Posted on Sep 13, 2022
39 years ago 17-year-old Mary Wooldridge spent a Grade 11 high school year as an exchange student from Australia with the Rotary Club of Ladner, staying with various families throughout her year. Today she returned to Ladner with her husband, Andrew, and son, Jamison, from their home in Melbourne, to start a tour of four centres in Canada and the United States.
Mary Wooldridge speaking to Ladner Rotary club as she prepares to return home to Australia after a school year here
After earning a business degree at Harvard University Mary pursued a distinguished career in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. 
She is Director of Australia's national Workplace Gender Equality Agency    where she brings her passion for promoting gender equality in the workplace. The Agency leads the debate on gender equality, collaborates with organisations and industry to promote gender equality, and proposes innovative solutions that result in lasting cultural and structural change.
She served as CEO of The Foundation for Young Australians and worked with McKinsey & Company and Consolidated Press Holdings. Then, from 2006 to 2020, she served as an elected representative in Parliament for the State of Victoria, including a term as Minister for Mental Health, Community Services and Women’s Affairs.
As Minister, Mary worked to implement the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 and was instrumental in establishing Our Watch, the national family violence prevention agency. Mary was the Minister responsible for signing Victoria up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She established the Victorian Commission for Children and Young People, including the nation’s first Aboriginal Commissioner, Parkville College – an award-winning Public School in Youth Justice Centres and Australia’s first Mental Health Complaints Commissioner and the Family Drug Treatment Court.
President Guillermo Bustos (left) and John Thomas (right), whose family hosted Mary for part of her exchange visit, thank Mary, husband Andrew and son Jamison