Our Staff and Board

Meet the women of WHISE

Kit McMahon

Chief Executive Officer

Kit McMahon has nearly two decades of experience across education, training and not for profits. Her work has ranged from overseeing and developing national workforce plans for sport and recreation, tourism and retail, to overseeing and managing the closure of a range of private training providers including supporting up to 17,000 student’s tuition assurance needs, a trainer and assessor for vocational education and training, government and corporate affairs manager, commissioning and leading research into skills and workforce needs and heading up NGOs. 

Prior to joining Women’s Health in the South East as CEO, Kit was CEO and Company Secretary of Girl Guides Australia, Chief Operating Officer of the Australian Council of Private Education and Training and General Manager and 2IC of the Industry Skills Council, Service Skills Australia. She has also been Chair and Director of Gender Equity Victoria, and now is Deputy Chair/Director of Volunteering Australia as well as Director for Tradeswomen Australia. 

Proudly the daughter of two feminists from south western rural Victoria, Kit has consistently and passionately advocated for gender equality, empowering women and girls. A strong believer in the importance of collaboration and partnerships, Kit has championed on the value of embracing diversity and tolerance in our communities, workplaces, education institutions and governments. 

Kit has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Monash University, a Graduate Diploma in Action Learning, a Master of Adult Education (Organisation Development) from UTS and an MBA from Macquarie University. She has completed the AICD Company Directors Course and is a member of the AICD, Women on Boards and Emily’s List. 


Deb Pugsley

Operations Manager

Deb began at WHISE in January 2011 as a Project officer. Her work at WHISE involves Quality Improvement, document control, supporting funding submissions and assisting the CEO and staff in reviewing and implementing improvements in internal systems and processes.

Deb has accumulated experience in State Government, Local Government, Corporate and Private Sectors. Deb holds a Diploma of Business and Project Management, Diploma of Quality Auditing, Cert 1V in Training and Assessment and Certificate of Emergency Management.

Prior to joining WHISE Deb was a Project Officer for VBRRA the (Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority) and with the Shire of Murrindindi Council.

Zoe Francis

Prevention of Violence Against Women Lead

Zoe joined WHISE in July 2019 as the Health Promotion Coordinator for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. Zoe has been working in the prevention sector for the last 8 years and is dedicated to actively engaging both women and men on gender equality. Building positive relationships to enhance new and existing prevention partnerships, is what makes Zoe thrive at work. Prior to joining WHISE, Zoe was a Senior Health Promotion Officer at EACH, a role that saw her initiate and coordinate programs across the cycle (including design, action-research and evaluation) in gender equality, respectful relationships, healthy masculinities, Aboriginal Cultural inclusion, gambling harm, youth mental health and family relationships in a digital age. Zoe holds a Master of Public Health and is an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University. She has gained experience in action-research, evaluation, and journal writing. Her research work has resulted in publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Prior to working in health, Zoe developed strong business acumen and persuasion skills in both in the adventure travel industry in Melbourne and wholesale hotel industry in the UK and France. Zoe also loves learning foreign languages and has a Bachelor (Hons) in French and Spanish.


Lula Dembele

Manager Gender Equity

Lula is a passionate advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, childhood and adult domestic violence. Combining lived experience and professional expertise in strategic policy and gender mainstreaming, Lula is dedicating her efforts to working on systemic and cultural change to prevent and reduce violence against women.

In 2018, Lula established the Accountability Matters Project to re-frame domestic violence from being seen as ‘women’s issue’, and to drive collective national efforts to reduce men’s use of sexual, domestic, and family violence.

Lula is a Bravehearts Ambassador, and commenced in July 2021 as Manager Gender Equity at Women’s Health in the South East (WHISE) leading transformative practice to create a more gender equitable society.


Laura Riccardi

Health Promotion Officer, Sexual and Reproductive Health

Laura joined our team in June 2021 as Health Promotion Officer (Sexual and Reproductive Health). She has a Master of Public Health and prior to joining WHISE, Laura worked as Health Promotion Officer at Women's Health East. Laura also has experience working in the alcohol and other drug sector in research and information.

Her work at WHISE includes renewing and overseeing the implementation of the women’s sexual and reproductive health strategy for the Southern Metropolitan Region, Good Health Down South, and working with stakeholders and partners to advocate for the prioritisation of women’s sexual and reproductive health.

Laura has a strong interest in activism, social justice and gender inequality, and is passionate about working within a social determinants framework to address health inequalities.

Denise Paxinos

Finance Officer

Denise commenced employment with WHISE in March 2019 as the Finance Officer.

Denise holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Melbourne University and prior to joining WHISE has broad management and financial experience across a number of industries ranging from software development to allied health providers in the aged health care sector.

Her work at WHISE is to plan, implement and maintain comprehensive financial systems in order to ensure that our finances are maintained in an accurate and timely manner and in line with all relevant legislation.


