GMHBA celebrates remarkable 1802 years’ service

Published 15 May 2023

GMHBA has celebrated its longest serving team members, marking a remarkable 1802 years’ service between them.

From call centre operators and claims experts to optometrists, nurses and dentists in branches across Victoria, our first annual Long Tenure awards brought together a wealth of experience and countless stories shared about GMHBA’s journey to becoming Australia’s leading regional health insurer.

In total, 187 staff members were acknowledged, receiving awards acknowledging five years’ service and greater. While the main celebration was held at Head Office in Geelong, branches in Waurn Ponds, Ballarat, Bendigo Warrnambool, and Portland, were connected virtually as staff in those locations received their awards.

The longest staff member to ever work at GMHBA, Lynne Giddings, was recognised for achieving a phenomenal 48 years of service. Starting in 1975 as a Chemist Agent Contribution Entry Clerk and continuing her work supporting members today as a Customer Service Advisor in the Claims Team.

Other notable contributions over 20 years include:

  • Customer Service Advisor Karen Repusic who marked 40 years of service, making a significant contribution to the Benefits Management team and GMHBA as a whole.
  • Head of Compliance Karen O’Neil (35 years) who has excelled in various roles including claims, systems and procedures, member satisfaction manager and compliance.
  • Claims Subject Matter Expert Sharon Mann (30 years) who’s skills, knowledge and experience has seen her promoted to both Senior Customer Service Advisor and Claims Subject Matter Expert
  • IT Admin Infrastructure Support Technician Tony Lee (25 years) who started as a Customer Service Advisor in the Membership Department and now specialises in IT support.
  • Payments Integrity Officer Mel McKay (20 years) who commenced as a Customer Service Advisor and has had various roles including Subject Matter Expert, Hospital Episodes Operations and Product Specialist, Audit Assistant, Audit Officer and current role Payments Integrity Officer
  • Claims SME Kerry Smith (20 years) who commenced with us as a Customer Service Advisor is now the expert within her field as a Claims Subject Matter Expert
  • Customer Service Advisor Joy Jenkin (20 years) who is a wealth of knowledge and supports member queries with kindness and understanding
  • Chief Risk Officer Jade Ibrahimovic (20 years) who started as a Customer Service Advisor and working across a range of roles and departments, before being appointed to the Executive Leadership Team last year.
  • Bendigo Branch Customer Service Advisor Donnalee Clarkson (20 years) our longest serving employee at a branch location. Bendigo wouldn’t be the same without Donnalee, with members that know her by name visiting the branch for her exceptional service and support.
  • Portland Practice Operations Manager Deb Whitehand (20 years) commenced her career as a Health Insurance Clerk and has contributed to GMHBA across a variety of roles including but not limited to Subject Matter Expert Membership, Ancillary Auditor, Practice Operations Lead and her current role as Practice Operations Manager.

GMHBA CEO David Greig said it was particularly important to recognise the staff who had gone above and beyond to support members during the challenging past few years as the world faced into the unprecedented health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Your years of service to this organisation have been nothing short of extraordinary,” he said.

“You have faced challenges head-on and overcome obstacles with grace and resilience. Your passion for your work has been evident in everything you do, and we cannot thank you enough for your continued contributions.”

Chief of People and Culture Kate Barlow said the organisation had partnered with local providers that aligned and connected to GMHBA to create special gifts for each recipient.

“Each employee was presented with a beautiful piece from Wathaurong Glass and Arts, which is a homage to the traditional owners of the lands on which some of our sites operate. Wathaurong Glass is a Geelong based Company that take great pride in producing unique Aboriginal artwork in glass and we were so pleased to work together with them on this initiative,” she said.

“The platters were presented in boxes hand made by GDP Industries, a Geelong based community company providing training, work experience and long-term supported employment for adults and young people 16 years and over with disability.”

About us

GMHBA is an Australian not for profit health insurance and care company. We have served the community since 1934, and with 85 years’ experience, we have become Australia’s leading regionally based private health insurers.

Through our personalised approach and exceptional customer service, we put the health and wellbeing of our members and communities first. Our approach is guided by our philosophy, Healthier Together and decisions are made with our members first and foremost in mind.

For all GMHBA media enquiries please contact GMHBA Head of Corporate Communications
Meg Rayner on 0458 418 823 or