australian capital territory Symposium 2021

Friday 11th June, 2021
Hyatt Hotel

Panel Members

09:00 - 09:05     Welcome to Country

Professor Tracy Smart AO

Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine/Public Health Lead - COVID Response Office; Australian National University; Air Vice-Marshal (Ret)

Leigh Sales AM

Journalist and Presenter, ABC’s 7.30

Julia Banks

Business Leader, Lawyer, Author and Former Federal Member of Parliament

Katrina Fanning PSM

Board Director, Canberra Raiders & The Fred Hollows Foundation; Chairperson, Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council; 2020 ACT Australian of the Year

Cindy Mitchell 

CEO, Mill House Ventures; 2020 ACT Woman of the Year

Dr Marrwah Ahmadzai

Medical Doctor, Freelance Writer and Diversity Advocate

Han Worsley

CEO, Country to Canberra

15:10 - 15:30

Afternoon Tea

17:00 - 18:00

Networking Drinks

Othering is a phenomenon in which individuals or groups are defined and labelled as not fitting in within the norms of a particular social group. It is an effect that influences how people perceive and treat those who are viewed as being part of the in-group versus those who are seen as being part of the out-group. Race/ethnicity; age; gender; sexuality; class; religion; politics; disability status and profession can all be used to marginalize others but often it is these exact expressions of diversity that are the basis for real growth and new thinking. In this session, panellists will explore their own experiences of ‘othering’, what ‘othering’ means for leaders and how we all can embrace our differences to become more inclusive and effective leaders.             

Embracing the ‘other’ in others and ourselves

Panel Discussion

11:30 - 13:00​

Cindy is the Founding Chief Executive Officer of the Mill House Ventures, the Canberra region’s first dedicated social enterprise business development consultancy. Cindy has worked as a venture capital investment manager and in senior management roles at large corporate organisations in Australia and the United States. She has also worked as a Policy Advisor and Senior Analyst in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Assistant Director in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. An experienced facilitator, trainer, and networker, Cindy excels in connecting people and ideas to solve complex problems. In her current role, she is responsible for the development of a social enterprise support program for new social enterprises and aspiring social entrepreneurs in Canberra and the surrounding region.

Kerri Hartland joined Proximity after a 30-year career in the Australian Public Service culminating in her appointment as Secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and subsequently the Department of Employment, Small and Family Business. She has worked in senior executive roles in ten Commonwealth Government Departments and agencies including Prime Minister and Cabinet, Finance, Industry, Immigration, Human Services and Resources and Energy.

Kerri was the first female Deputy Director General appointed to ASIO – a role she held from 2011-2017. In that position, and throughout her career, she has been a strong advocate for diversity.

Most recently, Kerri has worked with the Business Council of Australia in establishing its bushfire recovery agency, BizRebuild, under the stewardship of Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Katrina Fanning PSM is a Wiradjuri woman and Chair of the Australian Capital Territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body and the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council. She is also a Board Member with Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services, the Fred Hollows Foundation, the Women’s Legal Centre in the Australian Capital Territory and the Canberra Raiders. Owner and Managing Director of Coolamon Advisors, an Indigenous consulting firm based in Canberra, Katrina has previously held Senior Executive roles in government and received a Public Service Medal in 2015 for outstanding public service in Indigenous affairs.

Professor Smart is a physician, health leader, and retired Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) senior officer. During 35 years of service, Professor Smart served in tactical, operational and strategic roles, on overseas deployments, and was Surgeon General of the ADF from 2015 to 2019. 

Professor Smart’s current roles at the ANU include provision of public health guidance to ensure a COVID-safe, responsive and resilient ANU, and contributing to the development of the University’s Space Medicine program. 

In addition to these roles she is: Public Health Advisor and a Mental Health Steering Group member, Australian Football League (AFL); a Member, Australian Space Agency’s Technical Advisory Group - Space Medicine & Life Sciences; President, Australasian College of Aerospace Medicine; and Strategic Advisor – LGBTI Inclusion, Department of Defence.

Han Worsley is a passionate educator, gender equality advocate, and public speaker. Since leaving the family farm near Nullamanna in northern NSW to attend university, Han’s passion for rural Australia has only grown.

Winning Country to Canberra’s inaugural Leadership Competition in 2014 began a dedication to young rural women and non-binary people, to recognise the value of rural communities and people, and create meaningful change across Australia.

Since 2015 Han has volunteered with Country to Canberra, starting off as a Programs Volunteer and acting most recently as Project Empower Director. Excitingly, Han has recently become CEO of the organisation and is proud to be a young, queer leader, and to be involved in the creation of more opportunity for diverse people in the not-for-profit sector. 

Marrwah Ahmadzai is a medical doctor. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Medical Studies, Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health from The University of New South Wales. She has an interest in women’s health and currently works in obstetrics and gynaecology. In her spare time, Marrwah enjoys freelance writing and has written on a variety of social issues for publications including ABC, The Guardian and SBS. As an Australian Muslim woman born to Afghan migrant parents, Marrwah is passionate about diversity and inclusion. In 2020, she delivered a TEDx talk on the power of storytelling in breaking down barriers.

