Sydney Symposium 2019

Thursday 18th and Friday 19th July 2019

Shangri-La Hotel


Publisher, Women’s Agenda


Australian Paralympian


Journalist, Author and Walkley Award Winner; Director of Diversity, WLA

09:30 - 10:00

Keynote Address

​CEO, Australian Women Donors Network

Prior to leading the Australian Women Donors Network, Julie’s diverse experience spanned government, corporate, NFP, university and media roles. She has co-ordinated international OECD conferences, won an Excellence Award for her work with the National Centre for Gender and Cultural Diversity at Swinburne University and last year was named in the Herald Sun’s 50 Women in Victoria You Should Know. Julie has studied Philanthropy and Social Investment and has served on NFP and philanthropic boards. She currently holds Board roles with the Perpetual Foundation, Canadian based G(irls)20, and MECCA’s M-Power Program. She is most proud of co-producing two intelligent, independent, capable, compassionate daughters.​

Julie Reilly

10:00 - 10:30

Keynote Address 

​Australian Paralympian

In 2008 Madison became the youngest athlete to be selected on an Australian Paralympic or Olympic athletics team, and catapulted from an unknown junior racer to a crucial member of 4X100m relay team in the Beijing Paralympics. Madison found her calling in the endurance events, collecting a bronze medal in the 800m at the IPC World Championships and clocking the fastest debut marathon for any female athlete at the London Marathon. Madison similarly left the field behind in a breathtaking final sprint to become world champion in the 800m at the IPC World Championships in 2015.Leaving Rio with two silver medals to her name, after joining her teammates with a silver medal performance in the 4x400m relay, and narrowly missing gold in the 800M. ​

Madison De Rozario

10:30 - 11:00

Flying through the glass ceiling

​President, Australian Federation of Air Pilots

In October 2018 Louise was elected as the 32nd AFAP President. Throughout her 17-year career with Sunstate Louise has flown the Shorts 360, Dash 8-100, 200, 300 and 400. For the past 12 years Louise has also been an active member of the Sunstate Pilots' Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiating team and Secretary of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) Sunstate Pilot Council Committee. In 2009 Louise was elected AFAP Vice President of Administration and Finance with responsibility for oversight of budgeting and financial governance matters. In 2010 Louise established the AFAP Women's Network, providing a unique forum to identify and pursue industrial and professional issues relevant to women members. Since its inception, the number of women members has increased by over 300%.​

Captain Louise Pole


CEO, Australian Women Donors Network


CEO, Women for Election Australia


Clinical Director for Surgery, RAAF

11:00 - 11:20

Morning Tea

Sue Kench is the Global Chief Executive of King & Wood Mallesons, taking on this role in 2017 after leading the firm in Australia for four years as Chief Executive Partner, Australia. Sue was the first woman in Australia to lead a top tier law firm in that role. Sue works closely with Wang Junfeng, the Global Chairman and the firm’s International Management Committee. She became a Partner in the Real Estate practice of legacy Mallesons Stephen Jaques in 1996 and has held a number of board, management and leadership positions in the firm over the past two decades.​

​Global Chief Executive, King & Wood Mallesons

Sue Kench

Tarla Lambert is the publisher and part-owner of Women’s Agenda, Australia’s leading online news website for professional and entrepreneurial women. She’s a writer, commentator, politics enthusiast and fierce advocate for equality. Women's Agenda has established a valuable place in the Australian media landscape, covering everything from business, tech, and politics through to lifestyle, finance and leadership. Tarla specialises in content strategy and production, editorial, social media, events and digital partnerships.

