Club Melbourne Ambassadors helping to drive a gender-balanced world

March 2019

Many of our Ambassadors are playing important roles in helping to shape a more gender-balanced world. In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, we have decided to profile a few of our Ambassadors’ achievements in alignment with this important movement, and the positive actions these individuals are taking to drive gender equality within their industries. 

Jayashri Kulkarni Doug Hilton Sarah Maddison Paul Wood Julie Miller

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni

Professor Kulkarni is the Director and a Professor of Psychiatry at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre - one of Australia's largest and most innovative centres for clinical mental health research. She is internationally recognised for her expertise in the treatment of mental illness, particularly in women's mental health. 

Professor Kulkarni pioneered the use of estrogen as a treatment in schizophrenia and has developed many other innovative treatments for mental illnesses that are tailored to suit women’s needs biologically, socially and psychologically. She is a very passionate and vocal advocate globally for better resourcing of women's mental health.
Professor Kulkarni is also the President of the International Association for Women's Mental Health, successfully securing the World Congress on Women's Mental Health for Melbourne in 2021 recently. 

Professor Doug Hilton AO

Professor Hilton is the Director of the Walter and Eliza Institute of Medical Research and a biologist interested in understanding blood cell production and function. 

Back in 2015, Professor Hilton was named an inaugural ‘Male Champions of Change’ by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, for his work to improve the representation of women at senior levels of medical research.

Since becoming the Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in 2009, Professor Hilton has supported strategies at the institute that improve the retention of female researchers. One of his first actions on being appointed director was to establish the institute’s Gender Equity Committee to develop and implement policies and programs that remove barriers to women’s progression from student and postdoctoral positions to leadership roles.

Professor Hilton’s leadership had driven many initiatives aimed at giving women more opportunities to show off their achievements and be recognised by their peers for their work, and also for women with children to be supported to stay in the workforce.

Professor Sarah Maddison 

Professor Maddison is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic Innovation and Change at Swinburne University of Technology, leading strategic academic innovation and change, and supporting STEM transformation. She is a professor of astrophysics and leads the planets group in the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.

She is also the founder and past chair of the women in astronomy chapter of the Astronomical Society of Australia and the International Astronomical Union working group for women in astronomy, and is currently a member of the women in physics committee of the Australian Institute of Physics. 

Her strong advocacy for women in STEM is also supported through her role as the Swinburne lead for the Science Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot, which is run by the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

Professor Paul Wood AO

Professor Wood is an eminent Australian scientist, with expertise spanning from basic and applied research, to commercialisation and senior management of Global R&D.

He is currently an Expert Advisor for the Board of Directors driving Women in STEMM Australia, a not-for-profit supporting women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. 

He is also the Co-Director of the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) Mentoring Initiative, which provides many female PhD student mentees with the opportunity to engage with industry, extend their professional network, strengthen their implicit skills and get advice from an influential industry mentor.

Overall, Professor Wood is a strong advocate for the value of gender diversity in science and the need to see more women in senior leadership roles.

Associate Professor Julie Miller 

Associate Professor Miller is a Specialist Endocrine Surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Epworth Freemason’s, and Melbourne Private Hospital. 

Since being told by her older brother that “girls can’t be surgeons,” Associate Professor Miller has gone on to become one of Australia’s busiest and more experienced Endocrine Surgeons. 

She pioneered in Australia a German technique of removing adrenal tumours that allows patients to recover with very little pain, and has since mentored surgeons across Australia in introducing this technique into their own practices. Julie devotes considerable time and energy to students and surgeons in training, and supervising research projects, acting as an empowering role model for gender equality within the male dominated surgical field.  

Associate Professor Miller was recently elected President of the Australian & New Zealand Endocrine Surgeons society, and President of the Asian Association of Endocrine Surgeons – the first time a woman has held either of these positions.