International Speakers

Dr Maureen Fordham, Professor of Gender and Disaster Resilience

Maureen Fordham BSc PhD is Professor of Gender and Disaster Resilience. She has been researching disasters since 1988 and is an expert on community based disaster risk reduction, and capacities and vulnerability analysis, focusing particularly on the inclusion of a range of social groups in disaster risk reduction (Fordham and Meyreles 2013; Bradshaw and Fordham 2014; Gaillard et al. 2015). She was a founding member of the Gender and Disaster Network in 1997 and is the Coordinator of its website and activities. She is a governmental advisor at all scales from local through national to the global UN level. She has edited, and is on the editorial boards of, international disaster-related journals. She is affiliated with University College London Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, Durham University, and Northumbria University in the UK, and Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. She is currently researching increasing maternal and child health resilience before, during and after disasters using mobile technology in Nepal (MANTRA project).

Sharon Torstonson, Executive Officer, Kaituiora Social Equity & Wellbeing Network New Zealand

Sharon Tortonson has over 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector and is the Kaituiora / Executive Officer of the Social Equity & Wellbeing Network in Christchurch, New Zealand.  After the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 she became concerned at the lack of visibility of the sector and its enormous contribution to the response and recovery.  Ever since then she has been at the forefront of work in New Zealand to raise the profile and participation of the sector in civil defence, emergency management, and building community resilience.


Dr Lesley Campbell, Director, Lebern and Associates New Zealand

Dr Lesley Campbell is a Director for Lebern and Associates consultancy. Since the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquake series, Lesley has partnered with organisations and collaborations across sectors to assist them with psychosocial recovery and regeneration initiatives.

Lesley has a track record, over some 20 years, of thought, people and results leadership within the New Zealand public service and across justice, social development and tertiary education sectors, including senior management experience in strategy, policy, research and evaluation services.

Educated at Otago and Canterbury Universities, Lesley has a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in public sector management; a post-graduate Diploma in Social Work; and, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), First Class in Social Anthropology.


Gretchen Good, Senior Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, Massey University New Zealand

Gretchen Good is a Senior Lecturer in Rehabilitation, in the School of Health Sciences, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.  Her research focusses on activity, independence and life satisfaction in adults with and without impairments; disaster preparation for disabled children and adults, inclusion and disability and adoption and disability. She has worked in various areas of rehabilitation, including vocational rehabilitation, prison rehabilitation, rehabilitation for those who are blind or vision impaired and for those living with other impairments.  She is Mum to two children with disabilities and is a disability advocate, educator and researcher.


Lesley Gray, Senior Lecturer University of Otago School of Medicine, Wellington, New Zealand

Lesley is a senior lecturer at the University Of Otago School Of Medicine, Wellington, New Zealand with a background in primary health care and public health.

Lesley’s research concerns risk communication, health and behaviour, with a particular focus on obesity. Lesley is particularly interested in diverse and vulnerable populations in disasters. She commenced a part time PhD with the Joint Centre for Disaster Research (Massey University and GNS Science, New Zealand) in 2016, looking at disaster risk reduction for people with morbid obesity.

Australian Speakers


Craig Lapsley, Emergency Management Commissioner

Craig Lapsley is Victoria’s inaugural Emergency Management Commissioner, in place since July 2014. The Emergency Management Commissioner has overall responsibility for coordination before, during and after major emergencies including management of consequences of an emergency.

Craig was appointed as Victoria’s first and only Fire Services Commissioner in 2010 after 30-years in Australian emergency management, mostly with the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA), including service as a volunteer firefighter.

In 2007, he was appointed Director Emergency Management – Health and Human Services and was responsible for the health sector emergency response to major incidents including mass casualty, pre-hospital (ambulance) and hospital surge capability. This extended to the state coordination and management of recovery arrangements for all emergencies, including recovery efforts after the 2009 Black Saturday fires.

As Victoria’s first Emergency Management Commissioner, Craig believes the shift to an “all communities, all emergencies” approach to emergency management will ensure a systematic and coordinated approach before, during and after major emergencies.

Craig is Chief Patron of Road Rescue Association Victoria and on the National Emergency Services Advisory Committee of the Australian Red Cross. He is a director with the Victorian Emergency Services Foundation and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC. He is Patron of SARDA (Search and Rescue Dog Association), the Bendigo Football Netball League and the Central Victorian Fire Services Preservation Society.


Professor Bob Pease, Deakin University and University of Tasmania

Bob Pease is currently Adjunct Professor in the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of Tasmania and Honorary Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University. He has been involved in profeminist politics with men for many years, was a founding member of Men Against Sexual Assault in Melbourne and continues to be involved in community education and campaigns against men’s violence against women. He has published extensively on masculinity politics and critical social work practice, including four books as single author and twelve books as co-editor, as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles.


