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

This event has ended

Interactive Online Event

All times listed are in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)

09:00 - 09:30

Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country

Dr Janet Smith

Director of Programs, Women & Leadership Australia

Janet Horton

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women & Leadership Australia

09:40 - 10:10

Opening Address

The Hon. Clare O’Neil MP

Minister for Home Affairs; Minister for Cyber Security; Federal Member for Hotham

The Hon. Clare O’Neil MP is the Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Cyber Security and the Federal Member for Hotham. Born and raised in Melbourne, she joined the Labor Party at just 16 years old and in 2003, was elected as a councillor in the City of Dandenong, becoming Mayor 12 months later. This made her the youngest female mayor of a local government area in Australian history. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake a Master of Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2006, working as an intern on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2011, Clare spent nine months living in Northeast Arnhem Land, fostering a child and assisting local women to establish small businesses. Clare cites Indigenous issues, child welfare, women’s issues and economics as key interests.

10:10 - 10:40

Keynote Address

Kate Munari

Leadership and Resilience Speaker; Helicopter Pilot; Veteran

Imagine flying a helicopter in a war zone with 18 peoples’ lives in your hands. Suddenly, the enemy opens fire on you. How do you maintain both your and your team’s focus? How do you continue to make optimal decisions, minimise the disruption and effectively complete the mission? And how do you motivate your team to face this threat day after day? Kate has extensive experience leading both herself and her team through all sorts of challenges, often as the only female amongst her team and peers. From life-or-death moments being fired upon in Afghanistan while a helicopter pilot for 17 years, to the challenges of confined life on-board a Navy ship - Kate understands better than most the everyday pressures of a busy, reactive workplace. The principles Kate used to overcome the personal and professional challenges of life in the military are principles she continues to use throughout her professional and personal life. These principles can be scaled for any situation and are an instant go to when things don’t go to plan.

10:40 - 10:55



10:55 - 12:30

Panel Discussion

Leadership and the Imposter Syndrome

For many, feeling like an outsider isn’t an illusion — it’s actually the result of systemic bias and exclusion. The impact of systemic racism, ableism, classism, homophobia, xenophobia, and other biases were absent when the concept of Imposter Syndrome was developed, and our understandings about it are now more sophisticated. Our expert panel will discuss the strategies and mindsets that have supported their understanding of their own Imposter Syndrome, in addition to supporting their teams to recognise their own Imposter Syndrome and its impacts.

Panel Members

Inspector Gai Bolderrow

Inspector, Forensic Services Command, Queensland Police; QPS Representative, Queensland Government LGBTI Roundtable and the Pride in Diversity Executive Ally Network

Gai joined the Queensland Police Service (QPS) in 1987 and has worked in operational, specialist and corporate roles. During her career, Gai has been Officer in Charge of a Brisbane suburban police station and an on-road supervisor for the South Side of Brisbane. In addition to her vast operational experience Gai has undertaken corporate and specialist roles at Strategic Planning and Performance, Queensland Police Academy, State Intelligence and Forensic Services. Gai is a founding member of the QPS Pride Network, dedicated to supporting LGBTIQ staff members. The Network has been recognised by numerous awards including Premiers Award for Excellence in leadership for the video “It gets better.” Improving organisational inclusion and diversity for LGBTIQ+ people is a driving force for Gai, having recently developed the QPS Gender Affirmation Policy and Guidelines. Gai was named in the Deloitte Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders List. 

Barbara Olah

National Manager, Women's Development, Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Born and raised in Hungary, Barbara Olah emigrated to NZ as a 15-year old with her family.  In her 20’s she moved to Melbourne before heading back to NZ to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies. Barbara spent a year after university working as a Hazardous Substances Advisor for the Environmental Protection Authority NZ, before being accepted as a recruit firefighter with The New Zealand Fire Service (now Fire and Emergency New Zealand). She progressed through the rank structure to be appointed Station Officer in the Dunedin Fire Brigade in 2020.  She has been involved with the Women in Fire and Emergency NZ network from its inception in 2015. In 2021, Barbara was successful in gaining an 18-month secondment to my current position. She is relishing the challenges of this new role, being supported by her National Advisor and Coordinator.

Shamsa Lea

Director, Deloitte; Co-Founder #PropelHerAUS; Veteran

Shamsa Lea is a logistician by trade, and an Air Force veteran of Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and the Middle East Region. She is a Consulting Director in Climate and Sustainability at Deloitte, and is currently seconded as Chief of Staff, Indigenous Leadership Team. In 2020, Shamsa co-founded Propel Her Australia- The Defence Women’s Leadership Series, an online hub for resources specific to a woman’s career development experience in an Australian Defence and public sector setting. Shamsa and her co-founder received the 2021 ADM Women in Defence Awards People and Culture Leaders of the year. Additionally, she sits on the board of directors for Carry On, the leading VSO for crisis housing in Victoria. In 2018 she was shortlisted in the South Australia 40 under 40 business leaders of the year. 

Elizabeth Murphy APM

Chief Operations Officer, Ambulance Victoria

Libby Murphy has had an illustrious career in the public sector. With over thirty-two years in the Police Force, Libby climbed the ranks in a male dominated industry demonstrating how her resilience and determination, combined with her compassion, has been the foundation for her professional success. Libby has achieved a great deal as the first female in many of her career roles including as an investigator, supervisor, and manager across rural and metropolitan areas in the Police Force. Libby became the first female Assistant Commissioner - Road Policing Command. Libby has a love for learning, evidenced by her qualifications and studies in Frontline Management, Criminal Justice Administration and Executive Strategy while serving in the Police Force. Most recently Libby was appointed as Chief Operations Officer at Ambulance Victoria, the first female in this role.

