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Aspect staff honour the inspiring women in their career (IWD 2024)

5 March 2024

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March 8th isn't just any day; it's International Women's Day, a time when we celebrate the incredible contributions women make in every aspect of life, from the social and economic to the cultural and political.

This year, we're embracing the theme "Inspire Inclusion" for International Women's Day 2024. It's all about sparking that understanding and appreciation for the role of women's inclusion in creating a better world. And when women feel included, it brings a whole new level of belonging, significance, and power.

So, to highlight the amazing women in our Aspect community, we reached out to team members from all over Australia and asked them:

"Has there been a woman who's inspired you in your career and motivated you to dedicate yourself to working with Autistic individuals and their families?"

Let's dive into their stories...

Joanne Tisdell, Principal - Aspect South East Sydney School

Joanne Tisdell

“As an autism-specific educator, I am grateful to be surrounded by inspiring women, who are dedicated to empowering Autistic students and their families. Among them, I extend respect to a fellow school principal who shows resilience and an unwavering commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

Throughout my career, she has guided me through leading a multi-campus special school, demonstrating the significance of mutual support and encouragement. She motivates me to instill these values within my own team and reminds me of the profound impact of uplifting and supporting each other on our journey towards educational equity and empowerment.”

Tamara Rumble, Coordinator - Aspect Hunter School

Tamara Rumble
left to right: Elise, Tamara, Jess, Adelaide

“All my life I’ve been blessed with the company of strong women. At the core of my inspiration has been my Mum who has encouraged me to use my strength of character, determination and caring nature to pursue a career working with autistic children.

Mum has ingrained in me values of patience, warmth, kindness and the importance of including people, making them feel welcomed, loved and of course, equal. She has taught me to always search for the goodness in individuals, and shown me that being a good listener and having a positive outlook, will bring about its own rewards.”

Nicole Mathieson, Clinical Neuropsychologist - Team Leader

Nicole Mathieson

"My colleague, Fiona! I feel privileged to have worked under the tutelage of the brilliant Fiona for 5 years. Over this time, she has taught me so much. Fiona’s level of knowledge, her kindness, and her dedication make her a wonderful manager and someone that I really look up to. She always provides our team with encouragement and support so that we feel comfortable in being able to offer the best services to autistic individuals and their families. We are very lucky to have her as part of the Aspect family and I feel immensely fortunate to have her as my manager."

Amy Gruskin, Occupational Therapist

Amy Gruskin

“Throughout my career, I have been inspired by many women who have dedicated themselves to supporting autistic individuals and their families. These women have shown exceptional compassion, dedication, and innovative approaches that have deeply influenced my work. Their commitment to advocating for neurodiversity and empowering autistic individuals has been a constant source of inspiration. I am grateful for their guidance and the examples they set, motivating me to continue making a positive impact in this field.”

Rashid El Dhaibi, Occupational Therapist

Rashid El Dhaibi

"My colleague and Operations Leader, Anita! Her effective leadership, insightful guidance and unwavering support to always pursue opportunities has been instrumental in shaping my career, fostering a compassionate and effective approach when working with Autistic individuals and their families. Her encouragement has been a cornerstone in my professional journey."


Jennifer Hurdis, Practice Leader / PBS Supervisor

Jennifer Hurdis

"My colleague, Jessica. Her dedication to working with Autistic individuals and their families has inspired me and so many of those she has worked alongside. She supports all team members and in this never loses sight of the Autistic individual being supported, placing them in the centre of her work. She is passionate and committed to building services that ensure that all Autistic individuals are supported based on their preferences, and that realise quality of life outcomes for them and their support network. I am thankful for her example which continues to influence my work."

Tess Healy, Active Support Worker and Sandra Finlay, Team Leader Adult Community Services - VIC

Sandi and Tess

"Our colleague Christine is a true inspiration and positive influence. She is a highly supportive and perceptive as a leader, and a genuinely wonderful person. Christine’s passion, knowledge and strong advocacy skills within the Autism community, have influenced the way we approach support at our site. She has been instrumental in shaping a healthy, respectful and supportive community and team environment.

She always puts others first and skillfully connects participants and staff alike, to opportunities that reflect their interests and hopes for the world. Christine’s bright presence, sense of humour, warmth, steadiness and approachable manner are just some of her amazing qualities that we admire and are inspired by every day."

Andrew Trenfield, Regional Manager - Aspect Therapy

Andrew Trenfield

"My colleague Maryanne. She is a dedicated advocate for Autistic individuals and their families, bringing invaluable expertise to Aspect Therapy. As a key member of the leadership team, Maryanne has consistently crafted innovative solutions that cater to the specific needs of the Autistic community, while promoting neurodiversity. Her mentorship has played a pivotal role in my growth as a Regional Manager.

Maryanne consistently sets a leading example by offering direct support to participants, facilitating group-based programs, and delivering impactful workshops, all while managing her never-ending to-do list."

Sophie Waltl, Occupational Therapist and Sara Li, Speech Pathologist

Sophie Waltl and Sara Li

"There are countless women who have inspired and guided us throughout our careers. One of whom is Simone, who is encouraging, approachable and patient! Her encouragement has helped us explore different possibilities when supporting autistic individuals and their families. She looks out for our wellbeing by ensuring that our workloads are manageable and supports us to take on new opportunities as they come up. It has been with Simone’s guidance that we have been able to promote best outcomes for our participants. Thank you, Simone for motivating us while we strive to support our participants!"

Embracing Diversity and Inclusion for a Better Tomorrow

At Aspect, we really value how diversity and inclusion make our personal and work lives better. By hearing what our team has to say, we’ve seen firsthand how being inclusive can make a big difference.

We are committed to celebrating the accomplishments of women from diverse backgrounds and addressing any obstacles to inclusion. This helps us in fostering a more equitable and inclusive community.

Happy International Women's Day!
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