Canberra Symposium 2022

Friday 13th May 2022

Hotel Realm, Canberra

Panel Members

Yvette Berry MLA

Deputy Chief Minister, ACT Legislative Assembly

ELLIE COLE OAM

Australia’s most decorated Female Paralympic Athlete

KHADIJA GBLA

Human Rights Activist; Cultural Consultant; Model and Influencer

DR SOPHIE LEWIS

ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment; 2019 ACT Scientist of the Year

Yenn Purkis

Author and Disability Advocate

Nipuni Wijewickrema

Managing Director, GG’s Flowers; Westpac Social Change Scholar

15:20 - 15:40

Afternoon Tea

17:00 - 18:00

Networking 

We all know that diverse and inclusive workplaces benefit individuals, organisations, teams and society and they have a significant impact on trust, commitment, performance, reputation, and financial performance. But what do inclusive workplaces and teams actually look and feel like? What are the practices of today's inclusive leaders? In this session, our expert panel will discuss the practices and principles that have supported their journeys as inclusive leaders and their stories will give you the knowledge and confidence in enacting these ideas to create a more inclusive workplace.

The Practices and Principles of Inclusive Leadership

Panel Discussion

11:00 - 12:30​

Yvette Berry is the ACT’s Deputy Chief Minister and has responsibility for a wide range of portfolios including Women, Education and Early Childhood Development, and Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. Prior to being elected, Yvette worked in the Hospitality industry and then for United Voice for more than 15 years as a community organiser. No stranger to grassroots activism, she was a part of the Clean Start campaign which fought to improve working conditions for those in the office cleaning industry and coordinated the BIG STEPS campaign, calling for professional pay for Early childhood Educators. She has lived in Canberra her whole life, serving the Ginninderra electorate for the last 5 years. Besides her two kids, she also shares her home with a pet dog named Cassie, a hamster and three chickens (Rosa, Wendy, and Orange).

Khadija Gbla is a high profile, passionate, and inspiring African Australian woman. She is an award-winning human rights activist, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, facilitator, philanthropist, and mentor. She has displayed great courage and determination in achieving her aspirations of giving women, youth, and minority groups a voice at a local, state, and international level. Khadija utilises her powerful and inspired voice to advocate equality and inclusion. Khadija is the Director of Khadija Gbla Cultural consultancy, Founder of The Desert Flower Centre Australia, she is an Ambassador for Our Watch and SisterWorks, and has represented Australia in the international arena at the Harvard National Model United Nations, Commonwealth Youth Forum, and Australian and Africa Dialogue, and Commonwealth Heads of States Women’s Forum.

Dr Sophie Lewis was appointed as the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment on 1 May 2020. Previously Dr Lewis was a climate scientist at the University of NSW. Dr Lewis was named 2019 ACT Scientist of the Year in recognition of her research, particularly on weather extremes and how climate change contributes to events such as bushfires and droughts. Over the period of 2018-2021, she served as a Lead Author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report and contributed as an expert to the chapter on weather and climate extremes in a changing climate. As Commissioner and in her academic roles, Dr Lewis has focused strongly on working with, and amplifying the voices of, children and young people on environmental issues.

Yenn Purkis is an autistic, ADHD, and non-binary author, advocate, public speaker, and community leader. They also have a diagnosis of schizophrenia and other mental health diagnoses. They are the author of nine published books on elements of autism. Yenn is a public speaker of almost 20 years’ experience and has presented at a range of events including for TEDx Canberra in 2013. Yenn facilitates a support group for autistic women and gender divergent folks which has been running since 2011. They have a number of awards for their work including the 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year and 2019 ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award. Yenn has worked for the Australian Public Service for almost 15 years. They currently work in diversity and inclusion. Yenn is committed to promoting inclusion and empowerment in the disability community.

Christine Clarke is the current Ambassador for Women and Girls. Prior to her appointment, Christine held many senior roles during her lengthy career with the Navy and the Defence Force, including Defence Adviser and Attaché  to New Zealand, Cook Islands, and Chile, Head of the ADF Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office, and Commanding Officer of the HMAS Kuttabul. She was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross in the Australia Day Honours List in 2013 for excellence in leadership. She is a committed LGBTQI+ ally, leading the Department of Defence contingent in Mardi Gras on two occasions. She holds a Master of Human Resource Management (Organisational Change) and a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and is an Australian Human Resources Institute medallist. In 2013 she was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross in the Australia Day Honours List for excellence in leadership.

After losing her right leg to cancer at age 3, at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Paralympian Ellie Cole became Australia’s most decorated female Paralympic athlete. With a record-breaking 17 Paralympic medals and OAM to her name, Ellie Cole is an extraordinary athlete. Overcoming injuries and adversity, Ellie has risen to prolific heights and, in recognition was honoured as the flagbearer at the Tokyo 2020 Closing Ceremony. Ellie is incredibly passionate about the subject of diversity and inclusion, leveraging her strong platform as an athlete to highlight important causes like #WeThe15 – a movement that endeavours for disability visibility and representation. Ellie has been instrumental in a number of global initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion – starring in WOWOW Japan’s WHO I Am series, being invited to speak at the Cannes Lions in 2019 on the subject of diversity and inclusion not only in sport but in life, and closer to home partnering with her sponsors to deliver greater awareness of and support for the Paralympic movement and the disability community.

