Summit Overview

The Women’s Leadership Summit is a significant annual event for women 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 

The Summit will support women at all levels within police, defence and emergency services organisations to enhance their leadership knowledge and capacity.

Participants will learn from inspiring Australian and international leaders, engage in an interactive development session and build connections with women across the police, defence and emergency services sector around the country.

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 and 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​

Moving from the dancefloor to the balcony is a concept developed by Ronald Heifeitz, world-renowned authority on the practice and teaching of leadership. Getting ‘up in the balcony’ provides leaders with an opportunity to step back from the action to gain a different perspective. By using the balcony concept, leaders are able to revisit the bigger picture, be proactive rather than reactive, and be considered and strategic in their actions.

Welcome to your Balcony

‘Othering’ is an assumption – often unconscious – that a person or group with different characteristics to us does not belong. It is an effect that can influence whether we view them as being part of majority or minority. People might be marginalised on the basis of their cultural background, gender, sexuality, religion, politics or profession. However, it is often these exact expressions of diversity that are the basis for real growth and new thinking.

Embracing the ‘other’ in others and ourselves




Friday 16th July 2021  |  Interactive Online Event

The Police, Defence and Emergency Services

Women's Leadership Summit

A unique event for 2021 featuring international keynote presentations 

For the first time, the 2021 Summit will be an interactive, fully online experience. This unique format makes it possible for a wider range of personnel to participate in the Summit – especially those based in regional and remote locations – while safeguarding the health and wellbeing of Australia’s emergency response professionals.

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 organisational 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.

Dr. LaShanda Cobbs

​Director, COVID-19 Services, OptumServe; Retired Colonel, U.S. Army

Rochelle Martin MNZM

National Manager Career Recruitment, Fire and Emergency New Zealand; Former Black Ferns Captain

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 Service

Brigadier Lisa Ferris

​Director of Defence Legal Services, New Zealand Defence Force

Dr Kirstin Ferguson

​Company Director, Author & Award-Winning Leadership Expert

Tammy Barlette

​Retired Lieutenant Colonel and fighter pilot, U.S. Air Force; CEO, Athena's Voice

Assistant Commissioner Tess Walsh APM

​Assistant Commissioner, Professional Standards Command, Victoria Police