Our Staff

Meet the women of WHISE

Kit McMahon - Chief Executive Officer

kit.jpgKit 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, 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 is also a Director of Women’s Health Association of Victoria (WHAV).

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, a Graduate Diploma in Action Learning, a Master of Adult Education (Organisation Development) from UTS and is currently completing her MBA from Macquarie University. She is a member of the AICD, Women on Boards and Emily’s List.

Deb Pugsley - Operations Manager deb2020.jpg

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.

Laura Ardley - Health Promotion Manager laura.jpg

For nearly a decade Laura has worked in community services and health promotion across multiple settings and agencies. Her experience includes supporting Victorian communities for Australian Red Cross as, managing and leading the implementation of a range of community service programs including community visitor schemes, home visiting programs, food security, justice programs, patient transport services and social connection programs in both regional and metropolitan Victoria.

Laura’s organisational experience also encompasses local government where most recently she led the delivery of Home and Community Care programs for young people with disabilities and Commonwealth Home Support Care Programs to assist older residents to remain living independently in the comfort of their own homes. Laura has significant experience in organisational design, policy and continuous improvement and, at WHISE she has lead the Health Promotion team since October 2017.

Laura has a Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion from Deakin University, which cemented her passion for improving health and wellbeing outcomes for all and believes that to reduce social and health inequities, a shared responsibility and collaborative approach is essential.

Zoe Francis - Health Promotion Coordinator

zoe.jpgZoe 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. 

Jess Elsworth - Health Promotion Officer

jess.jpg Jess commenced at Women’s Health in the South East in November 2017 as a Health Promotion Officer.  Jess holds a Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion from Deakin University. Prior to joining the team, she worked at Women’s Health Goulburn North East, a rural women’s health service. Jess has a strong interest in sexual and reproductive health and brings her passion to WHISE where she will implement health promotion initiatives to challenge social norms and empower women to take control of their sexual and reproductive health. 


Lucie Magill - Health Promotion Officer

lucie.jpgLucie commenced at Women's Health in the South East in July 2019 as a Health Promotion Officer - Gender Equity.

She started her health promotion and primary prevention career in the UK where she worked with the Leadership Centre to prepare and evaluate large scale national interventions across local and national government to develop systems leadership capacity. Prior to her work with WHISE, Lucie worked at the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service coordinating a multi-agency team that worked collaboratively to respond to identified high risk cases of domestic and family violence and support women and children, while at the same time holding perpetrators accountable.

Lucie has a strong interest in financing health education programs, working with community and actively engaging both women and men on gender equality.

Lucie has a Master of Public Health (Prevention and Promotion) from the University of Queensland as well as a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) and Bachelor of Business (Advertising) from the Queensland University of Technology. She is also a proud member of the Australian Health Promotion Association. 

Doseda Hetherington - Communications Officer

Portrait of Doseda Hetherington

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.


Denise Paxinos - Finance Officer

denise.jpgDenise 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.


Organisation Chart