By Blaire Dobiecki, ISCRR Research Communications Officer.

At ISCRR we pride ourselves that staff satisfaction has remained at a high level, despite all the challenges of the past two years. This is due to strong leadership and a supportive team environment. Leading a dedicated and predominately female team, our Director Samantha Barker believes that happy and fulfilled staff can help any organisation flourish. To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, we wish to highlight the strengths of our all-female research team.

Dr Janine McMillan – Research Lead

Janine leads ISCRR’s research team. We recently shared her impressive bio and successes as a tribute to her for the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science, but what wasn’t emphasised was her strong focus on the mental health and wellbeing of her team. There’s no doubt that her empathetic approach contributes greatly to the high satisfaction of ISCRR staff, as noted in the following comments:

Janine bursts onto Zoom for our team meeting with a big smile. “How are we?” She asks. “What sheep are you today?” She laughs, pointing to a picture of 10 sheep with differing expressions from bashful to overly gleeful – a gentle, encouraging approach to discuss our mental health. As the news continues to pull us down, Janine inserts joy and care into our workplace every day to lift us up. She regularly tells us that our mental health is the priority, and we’re in this together.

– Dr Sarah Oxford, Senior Research Officer (Evaluation)

Huh?! What’s that? Is that the sound of your workload increasing, teetering on unmanageable? Quick as flash, before you’ve gotten the slightest whiff of stress, Janine is on phone, checking how you’re doing, re-negotiating deadlines and workload, prioritising your wellbeing. And when COVID news brings you down, Janine is there with smile on her face and funny question up her sleeve, ready to make your day a success. Janine is a model leader, with an abundance of super powers…all she’s missing is the cape.

– Carmen Schroder, Research Officer

Janine is backed by a talented team of female researchers, including Dr Sarah Oxford, Dr Petra Bywood, Carmen Schroder, Amanda Moo, Belinda Clark and Honours student Olivia Crivari. Our senior researchers Sarah and Petra are an inspiration to us all, not only through their expertise and work ethic, but their collegiality and infectiously enjoyable personalities.

Dr Sarah Oxford – Senior Research Officer (Evaluation)

Sarah designs and delivers qualitative research projects for ISCRR and is our resident expert in evaluation. Always willing to help, she brings great positivity to the workplace, characteristic of her American heritage.

Sarah brings incredible amounts of joy and laughter to the workplace, shows genuine care for her colleagues and is great model of selfcare. My favourite of all is the feedback Sarah provides when reviewing a document; her comments are a delightful combination of honest, constructive and downright funny. She has even been known to lace her written commentary with some good ol’ American twang, bringing that extra hint of joy when undertaking the dry task of revising work.

– Carmen Schroder, Research Officer

Dr Petra Bywood – Senior Research Officer (Evidence Reviews)

Petra Bywood

Petra is one of ISCRR’s most accomplished researchers, with over 20 years’ experience working as a researcher in a variety of medical research fields, including neuroscience, public health, drugs and alcohol and primary health care. She leads with her strong expertise in evidence reviews, and dazzles us with her astounding general knowledge as she almost always wins our weekly quizzes and riddles.

I’ve never met Petra in person, only virtually, which is the case for most of our team as she’s based in Adelaide… but the point is that we all feel like we’ve met her. Since the start of the pandemic, Petra took it upon herself to brighten our mornings with a cartoon that highlights her particular flavour of dry wit which I love. Her research expertise in reviewing public health evidence is always clearly evident in her well communicated reports, which are a delight to translate as her work speaks for itself!

– Blaire Dobiecki, Research Communications Officer

Our all-female research team highlights the fact that ISCRR values women in science and actively works to support their specific needs in what is often referred to as a challenging working environment for women. Having women in leadership roles helps to empower and amplify the voices of women across our whole organisation — an important feature to celebrate as a strength of our research institute on International Women’s Day.

Blaire Dobiecki

This article was written by Blaire Dobiecki, ISCRR Research Communications Officer. If you’ve found this article useful, please let us know via social media: Twitter or LinkedIn



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