​Publisher, Women’s Agenda

Tarla Lambert

Michelle Penfold is a co-founder of AIEF and former CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong (AustCham), the largest Australian business organisation outside of Australia, representing over 1,000 Australian businesses across Greater China. Michelle began her career in the hospitality industry and spent eight years working in hospitality management in Sydney, London and Hong Kong after completing a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) at The University of Technology, Sydney in 1988, majoring in Journalism and Political Studies.As a Founder and Director of AIEF Michelle is responsible for all stakeholder relationships and engagement, as well as internal and external communications including media and marketing and events.​

​Founder and Director, Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF)

Michelle Penfold

Sanushka is a corporate lawyer specialising in capital markets, corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. Her practice is largely cross-border with an Asia-focus and Sanushka have expertise in capital markets and M&A transactions involving clients in the People's Republic of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India, as well as capital markets and M&A transactions involving clients in the USA and the UK. Amongst her professional achievements, Shanushka was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Australia 2018. She has a particular interest in India and am a co-founder and director of the School of Policy and Governance, co-founder of the Australia India Youth Dialogue and National Vice Chair of the Australia India Business Council (AIBC).​

Partner at Thomson Geer and National Vice Chair, Australia India Business Council

Sanushka Seomangal

We can be trapped by our competence, which can hamper opportunities for growth. Has your past best practice held you back? Panellists will discuss how they adapted and thrived in challenging environments by making gradual and meaningful change.​

'Breaking the competency trap and developing adaptive Leadership’

Panel Discussion

11:20 - 12:50​

15:30 - 15:50

Afternoon Tea

Agenda Day 1

Thursday 18th July 2019

Agenda Day 2

Friday 19th July 2019

10:45 - 11:10

Morning Tea

In this session we will meet professionals who work in sectors that are generally dominated by one gender. We will learn about how they challenged the system and how their inspiration followed their passion. Panellists will field questions about being the minority in a workplace.​

'Let’s talk about non-traditional roles’

Panel Discussion

11:10 - 12:50​

Panel Members

Panel Members

Annette is a consultant Orthopaedic surgeon based in Victoria and recently elected by the Fellowship to the RACS Council. She is lead a project with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the AO Foundation in Switzerland to establish minimum standards of care for people with limb injuries in disasters and complex emergencies, whilst also undertaking a Masters of Surgical Education at the University of Melbourne. She is the Clinical Director for Surgery and Perioperative Services for RAAF, holds the rank of Group Captain. The first female to graduate from the Victorian Orthopaedic training program in 1990, she practiced initially at Monash Medical Centre with specialization in Paediatric orthopaedics. She joined the RAAF in 2000, and subsequently shifted towards Trauma Surgery. She has undertaken five deployments to war zones including three tours in Afghanistan.​

​Clinical Director for Surgery and Perioperative Services, Royal Australian Air Force

DR Annette Holian

Simone is a founder of the organic beef industry in Australia and has been pioneering the development of major market opportunities for her organic beef network since the mid 1990’s.  She is a Director of the Organic Federation of Australia, currently merging into the newly expanded Organic Industries of Australia, and was a member of the Federal Government National Food Plan Advisory Group – in recognition of the growing importance of the organic food sector to Australian agriculture. Simone is an organic beef producer and joint Managing Director of the AOM Group, an organic meat company that represents farmers in their quest to achieve fair market returns for their organic beef and lamb products. She was recently recognised as a finalist in the 2018 AFR 100 Women of Influence. Simone and her family currently operate an organic beef property near Goondiwindi.​

​Director, Australian Organic Meats

Simone Tully

16:40 - 17:30

Networking Drinks

Eleni established Galmatic in 2007 with the launch of the Galmatic Car Care Handbook for Girls and the Galmatic Car Care Workshops for Women. Her experience in program design and facilitation includes working with three leading Registered Training Organisations, author of the Galmatic Handbook, 6 E-Books, 2 E-Courses and the first Car App for Women in Australia. She was a 2013 Telstra Business Womens’ Awards Nominee and has extensive experience in corporate training and program design in a variety of industries. Eleni is also an Author and Trainer with 15 years in the entertainment industry that has helped her to develop a training style, which is unique, adaptable, entertaining, engaging and motivating. 

