Our origin story


Psychologists Sarah Cotton and Justine Alter met in a local Melbourne café in 2011. Over a coffee, they bonded over the headache that every working parent must face: how do you juggle a busy career with the pressing demands of family life?


Psychologists Sarah Cotton and Justine Alter met in a local Melbourne café in 2011. Over a coffee, they bonded over the headache that every working parent must face: how do you juggle a busy career with the pressing demands of family life?

We knew that life was comprised of many significant life transitions, and by supporting people to navigate them, we could help to protect their mental health and wellbeing in the process.

Dr Sarah Cotton & Justine Alter

At the time, Justine was on parental leave with her third child and unsure how she could maintain her career. Sarah meanwhile was pregnant with her second child and acutely conscious of the challenges ahead. “We were both just struggling", Justine recalls. “And over that first coffee Sarah said: ‘I'd love to start a business supporting working parents.’ And I said: ‘Well, I'd love to do that with you’.”

It would prove to be a fateful cappuccino. Together Sarah and Justine formed Transitioning Well and began to offer their structured psychological approach to support people making the transition from working person to working parent. “But then we also knew that life was comprised of many other significant life transitions, too,” Sarah says. “By supporting people to navigate them too, we could help to protect their mental health and wellbeing in the process.”

On the back of this lightbulb moment, Transitioning Well’s remit began to expand. Today, whether someone is adjusting to parenthood or a promotion, a redundancy or retirement, Transitioning Well can help. Their national team of psychologists have identified a host of these ‘moments of truth’ that, while potentially challenging, can also provide real opportunities for personal and organisational growth. In response, they’ve developed a variety of evidence-based programs to help people to manage the messy intersections between life and work and handle these many transitions with greater confidence.

“Conscious companies that support their people with these tools can help them to proactively navigate the changes and challenges ahead,” says Justine.

“While in our early days, people said that organisations would never be ready for our services, we held tight believing that what we had built would one day be realised. Off the back of the pandemic (one of the world’s largest transitions) and as the Global Commission on the Future of Work calls for more investment to support people through life’s transitions—we believe that Transitioning Well was born for now!”

Supporting people to successfully navigate major transition points.