Women in Leadership Breakfast with Helen Haines MP

Thursday 7 November 7am-9am

Wangaratta Women in Leadership are delighted to have Helen Haines MP as their next guest speaker.

Helen Haines is the Independent Federal Member for Indi. She was elected in May 2019 and is the first Independent to succeed another in the same electorate in the history of the Australian Parliament.

Helen has lived and worked as a nurse, midwife, health administrator and rural health researcher in Victoria’s North East for more than 32 years. She grew up on her family’s dairy farm near Colac in Western Victoria and attended Eurack state primary school, a tiny one-room, one-teacher school where enrolments rarely exceeded 12 students. After completing year 12 in Colac, Helen followed in the footsteps of her aunts and trained as a registered nurse at St Vincent’s Hospital and later as a midwife at Melbourne’s Mercy Maternity Hospital.

In 1986 Helen moved to Victoria’s North East to begin work as a midwife at Wangaratta Base Hospital before being appointed as the youngest ever matron and Director of Nursing at the Chiltern Bush Nursing Hospital. During her years running the Chiltern hospital she learned the fundamental importance of the local health service, schools and sporting clubs as touch stones of connection and lifeblood of small rural communities.

At this time she undertook a bachelor’s degree through distance study at Deakin University and later returned to Northeast Health Wangaratta where she was a foundation member in a small team of midwives as it established the Wangaratta Community Midwife Program. This pioneering program recently celebrated 20 years of service to women and families across the region and is recognised as a world leader in rural midwifery care.

Helen’s passion for education – the kind of education that neither her parents had access to – led her to further study in epidemiology and public health through a master’s degree at the University of New South Wales and then to Uppsala University, Sweden, in 2004. She later commenced her PhD at Uppsala University, completing a doctoral degree in Medical Science in 2012 and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The doctoral research work she completed at this time – relying on research conducted in Wangaratta – has been implemented in healthcare across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe and Scandinavia.

Helen has been a board member of St Catherine’s Aged Care in Wangaratta and Indigo Power Community Energy Retailer. She was a director of the Hume Medicare Local, a former director, chair and now life member of Ovens and King (now Gateway) Community Health Service, and former board member and chair of Wangaratta Unlimited, an economic advisory board to the Rural City of Wangaratta. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership program.

Helen lives with her husband Phil on a small beef farm by the King River outside Wangaratta, where they raised their three children, and for many years also ran a farm-stay accommodation business. Before contesting the federal election in 2019 Helen worked as a Senior Research Fellow with the University of Melbourne (Department of Rural Health) and as the Director of Education and Research Unit at Northeast Health Wangaratta.

Come and be inspired by Helen’s leadership journey whilst enjoying a light breakfast whilst being a great networking opportunity.

(Tickets close at 4pm Wed 6 Nov for catering purposes)