Ruth Dearnley (they/them)Chief Executive Officer
Ruth joined Birth for Humankind as Chief Executive Officer in May 2018.
With academic qualification in social anthropology, they are passionate about understanding how change happens. Their executive and non-executive leadership experience has extended across strategic planning, performance measurement, governance and organisational leadership. They prioritise applying intersectional feminist principles to organisational culture, governance and operations.
As a communicator and public advocate Ruth has specialised in finding ways to communicate complex policy into informative educational resources that build public awareness and inspire action. They have built and implemented robust frameworks for measuring advocacy and influence, increasing public participation in social justice issues by helping organisations address the ‘values-action gap’, and improving organisational efficiency and effectiveness. They’re also an accomplished for-purpose writer and editor, specialising in accessible, inclusive, simple or plain English publications.
Ruth has previously held senior leadership, advocacy and communications roles in INGOs, NFPs and business associations across the UK, Australia and southern Africa - specialising in labour exploitation; child rights, and international and community health. Before founding Influence Global, they led World Vision Australia's public advocacy department. Ruth is a qualified meditation teacher and is committed to improving purpose-driven professionals wellbeing, by integrating mindfulness and meditation in organisational culture. Ruth also founded and is Principal Consultant (part-time) at Influence Global, a collaborative social change consultancy.
They are Chair of Be Slavery Free, Deputy Chair of WIRE, and a member of Melbourne Women’s Fund and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Sandra Morris (she/her)Senior Engagement and Strategy Manager
Sandra joined the team in October 2022 and has a strong personal commitment to the vision and mission of our organisation.
Sandra is an accomplished senior leader who has more than two decades of experience in the women’s health, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, prevention of violence against women and gendered economic disadvantage. Sandra’s work is focused on centring women and gender diverse people’s voices and addressing systematic and structural discrimination. She works to create high quality, gender equitable and accessible services.
She has worked in service provision in government, health, and not for profit organisations and had great success in developing strategic relationships and building collaborative partnerships with diverse organisations together to focus on common aims, in particular the areas of gender equality, health, safety and wellbeing issues.
Kristine Balfour (she/her)Program Supervisor
Kristine is a social worker, counsellor and doula, and joined the team in March 2018. Kristine has spent her entire career working cross-culturally, mostly with people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, both in case management and therapeutic roles. She has also supported young people to recover from sexual exploitation. In addition to her role at Birth for Humankind, Kristine works as a perinatal mental health counsellor.
Cath Wright (she/her)Program Supervisor
Cath joined the team in July 2018. She is a registered midwife with a strong woman-centred philosophy and a focus on the provision of information to facilitate informed decision-making for each woman. For more than a decade Cath has worked both clinically and in the academic setting. Her clinical experience includes at: The Royal Women's Hospital, MAMA midwifery practice, Northern Provincial Hospital (Santo, Vanuatu) and The Northern Hospital.
Cath came to Birth for Humankind because she believes our organisation fills an important gap in maternity services. Prior to becoming a midwife Cath completed doula training with Rhea Dempsey.
Giorgia Hall-Cook (she/her)Operations and Program Officer
Giorgia joined the team as Program Officer in January 2022 and has been actively volunteering as a doula at Birth for Humankind since August 2019. Giorgia is a registered midwife and has recently completed her Master’s in Public Health at La Trobe University in July 2021. In addition to her role at Birth for Humankind, Giorgia works engaging families with a research project at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and volunteers as a mentor to teens in out-of-home care at Uniting.
Giorgia is passionate about equitable health care, and loves working for Birth for Humankind to ensure equitable maternity care for clients with complex backgrounds.
Jess Sartori (she/her)Grant Partnerships Lead
Jess joined the Birth for Humankind team in December 2020. She has Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion from Deakin University and experience in creative campaign development, copywriting and communications.
Jess hopes to make a meaningful impact by continually seeking new opportunities for Birth for Humankind to build strong partnerships and investment for our programs and services. She wholeheartedly supports (and admires!) our purpose of creating a more respectful and equitable health system and reducing barriers created by structural disadvantage and discrimination.
Anthea Riskas (she/her)Communications Lead
Anthea joined Birth for Humankind in January 2023 and has a strong belief in the power of storytelling and education as a means to effect change.
Anthea has worked across the not-for-profit, community and education sectors in a variety of roles, including trainer, facilitator, project manager, mentor and marketing, stategy and communications expert.
Anthea seeks to amplify the voices of our clients and increase awareness of our work, in order to achieve the goals of equitable healthcare for all women and birthing people and their families.
We have a dedicated team of volunteer doulas who speak more than a dozen languages between them. They’re compassionate and highly-skilled women who are registered and retired midwives, student midwives, and doulas working in private business. Our volunteer doulas are the heart of our organisation, and without their support our work would not be possible. If you are a qualified doula or midwife, we would love to hear from you – apply to join our team at any time.
We are also grateful for the commitment from our office-based volunteers, who work across various projects to support Birth for Humankind and our work.