Coffee with… Bronwyn Forster, HealthAbility and Sulo Colombage, Carrington Health


Bronwyn Forster                            Sulo Colombage


Bronwyn Forster,
Engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, HealthAbility

Bronwyn Forster, November 2019

This drawing represents the responses to the Coffee with… questionnaire. The tools I currently use in my System Thinking practices include: Rich Pictures, Narrative, Visual Thinking, Developmental Evaluation and planning for unintended outcomes- engaging with the complex.

Describe your work/role at HealthAbility?
Connecting people and places to each other and to the values of the First Nations Peoples, their land, history and culture.

What excites and motivates you in your role?
Creating partnerships through meaningful interactions where people are heard and understood.

What is most challenging about your work?
Passing on the key messages of Gender Equity to Communities against a tide of inherent cultural and social inequities.

Do you work with volunteers? If so, can you describe how volunteers add value to your work?
Yes. Volunteers generally come with a genuine interest, passion and integrity for contributing to services and programs providing positive support. I appreciate the generosity of time given and the diversity of knowledge, skills and learnings which come from sharing experiences.

What strengths do you see in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities?
The “Voice of Community” is in the driver’s seat.
Projects which Strengthen Women and Young Warriors.
For the Wurundjeri people the awakening of Woiwurrung language from sleep.
Role models as “Deep Listeners”.
Capacity to create opportunities for young leaders which acknowledge their strength and knowledge, allowing them to “shine”.
Rituals of honour for those passing into the Dreaming.
Celebration and Acknowledgement of Elders.
Ability to see “the big picture”.

Where do you recommend locally for Coffee/ Lunch/ People Watching/Lunchtime Exercise
Nancy’s of the Valley, Wombats Chai Organic Café & Café Zen Den
For walking: ”The Labyrinth” in Healesville or walking by Birrarrung near its source in Warburton or anywhere along it’s flow.

If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?
The logging of forests – the source of life.

If you weren’t working at Healthability right now, what would you be doing?
Swimming in the sea, singing or listening to live World music, gorging on gorges, creating with wool or pens and paper.


Sulo Colombage,
Gender Equality Officer, Carrington Health

Describe your work/role at Carrington Health?
I work as the Gender Equality Officer with my health promotion team members at our Box Hill and Eltham sites. My role involves working in the prevention of violence against women space in partnership with Eastern and Northern Regional members of Melbourne.  At Box Hill we work closely with the Whitehorse community and the TFER partnership led by Women’s Health East. My role involves working on internal gender equality policies and actions as well as working with the community around prevention of violence against women and gender equality. Part of this work involves working with the Baby Makes 3 program run by Carrington Health as a prevention of family violence initiative for first time parents.

What excites and motivates you in your role?
I am always passionate about women’s rights issues and gender equality and keep on learning through the work I do. The work I get to do in this space is always challenging and motivating.  My amazing team and managers that I work with always motivate me and inspire me to work more in this space.

What is most challenging about your work?
When working in the prevention sector it is hard to see immediate changes from the work you are doing at that moment. So sometimes it is challenging when you step in to a new area of work expecting change to happen and sometimes you may not even be there to see that change taking place because it can take a long time. But from the past experiences and the past work that has happened in this space we also know that positive change will eventually take place.

What strengths do you see in the Inner East PVAW community and TFER partnership?
I believe the Inner East PVAW community is closely connected through its networks and there is immense trust within the TFER partnership. You can see real passion and commitment from everybody working in the prevention of violence against women space and everybody is happy to share their learnings and challenges. For me it is such a privilege to work with this community.

Where do you recommend in Box Hill for Coffee/ Lunch/ People Watching/Lunchtime Exercise?
If you love eating dumplings I recommend “Colourful Dumplings” eatery. It is next to Carrington Health on the same side of the road. I always love to do a quick walk through the Box Hill Shopping centre and around its small streets.

If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?
I would stop violence against women and girls around the world.

If you weren’t working at Carrington Health right now, what would you be doing?
I would be working in a similar role in gender equality and/or prevention of violence against women. I can’t imagine myself not working or doing something else that does not involve working with women and communities.


We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

Sign up to IEPCP E-News