At DELWP, we are celebrating International Women's Day by imparting the wisdom and experience of women from all age groups and levels who work across the full range of fields in our department.

We’re making great progress towards gender equity at DELWP:

- 50 per cent of our current executive leadership positions are occupied by women.

- The gender balance across all water boards is currently 52 per cent women and 48 per cent men, with women occupying 10 of the 19 chair positions.

We are continuing to build on these achievements. We're monitoring and taking action on our gender pay gap, ensuring everyone can work flexibly, and supporting leadership opportunities for women.

This contributes to building a great culture, where our people can bring their whole selves to work and reflect the diversity of the communities we serve.

Abby smith

Abby Smith
Abby Smith is the Senior Forest and Wildlife Officer for the Port Phillip region.  
A former tradie, her “dream job” now sees her working with animals on a regular basis, and she describes it as being like a police officer but in the wildlife space. 

“II worked as a tradie for some years and completed a Landscape Gardening Trade… I was the only female in the class and on job sites I had to use the men's toilets.”

View Abby's profile


Alana Macwhirter
Finding balance is an important part of life. 
Alana Macwhirter is one of our urban planners. She is also an acting director, mother-of-two, footy fan, a runner and lover of country music gigs. 
Read her profile to find out how she does it. 

“I started my career in consultancy and was really lucky to be given the opportunity to run my own projects from early on. This taught me about leadership and communication as well as how to take calculated risks.”
View Alana's profile

Claire Foo 

Claire Foo
As the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Information Services Division at DELWP, Claire Foo actively encourages women to apply for promotions and look for opportunities among the many services and projects the Division delivers.

“I am a strong believer that my actions speak louder than my words…I take time off work to attend school assemblies and to support my children or look after them when they are unwell. I am open about this and believe it is important that this is seen and heard - there is nothing shameful in having obligations outside of work.”
See Claire 's profile

Dawn Hartog

Dawn Hartog
There are so many talented, brave and clever women helping to keep communities safe within a range or roles at Forest Fire Management Victoria. 
Dawn Hartog is the Senior Adviser to the Chief Fire Officer, and two Deputy Chief Fire Officers in the Forest and Fire Operations Division.

“I want my daughter to know that she can be anything she wants to be and do anything she puts her mind to.”

View Dawn's profile


Evelina Ericsson
Evelina Ericsson is one of our Heritage Officers. She works across the Living Heritage Grants Program at Heritage Victoria, and helps safeguard the state’s rich and diverse history through distributing and managing funding for the conservation of our State-listed heritage places.

“Women, myself included, often doubt their own abilities and lack self-belief...I’m trying to overcome this by contributing to a culture in my work and private life that values self-assured women.”
View Evelina's profile

Jill Fagan

Jill Fagan We have some brilliant minds working in the science and research arm of DELWP. One such talent is Jill Fagan, who works within the climate change policy branch as the Manager, Adaptation. This is what International Women’s Day means to her, and why it’s important to have female representation in this industry.

“I have mentored quite a few young women, and I focus on building their confidence, helping them articulate their own skills and outlining the paths they could take.”

View Jill's profile

Kirsty Douglas 

Kirsty Douglas
The General Counsel for DELWP - a fancy title for lawyer – is accountable for all the legal advice provided in-house. That’s the role of Kirsty Douglas who is also the Executive Director of the Legal and Governance Division in Corporate Services.

“If flexibility means you miss out on a promotion, are given less challenging work or are stereotyped because you have chosen to work flexibly then that is an issue.  As leaders we need be flexible ourselves and ensure that we think outside the square and make flexibility just the norm.”
View Kirsty's profile

Kate Gavens

Kate Gavens
For many of the women in senior and leadership positions at DELWP, it has been a journey getting to this point in their career. 
After years working across various aspects of the environmental sector, Kate Gavens is now working in a newly created role within conservation and the environment.   Kate is the Interim Conservation Regulator within the department’s Forest, Fire and Regions space.

“International Women’s Day reminds me of the importance of pushing out the boundaries, to call out inherent bias and continue to look to build, support and empower women and men to break down stereotypes and do things differently with the intent of promoting equality, diversity, inclusion and innovation in the way we work.
See Kate's profile


Kelly Crosthwaite
We have so many great female leaders across the many different facets of DELWP. 

Kelly Crosthwaite is acting Executive Director of People and Culture in the Port Phillip region. 

“Looking back, I can see that I made my career decisions based on my gut feeling about interesting work but probably more importantly a good boss and an organisation that is out there and working with industry and the community.”
View Kelly's profile

Maddy McAllister

Maddy McAllister
Victoria is home to a number of historic shipwrecks.  Maddy McAllister has the cool job of managing these underwater relics as a Maritime Archaeologist at Heritage Victoria.

Growing up I had brilliant parents who never limited me and continually educated my sister and I on powerful, successful women in history and role models”

View Maddy's  profile

Megan Heap 

Megan Heap
Megan Heap is the Native Title Officer for the Grampians region.  
For her, International women’s day is about recognising the strong women in all our lives and what we can learn from them. Here is her story.

“Whatever you decide to do in life, make sure it makes you happy.”
View Megan's profile

Rhonda McLaren

Rhonda McLaren
Exploring our sense of identify and place in Victoria is her favourite part of the job. Executive Officer at Heritage Council of Victoria, Rhonda McLaren, works to recognise, manage and protect places and objects that are of state-level, cultural heritage significance.

“Flexible working is just as important for men and that by supporting this, DELWP are setting an example for other departments and industries.”
View Rhonda's profile

Stephanie Ryan

Stephanie Ryan
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Balance for Better. People like Stephanie Ryan embody this.  
Stephanie is a Senior Forest Fire Management Officer in Emergency Preparedness for the Otway district. She is a mother-of-three young children and the team leader for emergency preparedness in the Colac area.

“I found it is important not to get pigeon holed into a role and an area, and that at times you need to keep putting yourself forward as the right person for the job.”

View Stephanie 's profile

International Womens Day

Page last updated: 27/07/20