Our Team

The experienced and dedicated HIES team are extremely passionate about educating members and non-members in the private health care sector on understanding the complexities of employment obligations in Australia.

George Sotiris


George Sotiris is the Director of Health Industry Employment Services. He is a passionate Workplace Relations Specialist who understands the needs of private practices. Having over 14 years of health industry experience he has worked closely with medical practices, allied health practices and dentists across Australia to reduce employment risk and navigate complex challenges that businesses face with their employees.

He believes that any successful practice is built on strong employment foundations, that support management in building professional boundaries with their staff. To accomplish this, George assists his clients in understanding the complexities of the relevant Modern Awards, Fair Work Legislation, employment contracts, policies and procedures, WHS and Privacy frameworks.

George is dedicated and driven in providing the Health Industry with workplace relations support that makes a difference.

When George is not working you will find him spending time with his wife and three beautiful children, boating and fishing, drinking coffee or eating scrumptious delicacies.

Vanessa James-McPhee

Principal Consultant

Vanessa James-McPhee recently joined the Health Industry Employment Services as a Workplace Consultant. Vanessa and George first met and worked together when Vanessa was working at a national law firm. It was here that she learnt more about the private and public health sector and worked closely with medical and specialist practices, allied health practices and dentists across Australia providing employment law and human resource support and advice.

Vanessa’s career spans approximately 20 years and has seen her predominantly supporting employers and businesses in health, professional services, retail, and hospitality to understand their obligations under Australian workplace laws. Vanessa speaks in plain English to ensure clients understand their obligations and next best steps. She is genuinely committed to partnering with businesses to ensure compliance in a complex and everchanging employment and workplace law landscape and her business acumen enables her to find solutions that work for individual practices and businesses.

Vanessa has experience reviewing and drafting contracts of employment, policies and procedures, unpacking and advising on simple and complex workplace harassment, discrimination, general protections and workplace complaints. She also has a comprehensive knowledge and practical application of workplace laws and modern awards and has represented clients on various matters in different jurisdictions.

Like George, Vanessa is dedicated and passionate about supporting the heath industry to ensure compliance and make a positive and empowering difference.

When Vanessa is not assisting HIES clients, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and baking, drinking wine and her new found love of pink gin, watching and supporting her children play sport and volunteering at her local AFL club.

Kara van der Walt

Marketing & Membership Specialist

Kara has been working with the HIES team since April 2021 and has extensive knowledge of best practice marketing and client service with over 15 years experience working in health and not for profit sectors. Kara has a wealth of experience in project management and event development and is exciting to be broadening the scope of services and products available at HIES.

She is passionate about making sure HIES members have access to events, materials and resources to obtain a solid understanding of their Fair Work obligations in Australia.

When she isn’t working, she is busy running after her two young children, bush walking and learning the art of keeping plants alive.

Tracey Gardiner

Senior Occupational Violence Prevention Trainer

Tracey has been a registered nurse for almost 30 years, working in Mental health and emergency departments in several countries including New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. Her specialty is working with
children, adolescents, and young adults in acute mental health settings.

Tracey has a graduate diploma and master’s degree in mental health and has
worked for Queensland Health as an aggressive behaviour management instructor. Her role saw her training high risk staff, providing scenario-based training in de-escalation and providing communication & self-defence techniques.

In Australia, violence and aggression is on the rise, with unemployment, a growing drug problem, and societal changes resulting from COVID-19, particularly in rural, remote, and regional areas and staff are not equipped to deal with this growing violence.

The training packages HIES offers assist attendees with helpful practical skills such as:

• Using body language to calm and de-escalate a situation
• How to assess the level of aggression/anger from the subject
• Helpful phrases and words to use to de-escalate rather than escalate a situation
• Communication and de-escalation techniques
• What is considered self-defence, and how staff can legally protect themselves
against violence.
There is a host of packages to suit your organisation and we can also tailor
packages using targeted training related to the issues your service may be
experiencing. These training packages can be found on the next pages.

To speak to Tracey about the training sessions, please email
[email protected]