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CEW Founding Members

Founded by a visionary group of female leaders, CEW emerged as a beacon of empowerment and advocacy, championing the cause of gender equality at the highest echelons of corporate Australia. The founders, through their collective influence and determination, not only shattered glass ceilings but also paved the way for future generations of women to ascend to leadership positions. Their initiative not only elevated the visibility of women in executive roles but also underscored the imperative for diversity and inclusion in boardrooms and chief executive roles. The emergence of CEW spurred a paradigm shift, challenging entrenched norms and prompting organisations to reassess their approaches to talent management and succession planning through a coordinated investment in networking, leadership development, and education.

Anne Gorman

Anne graduated from Sydney University with a BA and a postgraduate degree in Medical Social Work, marking the beginning of her illustrious career. Notably, she served as Head of the Australian Government’s task force for the International Year of the Child at the United Nations. In 2003, she co-founded The Institute of Executive Coaching, forging impactful partnerships with esteemed organizations like Telstra, BHP, ANZ, and various levels of government. Anne’s expertise has been instrumental in driving organisational success and fostering leadership development across diverse sectors. Her strategic vision and commitment to excellence continue to shape the landscape of executive coaching and social advocacy, leaving a lasting legacy of positive change.

Barbara Cail AO

Barbara is a trailblazer in championing women’s leadership. In 1985, she founded Chief Executive Women (CEW), a pivotal organisation advocating for gender equality in business. Prior to CEW, while managing her B2B publishing company, Barbara launched ‘Portfolio,’ a groundbreaking magazine for professional women, which garnered significant acclaim and was eventually acquired by Fairfax. Recognising the power of collective action, Barbara convened a dinner with 18 influential women featured in ‘Portfolio,’ catalyzing the formation of CEW. Originally affiliated with Women Chiefs of Enterprise in Paris, the group evolved into Chief Executive Women within four years. Barbara’s dedication to empowering women extends beyond CEW; she served as Chair of the NSW Small Business Development Corporation and Director of the NSW State Development Council, solidifying her legacy as a tireless advocate for women’s advancement in business and beyond.

Bev Dyke

Bonnie Boezeman AO

Bonnie is a seasoned board member, boasting a diverse portfolio spanning over 14 boards across sectors such as funds management, insurance, IT, technology, retail, and more. From Defence Housing to media and gaming for government, she brings a wealth of expertise to each role, including engagements with both public and private entities as well as startups. Beyond her corporate endeavors, Bonnie is deeply committed to philanthropy, with a particular passion for supporting causes close to her heart. Currently, she lends her expertise to the Australian Golf Foundation while actively participating as a member of Chief Executive Women (CEW). Demonstrating her dedication to nurturing future leaders, Bonnie sponsors a Leadership in Nursing Scholarship through CEW, furthering her impact on the broader community through mentorship and support.

Carla Zampatti AC

Carla Zampatti AC, Australia’s leading fashion designer, founded her label in 1965 and served as Executive Chair of Carla Zampatti Pty Ltd. Renowned for her exceptional design, tailoring, and understanding of the modern woman, she played a crucial role in making Australian women feel confident.

Born in Italy and settling in Western Australia in 1950, Carla transitioned to Sydney, establishing her label nationally in 1967. A champion of Australian women, she navigated social changes, contributing to women’s liberation in the 1960s. In the early 1980s, she collaborated with Ford to design the interior of the Ford Laser for the women’s market, showcasing her innovation. 

Beyond fashion, she excelled as a businesswoman, serving on prominent boards and receiving accolades, including the Order of Australia (AC). She passed away on April 3, 2021, leaving a lasting legacy in fashion, women’s empowerment, and multicultural Australia.

Geraldine Paton AO

Geraldine Paton, a distinguished former Executive Director of News Corporation and seasoned Company Director, has left an indelible mark on the corporate landscape. As a founding member of Chief Executive Women (CEW), she has been instrumental in advocating for gender equality and leadership diversity. Recognised for her outstanding contributions to business and society, Geraldine was honored with the Order of Australia in 1999 and the Centenary Medal in 2001. Her exemplary leadership, unwavering dedication, and commitment to driving positive change have earned her widespread admiration and respect. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to excellence, paving the way for future generations of women leaders and leaving a lasting legacy in the realms of business, governance, and advocacy.

Gillian Franklin

Gillian Franklin is the Managing Director of The Heat Group, a leading distributor of personal care brands such as Max Factor, COVERGIRL, Bourjois, and her proprietary brand, Ulta3. With an annual turnover of $130 million in retail sales, Gillian has firmly established herself as a prominent figure in the industry. Beyond her entrepreneurial pursuits, she is deeply engaged in various board positions and is a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment. Through her leadership and advocacy, Gillian continues to make significant contributions to both the business world and the advancement of women, leaving a lasting impact on the industries she operates in and the communities she serves.

Heather Leembruggen

Heather Leembruggen is the Chair of IAA Australia and has been actively involved with the International Advertising Association (IAA) since 1976 locally and globally. A director of IAA Australia Chapter since 1978, and an IAA World Board director since 1984 she has served in IAA global positions of IAA World Treasurer, VP Elections, VP IAA Awards, VP for IAA World Congresses in Beijing, Dubai, and Beirut, and VP Young Professionals worldwide.

