About Us

The Australian Doula College (ADC) is an integrated organisation working in collaboration with Preparing the Way, providing education, support and continuity of care for Birth and End of Life Doulas and anyone needing support 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.

Call us on 02 8036 5580

About our founder

Renee Adair

Founder of Australian Doula College

Renee Adair

Renee Adair is the founder and principal educator of the Australian Doula College, The Groundwork Program and our 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 began studying and working as a Doula, Childbirth and Early Parenting Educator and Birth Counsellor.

For three and half years Renee then worked for the Australian Red Cross at their young women’s health program/refuge and set up both the outreach and childbirth and early parenting education programs for that service. Renee has spoken on a variety of Radio programmes on the subject of both birth and end of life Doula support. She also presents at conferences and seminars and is currently sitting on the Consumer Advisory Board of the Australian College of Midwives.  Renee has been a regular contributor in pregnancy and parenting publications and websites over the years and under the ADC banner created the first and only Doula research in Australia which was published in the Journal of Perinatal Education. In her career she has supported hundreds of women, their partners and families through pregnancy, birth and the early parenting phase. 

In recent years Renee has moved to change the way we think about Doula support and helped launch Preparing the Way – End of Life Doula Training, in collaboration with its founder Helen Callanan which has created the space for the wider community to see Doulas as a support though both the first and last breath and any one of many lifes transitions in between.

Renee has trained thousands of doulas since 2004 and continues to doula for both birth, post natal and end of life. Renee lives happily on the south coast of New South Wales with her beloved family and pets. 

“I am passionate about the training we offer, the services we offer families and also about sharing the benefits of doula support for the incoming and outgoing to other health professionals.”

The 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. 

Ashleigh Dodd

Groundwork Program Manager

Ashleigh begun 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 to achieve what is important to them.

This stemmed into support worker roles through to management of state wide organisations striving to empower and support individuals on their journey.Throughout this work Ashleigh has complemented experience with studied obtaining degrees in Community Services, Management, Business and is a qualified Trainer and Assessor.Ashleigh’s passion really begun to focus on women and babies as she embraced her own journey to start her family.

Ashleigh has newly completed her Doula qualification and has ecstatically empowered women to have the best birthing experience possible. Ashleigh will be furthering her studies by undertaking the Cert IV in Doula Support Services and Child Birth Educators training. Ashleigh passionately believes families have the right to be informed, educated, supported and empowered to pave the way of their own journey. Ashleigh is dedicated to supporting people to strive for what is most important to them. 

Ashleigh is based in Victoria keeping busy whilst raising her young babes with her loving Hubby!

Laura Ventura

Brisbane Educator

Laura Ventura (QLD)

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 transitioned 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.

Jacki Hayward

Correspondence Coordinator

Jackie Haywood

Jacki has had an interest in pregnancy and birth since the conception of her first child. She has seen childbirth through the 80’s, 90’s and now the honoured. Jacki has seen childbirth shift and change and when the opportunity to become a doula arose in 2007 wit 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.

Kelly Pyne

Cert IV coordinator

Kelly’s passion surrounding all things birth began at a very early age and she has always had an interest in pregnancy, birth and baby related topics. After the birth of her first child she realised there was an important aspect of her pregnancy and birth that was missing.
Kelly then started researching in a hope to fill this void for future pregnancies. This is when she first heard of the Australian Doula College and made it her goal to follow her heart’s calling and train to become a doula so she could help support other families through their own journeys into parenthood. Kelly joined the ADC team in 2014 and has completed her Cert IV in Doula Support Services and Child Birth Educators training through the Australian Doula College.

She believes that when parents are supported and informed, they become empowered to make confident choices during pregnancy, birth and parenting. It is important to her that parents are able to take control of their experience and that they are given options and the time to make important decisions whenever possible. In her experience this enables parents to feel content with their births, no matter how their birth journey unfolds, because they have been given full autonomy.Kelly lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW with her supportive husband and 6 gorgeous children.

Gaby Rodgers

Sydney Educator 

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.

Alice Gower

Administration

Alice is new to the doula world. After many years working as a retail manager , she jumped  at the opportunity to join the ADC team. She lives on the beautiful south coast with her husband and dog , and although she  not a doula herself she is grateful to work and surround herself with such a great community of women ! She joins us as our administration assistant .

 

Hellen Callanan

Founder of Preparing The Way

Hellen Callanan

Helen’s many years working with people in both public and private palliative/hospice situations have provided Helen a unique perspective and experience into the precious journey that life is whether at the beginning or end of life.

Initially practicing in Chinese Medicine & body work along with almost 30 years as a professional Reiki II practitioner and 20 years teaching Reiki has given Helen extensive experience and insight into all aspects of health and healing, including end-of-life, mental/emotional and spiritual development.

Additional training through Death Midwifery, working in hospitals, extensive volunteering in acute/chronic care and eastern practices give Helen a very practical and down to earth approach to her work.