The Australian Doula College

As Australia’s premier Doula training organisation, we proudly offer a variety of trainings and on going support for all Doulas, wherever they are drawn to work. That work transpires into education, support and continuity of care for individuals and families through any one of life’s many transitions. Through our network of qualified and experienced educators, doulas and other practitioners, we can offer a variety of services, training and information programs and support.

At the ADC we believe that the first and last breath are the biggest life transitions you make and that you and those around you deserve to understand your choices and feel supported, ensuring you and your family has the best experience possible.

We provided up to date information in a relaxed and caring environment over several teaching spaces around the Country, offering a broad range of groups, classes and sessions. We also can offer some sessions, support and treatments in your home or office, if you would prefer.

We want to share our experience with you so that you can be better equipped to make informed decisions that are right for you and your family. At the ADC we take a holistic approach to life’s transitions, believing if you have a better understanding of your options and ‘what to expect’ you can have a more positive experience. We will support and empower you on your journey, however that journey unfolds for you.

"Renee, you & your team at the College are absolutely amazing! You are an inspiration to me & the work you do in support of women is sacred!"

Maria Sifonios Stergiou

Meet Our Team

Our team is made up of a group of dynamic, diverse, positive and passionate women. We are all trained, certified educators and doulas and all of us hold a variety of other qualifications. Collectively we have over 100 years of experience! We work together to enhance your experience with the Australian Doula College.

Renee Adair

Founder and Director of The Australian Doula College

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Renee Adair is the founder and director of the Australian Doula College, the Groundwork Program and the ADC’s charity-arm Doula Heart Network. She first began working with women and babies in 1994 as a massage and Aromatherapist and Reiki Practitioner and in 1998 after the home births of her two biological children she began studying and working as a Doula and Childbirth and Early Parenting Educator. 

Renee then worked for the Australian Red Cross at a young women’s health program/refuge in Sydney’s East, setting up both the outreach and childbirth and early parenting education programs for that service. 

Working In collaboration, Renee helped produce the first research on Doulas in Australia which was published in the Journal of Perinatal Education in 2013. She has spoken on a variety of radio programmes, at conferences and seminars and is a regular contributor for a range of publications, websites and podcasts. 

Renee has worked to change the way we think about Doula support launching an End of Life Doula Training for the College in 2021 with a view for the wider community to see Doula support though a broader lens, supporting all major life transitions, not just in the birthing space. 

In 2019 Renee proudly partnered with Charles Darwin University to co facilitate Accredited Doula training for Indigenous women in the remote First Nations community of Galiwin’ku. She now sits on the official Galiwin’ku steering committee to restore Birthing on Country. Renee has sat on the Consumer Advisory Board of the Australian College of Midwives, trained thousands of Doulas and supported hundreds of women, their partners and families through pregnancy, birth, early parenting and end of life over the course of her career. 

A fierce advocate for human rights, the proud mother of three adult children and three grandkids, blends her life’s work, spending downtime with her family, friends and fur babies. 

Ashleigh Dodd

CEO

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Ashleigh began her career volunteering in America, working with people who required support from all walks of life including disabilities, mental health, youth, dependencies, criminal justice, aged care, child protection and women in crisis. Ashleigh has been working in the Community Services Sector since 2005, supporting people through life’s transitions ever since.

 

Throughout this work Ashleigh has complemented her experience by obtaining degrees in Social Work, Community Services, Management, Welfare, Business and is a qualified Trainer and Assessor. Ashleigh’s passion really begun to focus on women as she embraced her own journey to start her family, facing hurdles she never knew existed which led to her burning passion being ignited deep within.  

Since completing her Doula qualifications Ashleigh firmly believes and educates anybody who will listen, that families have the right to be informed, knowledgeable, validated and supported to pave the way of their own journey. Ashleigh is dedicated to supporting people to strive for what is most important to them in all aspects of life from first breath to last breath in her own uniquely fierce badass way. 

Ashleigh’s experience and love for business paired with a mission to achieve total world domination finds her leading our team under the wing of our founding director as our CEO, based in Victoria keeping busy raising her young babies loving and appreciating every second of life!

