Stavroula Zandes, Training Director
Stavroula Zandes, the founder of Health & Wellbeing Training Consultants Pty Ltd is passionate about achieving excellence in areas of health and chronic illness and is committed to helping people make positive behaviour changes to improve their overall wellbeing.
Stav’s particular interest and specialty is smoking cessation. She has a 20 year history with Quit Victoria (Cancer Council Victoria) and has a background in psychology and counselling.
Stav first joined Quit Victoria in 1992 as a Quitline telephone counsellor and soon after, became one of Quit’s Bilingual Educators. She progressed within the organisation and worked in a variety of areas including campaigns and sponsorship. As a Program Coordinator, she was responsible for Quit Victoria’s statewide multicultural and pharmacy programs.
In 2005, Stav was promoted to Training Manager and up until November 2012, was responsible for Quit’s statewide smoking cessation intervention training programs for health and community professionals. She has a strong understanding of smoking behaviour and cessation. She has extensive experience in developing and managing a successful health promotion training program for a wide range of settings, including acute care, multicultural health, mental health, general practice, community health, corrections, and Aboriginal health.
Stav’s approach incorporates adult learning principles and recognises the importance of providing evidence-based training where participants will feel motivated to make positive changes in their daily practice. Her strong managerial and training skills include developing, presenting and evaluating tailored, valuable and motivating sessions. She trained thousands of health and community professionals during her time with Quit and her relationships with these organisations and Educators have inspired her to continue to work and train in this area, an area that she is deeply passionate about – people’s health and wellbeing.
Stav’s 20 years of experience in tobacco control highlights her enthusiasm and empathy in supporting clients along their behaviour change journey; this includes the use of her counselling and motivational interviewing skills to motivate, encourage and support change. This work inspired Stav to start her own training and education business in 2013 with a focus on behaviour change, communication skills and supporting clients to make positive lifestyle changes to improve their health and wellbeing.
In 2015, she also started tutoring on a sessional basis at Monash University in ‘Communicating Health’ and in ‘Health Program Planning’, as part of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. In early 2017, she took on extra responsibilities as the Unit Coordinator and Lecturer, as well as presented and coordinated the subject, ‘Health Promotion in Community and Organisational Settings’ for third years (that year). She is now responsible for the effective delivery and management of some of the undergraduate Health Sciences’ units at Monash University. She also contributes to the professional development activities of Monash University’s Medical Education and Research Quality Unit (MERQ).
As part of her continued work with Monash University, Stav was invited to develop a new unit/subject on ‘Social and Behavioural Sciences in Public Health’ which was presented for the first time in Semester 1 of 2018. This new subject is based on the emerging evidence that lifestyle related behaviours are contributing to chronic ill health globally. It combines the use of evidence based medicine and complimentary therapies to explore prevention, and to address and manage lifestyle related chronic illness. This approach recognises the importance of providing patient-centered care that is solutions-focused, holistic and collaborative. This subject continues to receive very positive feedback from students on its application to the real world.
In 2019, Stav was furthermore invited by Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine) to present to first year medical students on ‘Health Knowledge and Society’ in semester 1. This teaching experience was deeply rewarding and continued in both 2020, and 2021.
As part of Stav’s professional development, in early 2013, she attended the University of Sydney’s ‘Nicotine Addiction and Smoking Cessation’ 3 day course. This program was led by Associate Professor Renée Bittoun from the Smoking Research Program, Brain & Mind Research Institute, and Editor-in Chief of The Journal of Smoking Cessation. She remains a current member of the Australian Association of Smoking Cessation Professionals/Tobacco Treatment Specialists’ Group.
In March 2015, Stav attended the World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi for further professional development, and in late 2019, attended the Oceania Tobacco Control Conference in Sydney, NSW.
In 2019, she became a full member of the Australian Society of Lifestyle Medicine and regularly attends the Lifestyle Medicine Conference for further professional development and learning, including receiving the latest information on behaviour change, lifestyle coaching and counselling skills. She attended the Lifestyle Medicine Conference in NSW in 2017 and in New Zealand in 2019. In 2020, Stav presented on motivational interviewing at the Melbourne Conference. Due to the global pandemic however, her presentation was presented online.
Stav has also taken part in a 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) program. This program was developed by the founder of mindfulness, Prof Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre. The program is evidence-based and forms the template for numerous mindfulness-based programs to help manage stress and other chronic health issues.
