YWCA Canberra’s Executive Management Team takes a whole-of-organisation perspective, making key decisions about strategic directions, accountability frameworks, organisational development, policy and quality assurance. The team comprises the Executive Director, Director of Community Services, Director of Children’s Services, and Director of Corporate Relations and Communication.
Bernadette’s career had been entirely in health administration before coming to YWCA Canberra. Starting as a young administration trainee in a Dublin hospital, Bernadette succeeded in a range of health administration roles, before landing the plum – if exceptionally demanding – job of Patient Services Manager at Calvary John James Hospital.
On the way she picked up the Chairman of the Board’s Award for Services to Staff, Patience and VMOs – the first non-clinical staff member to be selected for the award.
Her move to YWCA Canberra has seen Bernadette reignite her commitment to feminist issues such as the elimination of violence against women, gender equity in the workplace, and providing women with the resources they need to lead fulfilling lives. She sees providing high quality yet affordable child care for families as a cornerstone of reaching the goal of ‘Women Shaping our Communities’.
She also brings to the role strong business acumen and excellent people management skills. Since coming to YWCA Canberra, Bernadette has overseen significant growth in our Children’s Services portfolio.
When not balancing budgets, expanding our range of Children’s Services, or finding new ways to invest in her staff, Bernadette loves to bury herself in political biographies, historical fiction and English whodunnits.
Joanna is passionate about contributing to positive social change through strategic communication. Having worked in both the for purpose and private sectors, Joanna’s particular areas of expertise include digital and traditional public relations, partnership brokering, fundraising, advocacy, and multimedia production.
Joanna is currently Director of Communication, Advocacy and Fundraising at YWCA Canberra, and is the organisation’s representative on the ACT Government’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Women. Prior to this, she was Manager of Communications at the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, a national, independent, for purpose organisation working to prevent alcohol-related harm in Australia.
In 2015 Joanna was selected as one of Her Canberra’s “15 Women to Watch”, and in 2013 one of Mamamia’s “Most Clickable Women”, recognising her contribution to strategic communication in the for purpose sector.
In 2013 Joanna was selected to participate in the World YWCA international internship program, where she was involved in strategic advocacy and communication initiatives at the 23rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Joanna served on the Boards of YWCA Canberra from 2011-13, the Youth Coalition of the ACT in 2015, and was volunteer communications lead and mentor for TEDxCanberra from 2011-2013.
Joanna holds a Masters of Strategic Communications from University of Canberra, where she is also a Sessional Academic Tutor in Digital PR and Media.
Frances has a passion to see women achieve their potential and shape their communities.
Frances’ innate leadership ability was first recognised after she left a regional high school that had a notorious reputation, and was named both Canberra Trainee of the Year and Australian Trainee of the Year.
Moving from hospitality into a human resources role in the health sector, Frances’ natural drive and pursuit of excellence saw her establish her former employer as an Employer of Choice for Women, and ACT Employer of the Year for Apprenticeships & Traineeships.
Frances was drawn to YWCA Canberra in 2010 as she had always identified as a feminist, and has a strong belief in social justice, which she attributes to her mother’s influence. Having faced discrimination during her own career journey, she is now committed to being a strong voice for women.
Frances was YWCA Canberra Director of Operations before being appointed Executive Director in 2013. She is Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Committee for Women, the current Co-Chair of Anti-Poverty Week in the ACT, and is a member of the ACT Women’s Services Network.
In 2015, Frances received an Edna Ryan Award for advancing the status of women in the ACT.
Frances loves living in Canberra with her husband and children, and is committed to YWCA Canberra making a real and lasting difference to this community. She is conscious that the organisation stands on the shoulders of the women who have gone before, and is keen to take it strongly into the future.
Suella has been a social worker and leader in the community sector for almost 30 years. Her work has been driven by a fascination with people and psychology, and a deep understanding of the transformative power of supportive intervention and care, particularly for children and young people.
Much of her career has been spent on the front line, working with children, young people, parents and foster carers, to achieve the very best outcomes for children and families.
Suella began her career as a social worker at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. She has since worked for a range of well-regarded not-for-profit organisations, including Anglicare Victoria, Abercare Family Services and Marymead Child and Family Centre.
During her time as a Senior Manager at Marymead, Suella was very involved in growing and developing programs for family law clients, and remains a member of the Family Law Pathways Network Steering Committee today.
Suella joined YWCA Canberra as Coordinator of the Circles of Support program in November 2012. Circles of Support is an innovative, therapeutic program that is strengths-based and centred on the young person or child.
Suella became YWCA Canberra’s Director of Community Services in June 2015.
Her practice is informed by her Christian faith, with a servant leader style of management. Away from the office, she loves to revisit inner-city Melbourne as often as she can, laps up the adoration from her two dogs Jango and Coco, and says she finds great therapeutic benefit from digging in her garden.