The leadership and experience of Indigenous women

23 July 2020

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance (NATSIWA) and the University of Queensland’s School of Public Health hosted a webinar featuring the Healing Foundation, 1800Respect and two professional Aboriginal women in their fields of work. Entitled "Social and emotional wellbeing during the COVID-19 and the re-emergence #BlackLivesMatter: The leadership and experience of Indigenous women," the panel discussed self-caring and the importance of looking after health and wellbeing during difficult times for our women. Watch the full webinar below.


Sandra Creamer is the CEO of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance (NATSIWA) and Adjunct Professor of Public Health at the University of Queensland. She is a Wannyi/Kalkadoon woman, an academic and legal officer. Sandra has worked with Indigenous women in Australia and globally, and believes it is important to empower Indigenous women for self-determination, equality on their rights as well as understanding how they can challenge issues that affect their communities.  Sandra was awarded an AM in 2019 for her service to Indigenous women. 



1.  Dina Saulo, from the World Health Organisation - Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, WPRO. Dina is trained as a nurse and worked in sexual health with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council. She completed her Masters of Applied Epidemiology in 2015, and took up a position as part of the Ebola response team with the World Health Organisation in Sierra Leone. She continued her appointment with the WHO as a field epidemiologist for the Port Loko district of Sierra Leone. Dina is currently in Asia on the coronavirus.


2. Hannah Taylor is the National Project Manager for 1800Respect, is a proud Kamilaroi woman and recently completed the two year Disability Pathways project to increase pathways to the service for people with disabilities. This award winning project has been recognised at conferences around the world. Hannah worked hard to ensure 1800Respect is an accessible service for people with disability, worked closely with people with disability and related sectors throughout the project. Her experience ranges from child protection in rural Australia, to the United Kingdom and Los Angeles where she pioneered in partnership with different federal governments with different federal governments to establish safe accommodation and programs for victims of domestic and international human trafficked victims. Hannah is passionate about self-determination, community being at the core of community practice and advocacy. Hannah has previously been the youngest CEO of domestic and family violence organisation in Queensland, and has been involved in Indigenous parliament and now works as a private consultant/supervisor and a Nation Project Manager. 


3. Tanja Hirvonen a proud woman from the Jaru People of Halls Creek WA, Bunuba people from Fitzroy Crossing WA and connections to the Barkly Tablelands NT. Tanja is a registered clinical psychologist (MPsysch(Clin). Tanya received a Clinical master’s in psychology from James Cook University in 2014, writing a dissertation on the Stigma of Suicide within an Australian Population. Tanja brings extensive experience in intergenerational trauma, suicide prevention and working in rural and remote areas. Although Tanja is a practicing clinical psychologist, she has established herself as an early career researcher, who continues to work with other research teams in areas of suicide prevention and trauma.


4. Fiona Petersen CEO of the Healing Foundation - Wuthanthi (Shelburne Bay) descendant with family roots also from the Torres Strait Island.  Fiona is a Masters Graduate of ANU's college of Business and Economics, and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy of the UK. Fiona has held senior roles in community and government organisations, using her global experience in education, leadership and business development to raise awareness around the impacts of intergenerational trauma and the need for a healing-centred approach across policies, programs and systems to understand and promote trauma recovery.