Our College motto, Ad Altiora, reminds us of the importance of striving ever higher. There is a long tradition of Our Lady’s College women who live this virtue.
Following are six outstanding women, from the numerous who have been part of this wonderful community, over the past 53 years. These women have succeeded in theatre, sporting arenas, business, the medical world and in the legal system. The breadth of talent and careers within our past pupils’ community is truly amazing. We join in celebrating their tenacity, perseverance and commitment.
The Western Bulldogs created history, when the Club’s AFLW team faced the Fremantle Dockers at Victoria University Whitten Oval in the opening round of the 2017 AFL Women’s season. Captaining this inaugural game for the Western Bulldogs was a female football pioneer, Katie Brennan, 2009 graduate of Our Lady’s College.
Kylie Goeldner was a dedicated and influential committee leader whilst attending Our Lady’s College, working on many social justice and community service projects. After graduating, she trained with the Australian Youth Ballet Company, has worked as a professional performer in productions nationally and internationally and choreographed dance productions for some of the biggest corporate events in Australia. Kylie is currently teaching at the Royal Academy of Dance.
Following her graduation from Our Lady’s College, Professor Maree Smith studied a Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree at the University of Queensland and then completed postdoctoral training in clinical pharmacology in the Dept of Medicine on the Herston Campus of UQ. She began lecturing in 1989 and was promoted through the academic ranks to Professor in 2004. Professor Maree Smith is the inventor of the pain relief medication for chronically ill patients – EMA401. In 2016, she was the recipient of the prestigious Clunies Ross Science Award.
Winner of the first season of the US reality show “Project Runway”, is the highly creative Our Lady’s College graduate, Juli Grbac. Juli is a now an acclaimed fashion designer who famously designed the contemporary and elegant uniforms worn by Virgin Australia Staff. A tenacious woman, Juli worked for various companies, including luxury Brisbane brand Easton and Pearson, before starting her own label in 2002. Her designs have been applauded during L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Week.
Past College Captain and teacher at Our Lady’s College, is the current Executive Director of Brisbane Catholic Education, Ms Pam Betts. With an abundance of professional achievements, Pam remembers her years at Our Lady’s affectionately. She said, “I have many fond memories of my time at Our Lady’s College … My fondest memory however, is the great sense of community that was always evident – the support and encouragement from staff and the friendships forged. My interest in the College has remained over all these years and my affection for my old school is still evident in the gratitude I have for the education I was afforded at Our Lady’s.”
Following a 12 year career as a workplace relations lawyer, where she attained a partnership in a leading Qld firm, McCullough Robertson, Helen Davis joined Suncorp as a Human Resources Business Partner in 2008 where she is now the Executive General Manager Human Resources, Change & Communications. Helen is responsible for shaping and enhancing the people capability and culture in the bank. She has been a volunteer at the Arts Law Centre of QLD for over a decade and a member of the Lifeline Brisbane Board.
Associate Professor Melissa Penny studied applied mathematics at QUT in Brisbane. After obtaining her PhD she moved to Switzerland to undertake research in malaria and public health. She is currently based at the Swiss Tropical & Public Health Institute at the University of Basel in Switzerland, and has recently been awarded a professorship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. This will allow her to research the development of new medicines and vaccines using mathematical modelling.
After graduating as College Captain, Joanne Blanchfield completed a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Queensland. She then went on to complete her Honours and PhD in Organic Chemistry moving to the USA to take up a postdoctoral research position at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. Since returning to Australia, she has worked at the Australian National University in Canberra and is now an Associate Professor and head of Teaching and Learning in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland. She is head of an active research laboratory which includes the identification of active chemicals from herbal extracts and the development of safer vaccines. Joanne's connection with the College continues today in her role as President of the Our Lady's College Past Pupils Association.