Some words from the SAHMRI Leadership
Mr Raymond Spencer
As South Australia adjusts to the loss of the auto-industry, we are determined to build resilience in our population. The resilience skills not only protect against mental illness, but also build individuals' capacity to innovate, enter new employment and to succeed in a dynamic economic environment.
Professor Steve Wesselingh
Having the Centre for Wellbeing and Resilience inside the Mind and Brain theme at South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute made sense to me. The mission of SAHMRI is to transform research into health. The Wellbeing and Resilience Centre is implementing a strategy to take the latest research in positive psychology to the broad community in a bold public health approach to building positive mental health. The opportunities to generate new research are very exciting.
Gabrielle Kelly, Director
Gabrielle Kelly is the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre's inaugural Director. Film-maker, digital media executive, social entrepreneur and strategist, she has been working on human behaviour and systems change in a range of settings.
She was Senior Vice President of the New York-based digital start up Health Accord, where she developed health and wellbeing products to self-directed health consumers, before being appointed as Director of the ground-breaking Adelaide Thinkers in Residence program. The Adelaide Thinkers Program was an internationally respected innovation incubator, which resulted in significant advances in city design, advanced manufacturing, early childhood education, and positive psychology within South Australia.
Gabrielle's work at 'Thinkers' laid the groundwork for what was to become the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre, when she commissioned and led the Professor Martin Seligman residency in South Australia, attracting a range of high-profile partners to explore the value of positive psychology in building mental wellbeing and resilience and reducing mental illness at a societal level.
Kim Seow, Projects Lead and Trainer
Kim Seow has over 25 years of experience in the corporate world. With original qualifications as a Chartered Accountant, her global career has enabled her to work in multi-national corporations such as EDS (Australia), as a Manager in the United Kingdom, and most recently with KPMG back in Australia. In these roles she worked on projects that necessitated a comprehensive understanding of client needs within the context of complex business needs. While highly skilled and competent in this field, it is Kim’s adaptive ability that enabled her to apply her skills and competencies in a pragmatic and efficient manner, to meet the identified business requirements, while adhering to dynamic legislative regulations, both domestically and internationally. These responsibilities further equipped Kim with a solid understanding of organisational structures as well as excellent project management skills, including strong communication skills, resilient capacity to handle high pressure situations and a well-honed ability to problem solve, while working as part of a team.
Soon after deciding to change her career path, Kim joined the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre in February 2016, gaining accreditation as a Master Trainer in the Resilience Skills Training Program, in October of 2017. She also became an accredited yoga teacher (Barkan Method Hot Yoga Level 1, 2 and 3), and independently teaches school aged students in the art of yoga. An advocate of continuous learning, Kim is also currently undertaking the training required to gain her qualification as a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Trainer.
In late 2017 she expanded her work with the Centre to include project work, with a specific focus on the education sector. This has offered Kim the opportunity to transfer her accomplished project coordination and management skillset, gained as part of her previous career in the corporate world, to effectively build the wellbeing and resilience of individuals and groups within organisations and communities. Her most recent project has been coordinating the Resilient Leaders project for DECD Principals and Senior School Leaders. Kim is intent on helping build a flourishing community, one community at a time. Her capacity to effectively steward people and projects together with her passion for sharing the resilience skills, for which she is recognised as an accredited master, only serves to turbo-charge the Centre’s combined ability to build wellbeing and resilience, at scale.
Jorja Bentley, Project Coordinator (Business)
Jorja Bentley graduated a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) from the University of South Australia in 2017, with her first class thesis entitled ‘Positive Psychology: Resilience Training and the Measurement of Wellbeing’. Throughout her degree, Jorja spent six months studying at Lancaster University in Northern England focusing on the theories of emotion and attachment, volunteered at an alcohol and other drug unit, where she contributed to the clean needle program, and also worked with vulnerable children at a youth support agency.
Jorja has a strong interest in and passion for communicating the science of positive psychology and wellbeing, and believes that engaging with such practices is the key to truly living your best life. Jorja is grateful to have joined the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre at SAHMRI in early 2018, working as a Project Coordinator (Business).