​Author, Trainer, Grease Monkey and Founder, Galmatic

Eleni Mitakos

12:50 - 13:40


14:20 - 15:00

In Conversation

Annabel Crabb is an Australian political journalist, commentator and television host who is the ABC's chief online political writer. She has worked for Adelaide's The Advertiser, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the Sunday Age and The Sun-Herald, and won a Walkley Award in 2009. She has written two books covering events within the Australian Labor Party, as well The Wife Drought, a book about women's work life balance. She has hosted ABC television shows Kitchen Cabinet, The House and Back in Time for Dinner.

Leigh Sales AM is an award-winning author and journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and currently anchors 7.30. Until 2011, Leigh Sales anchored the prestigious Lateline program, interviewing major figures including Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and Henry Kissinger. In 2005, Leigh won a Walkley Award, Australia's highest journalism honour, for her coverage of Guantanamo Bay and the case of David Hicks. Leigh's writing has been published in The Monthly, The Bulletin, The Australian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Diplomat. One of her essays was included in The Best Australian Political Writing of 2007, and her second book, On Doubt, was published in 2009.

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales 


AFL Coach


Author, Trainer, Grease Monkey and Founder, Galmatic


Global Chief Executive, King & Wood Mallesons


AFL Coach, 2013 Football Woman of the Year


​Director, Australian Organic Meats


Broadcaster, Writer, Author and Social Commentator


President, Australian Federation of Air Pilots

Yumi Stynes is a broadcaster and writer who's been working in Australian media for almost two decades, evolving from music reporter to her current, 'more mature' focus as a writer on Arts, Culture, Food, Gender Politics and Human Sexuality. She’s known for her honesty, warmth and humour. Like many women, Yumi is juggling — she does a daily radio show, works on several writing projects (including her recently released Zero F*cks cookbook), and regularly runs 10km for a laugh — all while raising four children. She hosts Is Australia Sexist? on SBS television and fronts 'Ladies, We Need to Talk', the popular podcast with ABC Audio Studios.​

With over 18 years of coaching experience in the WAFL, AFL and AFLW, Michelle has had a long and successful career that has contributed to the game’s exciting evolution. Her role at West Perth Football Club was followed by a three-year stint at South Fremantle Football Club as midfield coach. Michelle later took on a dual role at Melbourne Football Club as the Senior Coach of their Women’s Team and Development Coach for the Men’s team before being appointed by Fremantle Football Club to be the inaugural coach of their AFLW side from 2016-2018. Michelle was awarded the 2013 AFL Football Women of the year. Her achievements have made it clearer that when it comes to football or business, gender should be no barrier to kicking goals. ​

Michelle Cowan

​AFL Coach, 2013 Football Woman of the Year


Secretary, NSW Health

​Secretary, NSW Health

Elizabeth Koff has held a number of Senior Executive roles within the NSW health system, including Director Clinical Operations South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service and Chief Executive of Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. In February 2015, Elizabeth commenced in the role of Deputy Secretary, Strategy and Resources at the NSW Ministry of Health where she was responsible for strategic health policy development and system-wide planning of health services. In May 2016, Elizabeth was appointed Secretary, NSW Health. As Secretary, Elizabeth is committed to strategically re-shaping health services to provide better value care and improved patient outcomes, ensuring NSW continues to lead the nation in delivering high quality care to its communities.

13:40 - 14:20

Keynote Address



Elizabeth Koff


Company Director and Chair, Creator of #celebratingwomen, and Author, Women Kind

New South Wales Award for Excellence in Women's Leadership

15:10 - 15:30

15:50 - 16:30

Keynote Address

Broadcaster, Writer, Author and Social Commentator



Pioneering Surgeon and Obstetrician

Please note: Dr Alison Morgan, Dr Catherine Hamlin’s niece, and Board Director at the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation will be accepting this award in person on behalf of Dr Hamlin.


Platinum education Partner


09:20 - 10:00

Gender equality in Australia - State of the nation

Managing Director, Australian Gender Equality Agency  

Dr Fitzsimmons is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership with the University of Queensland Business School. He is also a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years of practice. He is the director of the AIBE Centre for Gender Equality in the Workplace and Managing Director of the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC), a body whose members comprise of peak national bodies representing women across industry sectors in Australia.