Lisa Jones, Executive Officer to the Emergency Management Commissioner Emergency Management Victoria

Lisa Jones is the Executive Officer to Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner. For seven years, she has advised on emergency management policy and legislation, and guided various reform initiatives. Prior to this, Lisa spent 15 years undertaking political and humanitarian work with the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross, mostly in conflict or post-conflict situations. Her work focused on protecting civilians, championing the rights of women, children and ethnic minorities, helping people return and restore their lives, and supporting governments with post-conflict transition. Lisa led the development and is driving the implementation of the Emergency Management Diversity and Inclusion Framework: Respect and Inclusion for All.


Associate Professor Dale Dominey-Howes, Sydney University

Dale’s expertise is in natural hazards, hazard, risk and vulnerability assessment, disaster and emergency management. He is particularly interested in the interconnections between biophysical systems and the socio-economic contexts in which disasters. He is currently leading or collaborating on risk-related projects across the globe and has completed projects and consultancies for organisations as diverse as the United Nations, The World Bank, major insurance and reinsurance companies, State and Federal government departments and risk/disaster management agencies. Dale is an ongoing advisor to State and Federal disaster and emergency service organisations and he is Chairman of the United Nations UNESCO-IOC Post-Disaster Policy and Protocols Working Group.


Liam Leonard, Director, GLHV@ARCSHS, La Trobe University

Liam is Director GLHV@ARCSHS, La Trobe University. He has lectured and published widely on sexuality, gender studies and social theory; developed LGBTI health and wellbeing policy, programs and training; and worked on Victorian LGBTI legislative reform. Liam has been a lead investigator on a number of LGBTI research projects including Private lives 2, the largest national survey of the health and wellbeing of LGBT Australians (2012, 2015). Liam is a co-investigator on a project identifying the experiences and needs of LGBTI communities before, during and after emergencies (2016-17) and run workshops and presented at industry forums on LGBTI-inclusive emergency management.


Dr. Scott Hanson-Easey, Research Fellow, School of Public Health, The University of Adelaide

Dr Scott Hanson-Easey is a social psychologist in the School of Public Health at The University of Adelaide. His recent research has sought to better understand how people make sense of natural and human-induced hazards, and how risk communication efforts could better address cultural, social and discursive factors manifest in different settings. In particular, his work has utilised a community-based participatory research (CBPR) paradigm to guide emergency service agencies in the process of designing risk and emergency messages with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities across Australia.

With funding from the National Disaster Resilience Program (NDRP), he is presently conducting a study on how heatwaves are communicated to, and understood by, lay publics.


Fiona Armstrong, Executive Director, Climate and Health Alliance

Fiona Armstrong is the founder and executive director of the Climate and Health Alliance, an Australian coalition of healthcare stakeholders working to promote climate action, and a leading advocate for climate and health policy. She was the lead author of the 2012 DOHA Declaration on Climate, Health and Wellbeing, and the seminal reports Coal and Health in the Hunter: Lessons from One Valley for the World and Our Uncashed Dividend: The Health Benefits of Climate Action. She is the producer of the acclaimed short film The Human Cost of Power, and a co-founder and director of CLIMARTE: Arts for a Safe Climate. Fiona is a Fellow of the progressive think tank, Centre for Policy Development. In 2016, Fiona was named one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence (WOI) in the Australian Financial Review / Westpac WOI Awards.


Daryl Taylor, Director of Coaching and Community and Organisational Development at integralevolution

Over 25 years, Daryl has co-produced and orchestrated: campaign, partnership, alliance and collaboration and social movement mobilisation processes; relational trust building, community development, organising, empowerment and ownership processes; community and organisational capacity and capability building initiatives; policy and strategy innovation research, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation processes; and complex program and project management across public health, mental health, social justice, indigenous reconciliation, disability, adult education, leadership, governance, sustainability, resilience, and emergency management with federal, state and local governments, universities and TAFE colleges and non-government organisations, service provider organisations, social movements and local communities.

Daryl has consulted on cross-cutting policy and trans-disciplinary curriculum design and on personal, team, organisational and community development, as a coach, mentor, strategist, trainer, facilitator, researcher and evaluator.

His work has been acknowledged with 13 state and national awards and best practice commendations and features prominently in VicHealth’s Local Government Good Practice Resource ‘Leading the Way.’

Daryl’s property in Kinglake was destroyed in the Black Saturday bushfires and he is currently rebuilding an eco-resilient home. He was an elected member of the Kinglake Ranges Community Recovery-Resilience Committee and the Convenor of the Combined Victorian Community Recovery Committees.


Dr Danielle Every, Senior Research Fellow, Appleton Institute, School of Human, Health and Social Sciences, CQ University Adelaide

Dr Danielle Every is a social psychologist specializing in research on disaster resilience and vulnerable communities. With research partners including the Australian Red Cross and the Hutt St Centre for homelessness, as well as the South Australian CFS and Victorian SES, her work explores community experiences of bushfires, the impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters on the homeless community, and developing disaster risk reduction programs for communities.


