08 March 2018Every day, extraordinary women are working to make the world a better place. Areti Gavrilidis, General Manager of Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners (BDHP), is just one of these women. Striving for innovation, achievement and equality is nothing new for Areti, and her commitment to improving health outcomes for the people of Queensland is inspiring us all. Areti has faced many challenges throughout her career, but she is as passionate about gender equality as she is about improving health outcomes, and she is Pressing for Progress. International Women’s Day – March 8 – is a time for recognising the social, economic, cultural and political achievements and success of women around the globe. It is also an opportunity to focus attention on some of the challenges faced by women. In 2018, International Women’s Day is focused on the theme “Press for Progress” – to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive. It is a shared responsibility we cherish. Women working in health, particularly in Queensland, need not look any further than Areti for a role model for leadership, innovation, professionalism and poise. In 2008, Areti was awarded a Churchill Fellowship, which allowed her to travel to the USA, Canada and UK to identify strategies, structures and financial incentives that enhance clinical and translational research. More recently, Areti has been accepted as a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management and her outstanding leadership and formidable experience has been integral to the evolution of BDHP over the last six years, resulting in accreditation by the National Health and Medical Research Council as an Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre. Importantly, Areti is also not afraid to face challenges head on, something she attributes to her family. “I moved to Australia from Greece when I was a child and had to learn English from scratch. My mother was an incredible role model for me”, Ms Gavrilidis said. “The Greek culture is very connected to family and for her to give up that support and connectedness to bring our family half way around the world to seek better opportunities was so brave and has continued to inspire me.” Throughout her career, Areti has held a number of leadership roles, and has often found herself surrounded by peers who at this senior level are primarily men. But it has been the women she has worked alongside that have proved to be an inspiring and empowering influence. “I’ve been fortunate in my career to be inspired and mentored by some fantastic women. My leadership journey started in a lab, and I have worked in key roles within healthcare in both Queensland and Victoria”, Ms Gavrilidis said. “Promoting the valuable contribution of women in all my work gives me great pleasure.” BDHP is a partnership of 10 of Queensland’s leading health, education and research institutes, each with inspirational women working within them, some of whom are at the forefront of their area of expertise. “As a leader of an organisation like BDHP, I relish the opportunity to progress attitudes towards women in leadership roles, and also to pave the way for and mentor the next generation of rising female leaders,” Ms Gavrilidis said. “Despite higher numbers of women in tertiary education and in senior roles, I would like to see this translated into more women sitting in Board level positions and driving leadership at a higher level,” she said. “I am committed to seeking out opportunities to develop future female leaders within healthcare and science, and hope that at BDHP, we can continue to Press for Progress together.” The BDHP partnership comprises: Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Children Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Mater Misericordiae Ltd, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Translational Research Institute, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland Government and Brisbane South Primary Health Network.
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