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 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.

  • Natalie Kondzic

    Senior Project 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

    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

    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

    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

    Communications / Grant Partnerships Lead

    Jess joined the team in December 2020 and has a background in creative campaign development, copywriting and communications strategy. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion at Deakin University and is passionate about addressing the social drivers of health.

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

Our volunteers

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.