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.
Founder and Director of The Australia Doula College
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 birth of her two children 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 moved to change the way we think about Doula support, helping launch Preparing the Way with its founder Helen Callanan some years ago, with a view to create the space 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 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 and the rights of all sentient beings, Renee blends her life’s work, spending downtime with her family, friends and fur babies.
Groundwork Program Manager and Educator
Ashleigh began her career volunteering in the USA, working with people who required support from all walks of life including disabilities, mental health, youth, AOD 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.
Beginning her career in a number of support worker roles through to management of state wide organisations always striving to empower and support individuals on their journey. Throughout this work Ashleigh has complemented her experience by obtaining degrees in Community Services, Management, Welfare, Business and is a qualified Trainer and Assessor. Ashleigh’s passion really begun to focus on women and babies whilst working in Child Protection and as she embraced her own journey to start her family, facing hurdles she never knew existed!
Ashleigh’s true devotion continues to be empowering families to have the best birthing experience possible. Ashleigh has furthered her Doula qualification by undertaking the Cert IV in Doula Support Services , Child Birth Educators training and End of Life. Ashleigh firmly believes families have the right to be informed, educated, 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.
Ashleigh is based in Victoria keeping busy raising her young babes, working and juggling doula life, loving and appreciating every second.
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 completed her Cert IV in Doula Support Services followed by the Child Birth 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 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 and beautiful son and step son.
Correspondence Coordinator and Brisbane Educator
Jacki has had an interest in pregnancy and birth since the conception of her first child. She has seen childbirth through the 80’s to now.
Jacki has seen childbirth shift and change and when the opportunity to become a doula arose in 2007 with the ADC Jacki seized it with an open heart. This journey led her to become an early parenting and childbirth educator with the ADC. The role of educating women struck a cord with Jacki and has been her passion for a few years now.
Jacki attended the ADC retreat in 2014 where she was introduced to the idea of doulas for the dying by Helen Callanan. The premise that birth and death are very closely related resonated strongly with Jacki. While Jacki continues with her passion of providing education through the Brisbane arm of the ADC as well as supporting individual clients on their pregnancy and birth journeys, Jacki has decided to pursue her interest in palliative care.
Jacki is now studying with the Mater hospital to become an Enrolled nurse with the end goal to marry all of her other skills and work in palliative care. Birth and death….same, same….only different.
Doula Services Manager
Paulette comes to us with a big heart, a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a Social Worker and qualified Doula who trained with us at the ADC. She has over 15 years of experience working with the highly vulnerable, traumatised and marginalised people in Melbourne, Vic. Paulette works from a trauma informed lens and way of practice and has gained this knowledge from her time working within Federal Govt, NGO’s and within the Health System, all of which have enriched her with a wide scope of understanding the needs of both the systems and people of society and everything in between.
Her most recent roles have been working with survivors of torture particularly refugees and asylum seekers at an NGO in Melbourne, and also vulnerable women during their perinatal periods of their lives (before, during and after birth) within a major Health system.
Paulette is a qualified and trained birth and post partum doula, massage therapist and Counsellor who is based in South East Melbourne. She is a passionate mama of 6 children, two biological children ( a wise teenage girl, and an old soul of a ten year old boy) , a proud step mum of two teenage boys who are navigating the world amazingly and two little ginger rescue cats named Rufus and Biggie Smalls.
Paulette is an amazing addition to the ADC team, particularly as she has first hand experience coming through the college as a student and has a sound understanding of all of the raw emotions, challenges, rewards and the individual transformations that come with the learning.
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.
Carina is married to an Australian Army soldier and has lived all over Australia. She became a registered Psychologist in 2003. In her capacity as a Psychologist she worked with many diverse individuals and cultures. These included indigenous people in the Northern Territory and NSW, inmates, geriatric and dementia clients, military personnel of all sevices and ranks and military families. She also worked with people injured at work in a rehabilitation capacity. Following the births of her three children, Carina developed a passion for birth, driven by the desire to help other military wives birth when their partners were deployed.
Carina studied her Certificate IV in Doula Studies through the Australian Doula College in 2014. She then continued her studies and completed her Certificate in Childbrith Education, develping her own 6 Part Childbirth Education Course.
Carina had the amazing opportunity to live in South Korea in 2016 and 2017, and practiced as a doula in this country. It opened her eyes to a wide range of practices, that she had not experienced before in Australia.
Carina has assited many couples on their journey to parenthood! She has been present at a variety of births, including vaginal, VBAC and caeseran. She has been privledged to be present in the operating theatre of one of her clients, when her husband was denied access. And sadly, but importantly, Carina has had experience in assisting a mother through her difficult journey of a late term miscarriage/stillbirth.
Carina is based in the north-western suburbs of Perth, WA. In her spare time she volunteer’s at the local dog shelter, enjoys the great outdoors and involves herself with Scout Australia activities!
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.
7 years ago she and her husband packed up and moved to Bangkok, where they lived and worked for almost 5 years. In early 2020 Colleen joined Renee and the ADC team as Events Coordinator.
Colleen lives in Sydney with her husband, their three grown sons are close by with their amazing partners and they have just welcomed a gorgeous baby boy into the family.
Erika joined the ADC team mid 2020 as our Administration Coordinator. Erika has been an ADC Birth and Post Natal Doula for over 2 years as well as a valuable member of the Groundwork Program and comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
Prior to joining the team Erika’s career was 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 at head office and then often heading straight to a Groundwork shift where she supports families in need, often overnight. Recently appointed as the NSW Groundwork Program Team Leader, 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 but has big hopes and dreams to help 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, Tyren and Xavier.
Liz Di Qual
End Of Life Doula Liaison
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.