Sue Pieters-Hawke

Sue works as a speaker, consultant, writer, advocate, educator and media commentator. Her areas of expertise are positive ageing, dementia, and conversations around death and dying. Sue is a National Ambassador for Dementia Australia and a published author

Sue grew up in a family committed to constructive social change and community engagement. Her father Bob is a former Prime Minister; her mother Hazel was a community worker, homemaker, community advocate and champion of people in need.

Accidental Advocate to Passionate Change-Maker

Observing life from such a rich and unique viewpoint, and lifelong participation in avenues of personal and social change, have formed the foundation of Sue’s perspectives and her earthy ability to cut through to the heart of issues and help bring about meaningful change.

Once dubbed ‘the accidental advocate’, she is known for her humour, directness and empathy. As a creative, constructive problem solver, Sue has enjoyed a diverse and colorful career. She’s studied law, history, complementary health and preventive medicine, yoga, qigong and Tibetan Buddhism. She’s been an activist for progressive social issues, an artists’ model and even a rock’n’ roll barmaid! While raising her two children, she worked part time as a PR advisor, fundraiser and small business manager, and established a clinic and school with two Chinese qigong masters.

For many years Sue ran her mother’s business and community affairs; gradually increasing the level of personal care and support she provided as Hazel declined with dementia. Sue has written two bestselling books: in 2004, she wrote of Hazels experience with Alzheimer’s in Hazels Journey , and in 2011 a complete biography of her mother in Hazel, My Mothers Story.

Whilst she is best known for her expertise and passion in the areas of dementia, positive ageing, care, and community work, the ambit of subjects on which she can enthral and engage an audience continues to evolve. A recent personal challenge has been dealing with cancer – diagnosis, treatment, lifestyle changes and the road back to recovery, vibrant health and restored wellbeing.

Sue’s lifetime involvement with various wellbeing disciplines, and her own encounter with serious issues and illnesses, has inspired her to nurture her own wellbeing and to work to support others facing the myriad challenges we often encounter while navigating our way intelligently in today’s world.

Sue loves the ‘people stuff’ of family, work, community engagement and friends; but she also treasures ‘quiet time’ and simple pleasures. She can often be found lost in a book or her garden. She is a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, and remains close to her two adult children. She was born in Canberra, grew up in Melbourne, has travelled extensively, is divorced and lives in Sydney with her cat Monty.

Watch an interview with Leigh Sales on the ABC program 7.30