Julia Banks has unique leadership experience spanning a career in law, the corporate business world and as a Member of the Federal Parliament of Australia. Having worked in senior leadership executive roles for over 20 years, Julia has extensive broad and cross-functional experience. She has worked closely with organisations across the private and public sectors. 

Julia Banks is the Principal Consultant in her own business providing strategic and practical advice to organisations across industry sectors, is Special Advisor to Gender Equity Victoria, and was recently elected to the National Committee of the Australian Republic Movement. 

Julia is highly regarded for her advocacy and experience in workplace culture, gender diversity, and women in leadership.

Leigh Sales AM is a multi award-winning author and journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and currently anchors the network's prime time current affairs program 7.30.

She is the face of the ABC's major events coverage, including federal election and budget nights. She has interviewed every living Australian Prime Minister and innumerable world leaders and celebrities from Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair to Paul McCartney and Elton John.

She's the author of three books, the most recent being national bestseller Any Ordinary Day.

In 2018, Leigh was awarded the Order of Australia for her services to journalism. She has a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of International Relations and was awarded Deakin University's 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

09:05 - 09:25

Opening Comments

Program Director, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Janet Smith 

09:30 - 09:40

Sponsor Address

09:40 - 10:10

Keynote Address

Principal Advisor, Proximity; Former Secretary, Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

Kerri Hartland

Katrina Fanning PSM

Board Director, Canberra Raiders & The Fred Hollows Foundation; Chairperson, Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council; 2020 ACT Australian of the Year

10:10 - 10:40

Keynote Address

Professor Tracy Smart AO

Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine/Public Health Lead - COVID Response Office; Australian National University; Air Vice-Marshal (Ret)

10:40 - 11:10

Keynote Address

11:10 - 11:30

Morning Tea

CEO, Country to Canberra

Han Worsley

Cindy Mitchell 

CEO, Mill House Ventures; 2020 ACT Woman of the Year

Program Director, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Janet Smith

13:40 - 14:30

Development Session

13:00 - 13:40

Lunch

15:30 - 16:10

Keynote Address

Business Leader, Lawyer, Author and Former Federal Member of Parliament

Julia Banks

Suzi Finkelstein

16:50 - 17:00

Closing Comments

Chief Executive Officer, Australian School of Applied Management

Dr Marrwah Ahmadzai

Medical Doctor, Freelance Writer and Diversity Advocate

16:10 - 16:50

Keynote Address

Journalist and Presenter, ABC’s 7.30

Leigh Sales AM

Program Director, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Janet Smith 

09:25 - 09:30

Welcome Address

Chief Executive Officer, Women & Leadership Australia

Suzi Finkelstein

Australian Capital Territory Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

14:30 - 15:10

COMMANDER KELLY HAYWOOD

Navy Women’s Strategic Advisor, Royal Australian Navy

National Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

Former Senator; Chair, Our Watch; Member of the UN Treaty Body CEDAW

NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA AO

Commander Liz McDonald is ACT Policing’s Deputy Chief Police Officer – Capability and Community Safety, managing ACT Policing Operations; Intelligence, Community Safety; and Judicial and Family Violence Operations.

Commander McDonald joined the AFP in 1986 working in ACT Policing at Belconnen Station and has enjoyed a diverse and varied career working in a number of different areas across the AFP, including General Duties, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team, Response Crime, Armed Robbery Taskforce and the Territory Investigation Group.

In 2016, Commander McDonald led a major reform initiative to establish AFP Safe Place, a key response to combat sexual harassment, bullying and exclusion within the AFP. 

Kat is a passionate queer rights activist, avid intersectional feminist and political performance artist based in Canberra. Since beginning with environmental activism in school, they have advocated for the rights of people of colour, queer youth and people with disabilities. Kat has made appearances on ABC Radio, Canberra Times and Win News speaking about survivor rights and sex education. Kat’s leadership experience is diverse – they’ve held positions of leadership in both local and national organisations including the ANU Ethnocultural Committee, the ANU Students’ Association and led the Australian Queer Students’ Network as the National Co-convenor. From 2015-2018 Kat was a Council member on the ACT LGBTIQ+ Ministerial Advisory Council and advised on issues affecting queer youth. Kat was appointed CEO of WWDACT in January 2021.

Kat Reed

Chief Executive Officer, Women With Disabilities ACT

Deputy Chief Police Officer - Capability and Community Safety, ACT Policing

Commander Elizabeth McDonald

Kat Reed

Chief Executive Officer, Women With Disabilities ACT

Commander Elizabeth McDonald

Deputy Chief Police Officer - Capability and Community Safety, ACT Policing

Advocacy Partner

Kerri Hartland

Principal Advisor, Proximity; Former Secretary, Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

National Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

Former Senator; Chair, Our Watch; Member of the UN Treaty Body CEDAW

NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA AO

Australian Capital Territory Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

COMMANDER KELLY HAYWOOD

Navy Women’s Strategic Advisor, Royal Australian Navy