August 4, 2023

Get to know: Stefania Zen


Meet Stefania Zen, Transcultural and Language Services (TALS) and Narrun Wilip-Giin Aboriginal Support Unit (ASU) Education and Engagement Manager.

Q: Tell me about your new role as the TALS and ASU Education and Engagement Manager – what does it entail?

A: My new role focuses on supporting both TALS and Narrun Wilip-Giin with planning and delivering training for staff on cultural competence and Aboriginal cultural safety. This training is very important given the catchment area we work in, and I am always looking at ways to support Northern Health staff in providing the best possible culturally safe and appropriate care.

At the same time, the role entails reaching out to local community groups and collaborating with other departments at Northern Health in providing education/information to the community about the various services we offer at Northern Health.

I also look after all requests for written translation, liaise with RMIT and Monash University to organise the interpreting students placement with TALS, organise professional development opportunities for interpreters, and assist TALS and ASU in the development, implementation and assessment of plans, and in particular the Cultural Responsiveness Plan and the Reconciliation Action Plan.

It is only a part time role, I work Monday to Wednesday, but it can get very busy.

 Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: Every day is different. I may be busy planning or delivering training for staff, or sorting through translation requests, or providing advice to someone on culturally appropriate approach, or working towards the next community engagement event.

 Q: If you weren’t in your current role, what would you do?

A: I would probably be interpreting. I speak Italian and Spanish, and I have always found interpreting, especially in medical settings, very rewarding. To see that sense of relief in patients when you walk in and you can speak their language, it is very special.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: What is spare time? I like to keep myself busy all the time. When I do stop, I like to cook something wholesome from scratch, spending time with my family or go for a swim.

Q: What might people be most surprised to know about you?

A: I used to be a professional ballerina and tried that career in London before becoming an interpreter and translator and moving to Australia.