Staff Snapshot – Catherine Rollinson

2 March 2015

Cath Rollinson profileAt YWCA Canberra, we’re really proud of the vibrancy and diversity of our staff team. We’ll be bringing you regular Staff Snapshots so you can meet our team and find out a bit more about the people behind our programs and services. Today, meet Catherine Rollinson, Policy and Project Officer. 

Can you tell us a bit about your role at YWCA Canberra?

I am a Policy and Project Officer in the People and Capability team. My role is quite varied. Some of the things I have been doing recently in my role include reviewing and developing internal policies, preparing progress reports for funding bodies, the National Community Housing Registration application, and assisting with various other Human Resources projects.

What is the scariest thing you’ve done in the past year?

The past year has been a big one! I started a small business, returned to full time hours for the first time in four years, and I have returned to study. The scary part will be finding the balance between all of that and my family!

What’s on your current playlist?

In the car it switches between Playschool and the Wiggles, and at home I listen to a mixture of the Frozen and Barbie Pop Star soundtracks… I really need to get an iPod and headphones!

What is the most out-there job you’ve ever had?

I once mowed the lawn at Parliament House.

If you had to choose a single thing about the Y that makes you proud to work here, what would it be?

Just one single thing? That’s tough!

It would have to be the phenomenal work that the Y is doing in the Canberra community. I feel particularly proud of the work of the Lanyon Food Hub and the Housing Support Unit. These are such important services in our community, and the staff and volunteers who work in these programs are so dedicated to making a difference during challenging times in people’s lives.

When you’re not at work, what’s your relaxation activity of choice?

My time away from work is mostly spent playing with my two little girls. When I’m not doing that, I love to sew. I make clothing for little kids.

Who’s your favourite inspirational woman?

Wendy Mcarthy AO. Wendy Mcarthy’s website describes her as ‘a teacher, author, entrepreneur, mentor, change agent, consultant, company director and campaigner for the rights of women and children’.

Wendy is a self-identified feminist activist. She was an avid campaigner (in her personal and professional life) in the 1960s and ‘70s for safe access to abortions and the contraceptive pill, and is still a campaigner for the links between contraception and gender equality.

Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is an issue close to my heart, and her leadership and commitment in this area is truly inspiring.

Wendy writes about her passion for these issues here.

I highly recommend reading her autobiography, Don’t fence me in. Her story is fascinating. In addition to her commitment to SRH, she was involved in the early stages of the Women’s Electoral Lobby (an organisation YWCA Canberra has worked closely with for many years), she has been Chair or CEO of high profile organisations like the ABC, she was the Chancellor of the University of Canberra, she has worked and campaigned alongside people like Dame Quentin Bryce, she has developed resources about the importance of mentoring and was the founder of Mcarthy Mentoring. She was also profiled in an International Women’s Day publication in 2011, as one of 100 women who shaped Australia.

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