Women leading and influencing

Irene and Jo

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Irene Semos

Papua New Guinea
PhD - Medical Education
University of Queensland, QLD

Irene is underway with her doctorate in Medical Education at the University of Queensland. She accepted this opportunity after lecturing for five years at Divine Word University (DWU), Madang, Papua New Guinea. She also holds a Master's of International Public Health from the University of Queensland.

While at DWU, Irene was responsible for teaching research methods and applied statistics to undergraduate students within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. She also participated in team research with the university's Health Management Department and co-authored a working paper / literature review with the Nossal Institute for Global Health.

Prior to her university work, Irene held research roles at the PNG Institute of Medical Research and volunteered at the Health Management Women's Initiative and the PNG Australia Alumni Association Madang Chapter.

Upon graduating, Irene would like to work with young people on issues of conflict resolution, negotiation, and cultural diplomacy. She would like to learn about and enhance strategies that get young people to talk in equal-power settings and to become agents of change and problem solvers. She is driven by the question of how does PNG's cultural richness and diversity allow for equal power dynamics, especially when addressing gender-based violence.


Jo Pollett

Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, VIC

Jo has worked in the health, housing, community services and international development sectors since she qualified as a social worker in the early 1980s.

She has held leadership roles at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Care International, UNICEF (Pacific and Ghana), in government health departments, and most recently with the largest indigenous organisation in Australia, the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA).

Jo has an excellent history of developing relationships and partnerships whilst frequently working within a changing environment and applying a change management approach to her work. She specifically enjoys leading reviews, participating in strategic planning exercises and undertaking policy and program development processes, especially where innovation is necessary.

She has lived and worked in several developing countries and she is able to adapt her past experiences to new and changing contexts, cultures and agendas.