Stav is furthermore an accredited Mental Health First Aider, having participated in Australia’s Mental Health First Aid 2 day training program. She has recently completed the half day refresher program in February 2021.
For further information about the work that we do, please take a look at our website and the range of testimonials highlighting our work, and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Genevieve Muir-Smith, Senior Trainer
Gen has a background in Environmental Sciences Education and as an undergraduate secured employment assisting in resource development and delivery of holiday programs in Metropolitan Parks in Melbourne’s East and West. She was also employed as a biology field worker in the Westernport Stream Environs Project.
Gen has since taught for both extended periods and intermittently in secondary colleges in Melbourne’s East and South. Aside from classroom instruction and pastoral roles, she had management experience in her capacity as a Year Level Coordinator. Her duties included liaison with College leadership and parents, and responsibility for pastoral staff at this year level, in addition to policy development and implementation. Throughout her work in secondary education, Gen has maintained a particular interest in student wellbeing and active involvement in environmental education. She has been involved in planning and delivering various programs in relation to Outdoor Education and Life Skills.
Following a break for family duties, Gen commenced sessional work with Quit Victoria in 2001, first as an Educator/facilitator and later as a Trainer.
She conducted smoking cessation seminars and ran group courses in workplaces in Greater Melbourne. She also presented sessions at Quit’s Educator Training in Carlton, trained a range of health professionals in Melbourne and regional Victoria, and presented at conferences. Other duties included delivery of pharmacy training and providing assistance in the development of Quit’s smoking cessation information seminar for the community and workplace setting. She worked concurrently in secondary education.
2008 saw a return to full time science teaching to maintain the ongoing requirements of full status accreditation with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. This opportunity also facilitated access to new developments in learning technologies, professional development and pedagogy.
During this period, Gen maintained her association and accreditation with Quit.
Gen has established strong community links through voluntary representation on local education committees and associations including Playgroups, Preschool and Primary School. She is currently chairing (2012 – 16) the Advisory Board of a secondary college in Melbourne’s South East, where she has served since 2007, assisting in the effective governance of the college and its strategic direction.
Gen has a deep passion for and commitment to supporting and encouraging positive behaviour change amongst the community to improve the health and wellbeing of all individuals, including teachers and students. As a result, she joined Health & Wellbeing Training Consultants as one of their lead trainers.
Alongside her work with Health & Wellbeing Training Consultants, Gen also started tutoring in 2017 at Monash University in ‘Communicating Health’ in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. In 2018, she also started to tutor alongside Stav in the unit ‘Social and Behavioural Sciences in Public Health.’
Suzanne Stillman, Senior Trainer
Suzanne Stillman has extensive experience in management in the education sector with 20 years of teaching experience in secondary schools in Australia and in Scotland. During her teaching career she was Head of Subject, Year Level Coordinator with roles in student welfare, staff and project management and had considerable responsibility in curriculum and resource planning and development.
When Suzie first joined Quit Victoria in 1992, she was Quit’s Regional Coordinator and she developed extensive links in the Victorian community working with a range of health professionals and other community members including general practitioners and Divisions of GPs, local governments, community health services, maternal and child health services, pharmacists and dentists.
In 1996, Suzie became Programs Manager and soon after Executive Manager. From 2001 – 2008, she was Quit’s Deputy Director and was part of the Tobacco Control Unit’s Program Managers group that was responsible, under the Director, for the development and delivery of the Unit’s Strategic Plan.
Suzie also represented Quit on a number of state and national committees and was a member of the National Quit Coordinators’ Group made up of coordinators and representatives of Quit Campaigns from all States and Territories, and of the National Quitline Committee.
In addition to her across-unit work as Deputy Director, Suzie had overall responsibility for the work of the Programs Team and the Services to Smokers Team including supervision of 6 program coordinators, focusing on prevention, health professionals’ training, Aboriginal, regional networks, special settings (prisons and mental health) and multicultural.
Suzie also oversaw Quit Victoria’s services to smokers, which included the Quitline and Quit courses and seminars.
Suzie acted as Executive Director after the Director’s resignation for 6 months from April 1st to September 30th 2008. This included taking Quit Victoria through the VicHealth review held every three years, significant media activity and advocacy work.
Suzie retired from full-time work in 2008 and now works on a sessional basis for Health & Wellbeing Training Consultants.