Professor Gibbs is Director of the Child and Community Wellbeing Program, in Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. She is also Lead of Community Resilience in the Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety. She leads public health research in: 1) disaster recovery and resilience; and 2) child health and wellbeing. She has extensive experience leading mixed method, multidisciplinary studies with cross-sectoral partners and high impact outcomes. She has published over 130 academic peer reviewed papers as well as translating those findings into practical guides for partner agencies and wider audiences. Her disaster research findings have been highly influential in guiding policy and practice across Australia and internationally.
Sam is a Traditional Owner of the Bindal Nation in Townsville. His ancestry is both Aboriginal (Birrigubba Nation) and Torres Strait Islander (Mauar Island).
He has worked with the Red Cross since 2014 in a variety of roles, including leading recovery for the 2019 monsoon and flooding event within Townsville and the North West Queensland region, and is a member of the Australian Red Cross First Nations Recovery Group. Sam’s current role is the North Queensland Emergency Services Regional Coordinator where he assist various regions in the disaster preparedness, response and recovery space.
Being a member of the Red Cross First Nations Recovery Group has enabled Sam to provide a cultural lense and influence ‘change’ in mindset, values and organisational practice internally and externally across the Emergency Services sector.
Wendy is the National Recovery and Resilience Agency Project Lead for the Regional Recovery Exercising Program. She is a former NSW government senior executive responsible for community recovery, disaster welfare and resilience programs. She has provided strategic leadership and recovery coordination in disasters over the last 15 years. In the 2019 – 2020 Black Summer Bushfires, Wendy led community recovery teams who worked alongside recovery committees and councils in 33 local government areas. She established the NSW Community Recovery Officer Program and the Bushfire Recovery Support Services Program, with services in 25 locations across NSW. Other major disasters where Wendy had a lead recovery role include the Tathra Bushfires 2018, Daly River Floods Northern Territory 2016, Lindt Cafe Siege 2014 and Hunter/Newcastle “Pasha Bulka” Storms 2007.
A recognised leader in disaster resilience, Wendy established the NSW Community Resilience Innovation Program, designed to resource local grass roots community disaster resilience initiatives. Wendy also established “Get Ready NSW”, an all-hazards community preparedness initiative that provides resources to councils, community services and businesses.
Wendy is a Winston Churchill Fellow, researching disaster recovery and resilience programs internationally. This experience continues to inform her practice and passion in working with disaster affected communities.
Leanne is currently leading the development of a Resilience Blueprint for the Canberra Region Joint Organisations representing 11 local government areas across South Eastern NSW. This work is looking to support communities, Councils and agencies work together to identify and navigate how we can embed resilience thinking into processes and decisions and provide more control over the future. The Blueprint provides the architecture to create change for a more resilient and climate-ready future. Until mid 2021 Leanne was the General Manager at Bega Valley Shire Council leading the team in their work in response, relief, recovery by walking with community impacted by multiple, significant disasters from East Coast Lows and storms, through multiple fires, floods and a pandemic. This progressed whilst also operating and providing Council services and building for the future. A clear objective of current focus is building on resilience and looking to embedding planning, preparation, response, recovery and resilience into local government’s forward plans. In 2021 Leanne was awarded a Public Service Medal for her service to local government and leadership in supporting the Council and community through disasters. In 2022 Leanne was awarded the NSW 2021 Minister for Local Government and Minister for Women’s Councillor Lillian Brady OAM Award for her leadership, mentoring and role modelling in local government.
Jenny has post graduate business and management degrees and a Master’s degree in International and Community Development.
She was a member of Permanent Naval Forces for 21 years and holds the rank of Commander. Highlights include a Flag Officer’s commendation for strategic planning and serving in the warships HMAS HOBART and HMAS WESTRALIA. Subsequently, Jenny worked in the Victorian Public Service. In 2003, she was seconded to an AusAID capacity building program in Timor Leste.
On retirement, Jenny moved to Mallacoota where she is an active member of her local SES unit. Following the 2019-20 bushfires, she was elected to the Mallacoota and District Recovery Association Inc. Jenny was the inaugural Deputy Chair and architect of the community led and and endorsed bushfire recovery plan.
In 2021, Jenny was inducted onto the Honour Roll of Victorian Women in the category Leading Through Disaster.