Bronwyn Dunlop

Events Coordinator

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Bronwyn brings with her a wealth of experience polished over 15 years of behind the scenes action, scheduling and coordinating a variety of television productions across New Zealand, UK, Europe and Australia.

Bronwyn lives in Melbourne with her family.  When she’s not being her best doula self, she’s loving spending time with family and friends and both playing & coaching field hockey.

The birth of Bronwyn’s first child didn’t go as expected. This triggered something inside of her as she begun educating herself and researching all things labour and birth. As her family grew, so did her passion. Bronwyn felt her calling to work in this sacred space - honouring women and their families as they go through the amazing journey of pregnancy and birth.

After following her heart, Bronwyn is now a fully certified ADC doula. Bronwyn is passionate about empowering women and their families through emotional and physical support and sharing evidence-based information. 

Her personal message to share is; “The ADC completely changed my life and I’m so excited and proud to be part of this team that is changing the world for so many others”

Erika Rivera

Doula Services Support

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Erika joined the ADC team mid 2020 as our Administration Coordinator.  Erika now has the role of Doula Services Support and has been an ADC Birth and Post Natal Doula for over 3 years an is a valuable member of the Groundwork Program. 

 

Erika comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience from her long career in the aviation industry, where she held varying positions from flight attendant and customer service officer to admin and crew resource officer. 

You will find Erika working during the day and then often heading straight to a Groundwork shift where she supports families in need, often overnight. Erika brings her amazing customer service skills and attention to detail to all aspects of her ADC job roles. 

 

Erika is at the beginning of her doula-ing career and has big hopes and dreams to continue helping mums from all walks of life, rock their birth and early parenting journey. 

Erika lives in the Cronulla area of Sydney with her two sons.

 

Jacki Haywood

Lead Educator

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Jacki began working with pregnant women as a volunteer for ‘Pregnancy Support’ in the 1980’s. As her family grew so did her belief that support through pregnancy, birth and beyond was imperative to informed choice, mental health and parenting with purpose. 

 

When Jacki discovered the world of Doulas and their role in providing education as well as physical and emotional support to pregnant women and their families she knew she has found her calling. Jacki signed up to complete her Doula training and after supporting several clients through their births decided that she wanted to further her ability to teach and undertook the ‘Childbirth Educators Course’ offered by the Australian Doula College (ADC). The completion of this course saw Jacki being offered the role of face to face educator in the Sydney branch of the ADC.

 

In 2017 Jacki completed her Diploma of Nursing which brought further awareness to her role as educator as she gained experience of working within the hospital system and all this implied for birthing women. 

 

Jacki is currently the Lead Educator at the ADC with more than 12 years experience of teaching both face to face and via distance education. She lives in Brisbane with her super supportive husband and 4 of her 8 children and feels blessed to work within an industry that nurtures, nourishes and supports.

 

Gaby Rodgers

Educator

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When a friend asked Gaby to be a support person for her and her husband for their first child’s birth in 1991 her passion was ignited. Gaby has five beautiful children and because all her births were so different (hospital, medicated and natural) she feels that she can offer a lot to expectant mothers and their partner with her patience, flexibility, guidance and full individual attention.

Gaby is passionate about helping, nurturing, educating and guiding women in birth so that they can have the birth THEY want. Providing enough information to the expecting mum and their partner so that they can make informed choices is central to Gaby’s philosophy on childbirth. She believes when you are fully informed you can take a more active role in the decision-making regarding the birth of your child.

Gaby studied to be a Doula with Birth Central in 2004 and qualified as a certified Doula in 2005. She then studied to become a Childbirth Educator and Postnatal Doula with the Australian Doula College in 2006 and is now teaching at the College in Sydney.

Colleen Brun

Educator

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Colleen started her career as a Childbirth and Parenting Educator back in 1994 after the birth of her third child, studying under Marie Burrows at Birthing Rites Australia. It is here that she met Renee, who came through one of Colleen’s classes during her first pregnancy.

