Success is determined by attitude and hard work

Old Girl, Anna Davis (‘87) is a practising radiologist at both the Alfred and Cabrini Hospitals, and Breastscreen Victoria gaining 18 months fellowship experience at the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University. Anna’s eldest daughter Sara Zayontz (Year 11) has an enthusiastic presence enjoying a variety of activities, making the most of the opportunities available at St Catherine’s. Younger daughter Pia Zayontz (Year 10) has embraced all her experiences at School relishing in her Co-curricular activities.

Together they share their thoughts about life, study and future dreams.

What influenced your decision to have a career within the healthcare industry?

At school, I developed a curiosity about Science as well as in the Humanities and Languages. In Year 10, I completed work experience in a law office and also in a public hospital. When it came to making a career choice at the end of Year 12, I was advised to consider my interests rather than choosing my ultimate job. I turned to my brother and his friends who had just completed their first years at university. After hearing about their courses, I was more interested in the Science courses and thus my path in Medicine was decided.

What have been some of the biggest obstacles in your career, and what advice would you give your daughters about overcoming similar challenges?

Initial challenges related to high workloads, fatigue and being faced with serious decisions regarding patient’s welfare. The support of family and friends, and drawing on my own experiences helped me to adapt, and to develop the confidence to progress in my training, specialist training, and to attain further radiology qualifications. Later challenges came with balancing childrearing and work, gender stereotypes and workplace politics that accompany part-time work.

How do you believe your career has influenced your daughters?

I hope that I have been a good role model for both my daughters and my sons – Toby (18 years) and Joe (13 years), in that they see me taking pride in my work to provide for them, help patients, and also for my personal satisfaction. They can appreciate that females have great potential to contribute to the workplace, society, and family.

What advice do you offer Sara and Pia about their education, and future career choices?

I encourage Sara and Pia to learn about as many different areas as possible so that as they mature they will have acquired broad skills with many options available. One of the most important aspects of school is exposure to the basics of everything, so that children can discover their strengths and interests.

What have Sara and Pia achieved that are you most proud of?

I am proud that both Sara and Pia have become independent, critical thinkers, and will stand up for what they believe. They speak their minds freely, and do not feel compelled to follow the crowd with a strong sense of identity.

What is the greatest lesson you have learnt from your daughters?

My girls have taught me that although adolescents today have many different challenges, the fundamental facets of successful learning remain the same. Adolescent girls need the combination of clear boundaries and creative stimulation, in order to reach their potential. Curiosity and a love of learning determines a career path, but also inspires a lifetime of experiences.

Why did you choose St Catherine’s for your daughters?

I felt the warmth and kindness in the schoolgrounds, and it felt like a nurturing environment. My girls have different skills and personalities. I felt that the School had the ability to provide opportunities for them both. I wanted them to receive a broad education that would spark their curiosity for future learning.

Sara and Pia
What advice has your mother given you about education and career choices that has impacted you the most?

One thing that resonates with us both, is Mum urging us to aspire to a profession that provides security and is also interesting and satisfying. We believe that it is important to find something that we enjoy, as well as providing problem-solving, so that we can maintain interest each day. (Sara and Pia)

What has your mother achieved that you are most proud of?

The fact that she balances being a working doctor and a mother to four energetic children is incredible. We admire and aspire to having the same strong values of family and productive work. (Sara and Pia)

What is the greatest lesson you have learnt from your mother?

Through the balance of her work and family life, Mum has taught us to value these things and work hard to balance them. She has made it one of our greatest values not to base our actions around what other people want, but rather what is best for us and for the people we love. This has greatly impacted the way we face challenges. (Sara and Pia)

What do you hope to do when you finish school?

I do not know exactly what I would like to do, however, I want to help other people just like my mother particularly people who have not necessarily experienced the same privileged life that I have. Some of my interests include; philosophy, science and French. A profession that allows me to explore these areas would be optimal. I also have a love for travelling and the ideal job for me would be one where I either travel with work or have time to travel. (Pia)

There are many things I dream of, such as being a performer in the music industry. However, following the advice of mum, I also need a University Degree in something more stable and reliable. This will hopefully be to follow my passion in the Sciences. I would love to be an engineer and have music as a side hobby, or even, hopefully, make a successful career in music. (Sara)

What have you gained in your time at St Catherine’s, that will enable you to follow your dreams for after School?

St Catherine’s has provided me with many opportunities to travel. I went on the Heyington to Highlands trip and on an exchange to England, where I experienced different cultures and communities and how to adapt to these differences. These skills will be essential to follow my dreams to travel to different communities. (Pia)

St Catherine’s has taught me how important it is to be an independent learner and to be proud of my unique personality and skills. My guitar lessons with Mr Wrigglesworth have helped define how important music is in my life. I have also learnt to be responsible for myself, that disappointment is inevitable, and to learn from my mistakes. It has exposed me to different pathways that I could follow for tertiary studies. (Sara)

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