Joep van Agteren, Research Lead
Mr van Agteren has completed a Master of Science in Psychology at Maastricht University (The Netherlands). He has extensive experience in project management, with some of his early work focusing on the implementation of European human resources research standards within his home university's research policy.
After moving to Adelaide, Mr van Agteren worked as a medical researcher for SA Health and now holds a senior research and project management role for the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre at SAHMRI, and is a Flinders University Affiliate. He is a strong advocate of the use of evidence-based frameworks and behavioural change taxonomies to guide intervention design, which forms the cornerstone of his work on designing new, and improving existing, interventions to increase wellbeing and resilience.
He has expertise and a keen interest in e-health and the scalable role of technology in the future of healthcare, mental health and wellbeing.
Matthew Iasiello, Project Coordinator and PhD Candidate
Matthew Iasiello completed a Bachelor of Health Science at the University of Adelaide in 2011. After a few years establishing a small business, Matthew completed his Honours in Health Science in 2014, working at the Basil Hetzel Institute with the Breast Cancer Research Unit.
Matthew then joined the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) Mind and Brain theme as a research assistant, before joining the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre as a project co-ordinator. Matthew’s work at SAHMRI is primarily focused on the Resilient Futures project, a $1.3 million philanthropically funded initiative to measure and build the wellbeing of 850 disengaged young people from the most disadvantaged areas of South Australia.
Laura Lo, Research Assistant
Laura has completed a Bachelor of Psychology at the University of Adelaide with First Class Honours, and based her thesis around the impact of makeup on human face matching performance. Whilst undertaking her degree, Laura also completed an intensive summer course on Positive Psychology at Maastricht University (The Netherlands). This further intrigued her interests in positive psychology.
Currently, Laura is working as a Research Assistant at the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre and in her free time has extensive interests in travelling and food blogging.
Bek Smith, Lead Trainer
Bek’s life and career have centred around optimising wellbeing – for herself, other individuals and the community as a whole.
Originally a research scientist, Bek’s first line of work was based in psychology, studying ways of improving cross-cultural communication for the Australian armed forces. She then went on to focus on the field of physiology, before moving on to clinical practice via a Graduate Entry Master of Physiotherapy.
Alongside her physiotherapy work, Bek also qualified as a Pilates and fitness instructor, and is sponsored by Reebok in her role as national fitness presenter for Les Mills Asia Pacific. She is a certified Wellness Coach with Wellness Coaching Australia, and a certified Personal Resilience Coach with the HeartMath Institute.
Most recently Bek completed a Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing which led her towards her current role as Lead Trainer for SAHMRI’s Wellbeing and Resilience Centre. She is committed to the vision of developing South Australia as the State of Wellbeing, and she welcomes you into that vision through her belief that every individual can and does make a difference.
Matt Cesaro, Trainer
Matt works with individuals and organisations as a coach and facilitator with The Change Department. Prior to starting his own business, Matt worked in a number of positions in State Government with SA Health for over 21 years in many corporate leadership and change roles focused on organisational and systems reforms. Matt is passionate about developing existing and aspiring leaders, helping them to build confidence, find their passions and increase their impact through leadership development, coaching and mentoring conversations.
Matt is a qualified Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Coach and a practitioner of the Myer Briggs Type Instrument (MBTI). As a trainer with the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre, he brings his corporate experience and his coaching and facilitation to support individuals to create their own powerful connections with the resilience skills that they can apply immediately into their lives.
The Technology Team: Dan Harris, Mike Burgess and Luca Gnezda (L - R)
The WRC Tech Platform is a globally scalable, secure, web portal which will engage deeply with the members of the public, organisations, wellbeing providers and societal groups. It will offer a range of online wellbeing solutions, products and services suitable to different cohorts across the life course. Services will include wellbeing content, training, measurement, analytics and insight, all underpinned by high quality academic research and ethics approved data collection.