In Altona North, General, Humans of SKY, Inner West, Kingsville, Seddon, Williamstown, Yarraville

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“I was born in the small country town of Nhill and grew up in Stawell. Both are in Western Victoria. I am one of seven children and have two brothers and four sisters. I am the second youngest. I became more academic as I got older and went to a co-ed school. I was very social, and had a good country upbringing.

Liz and Mum

Liz and Mum

I worked in retail as a teenager, and had a bit of interest in business/marketing. I moved to Melbourne at the end of Year 12, and did a business degree at Swinburne Uni, pursuing Marketing and Human Resources. My first job was at St Vincent’s Hospital, in a graduate program role. It was also my first real job and I provided HR consulting to different parts of the hospital. I’d go to Port Phillip Prison in Laverton to recruit staff onsite. It was a good job at a young age as it was quite complex, diverse and gave me a good opportunity to work with great people.

Following a career with Toyota Motor Corporation, and a period of maternity leave, I felt like I was ready to pursue specialized studies, and pursued mediation. This required extra qualification, but also allowed me to do consulting, and work from home with the flexibility of having the kids around me. I studied with Relationships Australia. My placement was with the Sunshine Family Relationship Centre, it was an eye-opening experience, and a great opportunity to work with parents and a talented team of mediators.

Grief and loss following separation can be really tough for families and parents, including grandparents. I often remind clients that things can and often do get better with some supports in place. Working with families that have experienced family violence is an important part of my work, I am passionate about being a valuable resource to families in need. I work with a professional supervisor, and reflective practise is critical in the autonomous work I do and provides an opportunity for reflection, challenge and learning.

Children often have good outcomes if parents can reach an agreement and have a good co-parenting relationship established. It takes some hard work for parents. What I do is often short-term intervention. I have to be realistic about what I do. It’s often one to three sessions, and it’s about providing parents with the space to work through their conflict and post separation parenting roles. The parents are the ones who do the hard work.

There is a lot of research on how kids are impacted by ongoing parental conflict. It can negatively affect their mental health and academic performance. Key milestones can be interrupted. Generally speaking, children love both Mum and Dad, and they can thrive even if parents separate. What I do is work with parents following separation, helping them to work out the best arrangements for their kids. Separation does not have to be nasty or what you might see on TV, and I try and demystify the separation process.

I’m sharing the journey with them.

How has Covid19 affected me this year? Parts of Covid19 that I enjoy are the slower mornings. I didn’t completely hate Covid19 lockdown. I wasn’t able to see Mum, who’s now 82 years old. That was hard. Homeschooling was challenging, but we got through it. Work wise, I had to learn online mediation, and self-taught my way through. I have worked with many regional clients through lockdown, which enabled them to access services that would often have long wait times.

I find my clients put a lot of trust in me. It’s a very privileged role as they trust me with their story and experiences, and I take that seriously. I always acknowledge that and it’s not an easy process. In 2021, I’m going to work on my referral partnership, to build it up and connect with more professionals. Covid19 has made me realize travelling in Australia is very exciting and there is so much to explore, that in the past seemed expensive and out of reach.

On weekday mornings you can find me in Super Movement Pilates – Altona North, Big 5 Yarraville and on weekends in Doyle & Sons in Spotswood, and driving kids to basketball and dance in Altona and Williamstown. I love living in the west and the communities I am apart of, #westisbest.”

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