Yvette Berry, MLA

ACT Deputy Chief Minister

Yvette Berry is the ACT Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister and Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women, and the Minister for Sport and Recreation. Yvette grew up in West Belconnen and has raised her two children there and can’t imagine living anywhere else. She is a keen supporter of animal rescue organisations and has two rescue dogs of her own. Yvette is committed to creating awareness about the importance of the first 1000 days and the services available to support children and families at this critical time.

Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA

ACT Minister for Health, Children, Youth and Families and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs

Rachel Stephen-Smith was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly as a Member for Kurrajong in 2016, after a 20-year in public policy across Federal and ACT Governments and non-government organisations. Rachel currently holds the portfolios of Health, Families and Community Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Rachel has a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from the Australian National University and a Master of Real Estate Development from the University of Maryland in the United States. Rachel believes that good government is driven by clear values, sound evidence and strong community engagement. As a lifelong Canberran, Rachel is passionate about seeing Canberra continue to grow as a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive city.

Emma Davidson, MLA

ACT Minister for Mental Health

Emma Davidson is the ACT’s Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Veterans and Seniors, Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services and Member for Murrumbidgee. She holds one of the six Greens seats in the 10th Legislative Assembly.
Emma is a former Woden Valley Community Council committee member and former Secretary at Pearce Community Centre. She was the former Convenor, and is now a member, at Women’s Electoral Lobby. Emma has spoken at TEDxCanberra and TEDxAdelaide about the importance of listening to marginalised women, and at the Now Hear This storytelling night about the diversity of the Canberra community. Emma has previously worked in social research and advocacy at the Women’s Centre for Health Matters and at Equality Rights Alliance, managed online communications for the Australian Medical Association, was Director of Information Management at Navy, worked in private sector software development, owned and managed a small retail business, and worked at Centrelink for seven years.

Adjunct Associate Professor Robert Mills

Adjunct Associate Professor, CEO Tresillian Family Care Centres

Robert is a Registered Nurse and Midwife with over 35 years’ experience working in the specialty field of maternal & child health, early parenting services and he holds a Masters of Public Health. Robert has been the CEO at Tresillian since 2013 and during his tenure, he has rapidly expanded the service over the last 8 years, with an additional 18 new Tresillian centres across regional New South Wales, Victoria & the Australian Capital Territory. Robert is on the Board of the Australasian Association of Parenting and Child Health Inc.; the Dean’s Advisory Board University of Technology Sydney (UTS); the PREPARE Foundation (Birthing Dads) and the NSW Health Services Association Board. Robert is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Industry with the University Technology Sydney (UTS), a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and is an accredited Assessor with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS).

Dr Debbie Noble-Carr

Senior Research Officer, School of Sociology, ANU

Debbie is an Honorary Lecturer and Senior Research Officer at School of Sociology, Australian National University, where she recently completed a large Australian Research Council funded study on lactation after infant death. Debbie has been a social worker for over 25 years and has developed extensive expertise in conducting qualitative research with vulnerable children and families on a range of sensitive issues, including grief and loss, child protection, children’s experiences of family violence and homelessness. Debbie is passionate about ensuring her research can enhance health and welfare policy and practice.

Rachel Reid (she/her) 

Child and Family Health Nurse, Rainbow Families, RM, RN (CFHN), MHSM, MPH

Rachel is a midwife and child and family health nurse with more than 20 years experience in clinical practice, research, health promotion and education. She is an academic at the University of Technology, Sydney and is passionate about families and the first 2000 days. Rachel is a Rainbow Families community member, co-teaches antenatal parenting classes in partnership with Rainbow Families, co-facilitates LGBTQ+ postnatal baby groups and has presented at conferences and education sessions for Rainbow Families in midwifery and Child and Family Health. She lives in Sydney with her wife and three children. 

Alysha-Leigh Fameli

Psychologist and PhD researcher 

Alysha is a mother, Psychologist and PhD researcher at the University of Sydney researching the impact of psychological birth trauma on the unfolding mother-infant relationship. In her clinical work, Alysha works with children, families and women in the perinatal period and hopes to add research that can be meaningfully applied to practice.

Ivapene Seiuli (she/her)

Multicultural Liaison Officer  (Health Care Consumers Association)

Ivapene is a proud Canberran of Samoan heritage, wife, and mother of 3. She joined Health Care Consumers Association (HCCA) in September 2021 as the Multicultural Liaison Officer and is the current Chair for the Active Beginnings Project – a collaboration between The University of Canberra, Multicultural Hub and HCCA. With a Bachelor of Social Work and Master of International Social Development, Ivapene brings over 20 years of community development experience to her role, including working and living across cultures in the Pacific and Africa. Ivapene is committed to advocating for the healthcare needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities in the ACT and region.

