top of page
Heather Cameron
Image of Heather Cameron, who has short brown hair and is wearing a bead necklace

Heather Cameron

Heather’s career in equity and diversity began in the South Australian public service, where she championed Aboriginal Employment in the Department for Corrective Services and constantly sought to advance equality of employment for women in The SA Education Department and Corrective Services.

This work was consolidated when Heather took on the position of coordinating staff equity and diversity for Griffith University, a role that she held for fifteen years. During that time Heather led the strategic development and implementation of a number of initiatives, including a Women in Leadership Program, the Indigenous Employment Program, the placement of Equity Champions in all areas of the University, and the establishment of an Ally Network.

Heather led the processes which saw Griffith receive the citation of Employer of Choice for Women continuously from the citation’s inception, a feat that is unmatched by few organisations.

In 2007 Heather was recognised as Diversity Leader for the Advancement of Women, and in 2011 coordinated the process that saw Griffith receive the award of Leading (Large) Organisation for the Advancement of Women. 

As well as her work at Griffith Heather coordinated the Queensland EOPHE network for several years, and in conjunction with colleagues from UQ and QUT, jointly coordinated the national EOPHEA conference in 2005. She convened the national EOPHEA network from 2005 – 2007.

Heather is also well renowned for her vivacious nature and her generosity of spirit, especially when it comes to always finding time to assist and actively mentor other Equity and Diversity Practitioners. Her wisdom and her supportive non-judgemental attitude have been greatly appreciated by all those who have been recipients of her sage advice.

Since her semi-retirement Heather has continued to champion equity causes, particularly for the LGBTIQ community, establishing an Ally Network in Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Heather is a Director on the Maleny Credit Union Board, and has been a customer relations volunteer and ambassador at Australia Zoo for nearly seven years.

“I participated in my first equity practitioners in higher education conference in Adelaide in 1997, the year that I took up my first role in Qld. I was actively engaged with the network until my retirement from full time work in the sector in 2012, and saw it grow and evolve into the professional body that it is today. While the network, and its title, have undergone many changes, several things have remained constant.

It has always been a group of people who, while their respective institutions were often in competition, provided collegiality and cooperation to any and all, without nepotism, hidden agendas or thought of anything other than providing support to colleagues. For individuals new to the sector, and trying to navigate their way around the complexity of equity as it played out in higher education there was ready access to a person or group who could share experience, information, strategy, or just be there to listen. And for those of us who became ‘the oldies’ there was the opportunity to help others and hopefully make things a little easier for them. The added bonus in this was the development of close and valued friendships that are enduring over time.

I don’t know of any other body of professionals that can sustain such a grounded and egalitarian network of support – having done so for the past 25 years, there’s every likelihood that this will continue. I’m immensely proud to know that I have lifetime membership of such a group.”

Image of Judith Cooke who has short auburn hair and wears glasses

Judith Cooke

Judith worked as an equity practitioner in both staff and student equity for 22 years and retired in 2017 based in Victoria at Victoria University and Monash University. 

Judith worked on a range of initiatives at including assisting students to resolve academic and administrative complaints with a speciality in discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying. In this role she was responsible for broadening the Discrimination & Harassment Advisors Network; implementing a review and revision framework for more than 40 policies governing educational and student activities at VU; and developing cultural diversity initiatives such as design and distribution of the Cultural Diversity Calendar (print and online).


In other roles with VU Judith led teams and initiatives supporting a broad range of staff and students

negotiating policy improvements and inclusive planning outcomes for areas such as disability services, equal employment opportunity, student equity, Indigenous student services and unlawful discrimination and harassment complaints management.


At Monash Judith managed Indigenous Student Services in  Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies and was  responsible for leading a significant strategic area of the University in order to support an increase in the numbers of Indigenous student enrolments and graduations.

Judith contributed to EPHEA through her work as Convenor for EOPHE Victoria from 2003 to 2007 and in retirement continues to lend her valuable talents to community activities as a non-executive Director of a non-profit organisation.

