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Once a female orca whale has gone through menopause, what position does she take in her pod? Recognised as a source of ecological knowledge that's essential to survival, she takes the lead. With the right support, women can also emerge from the menopause transition ready to step into their true authority. That's the 'orca effect' this program offers.

Next Program: Feb 27 to April 9th, 2024.  Weekly on Tuesday evenings 7 - 8.15 pm online.

Taking back control through learning about this new phase of life has definitely helped me. 

“I now have growing confidence in myself as an older woman who has  much to offer.

“This forum has been wonderful ... especially hearing 'elders' encourage and support us.”

"The change from fear to clarity was priceless."

The Orca Effect is a 7 week program that creates a confidential, respectful space, connecting professional working women who are going through menopause, so they can maintain their confidence and wellbeing, and emerge from the transition truly embracing their authority.

It can be really unsettling when you experience some of the common menopausal symptoms, such as insomnia, heavy bleeding, hot flushes or brain fog, when you are at work. You may feel you can’t talk about what is really going on lest you make others feel uncomfortable, or you are perceived as not being up for the job. Unfortunately, the isolation created by the fear of naming menopause, just adds to the stress you already might be experiencing.

What’s more it deprives you of the NUMBER ONE Determinant of wellbeing: Supportive Relationships.


The Orca Effect is designed to give you back this potent source of wellbeing by building your Foundation of Support in three dimensions:

  • Social Support

    The social support you gain from other women going through a similar experience to you, will normalise the experience and offer great relief.

  • Supportive Mindset

    The supportive mindset that you consciously create for yourself will help you see menopause in a more empowering light and help inoculate you against negative cultural stereotypes of older women

  • Supportive Practices

    The supportive practices that you learn and prioritise will help you maintain your ability to work well

What does the Orca Effect Program involve?

  • Small group interactive learning program

    A 7 week interactive learning program for 10 to 15 women

  • Connect with other professionals

    Drawing together women from different workplaces

  • A place to talk

    Creating a space where women can talk about menopause in a real and respectful way, adopt an empowering understanding of this life-stage while learning about the wellbeing practices that can best protect women’s effectiveness at work

Is this opportunity for you?

  • Feeling challenged by the symptoms of menopause, no matter how mild?

    especially in relation to your current professional role and/or workplace culture?

  • Ready to make some empowered choices?

    in relation to your personal and professional wellbeing?

  • Want to help build our understanding of the needs of working women, mid-life?

    Naming and addressing your own needs will be invaluable for the women who come after you 

Please be aware that this program is designed to complement, not replace, treatment by a medical or allied health professional

What others have said...

  • Transformational

    My takeaway from this project was transformational for me on a number of levels.  Firstly, realising that menopause needs to be recognised as a legitimate  workplace well-being issue, with support mechanisms put in place for women during this life stage.    

    On a personal level, my perception of myself is being transformed.  Initially as a 'mature' woman, I felt disempowerment, invisibility and a lack of validation. I have learnt to change my perception of myself and  I have a growing confidence as an older woman who has  much to offer, in terms of experience and insight, to the world we live in.  

    Kerry O’Connor, Education Sector, Queensland

  • Freeing

    Until I met Thea and participated in this group, I had no idea of the impact menopausal symptoms have had on my ability to work and my sense of emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

    This forum has been wonderful. Taking in information specifically related to menopause, hearing ‘elders’ encourage and support us, and being able to talk to others facing similar experiences has been freeing and enabled me to look forward with hope to become a better version of myself. Thank you Thea.

    Pauline Bradford, Academic Librarian, South Australia

  • Permission to Reflect

    I would recommend this to other women because of the insights I gained and it was really easy to feel comfortable with the other participants and especially Thea. 

    Taking back control through learning about this new phase of life has definitely helped me. 

    I loved listening to psychologist & ‘guest elder’ Cynthia Hickman early in the program. Power, wisdom and eldership were spoken about so beautifully. 

    As a result of participating in the program I have given myself permission to step away from my career for a while as I reflect on where to next? 

    Kylieann, Victoria

Features of The Orca Effect:

  • Confidential

    All participants must agree to confidentiality before entering the program to help create an environment where women feel safe to talk frankly.

  • Moderated

    I will be presenting and facilitating each session to encourage self-reflective learning, while helping to keep the space free from advice giving and inadvertent self put-downs.

  • Natural Wisdom

    As women from different workplaces pool their existing personal and professional experience, the wiser we all become.

  • Quality Information

    As a health journalist and qualified health professional, I love finding the best information I can on a topic from around the world, by interviewing national and international experts. With menopause my current focus, I’ll be channeling the best of what I discover, into The Orca Effect.

  • Action Learning

    Carefully selected material is presented each week to support each week’s theme, then the real learning takes place between sessions when participants apply key concepts to their daily life and return with lessons learnt, ready to share.

