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.

Zoe Francis - Health Promotion Manager zoe.jpg

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. 

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.

Katrina Nurse - Health Promotion Coordinator kat.png

Katrina joined WHISE in May 2021, she is a passionate Health Promotion professional with a keen interest in women’s health, healthy masculinities and the pursuit of gender equality underpinned by strong feminist and environmental values. 

Over the past 15 years her experience spans the community, local government and not for profit sectors through her varied employment and community volunteer work.  Katrina’s most recent employment in local government allows her to bring an understanding of local government and community health planning processes to the role including stakeholder management and the delivery of health priorities including the prevention of violence against women, promotion of healthy eating and physical activity, preventing gambling harm and enhancing and supporting community mental health.  Prior to her career in health Katrina brings broad experience through her work in the corporate sector across telecommunications, IT and marketing disciplines. 

Collaborating and building relationships with a range of diverse stakeholders who share a collective vision is something she really enjoys being part of to see this work make a real difference in our communities now and into the future. 

Katrina holds a Bachelor of Health Science from Deakin University and Diploma of Business Management from UNITEC.

Doseda Hetherington - Communications Coordinator

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.

Rachel Bush - Research Officer

rachel.pngRachel 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 intereste in community-based work and making change at the grass-roots level to improve gender equity and women’s health and wellbeing.