Judith Cooke
Image of Danelle Dobinson who has short silver-grey hair, and wears a beaded necklace and glasses on her head.

Danelle Dobinson

Danelle has been a social justice advocate since 1979 and held various positions in the Higher Education sector for over 23 years, retiring as Senior Equity Officer with QUT in 2019. Danelle has been an EOPHEA /EPHEA member since 1996 with positions as Queensland Chapter Convenor from 2006 until 2017 and was instrumental is supporting EOPHEA Conference in Brisbane in 2005.

Danelle’s career started as a senior investigator with the Trade Practices Commission in 1979 where she worked for 11 years, followed by six years with the Australian Human Rights Commission from 1990 to 1996. In 1996, Danelle commenced with QUT as an equity officer and worked across a range of roles in the staff equity space.

Her primary focus was strategic change management; policy and compliance; dispute resolution and grievance management; and disability services. She has formal qualifications in Dispute Resolution and Public Sector Management.

Danelle brought considerable skill and social justice context to a range of equity projects which support women in higher education, people with disabilities and LGBTIQ+ communities, and developed and facilitated professional development programs aimed at building a more inclusive organisational culture. She was instrumental in developing QUT’s Ally and Discrimination Contact Officer networks, cultural competence programs and equity training for staff at all levels of QUT. Danelle presented at numerous EPHEA conferences on staff matters, and in 2017 Danelle was recognised as Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy for her work in staff professional development.

Danelle has always been generous with her knowledge and time across the EPHEA network as well as through volunteer activities in her local community in the Arts, sport and social service organisations.

Danelle Dobinson
Image of Judy Hartley who has short red hair, wears glasses and is wearing an orange patterned shirt.

Judy Hartley

Judy Hartley has an impressive 40 years’ experience in education, spanning primary and secondary special education, VET, and higher education. Throughout her lengthy career, Judy demonstrated a deep commitment to the principles of social justice, equity and inclusion.

Judy started her career as a specialist teacher at the Queensland School for the Deaf, and continued to advocate for inclusive and accessible educational opportunities for students with disabilities throughout her working life. She joined Griffith University in 1998 as Coordinator, Disability Services and became Manager, Student Equity Services in 2002, a position she held until her retirement in 2016.

Throughout her career, Judy identified opportunities to remove barriers and change systems which excluded people with disabilities – and those from other equity backgrounds – from higher education. Judy was involved in policy development – co-authoring Students with Disabilities: Code of Practice for Australian Tertiary Institutions – and managed significant projects such as the development and implementation of an accredited tertiary preparation program for Deaf and hard of hearing students. Judy also coordinated Griffith University’s Deaf Student Support Program. The only dedicated program for deaf and hard of hearing students in the Southern Hemisphere, it provides Auslan interpreting services for Griffith students and deploys interpreters to other Brisbane universities and TAFEs.

Judy also made a substantial contribution to broader student equity and diversity initiatives. Prior to widening participation becoming a national priority, Judy and colleague Suzanne Wilkinson pioneered leading initiatives, notably the Uni-Reach program which won an Australian Learning Teaching Council Award in 2011. This award recognised the awardees’ sustained commitment to developing and delivering high quality equity programs that support the aspirations and capabilities of students from diverse backgrounds.


Taking a student lifecycle approach to student support from outreach to school students, to an integrated admissions, scholarships and first year mentoring program Judy put support structures in place to address the barriers for equity students to participate successfully in higher education. Judy was particularly instrumental in developing mentoring programs for students from equity backgrounds, and targeted programs for refugees.

Judy was a strong presence in both the EPHEA network and disability networks such as the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET). She held leadership roles at state and national levels as President of the Higher Education Disability Network of Queensland and the Tertiary Education Disability Council of Australia. She also chaired the Organising Committee for the Pathways 10 Conference: Creating space for people with disabilities in tertiary education.


Judy generously shared her wealth of knowledge to improve the experience of people from equity backgrounds. She was an important mentor to equity students and staff alike, always encouraging them to take on new opportunities to develop and reach their potential.


