Welcome to Dr Simone Maher – CVE Deputy Director | Centre for Veterinary Education

Welcome to Dr Simone Maher – CVE Deputy Director

By Lis Churchward

Simone pictured with Sasha, a patient from the Animal Welfare League

We’re delighted to introduce Dr Simone Maher to the profession as the CVE’s Deputy Director.

Simone will be well-known to many of you. For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of interacting with Simone, we have invited her to answer a few questions to give you all some idea of her background and her aspirations for the Centre for Veterinary Education.


What is your professional background?

My background is primarily in shelter medicine, having most recently been Chief Veterinarian of Animal Welfare League NSW (AWL). Following graduation from Sydney University in 2000, I was fortunate to start my career as a new graduate at the RSPCA’s Yagoona clinic. From here I had a foray into media, writing weekly columns for the Sun Herald, monthly articles in lifestyle and childrens’ magazines and was at one stage the resident vet on a Channel 9 lifestyle program.

What prompted the change to a non-clinical role?

I have been engaged in shelter medicine and small animal practices in low-socio economic demographics for a long time. The rewards associated with this can be immense; the flip side is that the downs are pretty wretched. I had spent many years engaged with cases of animal cruelty and neglect and needed a break; I felt it was time to explore something different.

What are you looking forward to in your new position?

When I first had a vague notion that it was time for a change, I made a mental list of non-clinical things I loved in my role as Chief Vet of the AWL. Mentoring and empowering staff, meeting interesting people, education and training, networking and media engagement were all there – and this job ticks all those boxes! We are in a time of significant change in the way vets are practicing, learning and maintaining their skills. I am excited to be working with a really terrific team in devising innovative and exciting ways of delivering professional development and facilitating collaboration between individuals and groups to maximise animal and practitioner welfare.

What do you enjoy in your down time?

I am not good with down time. I am terrible to watch Netflix with. So I like to fill my non-work hours with family activities (preferably outdoors), gardening, exploring, swimming and my latest craze, Geocaching*.

What is your favourite food?

So many! But let’s say roasted sweet potato, Nasi Lemak (yum!!), my husband’s beer-battered flathead, nuts of any kind (especially in a Sri Lankan curry), rambutans and ice cream with Ice Magic (it never gets old). And to drink, a gin and tonic or something pilfered from my father-in-law’s wine cellar…

Simone Understands What Practising Vets Value & Need

As a busy working mother of two young daughters (aged 9 and 11 years) and up until joining the CVE a full-time practising veterinarian herself in a busy and often stressful role, Simone is well placed to understand both the rewards and challenges of being a clinician.

A major challenge is managing to juggle the many ‘hats’ that veterinarians wear both in their professional and personal lives whilst still engaging in challenging and rewarding veterinary continuing professional development. Another, which Simone mentioned earlier, is assisting vets to maximise not only animal welfare but also practitioner welfare.

2019 & Beyond…

Our Director Hugh White and the CVE team look forward to the fresh and objective perspective that Simone brings to the role and also to CVE’s mission, as well as her inspiring and contagious enthusiasm.

Leading by example!

A keen reader and supporter of the C&T Series, Simone has co-authored with Drs Mark Westman and Richard Malik Perspective No. 142 A selection of infectious diseases of companion animals housed in shelters (with a focus on cats) which is published in the March 2019 C&T, Issue 294.

*For those unfamiliar with this term, geocaching according to Wikipedia is ‘an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called ‘geocaches’ or ‘caches’, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world’. 



Engagement Communications Specialist

Lis celebrated 25 years working for the CVE in July 2016. Building a strong CVE professional community has long been a key focus, to which end she completed a Masters of Marketing at the University of Sydney in 2016. Her capstone consulting project was based around surveying veterinarians in Australia and overseas to discover how they experienced the CVE both as a membership organisation and participants in continuing professional development. Lis was awarded the Australian Marketing Institute Prize for Best Consulting Project in 2016 for the most outstanding research project in her graduating class. The vast volume of data generated in this research project is being used to assist the CVE to adapt, improve and innovate to ensure that membership remains as relevant and as accessible today as when Tom Hungerford and colleagues first established the CVE in 1965.