Summit Overview

The Women’s Leadership Summit is a significant annual event for female personnel at all levels of the Police, Defence and Emergency Services sector. The event offers a unique opportunity for women across a wide range of organisations to connect, share their experiences and develop their leadership capacity. Created by Australia’s leading authority on women’s leadership, Women & Leadership Australia, the Summit is supported by a wide range of stakeholders throughout the sector.

Supporting Leadership Equity and Excellence 

This significant annual event represents a key platform for women in police, defence and emergency services organisations to enhance their leadership knowledge and capacity.

The purpose of the Summit is to contribute to the development of resolute and effective women leaders through skills development, role -modeling, expert advice and strategic sector-based networking.

Event Speakers

Event Themes

Dr Janet Smith

Program Director, Women & Leadership Australia 

Dr Janet Smith is the Program Director for the Australian School of Applied Management (ASAM), Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) and the National Excellence in School Leadership Institute (NESLI). Her role involves workshop facilitation, leading national and international leadership summits, teaching face-to-face and online leadership courses, course design and executive coaching. Prior to her work at ASAM/WLA/NESLI, Janet has worked extensively as a senior consultant, focusing on leadership, coaching, mentoring, emotional intelligence, communication, mindfulness, reflective practice and well-being. See complete bio.

Of attendees strongly agree summit presenters are highly stimulating and engaging​

Of attendees strongly agree summit content is useful in their everyday role​

Of attendees strongly agree summit content was appropriate for their leadership level

During the Summit, participants will hear from a number of inspirational speakers about their leadership/career journeys and the key elements that have contributed to their success. Armed with this valuable insight, participants will identify their own unique gifts and talents and begin to create their personal brand and message.

My Leadership Journey​

The ‘balcony’ concept comes from the great work of Ronald Heifeitz (King Hussein bin Talal Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership & Founder of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School). It is one that is easy to relate to and enables a process of mindful leadership to evolve. 

Welcome to your Balcony

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; sexual orientation; 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.

Embracing the ‘other’ in others and ourselves




Be inspired

Friday 16th July 2021  |  Interactive Online Event Experience

The Police, Defence and Emergency Services Women's Leadership Summit

A unique event experience for 2021 - Featuring international keynote presentations 

Due to the ongoing uncertainty around COVID-19, and with the intention of safeguarding the health and wellbeing of Australia’s emergency response professionals, the 2021 Summit will be delivered as a fully interactive online event. The unique format of this year’s event has also enabled a select number of inspirational international speakers and presenters to be included in the agenda. It is also hoped that the online format will assist participating organisations to include a wider range of personnel, especially those based in regional and remote locations.

Connect with peers

Event Facilitators

Janet Horton

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women & Leadership Australia 

Janet is passionate about growing organisations and the people who work in them. After successfully navigating her way through careers in Finance and IT, Janet became fascinated with how individuals and organisations change. Consequently, she obtained her Masters in Organisational Coaching and ran an organizational change consultancy for 5 years. Janet has come to believe that through skilled leadership, it is possible to change our work environments so that they increase both employee well-being and business performance. See complete bio.









Commander Heidi Rossendell

​Gender Advisor, Joint Operations Command, Australian Defence Force

Acting Inspector Anna Dwyer

​Acting Inspector, First Nations and Multicultural Affairs Unit, Queensland Police

Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz

​Assistant Commissioner, People and Culture, Australian Federal Police

Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM

​Commissioner, Resilience NSW; Former Commissioner, NSW Rural Fire Service; NSW State Recipient Australian of the Year 2021

Dr Kirstin Ferguson

​Company Director, Author & Award-Winning Leadership Expert

Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh APM

​Assistant Commissioner, Professional Standards Command, Victoria Police