Judy Hartley
Image of Dr Ann Jardine who has short white hair, and wears a blue collared shirt.

Dr Ann Jardine

Dr Ann Jardine has made extraordinary contributions to equity and diversity in higher education, as Director of the AimHigh unit at UNSW Sydney, and its multi-award winning ASPIRE Widening Participation program. She has been an influential voice within and beyond UNSW Sydney, informing the body of knowledge from both practitioner and research perspectives. Ann’s hands-on leadership has often entailed working directly within communities and schools to address the under-representation of students from low socio-economic, regional and remote communities in higher education.

Having worked in various roles at the University of Western Sydney, Ann joined UNSW in 2006, and soon after became the Director of the Student Equity and Disabilities Unit. With a desire to see all academically talented students given an opportunity to access a university education, Ann began to research and develop the framework for the ASPIRE program. She also nurtured a valuable and enduring collaborative relationship between UNSW and UWA’s equivalent ASPIRE Program which continues today.

Through Ann’s leadership, ASPIRE grew from a pilot project working with two schools in 2007, to an established program in 54 schools across Metropolitan Sydney and rural/ remote NSW. ASPIRE’s innovative, evidence-based and longitudinal approach has seen it secure over $7M in grant funds through competitive bids to develop a far-reaching and multi-pronged outreach strategy. In 2015, Ann became Director of UNSW’s AimHigh unit, which consists of a broad portfolio of pre-entry programs and initiatives and is a key pillar of the UNSW 2025 strategy.

Keen to further address emerging and known barriers to access, since 2012 Ann has expanded the core ASPIRE program to provide even more innovative elements and opportunities for engagement. These include embedding ASPIRE officers in communities, online reading mentors for remote infant school students, online mentoring for middle high school students and STEM development for teachers.

Evidence of ASPIRE’s unqualified success is the 155% increase in students from partner schools receiving offers to university between 2010 and 2017.  In 2019 thousands of students across NSW continue to benefit from Ann’s dedicated vision that every student with academic capability should have the opportunity to access a university education.

Ann is a passionate and persuasive advocate for under-represented students at UNSW and elsewhere. She is unrelenting in her pursuit of equitable access and participation. In 2013 Ann completed a PhD thesis entitled ‘Indicators of persistence and their influence on the first year experience of students from low socio-economic backgrounds’, reflecting her deep commitment to working to address social inequities and educational disadvantage.

In conclusion, we cannot emphasise enough just how much Ann has been personally critical to the outstanding success and transformative impact of the ASPIRE program.  Moreover, when Ann was appointed as Director of Student Equity and Disabilities for UNSW in 2006, the ASPIRE program, and what it has become today, was well beyond the parameters, responsibilities and expectations of her role. But this very fact is typical of Ann's view of the world: ‘How can I make it a better, more equitable and more just place?’.

Ann Jardine
Image of Gabrielle O'Brien who has shoulder-length black hair with a fringe

Gabrielle O'Brien

Gabrielle has over 22 years experience in Higher Education across various areas. Her expertise includes delivering whole-of-institution programs that improve access, participation, retention and success across the whole student lifecycle in higher education. This includes students from diverse backgrounds and discipline interests such as STEM.


She first worked directly as an equity practitioner in her role with the Faculty of Business, QUT as their Equity Officer providing strategic and practical support to the Faculty's equity agenda. Following this Gabrielle worked in the central Equity Services Department within QUT in various roles for over 15 years. Her work spanned a range of areas include student outreach work, gender equity, grievance resolution. In her role as Senior Equity Officer she oversaw the University's Widening Participation program and was a founding member of the Queensland Widening Tertiary Participation Consortium.

Gabrielle then moved into the role of Manger, Student Diversity and Inclusion where she managed a portfolio that included widening participation and student retention of students from a range of equity groups; Disability Services; LGBTIQ+ support and strategic advice to the university on student equity matters.

