Meet our wonderful lineup of speakers at The Veterinary Kaleidoscope Summit in 2023.
Alex is Australia’s first profoundly deaf veterinarian and has been a part of the profession for 22 years. He has diverse experience working in the University of Melbourne vet school in academia, has worked in corporate small animal practice and has also spent 10 years of those as a practice owner in a large group of veterinary hospitals in Adelaide, before suffering professional burnout and needing to step away to spend time with his family.
Alex passionately believes in tapping into diversity in the community, and exploring how different people bring different skills to the table for the benefit of all. He sees embracing the differences as embracing the strengths, and that is a mindset that the veterinary profession needs to embrace now and into the future. Mental health and disability advocacy are two passions of his. He is a proud father of 2 girls, and loves scuba diving, travel and photography.
Cam is a Palawa man with family links to the far south of lutruwita (Tasmania). Providing veterinary care and building relationships in remote communities across the Top End have provided pathways to explore his cultural identity in ways he never imagined growing up. He never expected to be where he is now in his career, having worked in cattle practice, mixed practice, remote small animal practice and now teaching and research, but he loves the diversity of experiences and people that he’s encountered along the way. Indigenous representation, mental wellbeing and diversity as a whole have become a real focus in his life in and outside of work hours, but besides this he loves cooking, creating and viewing art, ice cream, weird sour beer and spending time with his partner.
Mags was born in Beirut, Lebanon immigrating to Australia in 1975 just as the civil war was breaking. She is fluent in conversational Arabic, is one of 7 children (yes -Catholic family!) and understands the difficulties of growing up between 2 cultures. Whilst at the RSPCA, she helped develop and operate programs that improved access to veterinary care for those in our community that were socially isolated, elderly and financially constrained as well as those in remote and indigenous communities in NSW. She is passionate about Animal Welfare but knows that improving the lives of the Veterinarians that look after them is a key factor. She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in our profession and breaking down barriers that still exist so that we have a sustainable profession into the future.
The daughter of Malaysian immigrants, Sharmila has lived the struggles faced by migrants in Australia. Since graduating as a Veterinarian in 2018, the intersection of her LGBTIQA+ identity and ethnicity has driven her to remove barriers to the creation of a diverse veterinary workforce. An active member of Australian Rainbow Veterinarians and Allies she worked on the float design for the 2021 and 2022 Mardi Gras Parade and is the Creative Director for World Pride 2023 ARVA Parade float.
Sharmila actively promotes health and wellbeing both within and outside of the veterinary profession. She is founder of dessert brand Sweet Bites of Mine, providing healthy and delicious ethical treats and snacks. She also teaches Les Mills group fitness classes around Sydney. Somewhere between all of this she also works in clinical veterinary practice around Sydney.
Andrew is passionate about self-care and wellness in the veterinary and in the LGBTIQA+ communities and loves to share it with others, his favourite self-care activities are roller skating and yoga (not at the same time). Andrew works as a counsellor for a National LGBTIQA+ specific service, a contractor for Animal Industries Resource Centre/Crampton Consulting Group, and volunteers as a moderator on a veterinary nurse specific mental health support Facebook group with 13,000 members. Volunteering is part of who Andrew is and has introduced him to so many people and opportunities both inside and outside of the veterinary industry and has fuelled his desire to support each of these communities which have been a huge part of his life, and through the Diversity & Inclusion space he has found the perfect way to do that!
Cherlene is a Malaysian born Chinese who migrated to Australia when she was 15 years old. Growing up in Malaysia has helped her be able to speak 4 different languages fluently, however, she also understands how hard it was to fit into the Australian culture especially being thrown into boarding school when she first arrived here. She never thought that she would start her own vet hospital out of frustration of wanting to give back more to the community. Cherlene has been working closely with the local council and community since starting out on her own by providing accessibility to those in need of veterinary care for their pets. She has a passion for client education and a strong presence in the local Chinese community. In her spare time, you will catch Cherlene busy trying new local cuisines/restaurants and she also loves travelling and exploring different cultures.
Jodie is a warrior, and her remarkable resilience, unique perspectives, and ability to innovate have shaped her award-winning veterinary career. As a diagnosed autistic and ADHD individual with a late life acquired physical disability, she knows what overcoming challenge to succeed really looks like.
Jodie’s passion belongs to the people who make up her communities, and her mission is to move the individuals she works with from surviving, to thriving. Jodie is currently sharing her time between her family, wellbeing consultancy, PhD research, and her work as an emergency and critical care veterinarian at Australia’s busiest animal emergency hospital.
Dr Channy (she/they) is a proud intersex, pansexual small animal veterinarian with an obsession for behaviour and low stress handling in clinics. They supposed this stems from the empathy derived from their own struggles with mental health, neurodiversity and trauma. While Channy now works for industry, their company encourages Channy’s participation in all things Inclusion and Diversity, including committee work, Reconciliation Action Plans and a global, all-associate I&D podcast ‘Unmuted’.
Channy is owned by 2.5 cats, 1 dog and blessed to be married to the world’s best cloud engineer, Dougie (he/him), who is also in attendance at the TVK Summit because #world’smostsupportivepartner