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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Giorgia Hall-Cook

    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 and Fundraising Assistant

    Jess joined the team in December 2020 and has previously worked in the retail sector, specialising in creative 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.

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.