Lauren Callaway

Assistant Commissioner, Family Violence Command, Victoria Police

Assistant Commissioner Lauren Callaway leads Victoria Police’s Family Violence Command.  Lauren has over 26 years of experience with Victoria Police and has held leadership positions in Intelligence and Covert Support Command, Southern Metro Region, and People Development Command. Lauren's career has seen her establishing the first iteration of the Violence Against Women and Children Strategy Group, spending four years at the Professional Standards Command and undertaking the role of Local Area Commander at Glen Eira Bayside. Lauren then returned to ICSC as a Superintendent to manage the Offender Management Division. In 2018 Lauren transferred on promotion to the People and Development Command where she worked on developing Victoria Police’s organisational education strategy, leading the specialist training areas and producing quality outcomes in education and training. Lauren commenced as Assistant Commissioner in the Family Violence Command in 2020. 

09:30 - 09:40

Welcome Address

Karen Taylor GAICD

Chief Executive Officer, Women & Leadership Australia


13:30 - 14:30

Development Session

Janet Horton

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women &Leadership Australia

Taming the Imposter Voice

Did you know that most attendees of our events and programs report that they sometimes hear an 'inner imposter voice'? Learning how to manage that voice is a mindset choice. With practice we can learn to recognise it and choose a more effective response. In this Development Session, we will learn how to interrupt that voice when it arrives and replace it with a more helpful one.

15:00 - 15:15


12:30 - 13:00


Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Hall is the Australian Army’s first Command Cultural Advisor, working within the Regional Force Surveillance Group. A Bama Bama woman, Lieutenant Colonel Hall enlisted in the Army in 2017 after being inspired by the story of Wujal Wujal brothers Norman and Charlie Baird. She was still CEO of the Wujal Wujal Council at the time she joined the 51st battalion and has since climbed up the ranks to become one of the highest ranked Indigenous soldiers in Australia. Lieutenant Colonel Hall also has many years’ experience working across various levels of government as well as in the NFP and private sectors. 

Lieutenant Colonel Tim Rutherford is a cavalry officer with the Australian Army whose career has spanned more than 20 years. He has held a range of command, planning, and instructional appointments in Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Professional Studies (Peace Studies), a Masters of Military Studies, and a Masters of International Law. Previously he was the Commanding Officer of the 51st Battalion in Far North Queensland and most recently was appointed as the ADF’s NT Covid-19 response Commander. 

15:15 - 15:45

Keynote Address

Alex Blackwell

World Cup & Ashes winning cricket Captain; Genetic Counsellor; Patron @prideinsport

Alex is a former Australian cricket captain who led her country to World Cup and Ashes victories. After 15 years representing Australia on field, Alex now enjoys educating individuals and teams on how to achieve sustained high performance in challenging environments. Alex appears regularly in the media as a sports commentator and social justice advocate and uses her platform to promote positive messages around high performance, inclusion, and health. Alex now works as a genetic counsellor at Sydney Children’s Hospital and The Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick. In June 2018 Alex became the first female elected director to Cricket NSW in its 159 history. In recognition of her eminent service to society by advancing important causes, Alex was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The University of NSW in 2019. Her memoir ‘Fair Game’ was published in January 2022.

15:45 - 16:25

Keynote Address

Hannah Graf

Retired Captain of the British Army; LGBTQ, Diversity and Equality Advocate; Patron of Mermaids Charity

Hannah is a Captain in the British Army. She commissioned in 2010 and since that time has commanded soldiers across the world. Hannah is also a transgender woman and her personal story of transition captured the imagination of the nation in 2015. A true advocate for equality, she used her public profile to promote a realistic portrayal of transgender individuals in the UK. Outside the Army, she acts as Patron for the charity Mermaids and is an ambassador for LGBT Sport in Wales. Her work in diversity has won her several accolades including Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year, an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University and in June 2019, an MBE for her work updating LGBTQ policy in the British Army. Hannah’s experience as a decorated Officer who transitioned within the Army perfectly places her to speak with confidence on all aspects of the military, diversity and inclusive leadership.

16:25 - 16:30

Closing Comments

Dr Janet Smith

Director of Programs, Women & Leadership Australia

Janet Horton

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women & Leadership Australia

08:40 - 09:00

Online Registration

14:30 - 15:00

Keynote Address

Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts AM CSC

Commander, Deep Space Command

Air Vice-Marshal Cath Roberts is the inaugural Defence Space Commander. She joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1983 as a specialist in aerospace engineering and has held more than 20 roles throughout her career. An Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service in her roles as Head of Aerospace System Division and Head of Air Force Capability, AVM Roberts has dedicated her career to advancing air and space power. AVM Roberts has a passion for diversity and assisting women to enter aerospace and STEM fields through her work with Women in Aviation. She has been a mentor in Future Through Collaboration (Defence and Industry) and Superstars of STEM programs. Outside Air Force, Cath was featured in the prestigious AFR 100 Women of Influence in 2013, was the recipient of the Aviation/Aerospace Australia Leadership Award in 2014 and the Women in Defence Award for Project Management in 2022


13:00 - 13:30

Keynote Address

Ngana Muruku Jundkurrjiku Janay (We Stand Stronger Together)

Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Hall

Cultural Advisor, Regional Force Surveillance Group (RFSG), Australian Army; One of the highest-ranking Indigenous Soldiers in Australia

Colonel Timothy Rutherford

Commanding Officer of the 51st Battalion, The Far North Queensland Regiment, Australian Army; Commander of the Defence’s NT COVID-19 response

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