WIDA 2021 – Operations Finalists
The Women in Defense Awards 2021 will (finally!) take place on February 01 after several postponements. The event will be held virtually due to the current public health situation in Eastern Australia.
Ahead of the event, we’re proud to present our readers with the incredible finalists in nine categories. Today we focus on the finalists in operations.
Australian Army Corporal Kristie Connell
Kristie’s accomplishments as a part-time ADF member in 2020 present her as a clear role model. Kristie deployed on Operation Bushfire Assist as a Combat Medic in support of the Engineer Regiment Task Force. Kristie provided medical support to ADF members, international military personnel and civilians. Kristie’s most notable achievement was the short-notice professional assistance she provided to a woman in labor who was awaiting paramedic support and ambulance transport. She also provided immediate medical support to an Indonesian soldier who had a heart emergency. Because of her high military ethics and defense values, she was chosen as a spokesperson with Defense Reserve employers. When not in uniform, Kristie is an experienced teacher and registered nurse in the Coffs Harbor Intensive Care Unit.
Karla Duroy of BGIS
In 2019, Karla took on the role of Property Maintenance Operations Services (EMOS) Manager for the Sydney Metro Core Service Area – the first woman to hold this position at BGIS. In 2020, Karla completed an impressive $4.4 million project under a government stimulus package – the highest achievement of work among her peers, which included the engagement of 20 new SMEs, including an Aboriginal business, who continue to provide services to BGIS. As the Indigenous Lead of BGIS’ Indigenous Engagement Advocacy Sub-Committee, Karla passionately leads engagement initiatives and activities that make a difference for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
Cathy Sergi of Serco ADF Health Services Contract
Cathy is Regional Operations Manager, Northern New South Wales for Serco, ADF Health Services. Cathy’s commitment, focus and delivery has enabled Serco to achieve the highest level of service in her regions and a fill rate of over 98% of required clinical hours, month after month throughout 2020. This result means that ADF members continued to receive a high standard of medical care. Cathy, with her excellent communication and dedication, coordinated the clinical response teams to activate and co-created solutions with the ADF and Bupa teams. Without it, vaccination clinics, medical checkups and examinations would have been delayed. For her work, Cathy received a Commendation from the Commander of Northern NSW JHU.
Corporal Michelle Volkers of the Royal Australian Air Force
Michelle is a member of the Air Mobility Group – the Force Element airlift, air-to-air refueling and VIP aircraft group of the Air Force. She is responsible for identifying and coordinating the contribution of AMG personnel to operations and exercises. In 2020, she became responsible for single-handedly managing the national and international deployment coordination of all Air Mobility Group personnel, a role normally performed by three members of significant experience and seniority. Michelle’s initiative, responsiveness and dedication has enabled the Air Force to keep pace with rapidly changing requirements to meet ADF requests for assistance across Australia.
Master Electrician Ci-anna Smith of the Royal Australian Navy
As Weapons Systems Supervisors of HMAS Stuart in 2020, Ci-anna was responsible for all aspects of the operational effectiveness of the entire onboard weapon suite. It has ensured exceptional system availability across the full spectrum of naval operations and has been central to all of the ship’s successes. For much of 2020, she was also the leader of the Standing Sea Fire and Emergency Party ships and excelled in this complex leadership role. It has also taken the initiative to offer sailors who have not received technical training the opportunity to acquire practical experience of the trade.
Commander Andrea Argirides of Headquarters Joint Operations Command
Andrea is a combat archaeologist and cultural heritage expert with the Intelligence Branch of Headquarters Joint Operations Command (HQJOC). She is currently deployed to Iraq as the Gender Advisor for Combined Joint Ventures and Strategy, Operation Inherent Resolve. In 2020, as a senior expert on the protection of cultural property, she provided detailed information and advice regarding the implications for operations, should Australia accede to the Additional Protocols to the Hague Conventions Covering Armed Conflict non-international. His leadership and determination mean that the protection of cultural property now influences the planning and conduct of Australian Defense Force operations, actions and activities.
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