The Australian Schools

Women’s Leadership summit​

Summit Speakers​

Summit  Themes​

Friday 4th June, 2021​

Interactive Online Event Experience

Summit Facilitators

NESLI in partnership with WLA​

Summit Overview​

The Australian Schools Women’s Leadership Summit provides a unique opportunity for women at all levels of school leadership to connect, share their experiences, build their leadership capacity and prioritise their own wellbeing. 

A collaboration between the National Excellence in School Leadership Institute (NESLI) and Women & Leadership Australia, the Summit brings together the latest in women’s leadership expertise and a deep understanding of current challenges and opportunities for leaders in the education sector. 

Connecting, developing and supporting Australia’s female school leaders​

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. Janet has previously worked extensively as a senior consultant, focusing on leadership, coaching, mentoring, emotional intelligence, communication, mindfulness, reflective practice and well-being. 

Dr Janet Smith​

Program Director, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Debra is an experienced principal of two girls’ schools and has recently completed her Doctorate in Education focusing on how to improve girls’ leadership capacity in the independent school environment. She is passionate about leadership which is based on authentic personal values and believes that leadership is a relational and collaborative process, rather than an individual pursuit. 

DR Debra Kelliher

Senior Facilitator, National Excellence in School Leadership Institute

Wellbeing and Resilience 

Within the education sector, our ability to overcome challenges whilst remaining engaged and effective can have very real implications for providing high quality education to students. Personal and professional resilience is not only about strength through adversity (particularly during a pandemic) but the ability to grow and adapt as a result of disruption. Participants are asked to consider resilience at both a personal and strategic level, and identify strategies to build resilience in their teams through effective leadership.

Inspiration and Insight

During the summit, participants will hear from a number of inspirational education sector 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.

Looking back and moving forward

2020 was an extraordinary year for leaders across almost every industry and sector, and Australian educators and school leaders have faced challenges and disruption like never before. Summit attendees will be provided with an opportunity to reflect and learn from the challenges of 2020, consider how these challenges are impacting 2021, and explore how to move forward as leaders in an energised and positive way.

Drawing together respected educators and thought leaders, the Summit aims to celebrate the role of women as leaders and custodians of their school communities, as well as equip participants with insights and skills to assist them in achieving long-term career success and fulfilment. ​ 

Supporting Leadership Equity and Excellence​

Dr Maree Herrett

Honorary Associate, The Sydney School of Education and Social Work, The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney

Pip Thomas

CEO, Association of School Business Administrators

Professor Marcia Devlin​

Non-Executive Director and Board Member; Education Researcher and Leader​

Karen Spiller OAM

Principal, John Paul College

Tammy Anderson

Principal, Briar Road Public School

Dr Terry Fitzsimmons

Managing Director, Australian Gender Equality Council

Georgie Harman

Chief Executive Officer, Beyond Blue

Fiona Hunt

Executive Director, Professional Standards and Conduct, WA Department of Education

Gorgi Coghlan

Media Personality, Co-host of The Project, Former Secondary School Teacher

This interactive, online event will feature inspirational keynote presentations, expert workshops, panel discussions, participant breakout sessions and online discussion forums. 

Summit attendees will:

Be inspired by experts in gender equity, mental health and wellbeing

Reflect on key challenges – especially in light of the ongoing global pandemic – and develop strategies to strengthen their own leadership practices

Hear from diverse women leaders about their experiences, challenges and successes

Connect with women leaders from schools around the country to share insights, strategies and peer support.