Andrew Wilson-Annan

Andrew is the founder of an independent business consulting to financial services, after having held several executive positions with strong financial and risk management international experience over the last 25 years.

Andrew is also a volunteer firefighter in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria and has been involved over the last 15 years responding to a number of campaigns in Victoria including Black Saturday and developed an involvement in community recovery and developing proactive capability.

One area of particular interest has been in the development and facilitation of raising awareness for the increasing incidence and severity of domestic violence during and after disasters.


Dr Barbara Ryan, Senior Lecturer & Discipline Coordinator (Public Relations), University of Southern Queensland

Dr Barbara Ryan from the University of Southern Queensland researches disaster behaviour, particularly during the impact phase.  She completed a Ph.D on how people look for information when their community experiences a disaster and has just completed research for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services examining residents’ preparedness for bushfire along the Toowoomba escarpment.  She is a past winner of the U.S. Natural Hazards Center’s Mary Fran Myers scholarship and an advisor for the Inspector General of Emergency Management’s research framework in Queensland.  Barbara has over 30 years experience in journalism and public relations, and teaches PR and disaster communications courses.


Assoc. Professor Helen Boon, Head of Education: Curriculum and Pedagogy in Education, College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University

A/Prof  Helen Boon teaches educational psychology, special needs and behaviour management at James Cook University.  Helen has a strong research interest in climate change and the intersection of ethics, climate change and adaptation to climate change, as well as community resilience to disasters. Helen’s preferred research methods include structural equation and Rasch modelling. She has led interdisciplinary and ARC funded projects with partners from Medicine, Public Health, and Environmental Sciences in resilience to disaster and ethics. Recent publications include Disasters and Social Resilience: a bioecological approach, published by Routledge. Helen is currently working on a Canadian funded ethics project.


Dr Helen Goodman

Helen Goodman’s professional career of over four decades has been informed by her Social Work study, and her subsequent work in case work, groupwork, community work, policy analysis, planning, research and evaluation, management, and higher degree studies. Her work has been carried out in multidisciplinary settings, including health services, administrative review, pre and post disaster studies, and community agencies working with people experiencing homelessness. She holds an abiding interest in examining the dynamics which create barriers to effective intra agency collaboration, and agency community collaboration, and examining the qualities of requisite social systems which might reduce those barriers.


Dr Christine Eriksen, Senior Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research School of Geography and Sustainable Communities Faculty of Social Sciences University of Wollongong

Dr Christine Eriksen is a Senior Research Fellow with the Australian Centre for Cultural Environmental Research, University of Wollongong. As a social geographer with a particular interest in social dimensions of disasters, Christine researches the risk-benefit trade-offs and cultural norms that underpin coping capacity at scales ranging from individual households and community networks to official management agencies. Her book Gender and Wildfire: Landscapes of Uncertainty was published in 2014. She was selected as a World Social Science Risk Interpretation and Action Fellow in 2013 and named as a UOW Woman of Impact in 2016.


Rachael Mackay, Trainer, Women’s Health Goulburn North East

Rachael Mackay is a Social Work practitioner working in health promotion and training in the women’s health sector at Women’s Health Goulburn North East. Rachael specialises in project management, coordinating the Bsafe Project, which won the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Award and the Regional Achievement and Community Safety Award. In 2017 Rachael is a member of a Peer Assessment Panel for the Australian National Research Organisation for Women’s safety (ANROWS). Rachael’s current role is the development and facilitation of training to health and human services, police and emergency management services and local government, in the areas of family violence, gender and disaster, gender equity and the prevention of violence against women.


Associate Professor Lisa Gibbs, Director, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health Academic Lead, Community Resilience & Public Health, Centre for Disaster Management & Public Safety, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Lisa Gibbs has been leading public health research from the University of Melbourne for the past 10 years in the fields of: 1) disaster recovery and community resilience, including leadership of the Beyond Bushfires: Community Resilience and Recovery study and 2) child health and wellbeing. These two fields intersect through her research on child resilience. She works closely with government and service providers to ensure her research can be translated directly into policy and practice outcomes.


Robyn Molyneaux, Research Fellow, Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program, The University of Melbourne

Robyn Molyneaux is a Research Fellow with the Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program at The University of Melbourne. She has been working on disaster outcomes within bushfire affected communities as a part of the Beyond Bushfires: community, resilience and recovery project. This study explores the relationship between experiences of the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires and mental and physical health and wellbeing. Robyn has been responsible for quantitative analysis support to this study and has worked on a range of projects evaluating school based interventions (within trauma at risk and impacted populations).