Dr Mary-Ellen Hooper

Mental Health Nurse, University of Canberra

Dr Mary-Ellen Hooper is a Mental Health Nurse and has clinical expertise in Acute Mental Health Assessment and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, with a special interest in women’s health, perinatal mental health, and health systems and culture. She has completed several qualifications in nursing and mental health, including a Doctor in Philosophy exploring the new nurses experience of culture in acute mental health services. Dr Hooper is currently working with the University of Canberra as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow with the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Public Health, and is a member of the Brighter Beginnings research strength: maternal wellness and the first 2000 days. This research strength is aimed at optimising health and wellbeing so that mothers and babies have the best possible start to life/parenthood. This is through promoting health, building capacity for good health, informed decision making, positive parents, strong relationships, social connectedness, and healthy lifestyles.

Zakia Patel

Regional Managing Director, Multicultural Hub, Canberra

Zakia Patel has a passion for using her skills to support marginalised communities, with a particular passion for young people. Zakia is the Regional Managing Director of the Multicultural Hub Canberra, with responsibilities for Multicultural Centres in Canberra, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Bega and Cooma. Zakia has over a decade of experience working in the community sector, and holds a Bachelor of Law/Economics. In addition to her professional work in the community, Zakia has been a volunteer with the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) for almost 14 years and is the Unit Commander for the Queanbeyan SES Unit with over 100 volunteers. Zakia is passionate about encouraging and empowering migrant women to volunteer in a predominately male dominated industry. Zakia has been recognised for her contributions to the community both in her volunteering role and through her professional work and Zakia received:

• Highly Commended in Outstanding Youth Work (YOGIE) 2019
• Monaro Service Award for extraordinary contribution to the Monaro 2020
• Finalist in Women’s Agenda Leadership Award 2021
• YOGIE – Youth Work Champion 2021
• 2022 Community Hero Award

Paul Dutton

First 2000 Days Programs Manager | Tresillian

My name is Paul Dutton, I am a Barkindji man from far western NSW belonging to the Baaka (Darling) River.
I am a member of the Stolen Generation. I grew up in Sydney, reunited with family as an 18-year-old. Worked in various Commonwealth and State Public Service roles after leaving school as well as several NGO agencies in a social service context. I was employed as a First 2000 Days Co-Ordinator from April 2022 and then to my current position as First 2000 Days Programs Manager from December 2022. I am excited to work with Bundjalung, Gumbaingirr and Yaegl Communities, Indigenous families off Country and all our Clarence Valley Community in First 2000 Days Program to provide whole of person connected support in the lives of our children through promoting an approach of ‘It Takes a Community To Raise a Child’ approach to service delivery.

Dr Shamaruh Mirza

(ACT Hero of the Year)

Dr Shamaruh Mirza is a senior scientist working for the Department of Health and Aged Care, Australian Government. In addition to her professional role, Shamaruh is the co-founder of the not-for-profit organisation SiTara’s Story. Dedicated to the mental well-being of the Canberra community, Shamaruh supports women and children, especially from CALD communities, to participate in social, cultural, economic and civic life. SiTara’s Story also runs mental health programs for underprivileged children, parents and teachers in Bangladesh. She has been awarded the 2021 ACT Mental Health Month Award, was a finalist for the Canberra Community Spirits Award 2021 and ACT Multicultural Champion Award 2022, and was awarded 2023 ACT Local Hero, for this work.

Dr Phil Keightley

Perinatal and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist

Dr Phil Keightley works as a Perinatal and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist for Canberra Health Service, and is a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University. Dr Keightley and his colleagues at the ACT Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Consultation Service are in the process of piloting a Mother-Infant Dialectical Behavioural Therapy program.

Brooke Dyason

Social Worker and Project Manager  ( Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Division at ACT Health)

Brooke is a Social Worker and Project Manager in the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Division at ACT Health. Brooke has a Bachelor of Psychological Science and Master of Social Work Studies from the University of Queensland, and a Master of Project Management from the Australian National University (ANU). Brooke has worked across community-based and tertiary health settings in disability and developmental delay, acute inpatient mental health, suicide prevention, childhood trauma and disaster recovery. Brooke is leading the implementation of Head to Health Kids in the ACT, a new community-based multidisciplinary mental health service for children 0-12 years with mild to moderate and emerging mental health concerns. In addition to this role, Brooke maintains her clinical skills as an after-hours Social Worker at the Canberra Hospital, is a sessional academic at the ANU College of Business and Economics Research School of Management and is training to obtain her Private Pilot Licence.

Silje Andersen-Cooke

Director of the Australian Multiple Birth Association

Silje Andersen-Cooke is a mum of a 3.5 year old and 1.5 year old spontaneous fraternal triplets. She is also a volunteer Director of the Australian Multiple Birth Association and a lawyer. Silje, on behalf of the Australian Multiple Birth Association, is advocating for better support for multiple birth families in Australia. 

Renee Bogatko

The First 1000 Days Conference MC

Senior Journalist – amplifyCBR

Renee Bogatko’s media career spans more than 16 years, with experience in print, television and radio. Having worked at Amplify CBR for 10 years, her heart is in all things radio! She currently works as a Senior Journalist in the newsroom and has a lot of fun co-hosting the MIX106.3 Real Estate Show and the Cam and Renee Show on Saturday mornings! When she’s not in front of the mic, Renee is engaged in all things mum life! She has two daughters aged 10 and 2 (and a third on the way), who keep her on her toes. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.