Doseda Hetherington

Communications Coordinator

Doseda joined our team as Communications Officer in August 2016.

Doseda holds a Bachelor of Business from Swinburne University of Technology and was employed at the university for 10 years. Doseda has worked in a number of marketing and communications positions at Swinburne, with her last role being media and communications adviser within the Corporate and Government Affairs team at the university.

Doseda has developed an interest in community-based communications work, with the aim of improving the opportunities of people who are most disadvantaged.

Jo French

Communications, Business and Events Support Officer

Jo joined our team as the Communications, Business and Events Support Officer in March 2021.

Jo holds a Bachelor of Arts - Professional and Creative Writing from Deakin University and has worked as a journalist and editor for independent community newspaper, The Warrandyte Diary, for five years before joining WHISE.

Her work has also been published in We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place & Belonging (Affirm Press, 2019), an anthology of stories from those who have known homelessness.

Jo has a passion to tell the stories of others and believes that story-telling is central to communication, enabling us to spark connection with others.


Rachel Bush

Research Officer

Rachel joined WHISE in January 2021 as a Research Officer. She has eight years of research experience and has worked on a number of projects at Deakin University and partnered with organisations including Beyond Blue, Thorne Harbour Health, and Turning Point.

Rachel has a keen interest in researching, understanding and improving the mental health and wellbeing of women and people from minority backgrounds and their access to appropriate services. Her work has included examining help-seeking behaviour of sexual minority women; gambling among LGBTIQ+ communities; and suicide among LGBTIQ+ communities. Of note is the original co-designed culturally tailored SMS alcohol intervention she developed for sexual minority women as part of her PhD, which she completed at Deakin University, School of Psychology.

Rachel has a strong interest in community-based work and making change at the grass-roots level to improve gender equity and women’s health and wellbeing.


Lovepreet Kaur

Community Engagement Officer

Lovepreet joined WHISE in 2021 as a Community Engagement Officer, with the WOMHEn Project, a workforce of multilingual health educators. The WOMHEn Project is a Working for Victoria initiative focussed on disseminating COVID-19 information and delivering multilingual health education to migrant and refugee women.

Lovepreet is fluent in both Punjabi and English and enjoys establishing strong, positive relationships within CALD communities, providing health information and discussing the importance of vaccination among migrant women.

Lovepreet assists at pop-up vaccination centres, and also works as a volunteer with the Punjabi community.  She is looking forward to future studies in community services so she can continue to contribute to the health and well-being of the community.


Kelly (Kaliopi) Tsagournos

Community Engagement Officer

Kelly joined the multilingual health education team at WHISE in 2022 with extensive professional experience in the education, training and development sector and is an experienced advocate and facilitator in program delivery, creating equity for women through learning and education. 

With a life commitment to empowering women, to educating and creating long term change to improve lives through prevention and promotion, Kelly is passionate about gender equity, human rights, fairness, and justice.   

She has a commitment to community engagement and a strong understanding of migrant and refugee women’s health from a feminist perspective.  As a strong advocate for women’s health and safety she continues to support, educate and influence through culturally diverse and inclusive work practices, collaboration, integrity, and empowering self-leadership. 

Kelly has a Bachelor of Business from Monash University, is a certified Meta-Coach and Youth Mentor. She has extensive volunteer experience and is currently completing a Diploma in Counselling with the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. 


Meet the Board

Kerry Bradley - Chairperson

Kerry has over 20 years' senior management/executive experience with strong clinical and quality backgrounds, working in regulation, acute care (both public and private), rehabilitation and aged care. She is a highly skilled leader in leading and managing organisational change at both strategic and operational levels.  She has served on the Boards of Breastscreen Victoria, Baptcare, Victorian Cytology Service and Mercy Hospitals Inc and as a member of the Finance and Audit subcommittee of VicHealth and held Ministerial appointments as a member of the Victorian Clinical Council and previous Victorian Quality Council.

Kerry has over 20 years' senior management/executive experience with strong clinical, risk and quality background, working in regulation, acute care (both public and private), rehabilitation and aged care.

Camilla Radia-George - Vice Chair

Camilla is currently the Manager of Improvement and Innovation at Safer Care Victoria. She holds a Master of Research (OT) and a Bachelor of Applied Science. She is a senior health sector leader, with extensive strategic and operational experience across the care continuum in both private and public settings. Her service improvement and innovation work has focussed on working in partnership to support unmet community need, better integrate existing services, implement new models of care and reduce low value practices.

Camilla is skilled in planning, project and change management, with a strong track record of implementing sustainable practices and solutions. Camilla's multidisciplinary leadership, research and improvement work has centred on building capability, both contributing to the research evidence and its translation into practice. She is committed to extending capabilities of individuals and teams.

Camilla was born in South Africa and has lived and worked in Canada, USA, the UK and Australia. She has two daughters and lives with her family in the Dandenong Ranges. She is passionate about tackling race, class and gender inequality.