09:05 - 09:30

Welcome & Opening Comments

Program Director, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Janet Smith

09:40 - 10:10

Keynote Address

Human Rights Activist; Cultural Consultant; Model and Influencer

Khadija Gbla

Dr Sophie Lewis

ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment; 2019 ACT Scientist of the Year

10:10 - 10:40

Keynote Address

10:40 - 11:00

Morning Tea

Author and Disability Advocate

Yenn Purkis

Yvette Berry MLA

Deputy Chief Minister, ACT Legislative Assembly

Program Director, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Janet Smith

13:15 - 14:10

Development Session

12:30 - 13:15

Lunch

15:40 - 16:10

Keynote Address

Ambassador for Women and Girls, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Christine Clarke CSC

Suzi Finkelstein

16:50 - 17:00

Closing Comments

Chief Executive Officer, Australian School of Applied Management

16:10 - 16:50

Keynote Address

Australia’s most decorated Female Paralympic Athlete

Ellie Cole OAM

Program Director, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Janet Smith

09:30 - 09:40

Welcome Address

Chief Executive Officer, Women & Leadership Australia

Suzi Finkelstein

Mara Eversons

Director, Student Life, University of Canberra

Senior News Anchor, ABC Canberra 7pm News; Journalist; Company Director; Community Advocate

Dan Bourchier

Dan Bourchier is a multi-award winning multi-platform journalist with the ABC. He is a broadcaster and anchors ABC Canberra’s 7pm news. Dan grew up in the remote Northern Territory town of Tennant Creek, where he was mentored by elders, while coming to understand his own Indigenous heritage. He was driven to news and reporting from an early age and began a traineeship at the Tennant and District Times as a teenager. Dan has worked as a newspaper reporter, video journalist, foreign correspondent, political reporter, and social commentator. He was a foundation member of the NT Parliament’s bipartisan advisory committee into Statehood and is a keen advocate for democratic equality. He has sat on numerous boards, committees and charities, using his considerable experience in structural reform, governance, and media. Dan is driven by giving voice to the voiceless, holding to account those in positions of power, and telling really great stories.

What is Inclusive Leadership and Why does it Matter?

Inclusive Leadership involves embracing and practicing both Diversity and Inclusion. This Development Session will build on the Panel Session by further exploring the signature traits of Inclusive Leaders and highlighting strategies and practical actions needed to create psychological safety and reduce unconscious bias in the workplace.

Nipuni Wijewickrema, more affectionately known as Nip, is a passionate and driven young woman, trying to change the world one flower at a time. At the age of 20, Nip realised there was a lack of meaningful employment opportunities for people with special needs, specifically her sister Gayana, who has Down Syndrome. Nip and her family established Canberra's most-loved and fastest growing floral business, GG's Flowers, a business that is empowering and employing people with special needs from all walks of life. Nip believes that all people with special needs are capable of leading fulfilling and engaging lives and this can be achieved through meaningful employment. Nip understands that combined with a little bit of love, compassion and patience, her social enterprise has the power to change lives. In 2016, Nip was named the ACT Young Australian of the Year.

Managing Director, GG’s Flowers; Westpac Social Change Scholar

Nipuni Wijewickrema

Dan Bourchier 

Senior News Anchor, ABC Canberra 7pm News; Journalist; Company Director; Community Advocate

09:00 - 09:05     Welcome to Country  |  Aunty Violet Sheridan - Ngunnawal Elder

Mara is the recently appointed Director of Student Life at the University of Canberra. She has held various positions in the Higher Education sector since 1991 including three terms as the elected professional staff representative on the University Council and is the current Deputy Chair of Sharing Places Board. She is also the Deputy Chair of the Respect Now Always Committee, working to improve safety, respect and inclusion within the University community, in part by shifting norms, attitudes and behaviours to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault. Mara’s current work-based objectives include improving the student experience and retention. These will, in part, be met with the development of the Student Success framework and the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework as well as the review and implementation of an updated Student equity and Success Plan – all due for completion in the first half of 2022.

14:10 - 14:30

WLA in Action

Mara Eversons

Director, Student Life, University of Canberra

ADJUNCT PROFESSOR KYLIE WARD

Australian Capital Territory Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

Chief Executive Officer, Australian College of Nursing

Chief Executive Officer, Toll Global Express

CHRISTINE HOLGATE

National Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

Chief Executive Officer, Toll Global Express

CHRISTINE HOLGATE

National Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

Senior Lecturer, Chair YoWIE (Young Women in Engineering), UNSW Canberra; Director (Education), Women in Aviation (Australian Chapter), Vice President Australasian Fluid Mechanics Society

Dr Bianca Capra is an engineer, lecturer and advocate for women in STEM with a particular focus on engineering. She lectures in aerospace engineering, specialising in high-speed flight at UNSW Canberra, Chairs the YoWIE (young Women in Engineering) program and holds several Board positions where she focuses on supporting more women and minorities into engineering. Bianca completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the early 2000s and held researching and teaching positions at the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology before moving to Canberra in 2018 to take her current role. Bianca often found herself as the only female in the room throughout her career in aerospace engineering. Rectifying this experience for all of today’s young women drives her passion for advocacy in increasing diversity and inclusivity in engineering.

Dr Bianca Capra

Christine Clarke CSC

Ambassador for Women and Girls, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Dr Bianca Capra

Senior Lecturer, Chair YoWIE (Young Women in Engineering), UNSW Canberra; Director (Education), Women in Aviation (Australian Chapter), Vice President Australasian Fluid Mechanics Society

Australian Capital Territory Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

Chief Executive Officer, Australian College of Nursing

ADJUNCT PROFESSOR KYLIE WARD

14:30 - 15:20

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