  • Inter-generational

    We will hear from female elders - professional working women who have completed menopause. As guest speakers on The Orca Effect they will share their experience, offer a retrospective view of this transition and answer your questions.

    Listen Here to a casual chat with one of our 'guest elder' presenters.

Here's what you get:

  • Weekly interactive 1.25 hr webinar

    For 7 weeks. Recordings available.

  • Access to a private Discussion Group

    where you connect with other participants

  • Curated Education Material

    each week you will have access to short videos, articles and practical exercises that we can discuss in the live webinars

  • Access to a clearing house of quality resources.

    for unlimited use after the program, includes workplace strategies

  • Guest presentations

    from females elders who've been there

Nicola Gates

"Midlife women are highly capable and armed with life experience. As individuals and as a society it is essential that we harness that potential and provide positive support to women through menopause so we can be engaged, creative and productive and not fall prey to any loss of confidence and anxiety that menopause may bring."  

Dr Nicola Gates

Clinical Neuropsychologist

"Rather than an ending to be managed, menopause is a rite of passage ushering us into the wisdom, creativity and power of all that we have lived and experienced. When we welcome this life cycle and choose to see ourselves as a valuable resource for humanity, others might see the same"

Jean Gamble

Psycotherapist, Relationship Counsellor
Screenshot 2018-09-28 14.09.16

"Menopause has so many negative connotations which is a great pity. It ushers us into a whole other phase of life and this deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated not hidden and reviled."

Cynthia Hickman, Guest Elder


The Program:

  • Week 1:

    Setting the Scene: Introductions, your experience and the current state of play regarding women, work and menopause. 

  • Week 2:

    Mindset Matters. Examining our beliefs and refreshing our take on menopause.

  • Week 3:

    Body: Caring for a Changing Body. Sustaining your energy and keeping your cool.

  • Week 4:

    Mind: Staying sharp mentally. Managing your workload & work expectations.

  • Week 5:

    Soul:  Purpose and what matters most for this next life stage? What needs to change?

  • Week 6:

    Speaking Up and Being Seen. From embarrassing moments to constructive conversations. Antidotes to the 'invisible  older woman' sydnrome.  

  • Week 7:

    Supporting yourself: Building your council of elders. Distilling learnings.

  • Helpful Menopause Resources

    Download a list of good resources (books, videos). 

Limited places available in this program

Program Price

$399 + GST

This includes recordings and lifetime access to resources ( latest research, videos, articles and takeaway resources) plus 1-1 contact with Thea between webinars as needed. 

2024 Program Dates:

Weekly on Tuesday evenings - Feb 27, March 5, March 12, March 19, March 26, April 2nd, April 9th.

A diverse range of professional women from around Australia have participated in this program (formerly known as The Change . You will be benefiting from their experience, insight and feedback, which I use to continually improve the program to meet your needs. 

About Thea O'Connor

Why do I care about the issue?

I am 56, mother of a 14 year old, and am just emerging from the  menopause transition myself.  You can read here, how The Orca Effect (formerly The Change) came to be.

I offer The Orca Effect as a someone whose ‘thing’ is to work at the edges of mainstream thinking to bring about social change for the sake of our wellbeing.

  • As a former Director of Body Image and Health Inc, (funded by the Victorian government) I worked to help reshape our cultural body ideals, for the sake of women’s physical and mental health.
  • As a Naptivist, I work to normalise the powernap in our non-stop culture for the sake of our personal sustainability.
  • As a workplace wellbeing advisor, I focus on re-humanising our work ethic so that it’s built around human biological rhythms rather than around machines, so more workers feel valued.

As the creator of The Orca Effect I will be working alongside you to help shift any social stigma we may have internalised about menopause, so we can adopt the inner attitudes and outer practices that will help us live this life stage with zest, or at least with greater acceptance and self-compassion. (By the way, body image and power naps are highly relevant to menopause!)

I have 12 years previous experience as a dietitian (specialising in body image, eating behaviour and weight management) , another 15 years’ experience in workplace wellbeing, plus training in both Health Coaching (Health Change Australia) and in Organisational and Executive Coaching (Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership).

N.B. I am not an expert in the medical aspects of menopause and I expect you will consult your doctor as needed.

Maybe you are thinking...

Ask away I'm here to help...

Send me an email through my contact page here or give me a call now on 0412 190 860. If you know anything about me at all, you’ll know I am not into pushy sales. But I am into making sure you know everything you need so you can make an informed choice and feel good about it.


  • Step 1

    Fill out the enrolment form and we'll transfer you to our paypal account where you can pay by credit card or paypal.   Program fee is  $399 + GST = $438.90

  • Step 2

    We'll send you a welcome email with everything you need to know about the program.

  • Step 3

    We'll be in touch with you over the next few days to confirm details, program dates and times and make sure you have everything you need to start the program.

    For now, mark the dates in your calendar.

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