Gabrielle's involvement with EPHEA began when she volunteered to be the Treasurer for the newly incorporated association in 2011 and an ordinary member before becoming President in 2013. In this role Gabrielle represented members in various roles including as a member of the NCSEHE Advisory Board, the Department of Education Equity Research and Innovation Panel and a member of the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) Advisory Committee. She was the organising committee Chair for the 2017 EPHEA Conference and has worked with the Executive to build a strong association.

“I have been really honoured to be part of an organisation that transcends any competitive agendas and which makes a real difference in the lives of staff and students from under-represented backgrounds. As someone who was first-in-family myself I have experienced, and now witness, the transformative impact of tertiary education on individuals, families and communities. The work of equity practioners in this space through advocacy, program implementation,evaluation and engagement is crucial to these transformations.


It is such a joy to work with a community of dedicated, passionate and innovative practitioners and I am so proud to be part of this Association. I hope to continue to contribute, learn and share knowledge with this group for a long time to come. I am honoured to be recognised by EPHEA in this way."

Gabrielle O'Brien
Image of Dr Sarah O'Shea who has a silver-grey bob with a fringe, she wears glasses and a black and white patterned shirt

Dr Sarah O'Shea

The criticality of a lifetime membership is not about a lifetime served to student equity, but also a contribution that exceeds that lifetime. And that is exactly what Sarah O'Shea has achieved. A focus on First in Family that has emanated from her research but will endure beyond any of our careers and has introduced a strength-based approach to student equity (exactly what the 2019 EPHEA conference 'enabling excellence through equity' is all about).

Professor Sarah O’Shea from UOW’s School of Education started her teaching career working with disengaged youth in Western Sydney in the early 1990s and this began a passion for working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Her mission: to change perceptions of these student cohorts and increase their educational opportunities.

Several years later, Sarah moved from working with youth to teaching adult migrants basic education at TAFE Colleges where she assisted them in learning to read and write in English. After obtaining her PhD in 2009 while working at the University of Newcastle (UON) in student retention and transition, Sarah developed a taste for research. She set her sights on a career in research at a regional university and in 2010 landed a role at UOW. It was here that she focussed on a diverse range of students from different equity populations including those from low socio-economic backgrounds and more recently, students who are first in the family to attend university.

The research that Sarah does is largely qualitative in nature as she conducts in-depth biographical narrative interviews with students to explore both the challenges and opportunities they encounter during their transition into and through higher education. This work is both theoretical and applied in nature and has resulted in a diversity of journal articles and books ( as well as a range of practical tools and resources for those working in the sector (

The impact of Sarah’s research spans the domains of students, parents, and communities as well as  engaging with key educational stakeholders including government policy makers. The research has informed a national Government review on Improving Completion, Retention and Success in Higher Education (HESP, 2017) and findings have been applied to equity practices and understandings across the Australian educational sector. 

She has also come full circle in supporting disengaged youth and is currently volunteering her time in setting up an alternative school for young people. Offering an alternative learning environment, the school opened in February 2019 and is targeting students in Year 9, who are completely disengaged from schooling, have difficulty fitting into the education system and struggle with being in that environment.

Sarah says the work she does, both paid and unpaid is largely driven by simply feeling passionate about the subject area. 

“I think the most important thing for people to think about is what they want their legacy to be. What sustains me in my work is that I’m genuinely passionate about it. Being an academic is a very privileged position – we have an opportunity to help bring about change.”

Image of Cathie Walsh who has long brown hair with a fringe.

Cathie Walsh

Cathie has extensive experience in equity, inclusion and diversity as well as in developing new and innovative programmes including training design and delivery, development of comprehensive resource materials, project management and development of policy and guidelines.


Cathie has a vast array of specialist areas including issues relating to equity such as unconscious bias, inclusive decision making, prevention and management of harassment and bullying, gender equity, best practice recruitment and selection and promoting success for people with disabilities. In addition, Cathie has worked in areas of behaviour change, community advocacy, human rights, and communication.