Afriyie Richardson - Treasurer

Afriyie Richardson has over 25 years' experience in across healthcare, manufacturing and oil and gas industries specialising in accounting and risk management. 

With a continuous improvement approach Afriyie brings to WHISE significant experience in governance and risk mitigation, and is known for her collaborative, tailored approach to work that fosters long term partnerships and results. Afriyie currently works for Monash Health where she is currently on secondment as Business Manager in the Allied Health division providing financial reporting analysis and budgeting advice and assistance. Previous to this, Afriyie has been Director of Audit and Assurance and Finance Manager where she has undertaken audits for the health organisation during pandemic conditions and transition to the Victorian Standing Directions.  

Previous to her work with Monash Health Afriyie worked for Ixom a water treatment and chemical distributor across Australia and New Zealand with growth in Latin America and Asia, as a Senior Finance Analyst, for Bayer Material Science as a Commercial Analysis where she implemented consistent profit and loss reporting workflows including SAP tools and inventory management tools. 

Afryie has a keen interest in equity issues and has also held Director role on the Board of Incubate Foundation – a social enterprise that connects young people to opportunities through personal and professional development. She also sits on the Monash Health CALD Equity Committee. 

Afriyie is a chartered accountant and holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting Major) from the University of NSW.  

Robinette Emonson

For over 30 years, Robinette has advocated for women and girls and served her community, locally and nationally in a range of roles from grass roots community organisations, to national charities. Her work has included Chair and Chief Commissioner of Girl Guides Australia (a role that saw her overseeing the national Girl Guide movement, and support the international movement of girl guides and girl scouts), National Vice President of UN Women (then UNIFEM) supporting the roll out of International Women's Day events nationally, and State Commissioner for Girl Guides Victoria. Currently, Robinette leads the National Girl Guides Awards and Recognition Committee - a committee whose role focuses on the national recognition of volunteer contribution across Australia.

Robinette has extensive and hands on experience of working with local community and women's groups including fundraising, volunteer support and management and governance.

In addition to this, Robinette has extensive and in-depth experience of HR and Operations Management having led Operations teams in the medical and health sector for over two decades.

A community minded, service orientated senior leader, Robinette is committed to developing community, empowering women and supporting the growth of young women and girls.

Katherine Dennis

Katherine Dennis is currently a Special Counsel in the Workplace Relations team at Sladen Legal. She holds a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Arts. Katherine has provided workplace relations advice to clients ranging from SMEs to family businesses to some of the largest companies operating in Australia and has experience across all areas of employment law, industrial relations and discrimination. Katherine is passionate about giving back to the community and is especially interested in supporting and improving women's rights.

Katherine enjoys spending time with her family and friends and her new son James.

Susie Siggins

Susie has over a decade's worth of experience in leading digital process and transformation change projects.  Susie is passionate about creating a dynamic environment for technical, creative and business people to excel and has a proven track record at scaling digital operations across complex programs, while building high functional teams. With significant capacity in sourcing, capability building and strategic program delivery, Susie's experience includes work in the Banking and Finance Sector, Government, Health and Consultancy sector across national, state and local contexts. In addition to this, she has in-depth experience with complex project management including solution design, risk management, communications and stakeholder management.

Susie has a Bachelor in Applied Science, a Master's Degree in Marketing and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education. She is also a Certified Scrum Master and is a Registered Practitioner in Prince2 Project methodology. Susie brings to the WHISE Board a significant commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of women and, broad demonstrated commitment to community leadership and volunteering. In addition to supporting her colleagues through volunteer participation on committees to improve workplace wellbeing, she was also heavily involved in the Port Melbourne Life Saving Club and managed the Nippers Program for many years. Currently, she is a coach in the Australian African Inclusion Program for NAB and through this work, seeks to develop, support and guide young workers in their career paths.

Kate Whyman

Kate Whyman is currently the Director Operations Performance as part of the Victorian Government's Department of Health, COVID Response Case Contact and Outbreak Management team.  

Previous to this, Kate was General Manager, Monash Medical Centre where she leads a large acute and subacute service across operational, human resources and financial management of systems of the major tertiary metropolitan health service. 

With skills in facilitating transformational change across complex services, Kate has also worked for Eastern Health as Program Director, Specialty medicine, Director of Allied Health and Chief of Clinical and Site Operations (Maroondah Hospital). In these roles she was responsible for enhancement of outpatient services, improvement of length of stay rates, achieving human resource and utilisation targets, and co-authored the health organisations cancer action plan. 

Kate has lived and worked in the Southern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne for over 25 years and has deep care and connections to the community and its health infrastructure. 

Kate has Global Executive MBA (Monash), a Master of Public Health (Latrobe University), Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Coventry University) and Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Latrobe University).

WHISE Organisational Chart