Vinnies Voices providing our community with an 'exclusive' insight into each of the courageous and compassionate women of action in focus.
Vinnies Voices is hosted by Australian Journalist and former student Natarsha Belling (Class of 1992). With more than 25 years’ experience breaking the news stories that have changed and shaped our lives, Natarsha's passion, skill and warmth have seen her become a highly skilled and much admired television and radio host.
After graduating from University in Bathurst, Natarsha's first job was at Prime TV in Orange before moving to Darwin to work for the ABC. She returned to Sydney in 1998 to join Channel 10 and for more than twenty years Natarsha was a National Journalist and News Reader, presenting the Morning and Weekend News and also regularly co-hosting The Project and Studio 10.
Natarsha is now the presenter and co-producer of the innovative news podcast "Morning Agenda", a market leader in delivering news on demand. She is also the newsreader and co-host of the new radio talk show “Australia Today” with Steve Price which is beamed across the country. Both shows are available through www.Listnr.com or the Listnr app. Natarsha also regularly appears on The Morning Show on Channel 7.
Natarsha is a sought after MC and Host for a variety of Corporate and Charity events. Her warm and engaging style has seen her interview some of the world's most admired leaders and business entrepreneurs including Sir Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Dame Quentin Bryce, Julie Bishop and Nigella Lawson. www.natarshabelling.com
Join us as Natarsha gains an exclusive with our remarkable Alumnae.
EP1 Rachel Givney
Rachel Givney (Class of 1999) is a writer and filmmaker. She has worked on Offspring, The Warriors, McLeod's Daughters, Rescue: Special Ops and All Saints. Her films have been official selections at the Sydney Film Festival, Flickerfest and many more.
Rachel's debut novel Jane in Love, about a time-travelling Jane Austen who must choose between her books and romantic love, is an international bestseller and was judged “outstanding” by Booklist. Film rights have been optioned by Amazon Studios and DiNovi Pictures, the producers of Little Women. Her second novel, Secrets My Father Kept, set in Poland on the eve of the Second World War, was released in June 2021, again to critical acclaim. Check out Jane in Love and Secrets My Father Kept at Penguin Books Australia.
Rachel is currently writing the screenplay for the movie of Jane in Love and working on her third novel.
EP2 Melinda Gainsford-Taylor AM
Melinda Gainsford-Taylor AM (Class of 1989) is one of the truly great runners of Australian athletics history. Melinda is a three time Olympian and is the current Australian Record Holder in the 200m. Melinda also held the Australian Record in the 100m, for some twenty years. Melinda is committed to coaching and mentoring athletes through her group sessions. Encouraging kids to be their best and lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
Melinda is a successful media commentator and is an ideal choice as an MC or guest speaker inspiring audiences by sharing the challenges and successes from her international athletics career. www.melgt.com.au
Most importantly Melinda’s biggest achievement has been becoming the mother of two beautiful children, Nicholas and Gabriella
EP3 Alice Gardoll
Alice Gardoll (Class of 2009) is a lawyer who is passionate about fighting for vulnerable individuals in Australia’s justice system. She has previously worked as a criminal defence lawyer representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Darwin, and as a refugee lawyer in Australia and Samos, Greece.
In 2019, Alice was awarded the Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship to undertake her Master of Laws at Columbia Law School in New York. At Columbia, she was awarded a Public Interest and Government Fellowship to work at Reprieve, an international human rights NGO that fights against unlawful detention and the death penalty across the globe.
Alice has recently started as a Senior Lawyer in the Office of Amal Clooney.
EP4 Laura Jayes
Laura Jayes (Class of 2001) joined Sky News in 2006 as a reporter, and in 2011 became a political reporter and member of the press gallery based in Canberra. She was the presenter of Lunchtime Agenda until mid 2015.
In 2015 Laura began anchoring the Friday edition of NewsDay. Laura was nominated as favourite female personality in the 2014 ASTRA Awards.
In January 2016, Laura was given her own primetime program The Latest with Laura Jayes .
In November 2016, Laura became just the third Australian journalist granted a visa to Nauru, which houses a large Australian asylum seeker processing centre, the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. Nauru has restricted access to the country to members of the media.
In October 2018, Jayes moved from hosting NewsDay to co-hosting breakfast programs First Edition and AM Agenda.
EP5 Kate Wild
Kate Wild (Class of 1990) is an investigative journalist whose work with distinguished teams at the ABC has been recognised with three Walkley Awards and a Logie. Her reports from Darwin, where she lived from 2010 to 2016, laid the groundwork for a Four Corners story on juvenile detention that prompted the calling of a Royal Commission.
