Meet Debra Cerasa: CEO Multiple Sclerosis Australia

Debra Cerasa - CEO Multiple Sclerosis Australia

My entire career has been in the health sector. I began my nursing career at the Royal Children’s Hospital in the early 70’s as a Registered Nursing Aide. I then went onto finish my general nursing training in Deniliquin, NSW, completing my studies in the early 80’s after which time I worked in Operating Theatres, Intensive Care, Aged Care, Surgical and Medical areas of specialty. I then undertook my Midwifery training and became very interested in childbirth, women’s health & health justice through this era. I had a private midwifery practice for a number of years and was very supportive of alternative choices and free choice for all women.

It was during the 80’s that my interest in social justice, lobbying and social determinants of health developed. This led me into an interest in training, education and teaching. After more qualifications and a shift into the world of paramedics and ambulance officer education, I started down a new path. After meeting my husband – a paramedic, I took off to Indonesia to work for 3 years. By this time I  had moved well and truly into the management/executive space. After returning from Indonesia I was offered an executive role at a regional referral hospital in a rural environment and we moved to Gippsland;  where we have now lived for 13 years. During this decade I held several executive roles at the hospital then moved into a CEO role in the Not for Profit sector that was based in Canberra.  Currently, I am in another CEO role based in Melbourne/Sydney, for another peak body that is in the NFP sector also.

I have always maintained personal “working” interests alongside my professional and “mainstream” employment roles. Combined with numerous Board Director roles, these give me a very different perspective on running organisations.

In the 90’s I experienced some personal health challenges dealing with a cancer diagnosis and this allowed me to see my professional life from a very new “up close and personal” perspective. It’s really important to have regular checkups with your GP and that’s what I love about HealthEngine now making it so much easier to make time to make that health appointment. It could save your life!

During my time in Canberra in the NFP role, I become very interested in the rising star of Social Media – “SoMe”.  It was at this time that my first real exposure to being “high profile” was established and the writing, features and interviews in printed press soon moved my thinking and presence into the SoMe space.

Currently I support 2 blogs. One is in my CEO role with Multiple Sclerosis Australia. I have a staff member who works with me on the portfolio of SoMe and together with the blog, we maintain a Facebook and Twitter presence.

My other interest is in an small business venture I have established in a rural setting, which is a cooking school.  Through extensive travel, my interest in culture, food and wine developed and went hand in hand with my passion for cooking, well-being and social interaction (especially the notion of village/extended family). In my mind and heart they all link together so intricately, at times it is hard to separate them. I wonder why we need think we need to?

Plough Creek Cooking School invites guest Chefs into a home based kitchen to share recipes and cooking skills. Our motto is “If you want to cook and have a kitchen – you can”. You just need someone to show you. The use of SoMe is paramount for this business. I write a blog, share on Instagram, use Facebook and Twitter for the business that shares stories, photos, recipes and experiences about life; that is Food, Cooking, Travel, garden, books etc. !

Debra Cerasa is pictured with the HealthEngine App at the Tavi Gevinson’s Bloggers Brunch.

Debra Cerasa - Multiple Sclerosis Society