I come from Uruguay.  I was born in ‘68 and migrated to Australia 1976. There was quite a lot of political unrest in Uruguay.  I had a neighbour that disappeared. Disappearances were common then, and people were captured, tortured, and killed.   
I had an Auntie who had to go into exile, and they had to leave the country very quickly after being captured.  I didn't know this as a child, I just knew that she had disappeared into a different country and had to leave her baby behind.  I migrated to Australia with that history.  I was only eight at the time, so it left a very strong imprint.   
At 16, I met some friends who were a part of a Socialist movement for South America, and I joined.  I was really going to try to change the world in my own way.  
I’ve always had a very strong social justice perspective and have always seen when injustices were being done.  I didn’t believe in a world of injustice and I wanted to make a difference. 
Initially I didn’t know how I was going to do that. When I was in year 10 I did a school placement. I spent about two or three hours reading with this young boy. I taught him how to pronounce words like school and little things like that. I realised what a huge impact I could have on this little boy in such a short period of time.   
It made me wonder why he had a problem in the first place. I discovered his mother was deaf. He had learned how to talk with her accent.  This made me really frustrated; that the system was so broken that it hadn’t picked up on this. 
This led me on a path.  I felt that on a personal level I could make a difference and knowing that on a social level, I wanted to make a difference.   
I thought it was going to be speech pathology, but I missed out by one mark.  I studied Diversional Therapy instead and started working with people with a disability, and I loved it.   
I was working with community integration programs and challenging parents to think differently about their children's capacities. I was involved with volunteering programs, helping to get kids out into sports and mainstream activities.   
Again, it was that whole thing about how a little idea, a little seed, could make a big difference.    
This really got me interested in social policy. The opportunity came up to work as a community development worker in Council.  I saw the potential for bigger impact at a local level.  From there I went to State Government, and then into higher positions where I felt that I could make a change.   
I loved the opportunity Interrelate gave me to influence policy  and have a broader social impact.  
I always want to be careful that you just don't get ambitious for the sake of ambition, but that you have a drive behind what you do and why you do it. It is very easy to become complacent. 
I have had the opportunity of coaching several female staff to assist them in achieving greater outcomes in varying aspects of their life. With this brings a sense of trust and transparency which are core values for not only myself but for Interrelate.
The workforce at Interrelate are also human beings who have the same trials and tribulations just like everyone else.   
One of the things Interrelate has done as an organisation is acknowledge the role of women in the household as well as women in the workplace.  Interrelate has provided support to mothers by understanding the role of a mother and not asking them to separate that role from their work. 
Interrelate has provided work flexibility, ability to work from home, job share, work part- time, and support carer responsibilities. Progression pathways have been created and opportunities for staff to develop their career whilst juggling full time parenting roles.
Some of the best staff I have worked with, work from home and have their children at their feet.  I think it’s important to acknowledge that women have the capacity to be a mother and a worker at the same time.
I love that I got to know the children of my staff.  I think it role models for their children that women can have multiple roles as a mother, a worker and a leader.  There is that balance for them as well. A balance of their own healthcare and wellbeing when they are working from home with young children.
Interrelate has come along way with this, but there is still a way to go... 
I have a daughter who is studying medicine. She was told by her lecturer that she would have to make the choice between a successful career in medicine and being a mother.  This shocked me, I couldn’t believe that this was said to a woman in 2021. That the perspective is still held that a woman needs to choose between being a mother and having a successful career.
I think this is where role modelling is again really important. I think it is vital for young women to see how they can have a successful career and still be a good mother.  
We all need to keep these conversations going around how to best support women to go after their dreams.
Interrelate, as an organisation that centres itself on the value of respect, the value of gender and value for the contribution of women both in their private lives and in the workplace, it is important to lead and support that conversation within community.
Interrelate does #ChooseToChallenge and is fortunate to have many examples of mothers who have developed their careers and have progressed into outstanding leaders in their areas. I think it speaks very loudly for the potential of women to be realised despite the sometimes, limiting expectations, that can be placed upon them.