An advocate for fostering education and career development in marketing communications, she has conducted IAA youth scholarships, programs, and awards in Australia and globally since 1983. She was awarded the IAA Medal for Merit in 1990, received the IAA Samir Fares Award in 1994, The IAA Champion Award in 2013 and was presented with an IAA Honorary Life Membership, as tributes to her achievements and outstanding service in advancing the objectives of the IAA globally. She received the Australian Centenary Medal in 2003.

Helen Lynch AM

Helen Lynch AM is a former banker and has had a long involvement with Westpac, from a junior member of staff to a member of the Bank’s Executive Committee, followed by her appointment to the Westpac Board, then Chairman of both The Westpac Foundation and the Westpac Staff Superannuation Fund. Currently, she is a Founding Director of The Westpac BiCentennial Foundation and oversees The National Selection Committee of The Westpac Scholarship Fund. Helen served as a Non-Executive Director on many public listed companies and maintains advisory roles on a number of Family Foundations. She has always been committed to the community, and has served as a director of numerous arts, charitable and government organisations, including Chairman of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Funds SA, as well as being a founding member and former President of Chief Executive Women and a Director of The Garvan Medical Research Institute. In 1994, Helen was appointed a Member of The Order of Australia for services to the banking and finance industry and in 2003 was awarded The Centenary Medal for her contribution to business leadership and to the community. In 2005 Helen received the honorary award of Doctor of Griffith University.

Imelda Roche AO

Imelda Roche, one of 19 billionaires on the 2023 Financial Review Rich Women List, was at the vanguard of getting women into the workforce. Bill & Imelda Roche established Nutrimetics in Australia in 1968 and expanded the company into Asia Pacific, Europe & Mexico. Named one of the world’s 50 leading female entrepreneurs in Paris in 1997, Roche was the first woman and first Australian appointed Chair of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. She has served on 31 boards and committees focusing on health, education and trade and represented both Prime Ministers Keating and Howard as an Australian delegate to APEC. Chancellor of Bond University from 1999 to 2003, she has two honorary doctorates.

Julia King AM

Julia Marion King AM is a prominent Australian businesswoman renowned for her extensive contributions to the corporate sector and the community. With a distinguished career spanning decades, she held pivotal roles including director at Fairfax Media from 1995 to 2010 and CEO of Louis Vuitton, Australia since 1989. Additionally, she served on the board of Opera Australia, demonstrating her commitment to both business and the arts.

Julia’s remarkable achievements were recognised in the 2010 Australia Day Honours, where she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). This prestigious accolade was awarded in acknowledgment of her outstanding service to business through executive leadership across various organizations, as well as her significant contributions to the community, particularly as a supporter of arts and charitable initiatives. Julia’s unwavering dedication and impact continue to leave a lasting legacy in both the corporate and philanthropic spheres.

Leonie Still

Pauline Markwell

Pauline serves as a Foundation Director for The Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation, leveraging her expertise in marketing, communications, fundraising, executive search, management consulting, and business leadership. With a proven track record spanning various domains, she brings invaluable insights and strategic acumen to her role. As a seasoned consultant and executive, Pauline is committed to driving organisational success and fostering partnerships that support the mission of The Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation. Her multifaceted skill set and dedication to excellence enable her to make meaningful contributions to the foundation’s objectives, ensuring its continued growth and impact in the community. Pauline’s passion for botanical conservation and her professional proficiency converge to create a powerful force for positive change within the organisation and beyond.

Penelope Seidler AM

Seidler is the director of Sydney-based architectural firm Harry Seidler and Associates. She studied for her Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Sydney and was registered as an architect in 1964. She joined Seidler and Associates that year as architect and financial manager. She has been a Fellow of the Australian institute of Architects since 1983, sitting on the NSW executive council from 1982 to 1984. She was a founding member of Chief executive Women (NSW) from 1990 to 2005. She currently sits on UNSW’s Faculty of the Built Environment advisory council. Penelope Seidler has sat on the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1973, has been a Biennale of Sydney director since late 2010, and was deputy commissioner for the Australian Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. She was an International Advisory Board member of Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, and is a former council member of the Australiana Fund.

Penny Carl-Nelson

Penny Carl-Nelson’s career is a captivating blend of entrepreneurship and cinematic ingenuity, spanning from financial management to film advisory. Collaborating with Lesley Stevens, she adeptly maneuvered the complexities of both the Australian and Chinese film industries, spearheading groundbreaking projects like “33 Postcards,” which marked a significant milestone as the first Australia-China co-production. Her journey transcends the confines of the silver screen, embodying resilience and adaptability—a testament to her ability to seize diverse opportunities in the ever-evolving landscape of cinema. Penny’s story serves as a beacon of inspiration for individuals navigating the dynamic intersections of entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation within the film industry, leaving an indelible mark on both local and international cinematic spheres.

Sonja Lyneham

In memory of Sonja Lyneham, a visionary leader and strategic planning expert who left an indelible mark on urban development, healthcare, and academia. With over 37 years as the Executive Director of a leading strategic planning company, she contributed significantly to the development infrastructure sector. Her impact extended to academia as an Adjunct Professor, and she played a pivotal role in major reforms within the property and infrastructure sector. Sonja’s legacy in strategic planning and healthcare advocacy remains a lasting inspiration.