilling herself and encouraging others to do so. When her team needs her the most she is always around.

      Emily is one of those employees who comes to work every day, does the mahi and leaves without making a fuss about how she saved the day (on most days she does).

      Career Highlights: 

      Earning a spot in the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch's (IAED) Stork Club. 

      Remembering her call, Emily says it came weeks after she was signed off as a solo Emergency Medical Call Taker.

      "Being new to the role a lot was going through my head. Trust the protocol, trust the training, breathe and do the best I can; mixed in with a fair bit of adrenaline," Emily says.

      When she received the call, the baby was well on his way.

      "I was thinking the ambulance crew would probably arrive for the delivery but the little boy had other ideas and arrived very quickly into the safety of dad's arms."

      Emily says in this type of situation it is important to remain calm to ensure the best care for both mum and baby, while providing reassurance to the caller as well.

      "These jobs are the ones you do remember; they are amazing and uplifting. It definitely contributes to your sense of achievement as a call taker and to be part of an incredible moment in someone's life is a gift.

      Jo Thompson

      Extended Care Paramedic

      Time in service: 11 years


      Hello, I'm Jo Thompson, an Extended Care Paramedic with Wellington Free Ambulance. Starting as a volunteer, I could quickly see this becoming the rewarding and fulfilling career that it is now. I completed a Bachelor of Health Science through Whitireia in 2015, and since then my career progressed from an internship to becoming a paramedic.

      With the growing demand and remote locations covered, this sparked my interest in completing post graduate studies in community care and moving into a role as an Extended Care Paramedic. I find it rewarding in my role with the balance between frontline emergency work and the application of my extended care skill set.

      It is a privilege working in a close-knit team alongside my dedicated colleagues who are more like family. Supporting and mentoring new staff is a highlight, with helping them to establish a strong foundation for becoming a paramedic, sharing knowledge, and assisting in juggling shift work alongside busy lives and families.

      Despite the demands, I continue to love my job and remain committed to treating patients with a high level of care, respect, and compassion they deserve.

      Career Highlights:

      On-road preceptor

      Extended Care Paramedic 2021

      Co-recipient of the Chief's Commendation award 2022

      Kristy Cornwell

      Clinical Paramedic Advisor

      Time in service: 9 years


      Kristy has worked for Wellington Free Ambulance for 9 years. Working full time on the ambulance for 6.5 years where she was a Preceptor for Graduate Paramedics. Kristy is also a Clinical Paramedic Advisor in our Communications Centre offering clinical advice to staff and providing assessments over the phone. She then took an opportunity to be a Clinical Educator for 2 years within Wellington Free Ambulance, specifically working with the Graduate Paramedics in their graduate year and education within Wellington Free Ambulance. She has returned to frontline Ambulance as a part time Paramedic and Clinical Paramedic Advisor. Kristy has always been passionate about education and encouraging others to learn. She enjoys sharing education opportunities with her colleagues and encouraging them to reach milestones within their career. Completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Health Science, Kristy aims to be an example to her colleagues encouraging further study to benefit their clinical practice.

      Career Highlights:

      • Finalist for Keep Getting Better Staff Award 2021
      • Completion of Post Graduate Diploma in Health Science 2022
      • Preceptor for New Graduates 2019- current

      A recent heartwarming career highlight was meeting a patient who survived a cardiac arrest.  It was both gratifying and motivating to have contributed to saving this person's life. 

      Melissa Whitaker-Atkins

      Operations Advisor

      Time in service: 10 years


      Mel joined WFA as a volunteer in 2013 during her studies and progressed to achieving her ATP as a Paramedic.  Mel was seconded in 2022 to work in the role as Operations Advisor, assisting our recruitment team and supporting new staff, particularly new interns and international paramedics joining WFA. 

      Mel has consistently performed above and beyond in this role providing personal and professional support.  We have received feedback from overseas paramedics that Mel provided help with accommodation, school recommendations, finding transport and furniture, childcare, onboarding in the organisation and more.  Providing such fantastic support to new staff members means that they start their career feeling comfortable within the service from their first shift. This makes life on the road easier for all staff members.

      Mel was nominated several times by her peers for the 2023 WFA Staff Awards under the Act with Kindness/Manaakitanga award, one of WFA’s key values.

      Career Highlights:

      Mel is a Paramedic with WFA and was seconded to work in the role as Operations Advisor, assisting our recruitment team and supporting new staff, particularly new interns and international paramedics joining WFA. 

      Mel was nominated several times by her peers for the 2023 WFA Staff Awards under the Act with Kindness/Manaakitanga award, one of WFA’s key values.

      Mel demonstrates this value on a daily basis, providing help with accommodation, school recommendations, finding transport and furniture, childcare, onboarding in the organisation and more.

      Rachel Evans

      Senior Heartbeat Coordinator

      Time in service: 11 years


      Passionate about first aid and helping in emergencies, Rachel became a first aid instructor in her early 20’s which quickly led to a desire to work on frontline. Joining Wellington Free Ambulance (WFA) in 2013 Rachel has worked a variety of roles including Patient Transfer Officer, Events, Heartbeat tutor and she gained her Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) ATP while volunteering frontline.

      After spinal surgery and not being able to lift for a lengthy time, Rachel had an opportunity to be involved with teaching the public CPR again and now manages the Lloyd Morrison Foundation Heartbeat community CPR/AED training programme for WFA. This programme teaches schools, businesses, and community groups throughout our region what to do in an emergency.  Participants learn lifesaving CPR skills and how to use an AED.

      The Heartbeat programme also works with the community installing and maintaining public 24/7 AEDs around the region, with WFA maintaining them free of charge. The programme has developed rapidly within the past three years, with a growing team of tutors, including paramedic students, teaching Heartbeat sessions, and running CPR training at community events.

      Last year alone over 7,000 individuals were trained in CPR and the community AED’s have increased by 700% in the WFA region, saving 13 lives in the past two years.

      Career Highlights:

      Meeting cardiac arrest survivors who have had a community AED used on them to save their life. This is a truly humbling experience, and it is incredibly rewarding when meeting emotional family members whose loved ones are still with them because of the availability of an AED.

      Growing the Heartbeat programme into an amazing team of tutors including paramedics, 111 call taker and paramedic students. Enabling the number of individuals who are taught lifesaving skills to triple each year.

      Working with our Pasifika team at WFA to develop a Heartbeat programme designed to reach our island communities.

      Installing 120 new community AED’s last year alone, bringing our total to 300 in the region. One AED alone has saved three lives. 





      The CAA Women in Ambulance Awards are at this stage only open to women working in the 11 CAA member services from across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea (for a full list visit our Member Services page). Currently, the awards are not open to external companies. 

      The nominations are handled by internal processes at the respective ambulance jurisdictions. Should you wish to put forward a deserving woman working in the ambulance sector please contact your manager and they will consider your nomination.