His PhD in Leadership examined successful attributes of CEOs and differing pathways to CEO roles for men and women. In June 2015, Dr Fitzsimmons and Professor Callan and working with the Committee for Perth, released ‘Filling the Pool’, a major report into gender inequality in Western Australia and what government, organisations and individuals can do to address the issue.   ​

Dr Terrance Fitzsimmons

Dr Terrance Fitzsimmons

Managing Director, Australian Gender Equality Agency

Laura was appointed CEO of Supply Nation in 2015, having been involved with the organisation since its inception through her work with two founding member companies. Since taking the reins at Supply Nation, Laura has led the organisation through a significant period of growth: doubling the membership base, growing the supplier base by over 300% and increasing the national footprint of the organisation. Laura is currently a member of Telstra’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, and both McKinsey & Company and NRMA’s RAP Steering Committees. In September 2018, Laura was announced as one of the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Women of Influence. Laura proudly identifies with her Aboriginal and Italian heritage and was born and raised in Canberra.​

​CEO, Supply Nation

Laura Berry


Partner at Thomson Geer and National Vice Chair, Australia India Business Council

12:50 - 13:30


Michael is currently General Manager, Corporate Strategy and Development at Origin Energy. This involves overseeing Origin’s activities across group strategy, mergers & acquisitions and Origin’s Investment Committee process. Prior to joining Origin Michael worked in private equity and as a corporate advisor. Michael is passionate about developing talent and seeing people learn and grow, whether it’s teaching his kids to ride a bike or surfboard, or seeing members of his team confidently present to the Origin Executive or Board for the first time.​

​General Manager, Corporate Strategy and Development, Origin

Michael Lion

13:30 - 15:10​

Interactive SESSION

‘Women Kind - Unlocking the power of women supporting women’ 


General Manager, Corporate Strategy and Development, Origin

10:30 - 10:45

WLA in Action

Heejung Cecilia is a Chartered Accountant professional with 18+ years of multi-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional work experience. Heejung Cecilia's diverse work roles included being Head of Risk and Compliance, Group and Corporate (Challenger), taxation advisor (Deloitte), infrastructure fund manager (Macquarie Bank), consultant on regulatory projects (BNP Paribas, ING Australia) and trainee in architecture firms in Australia and Korea. Heejung Cecilia is dedicated to extending knowledge of wholistic well-being. Heejung Cecilia is a LESMILLS group fitness instructor of 9 years, yoga teacher, Reiki practitioner and member of the Sydney Philharmonia Festival Choir.  You can find her on Twitter @NewNaPlay.​

Heejung Cecilia Lim CA

16:30 - 16:40

Closing Comments

Director, Leadership and Advocacy, WLA

Suzi Finkelstein

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, WLA

Janet Horton

09:00 - 09:20

Welcome and Opening Comments

Director, Leadership and Advocacy, WLA

Suzi Finkelstein

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, WLA

Janet Horton

15:00 - 15:10

Closing Comments

Director, Leadership and Advocacy, WLA

Suzi Finkelstein

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, WLA

Janet Horton

09:00 - 09:20

Welcome and Opening Comments

Director, Leadership and Advocacy, WLA

Suzi Finkelstein

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, WLA

Janet Horton

Catherine Fox is a leading commentator on women and the workforce, an award-winning journalist, author and regular presenter to audiences around Australia. During a long career with the Financial Review, she edited several sections of the newspaper, and wrote the Corporate Woman column; and she has published five books, including "Stop Fixing Women” which along with her journalism was awarded the 2017 Walkley Award for Women’s Leadership in Media. Her most recent book “Women Kind” (with co-author Kirstin Ferguson) examines how female solidarity is rebooting the global women’s movement. Catherine helped establish the annual Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Awards in 2012 and was named a Woman of Influence in 2018; she was a member of the Australian Defence Force Gender Equality Advisory Board, sits on the Australian Women Donors Network board, and is co-founder of the Sydney Women’s Giving Circle.​