Not long after graduating from Birthing Rites Colleen was employed at the Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney where she worked for many years as an Educator and Assistant to the Coordinator of the Health Education Department.

During her time there Colleen initiated and facilitated a number of programs, sat on committees as a consumer advocate and became very involved with The Post Natal Depression Support Network, as a counsellor and as a facilitator for Post Natal Depression Support groups, both at the RHW and in the Sutherland Shire.

After more than a dozen years facilitating groups and attending births as a support person Colleen took a totally different path and studied to become an Interior Designer.

8 years ago, she and her husband packed up and moved to Bangkok, where they lived and worked for almost 5 years. 

Colleen lives in Sydney with her husband, her three grown sons are also close by with their amazing partners and has recently become a grandmother.

Laura Ventura

Educator & End of Life Liaison

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Laura has always had a passion for educating and supporting women in all aspects of their lives but specifically fertility and pregnancy support, and has done so as a Naturopath and Homeopath and Lecturer since 2000.

 

After attending the ADC retreat in 2013 she went on to complete her Cert IV in Doula Support Services followed by the ChildBirth Educator qualification. This allowed her to transition into the role she didn’t realise she had been searching for all along. This journey has also led her to End of Life Doula training, which she completed with Helen Callanan in 2016. Laura now combines her passion as an educator as a member of the Brisbane team, and of the End of Life Doula Team, and continues to support individual clients from Birth to End of Life.

 

Laura says her journey can only be described as heart-warming and humbling… “When I am asked about supporting birth and death, I like to use the quote ‘same same different…One is breathing in and one is breathing out…One enters the world and one exits…’ The same support, information, love, and holding the space is required, and both are sacred and precious times in our lives that we all must travel through. It is an honour to give support and bear witness in such sacred moments… Every transition in life teaches us that love, compassion and understanding is the key….” 

 

Laura lives in Brisbane with her husband, their amazing boys and dog Kaley.

Liz Di Qual

End Of Life Doula Liaison

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Life changing events such as pregnancy, a new baby, a serious illness, divorce or approaching your end of life are all major life transitions. These times can cause us to re-examine ourselves and our present state of being, making it challenging to navigate all that is happening around us.

 

A doula during these times, can help you ensure continuity of care, and give you a sounding board to help you navigate, find your voice, feel empowered and bring comfort to you and those closest to you. No matter what road you find yourself on.

 

I have completed my training as an End of Life doula and Birth and post-natal doula.  I provide heartfelt emotional and practical hands on support to all my clients ensuring that their individual needs are met . 

 

I also have a role at the Australian Doula College as their End of Life doula, providing necessary support to other doulas  and  helping the college stay up  to date with current information, so we can support our community in the best way.

 

I approach my doula role in the same way that I approach all facets of my life, by bringing a strong sense of commitment, compassion, good humour, and informed knowledge.

 

Kylee Shepherd

Administration and Student Liaison

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As a cultural exchange student in high school, Kylee learnt that being outside of your comfort zone can be very…uncomfortable yet incredibly powerful. It can build you from the inside out and create resilience as well as a thirst for knowledge. About people, places, history and culture, all of which play more of a role in childbirth than you may imagine. She’s been a people person ever since and an avid traveller.

 

Kylee started in childcare and hospitality, and then worked overseas as a nanny and mothercraft nurse in her 20s. Returning to Australia after a family tragedy, she training as an interior decorator before finding her way into decorator retail. Over the next 16 years she worked her way up to executive assistant at the corporate head office (which was almost all female!) and during the pandemic, followed her heart and came full circle; training as a doula with the College and returned to working with mothers and babies.

 

She loves talking to women about where they’ve come from and their choices in the birth of their baby. Kylee enjoys sharing knowledge and supporting women to know what they want and to help empower them to get there. 

 

Merging her administration skills with her calling to support birthing families, Kylee joins the Australian Doula College staff in 2022 and is looking forward to talking to future students about the College, the courses and what a difference they can make as a doula in a world that sorely needs them, while continuing to support mamas and families bringing their babies Earthside.