Associate Professor Evonne Miller, Director QUT Design Lab School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty Queensland University of Technology

Associate Professor Evonne Miller is an environmental psychologist and Director of the QUT Design Lab, at Creative Industries, Queensland University of Technology. She has over 90 publications and A$1.5 million dollars in competitive research grant funding for projects exploring the interrelationships between people, their built, technical and natural environments. As a qualitative researcher, Evonne uses participatory design, visual and creative art (e.g., poetry, photovoice) approaches to explore and enhance the ageing experience, with recent research exploring the disaster experience of older Australians during the 2011/2013 Brisbane floods and 2011 Cyclone Yasi in Far North Queensland.


Dr Caroline Spencer, Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative

Caroline’s community engagement inspired her to undertake a PhD. Since completing her PhD in anthropology, she has maintained her commitment to community through her membership of the Alfred Health Community Advisory Committee and Cultural Diversity Committee; Landcare; Community Houses; and support to SES; the CFA Community Fireguard and the Living with Bushfire Community Conference.

Over the last 10 years, Caroline coordinated the Monash University Disaster Resilience Forums. Highlighting community resilience-building initiatives at the Forums revealed an ‘unaligned force’, comprising predominantly women. This ‘unaligned force’ inspired her to consolidate efforts in what has become the Compendium of Victorian Community-based Resilience Building Case Studies.


Dr Sandra Astill, University of Tasmania

Dr Sandra Astill is a human geographer whose research interests focus on the impact of policy on vulnerable communities. Her research has investigated hazard-preparedness behaviour of exposed coastal communities, as well as the impact of the ageing population, and the preference for ageing-in-place, on the future resilience of cyclone-prone coastal hamlets in Far North Queensland. Dr Astill’s research has provided a number of contributions to national and international literature in the area of gerontology, emergency management practice and disaster medicine. Dr Astill’s research methods are now contributing to the Rural Professional Experience Placement Project in rural Tasmania.


Dr Debra Parkinson, Manager, Gender and Disaster POD

Debra Parkinson is an Adjunct Research Fellow with Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative (MUDRI), and manager of research, advocacy and policy for Women’s Health In the North (WHIN) and Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE). Over the past two decades, she has researched gender inequity and gendered violence. From 2009 to 2014, her research with Claire Zara focussed on environmental justice and gender and disaster, leading to a state award from VicHealth and a national award from the Attorney General’s Department. In 2015, Debra was awarded the ‘Social and Political Sciences Graduate Research Thesis Award’ from Monash University for her PhD on increased domestic violence after the Victorian ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires. She has presented on her research in Japan and Denmark as well as at many Australian conferences. In 2015, a consortium of WHGNE, WHIN and MUDRI established the Gender and Disaster Pod with Debra as its Manager.


Alyssa Duncan, Research Assistant, Gender and Disaster POD

Alyssa Duncan has worked as a researcher in women’s health for five years, mainly focusing on the gendered effects of disasters. Recently, she helped develop national gender and disaster guidelines and is part of an ongoing project looking at the specific needs of the LGBT groups during disasters.  She has completed a Juris Doctor at Monash University and holds an undergraduate degree in geography from the University of Melbourne


Penny Egan-Vine, AM, M.B. B.S.

Trained as a medical practitioner with a particular interest in paediatrics, Initially working with children with disability and their families, Penny moved to work full time as a bereavement counsellor in 1992.

She has been formally working with refugees since 1997. On the executive of Rural Australians for Refugees, Penny is also part of a group actively sponsoring and settling refugees, Murray Valley Sanctuary Refugee Group. In 2001, she received a membership of the Order of Australia for her work in the region around crises.


Mary Farrow, ECH Manager Director, Centre of Resilience (COR) Emerald Community House

As the Emerald Community House Manager, Mary has extensive management control and strategic influence over the community house activities including adult education, licensed childcare, innovative community development programs and event management with over 30 paid and volunteer staff, tutors and placement students. In 2013 Mary made it a key strategy of ECH to embed resilience into ECH’s Strategic Plan in order to invest in “community continuity” when tackling adversity. Directing the unique Centre of Resilience (COR) model, Mary continues to build on the themes of summoning community strength and endurance by building relationships and sharing skills through everyday activities. CoR was recognised for “High Commendation” at the Victorian Resilient Australia Awards 2016 and included in the Monash/EMV Community based Resilience Compendium.


Victoria Cornell, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Adelaide

Victoria is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide, currently investigating the implications of new policy reforms in aged care on housing policy and agencies, specifically as relates to older people on low incomes and living in precarious housing situations. Previous research projects have included aged care service delivery; planning for mass gathering events; and disaster management – particularly preparedness and recovery – and engagement with vulnerable groups. Victoria’s broader research interests include issues of vulnerability, resilience, the built environment, community wellbeing and ageing.