Our team

The passionate and dedicated people that bring our work to life. Say hello to the people behind Birth for Humankind.
  • Ruth Dearnley

    Chief Executive Officer

    Ruth joined Birth for Humankind as Chief Executive Officer in 2018 bringing over fifteen years’ of senior leadership, strategy, advocacy and communications experience in INGOs, non-profits and business associations across the UK, Australia and southern Africa.

    She has specialised in labour exploitation, ethical consumerism, child protection, and international and community health. With academic qualification in social anthropology, she is passionate about understanding how change happens. This led Ruth to establishing Influence Global – a collaborative social change consultancy – to support purpose-driven organisations to achieve their social change outcomes. She is currently part-time Managing Director (Principal Consultant) of Influence Global and part-time Chief Executive Officer of Birth for Humankind.

    Ruth is currently Chair of Be Slavery Free; Deputy Chair of WIRE, and a member of Melbourne Women’s Fund and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

  • Annabel Davies

    Chief Operations Officer

    Annabel joined the team in March 2016 as our first Chief Operations Officer. She has a background in marketing, communications and operations, working for non-profits and in the publishing industry in Australia and the UK. Prior to joining Birth for Humankind Annabel worked as COO for Ovarian Cancer Australia, and was a board director for Fitzroy Learning Network. Annabel plays a key role in managing the organisation’s operational and financial activities, organisational culture, strategy and policy development.

  • Natalie Kondzic

    Programs Manager

    Natalie joined the team in October 2019 has more than 15 years experience in international and community development, with a focus on maternal, neonatal and child health. She has managed public health and disability-related programs in both field-based and head office environments in SE Asia and Eastern Africa.

    Natalie has recently worked as manager of programs at the Nossal Institute of Global Health, and in programs evaluation for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. She is a tutor and lecturer in health program design and implementation in the Masters of Public Health at the University of Melbourne and is completing a Masters of Social Work at Charles Sturt University.

  • Kristine Balfour

    Program Supervisor, Doula Support

    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

    Program Supervisor, Group Education and Doula Support

    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.

  • Maison Levot

    Program Support Officer

    Maison joined the team as Program Support Officer in June 2020 and has been an active volunteer doula at Birth for Humankind since November 2018. She is currently in her final year of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University and is passionate about respectful women-centered maternity care.

    Maison aims to promote self-determination and informed decision-making through empowering and advocating for women's rights, alongside Birth for Humankind.

  • Cressida Blumson

    Partnerships Lead

    Cressida joined the team in July 2018. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in fundraising and partnerships management in the not-for-profit and social-enterprise sectors. Cress is a long-term women’s empowerment advocate, excited to channel her life and work experience into raising awareness and funds for our work. A hopeless people person, Cress is passionate about facilitating meaningful conversations and connections to inspire positive change.

  • Jess Sartori

    Communications and Fundraising Assistant

    Jess joined the team in December 2020 and has previously worked in the retail sector, specialising in campaign development, copywriting and content strategy. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion at Deakin Uni and is passionate about addressing the social drivers of health.

    Jess hopes to make a meaningful impact in the community by continually advocating for an equitable health care system alongside the Birth for Humankind team.

  • Chrissy Keenan

    Programs Volunteer

    Chrissy joined the team in March 2020 as a volunteer, and she continues to help collect feedback from clients who have received support from Birth for Humankind volunteer doulas. Chrissy works at the Nossal Institute for Global Health as a Program Officer in the Education & Learning team. Chrissy completed a Master of Public Health with a Certificate in Sexuality, Sexual, and Reproductive Health in 2019. Her passion is sexual and reproductive health, and she has experience in sexual violence prevention and awareness as well as sexual health education for youth.

    Chrissy has completed her doula training and is currently working on becoming certified to join the wonderful team of volunteer doulas at Birth for Humankind.

Volunteer doulas

We have a team of over 60 volunteer doulas who speak more than a dozen languages between them. They’re compassionate and dedicated women, registered and retired midwives, student midwives, and doulas working in private business. Our volunteers are the heart of our organisation, and without their support our work would not be possible.