Before joining the University of Auckland, Cathie worked for the Blind Foundation and the Heart Foundation. Prior to that, she was in Hanoi, Viet Nam for more than three years with the NZ Embassy and with an independent training and consultancy firm. Until 2005 Cathie worked in Sydney and Newcastle NSW working in the largest educational organisation in Australia in areas of equity and promoting diversity and with a community legal centre supporting community groups undertake systems advocacy.


Cathie has been Vice-President of EPHEA for the last four years, an Ordinary member and New Zealand Chapter Convenor. She has been instrumental in bringing NZ colleagues to EPHEA activities. She has been involved in a number of Chapter activities supporting local activities within New Zealand. 

Sarah O'Shea
Cathie Walsh
Image of Suzanne Wilkinson who has a long silver-grey bob and wears a pink and grey scarf

Suzanne Wilkinson

Suzanne’s career spanned 35 years in practitioner and management roles in school, TAFE and higher education settings. She lived in Aboriginal communities as a child and her early experiences lay the foundations for her deep commitment to the principles of social justice, equity and inclusion evident throughout her career.

Suzanne, who retired in 2016, was an active member of the EPHEA community respected for her thoughtful strategic approach to student equity. Suzanne spent 16 years in leadership roles in Griffith University Student Equity Services (2001-2016), and prior to that was Associate Director, Southbank Institute of TAFE (Brisbane) Student Services.

Suzanne had a special interest in Indigenous education, partnering with Indigenous staff and community leaders over Indigenous-specific policy development and student initiatives. Suzanne had exceptional project/program development, implementation and evaluation skills, along with the ability to form effective, trust-based collaborative partnerships with schools, TAFE and other universities. In short, Suzanne was a leading-edge thinker, known for implementing innovative initiatives (often on a shoe-string budget) well before they were adopted by the sector as a whole.

These initiatives included:

  •  Women in IT project (early 2000’s)

  • Community engagement partnerships with the GUMURRII Support Unit

  •  Adult Learner Strategy which involved The Adult Learner Social Inclusion Project, (2009-2011) a QUT-Griffith collaborative partnership with TAFE and Senior Studies providers which set the foundation for ongoing work in this area

  • Inaugural member of the Queensland Higher Education Widening Participation Consortium (established in 2009), a coordinated approach to widening participation endorsed by State Minister of Education and Queensland University Vice-Chancellors

  • Uni-Reach outreach program for school students from non-traditional backgrounds (established 1996) and Uni-Key transition support, mentoring, academic and personal support for enrolled students. Both these programs, which predated the establishment of the HEPPP program, were used as good practice models during the HEPPP establishment phase

  • Pasifika Communities Program – established in 2011 and widely recognised as the leading Australian program for this cohort

  • Careers Outreach Program – established in 2011, in the early years worked with thousands of Year 6 students and continues to engage thousands of students from under-represented high schools in Logan and surrounding areas. 

  • Parent/carer engagement

Suzanne won a number awards for her commitment to a range of equity groups. These awards included:

  • Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) commendation for the Uni-Reach/Uni-Key program (2008)

  • Griffith University GUMURRII Building Bridges Reconciliation Award (2009)

  • Australian Learning and Teaching Council Award Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for the Uni-Reach/Uni-Key program (2011)

  •  Australian Awards for University Teaching Award for Programs that Enhance Learning for the Pasifika Communities Program (2014)

Suzanne is highly respected by practitioners and managers alike. She was unfailingly generous and respectful in her interactions with students and colleagues, adopting a collaborative and empowering strengths-based approach that brought out the best in everyone.

Suzanne Wilkinson
Image of Amanda Willis who has a shoulder-length, curly blonde bob and wears a collared tangerine shirt.

Amanda Willis

When Amanda started at Curtin 27 years ago, it was half the size, the Centre for Aboriginal Studies was housed in temporary accommodation, with a minority of staff being from Indigenous backgrounds, and other than providing education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students though CAS, no dedicated student equity programs. Everywhere was accessed by stairs and halal food was certainly not available on campus. There were only 2 female professors, less than 40% of academic staff were female and female academic staff were equitably represented at level A only. There was only one equity related policy-the Sexual Harassment Policy, which covered both staff and students whereas the Equity Plans and her role as Equal Opportunity Officer only covered staff. Of the Heads of administrative areas only 2 were female, the Librarian and Amanda, and the only Schools in which the Heads were female were Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy (the two female professors).

