You are here: Home / News & events / Staff profiles

Clara Smith

How long you have worked with RVTS?

7.5 years.

Tell us about your childhood?

I grew up in Yarrawonga in northeast Victoria, the youngest of four kids in the McDonald household.

What is one of your earliest memories from your childhood or youth?

All the family and neighbours pitching in to put up our pool each summer, sifting river sand for the base using flyscreens from the house, stretching the pool liner in the sun, and then waiting…and waiting for it to fill up ever so slowly from the garden hose. 

Did you spend much time in rural Australia – and if so, where?

I was a townie growing up, but loved visiting our family and friends' farms around Wilby and Lake Rowan (Victoria) and Berrigan (NSW).

The most remote Australian location that I have lived is Yulara in the NT. I spent 12 months as an industrial training year for my business degree, working at the then Four Seasons Resort Hotel. I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Uluru in every light and season from red to orange to purple and back again, shining silver and black in flooding rains and waterfalls, framed in a rainbow, and in the searing summer sun. And oh the night skies!

No matter where I have lived and travelled, I have always gravitated back to the country. I currently live on Jaitmatang Country, in Yackandandah, a small village in northeast Victoria. Yack is only half an hour from Albury-Wodonga, but you can’t help but feel miles away from the masses. I love the sense of community and belonging, and our rural block out of town.

What field did you train in once you left high school? 

Like most country kids in the day, I moved to Melbourne after the HSC and worked, then studied business at Victoria Uni.

Where did your career path take you before you joined RVTS?

I worked in the tourism and hospitality sector, in accommodation management and tourism marketing, then owned and operated a Holiday Park with my husband before working with the Victorian Education Department.

What does your role at RVTS involve?

RVTS embraces a strong culture of continuous quality improvement. One aspect of my role is to oversee our program evaluation framework, which drives our processes for reflection, review and improvement. We listen to participant feedback to highlight any improvement opportunities.  

Other aspects include College accreditation, oversight of the quality management system, performance reporting to the Department of Health, and oversight of governance support to the CEO and RVTS Board of Directors.

Breaking the ‘dry’ compliance tone – my role also oversees RVTS marketing activities – where through mediums such as this e-Newsletter we get to showcase all the great work our team does.

What appeals to you most about working with us?

Making a difference to rural and remote communities across Australia - I am continually inspired by the commitment of RVTS registrars, supervisors, medical educators, cultural educators and mentors, and the program support/admin team in supporting rural Australia.

We may be a small organisation – but we achieve great outcomes!

What interests do you have outside work?

I love to be out and about – whether it is catching up with friends, camping, poking around on our rural block, or heading out for a spin on my ebike.

I’d like to get into permaculture and bee keeping, so our 7 acres will provide the perfect project. We are currently planning to build…’planning’ being the operative word – not so straight forward in terms of materials supply etc at the moment.

Favourite music style or band?

James Reyne is a fave, Australian Crawl is the soundtrack of my youth.

Paul Kelly is the soundtrack of my Uni days, and I still love it now.

Favourite books?

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The Book Thief – Mark Zusak

Illusions – The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah – Richard Bach

Noisy Farm (kids book by Rod Campbell)

Favourite movie? 

Hard to pick just one….but for this time of year ‘Love Actually’. 

What are some of the countries you have travelled to – and what were your favourite destinations?

Canada (lived in Whistler for a year), US, UK (lived in London and Wales, visited Scotland), Ireland, Greece, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Thailand.  

Favourite overseas experience?

I loved my time nannying for a family in London and splitting time between their Abbey Rd studio apartment and their 15th Century stone cottage in Llangenny, (Crickhowell) Wales.

Favourite country overall?


Tell us about one of the most amusing experiences you’ve had.

Sitting on a train heading from Rome enroute to Vienna as a backpacker, in a carriage full of Italian nuns. They were smiling sweetly at me as I stood up to get a book out of my pack on the rack overhead. I’d forgotten that I had an apple sitting on my lap – as I stood up it went rolling…..right between the nun’s legs! They giggled and hopped around lifting their habits in search of the apple…

Thanks very much for letting us know a little more about you, Clara!