Our board

Meet the Birth for Humankind Board of Directors.

Meet our Board

Established in June 2015, our Board of Directors bring passion, practice, business and non-profit knowledge to govern Birth for Humankind, in accordance with our Constitution and Strategic Plan. The Board is dedicated to ensuring a better future for our mothers, children and families.

  • Joanne Kirk

    Chair

    Joanne started her career as a Registered Nurse and has over 20 years of leadership experience working in sexual health, women’s health and refugee health programs in Australia and developing countries. She is passionate about gender equality and empowering and supporting women and girls to have the opportunity to live their very best lives.

    Currently, Joanne also works with families who are seeking asylum in Melbourne, and runs the Asylum Seeker Kids Project.

    Joanne co-founded the Red Rocketship Foundation in 2011, which has funded and worked with a number of organisations in Australian and internationally. The Foundation has a focus on funding women’s and girl’s programs.

    Joanne believes every mother has the right to support, education and the opportunity to make informed choices throughout her pregnancy and birth. She is passionate and inspired by the work of Birth for Humankind.

  • Jeanette Royce

    Treasurer

    Jeanette has more than 10 years’ experience in finance. Jeanette began her career in investment banking in Equity Capital Markets working for Macquarie. After her time in investment banking, Jeanette worked as an Assistant Treasurer for both United Energy and Multinet Gas and then later for Transurban, managing more than A$30bn in debt. From December 2019, Jeanette joined Atlas Arteria, an international toll road owner, operator and developer, as the Director, Investor Relations.

    Jeanette brings a vast array of skills in corporate treasury, financial analysis, business development and financial risk management. Jeanette’s passion for Birth for Humankind comes from her own experience of becoming a mother to her two children and wanting to ensure that all women have the support they need to make their own birth and family experience a positive one.

  • Mei Lai Swan

    Director & Co-Founder

    Mei Lai is the Founder of Birth for Humankind and was the CEO until February 2017. Her inspiration for the organisation came through a diverse background in social work, community development, as a doula, and as a yoga teacher – all fuelled by immense passion and a desire for a socially just and thriving world.

    With a Master of Social Work, she has experience developing, managing and delivering psycho-social and community development programs for Aboriginal communities, youth, and people seeking asylum. For Mei Lai, it’s a simple equation: Birth for Humankind = Birth Support + Social Justice + Heart.

  • Jo Askham

    Director

    Jo has worked with many organisations in her career as a finance,
    administration, and IT management consultant, helping organisations
    across the private and not-for-profit sectors streamline their
    operations and financial systems. She is also an experienced event
    manager, being one of the organisers of the annual Doula Conference in Australia and ‘doulaing’ many regular and international events.

    Jo's journey into motherhood sparked her passion for bringing humanity and knowledge to childbirth, and she now helps many families as a doula and childbirth educator. She is currently studying for her Bachelor of Midwifery at the Australian Catholic University.

    “My passion is to bring community to life and birth through support, events, knowledge and advocacy.”

  • Grant Fenton

    Director

    Grant is currently Manager, Volunteer Services at St John’s Ambulance Victoria. He is a former Executive Officer at Environment Education Victoria, CEO of the Northern Territory Farmers Association, Vice President of the Automobile Association of the Northern Territory and a lead consultant for IEN Management.

    Grant has substantial experienced in advocacy and policy, as well as strong experience in events management and stakeholder relations.

    Grant is passionate about children and has a commitment to social justice.

  • Raj Gopiraj

    Director

    Raj has more than 15 years’ experience across both commercial and non-for-profit sectors and has lived and worked in Australia and the USA. Raj serves as a non-executive director for Early Childhood management Services (since November 2019). He is currently Associate Director at Maximus International. He was previously portfolio manager at PWC, consultant at AECOM and interned with the United Nations in New York. With a background in commercial governance, non-executive board experience, mentoring and executing digital transformation at scale, Raj brings a unique combination of lived, worked and educational experience.

    Engaging leaders and organisations to develop connected, real strategies that consider the whole and explore the new, Raj thrives on influencing leaders to pursue limitless potential through purposeful leadership.

  • Lauren King

    Company Secretary & Director

    Lauren is an Australian qualified lawyer practising in the not-for-profit sector. As part of this role she provides governance support to a board of directors. Lauren believes strongly in the importance of good governance and providing support to the board to allow them to govern effectively.

    Lauren has a strong sense of social justice and is passionate about Birth for Humankind's vision and mission. Lauren has two small children and the experience of pregnancy, birth and motherhood has given her a profound admiration for all women and, in particular, their innate strength and resilience.