Under Amanda’s leadership, Curtin now has one of the most culturally diverse populations in the world, a largely accessible Perth campus, and a highly recognised Ally Program. We have a purpose-built Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS), led by Aboriginal staff, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students participate in courses across the University, and we have an Elder in Residence and an Elevate RAP. Amanda has helped Curtin establish a range of outreach and support programs, with 16% of Curtin students now coming from Low SES backgrounds and 25% of our students are the first in their family to attend University.


Thanks to Amanda’s contribution to Curtin’s Academic Promotions and recruitment processes, gender equity now exists at all academic classification levels except ALE and the roles of Vice-Chancellor (twice), Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, DVCR, DVCA (twice) and DVCI have all been held by women along with PVC roles in 50% of the Teaching Faculties, and women are well represented as Heads of Administrative Areas. With Amanda’s expert guidance, Curtin now has a comprehensive and integrated Diversity and Equity planning and policy framework that takes an intersectional approach and establishes clear accountability for supporting activities. Other Universities are now seeking to emulate Curtin’s approach to diversity and inclusion, and students in all enrolment modes across all Curtin campuses describe being attracted to Curtin’s commitment to Diversity and Equity.


Diversity and equity are now key parts of Curtin’s distinctive experience, and embedded in our Values and strategic priorities. As Amanda moves into retirement, she leaves a lasting legacy in Curtin’s DNA, and a significant contribution to the sector more broadly, having set the bar high for diversity and inclusion at universities across the country.

Amanda Willis
Image of Kate Wilson who has tied-back blonde hair and wears red-framed glasses

Kate Wilson

Kate’s equity and diversity career in higher education emerged from a background in progressive education (K-12) in Adelaide, followed by group work with diverse adult populations in Brisbane in the 90’s. This included relationship education for the public, for incarcerated male offenders, and  for long term unemployed people, including wilderness programs for ‘at risk’ youth and women living with or surviving domestic and family violence. She moved into the higher education sector in 1998 to coordinate a mentoring program for academic women in the Faculty of Arts at QUT.

After nearly 5 years (and 29 mainly equity and diversity contracts) at QUT, Kate moved to Sydney to become Coordinator of Gender and Disability within the Equity and Diversity Unit at UTS. Her proudest legacy was the establishment of the Women@UTS Program in 2003 which continues to this day; and success of the University’s EOWA Employer of Choice citations. During this time Kate was also on the national Board of UN Women (known as UNIFEM in those days) and is proud to have been part of bringing White Ribbon to Australia.

Kate moved to Macquarie University in 2007 in a role which continued for 9 years. She set up the university’s first Equity and Diversity Unit and with a diverse and committed team, championed a  number of firsts including an active LGBTIQ+ Ally Program, the Macquarie Women’s network and program, the hosting of PACE student internships within the Unit, and successful participation in the Australian pilot of White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation.  During this time Kate served as VP (Staff) for EPHEA for 4 years and was instrumental in EPHEA achieving Incorporation status in 2012.

In 2016, Kate left Macquarie and returned to Brisbane where she continued to work for the sector as a gender equity consultant on the Athena SWAN project, assisting both UTS and the University of Southern Cross (Lismore) to prepare their submissions. 

In 2017 Kate moved into the NGO sector, taking up the challenge of a new full time position with Relationships Australia NSW as General Manager – Diversity, Culture and Inclusion. Kate continues her connection with the higher education sector through student mentoring through the Lucy Mentoring program, and hosting PACE students to research the impact of diversity on clinical practice and systems processes for couples and families. Since moving into this new role, Kate has also been instrumental in setting up a new Diversity and Inclusion Practitioners network in NSW for practitioners working in NGO’s.


Starting in November, 2019 Kate has taken up a position as Head, University Diversity and Inclusion at UNSW. 

Kate Wilson
bottom of page