​Journalist, Author and Walkley Award Winner; Director of Diversity, WLA

Catherine Fox

Dr Kirstin Ferguson is a professional company director and Chair, keynote speaker and author. After beginning her career as an Air Force Officer, Kirstin was an executive in a corporate law firm where she held various leadership roles for many years.  Kirstin then became CEO of a global consulting firm before commencing her board career. As well as Honours degrees in Law and also History, she also has a PhD in corporate governance and leadership for which she has received industry and academic awards. Dr Ferguson was the creator of the Walkley nominated #CelebratingWomen campaign in 2017 and is also the author of Women Kind with co-author Catherine Fox.  She was awarded the Queensland Award by Women & Leadership Australia in 2018.​

​Company Director and Chair, Creator of #celebratingwomen, and Author, Women Kind

Dr Kirstin Ferguson


Program Convener Nursing and Midwifery Honours, The University of Newcastle


CEO, Supply Nation

Donovan is a Registered Nurse, Midwife, and lecturer for the Bachelor of Midwifery program at the University of Newcastle. Donovan is an early career researcher; his PhD explored the use of technology for engaging fathers in an online web-based mindfulness intervention. To date Donovan’s team has developed a Neonatal Virtual Reality program designed to provide health professionals and students with accessible and repeatable neonatal resuscitation lifesaving skills. Donovan is an alumni of CSIRO OnPrime and OnAccelerate programs designed to assist researchers to develop skills in the commercialisation of deep technologies from universities to commercial viability. ​

​Program Convener Nursing and Midwifery Honours, The University of Newcastle


10:00 - 10:30

Keynote Address

CEO, Women for Election Australia

Licia Heath is CEO of the for-purpose organisation, Women for Election Australia (WFEA), a non-partisan group committed to inspire and equip more women to successfully run for office at the local, state and federal levels. Licia ran as an Independent candidate in the high-profile Wentworth by-election in October 2018 and helped shape the political debate on a national platform. In addition, over the past two years she’s initiated and led the campaign for a new public high school in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. Licia’s experience of seeding and leading an issue-based campaign, her decision to run for public office and her role with WFEA, combine to show the positive effects of engaging in the political process in Australia.​

Licia Heath


Author and Chief Online Political Writer & Author, ABC; Author, Journalist and Presenter, ABC’s 7:30 Report

Executive General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Origin


Senior Manager, Professional Practice, DeakinCo.


Jane Fahey is an experienced leader in the Higher Education sector who has developed and implemented a variety of new systems and processes to fulfil the strategic objectives of organisations in numerous projects and initiatives over the last twenty years. Jane is particularly interested in strategic initiatives and innovative approaches that respond to the challenges of disruption and opportunities for transformation in education and professional development. Working at a senior level within and across complex organisations, Jane has a strong focus on stakeholder engagement and creating networks, where effective communication and collaboration are key to achieving both strategic and tactical business objectives. Jane has worked closely with key academic and industry experts in the establishment of the Deakin Professional Practice Credential Assessment Framework and with Deakin on the innovative Professional Practice degrees.  Jane has responsibility for overseeing the credential framework and develops professional education solutions that incorporate these credentials to formally recognise the existing expertise of experienced professionals and provide pathways into Deakin postgraduate degrees.

Jane Fahey

Samantha Stevens joined Origin in March 2018 as Executive General Manager, Corporate Affairs. Samantha is responsible for Origin’s external affairs, government and public policy and employee communication functions. Samantha has more than 20 years’ experience in corporate affairs, mainly in the resources, industrials and financial services sectors. Prior to joining Origin, Samantha was head of corporate affairs at global mining services company, Orica Ltd. She was previously employed at BHP where she headed the global media relations function for 8 years. Sam has also held corporate affairs roles at Westpac, NAB and Sensis. Samantha holds an MBA from the University of New England.​

Senior Manager, Professional Practice, DeakinCo.

​Executive General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Origin

Samantha Stevens

09:20 - 09:30

Sponsor Addresses