The biggest stories she has worked on are Who Killed Mr Ward and Code of Silence, for Four Corners, both of which won Walkleys, a Logie and NSW and Victorian Premier's Awards for journalism.
Kate published her first non-fiction book, Waiting for Elijah, in June 2018. Waiting for Elijah can be purchased at booktopia.com.au
If you or someone you know is struggling go to headspace.org.au. Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds. headspace can help young people with mental health, physical health (including sexual health) alcohol and other drug services, and work and study support.
Kate provides media training in television, print, radio and social media presentation to non-profit organisations.
EP6 Dr Marjorie Spooner O'Neill
Marjorie Spooner O'Neill BA, BBus(Hons), PhD MP (Class of 2003) is an Australian politician. Marjorie was elected as a Labor member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Coogee at the 2019 state election. Marjorie has been a Waverley councillor, a rugby coach and holds a PhD in management economics.
Marjorie spent ten years working and playing rugby at Essex and California Polytechnic State Universities.
Marjorie was a former Chair of the Community Safety Advisory Committee and the Waverley Surf Life Saving Club Committee.
EP7 Lorenn Ruster
Lorenn Ruster (Class of 2003) was a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers' Indigenous Consulting (PIC) when she took a sabbatical from March 2020 to do a Master of Applied Cybernetics at the Australian National University.
Lorenn has undertaken research exploring the role of dignity in government AI ethics instruments. The research asks questions around our responsibility to reduce harms of technologies and protect ourselves, and future generations from their impacts alongside a responsibility to proactively enable human flourishing.
Lorenn now works as a Responsible Tech Collaborator at the Centre for Public Impact and is a PhD candidate at ANU's School of Cybernetics where she will continue to explore dignity-centred approaches to designing and implementing technologies of the future.
EP8 Gemma Sisia AM
Gemma Sisia AM (Class of 1989) opened The School of St Jude in Arusha, Tanzania in 2002 with one teacher and a handful of sponsored students.
Today, St Jude’s provides free, quality education to 1,800 bright primary and secondary students who come from considerably poor backgrounds. The school also supports 100s of graduates with access to higher education and provides more than 15,000 government school students with volunteer teachers each year. 100% of St Jude’s students and scholars are on scholarships.
Located across three campuses, St Jude’s also provides boarding for all secondary students and employs over 300 Tanzanian staff across their Academic and Head Office teams, ensuring a sustainable and self-determining future for St Jude’s. In a country where 70% of secondary school-aged people are not enrolled in secondary school, the chance to receive a free, quality education is life-changing for the community’s most disadvantaged families.
If you would like to donate or sponsor the academic scholarship of a St Jude’s student and continue following Gemma's story, visit www.schoolofstjude.org or follow the school on Instagram and Facebook.
In 2007, Gemma’s achievements were honoured by a Member of the Order of Australia. Her story has been featured twice on the ABC TV documentary program Australian Story, first in 2005 and then a follow-up in 2009.
In 2012, Gemma was named one of The Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence, nominated in the Global category, and was also a finalist for New South Wales Australian of the Year. In 2000 and 2019, Gemma was awarded a Sapphire Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.
EP9 Holly Davies
Holly Davies (Class of 1992) is an extremely passionate advocate for Regional Australia, and after completing a Bachelor of Civil Engineering, she headed West to see what she could improve, starting her engineering career in Local Government and then moved into State Government where there were bigger issues she wanted to tackle.
Holly worked throughout the progression of RTA, RMS and now TfNSW, and is now the Director, Regional Community Partnering Community in Regional and Outer Metro for TfNSW, and with her passion, ambition, resilience and authenticity, coupled with her technical prowess and extensive leadership capabilities, and she is determined to make a dynamic improvement within regional communities with connection and place.
TfNSW’s Blueprint embrace the opportunity to be courageous and empowering, facilitating transport connectivity for rural communities by understanding their needs, and being able to be creative in developing and delivering unique and holistic solutions and services, and Holly says "She loves it!"
Holly is foremost the proud mother of Elliane, a Full-time Boarder in Year nine at the College.
EP10 Siobhann Roberts -Thomson
Siobhann Roberts -Thomson (Class of 1992) was a member of the '90s band Girlfriend. Their debut album Make It Come True was released in 1992 and contained four ARIA top 50 singles, including the #1 hit, "Take It From Me". The group also became recognised for its fashion sense, with their flower hats becoming a symbol of the band; at one point, they had their own clothing line.
Siobhann now runs a successful Interior design firm. Siobhann Studio is a boutique full-service interior firm, that designs from concept to completion. Siobhann Roberts-Thomson, founder and principal of Siobhann Studio, is a Sydney-based designer creating multi-faceted, experiential residential and institutional environments since 2015 siobhannstudio.com.au