Melissa Reader

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer The Violet Initiative

Award: INSEAD AVIRA Program

Social entrepreneur Melissa Reader is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, The Violet Initiative - a purpose-driven business working to positively impact the last stage of life so that more Australians are better prepared to die well.

Melissa brings a blend of personal and professional experience to her role. Melissa's personal experience gives her first-hand insight into the world of death and dying, complementing her deep expertise in purpose-led strategy, human-centred design and adaptive leadership, as key responses to creative problem solving and change. She is committed to exploring ways of working differently, from mobilising new models of working, and sustaining large programs of change and reform, to embedding resilience, capability and capacity in individuals, and across systems.

Melissa has led the transformation of a community-based 20C charitable organisation into a 21C social enterprise with a national agenda, tackling one of society's most complex and often taboo issues.

Melissa is an alumnus of Sydney Leadership, a unique learning program exploring the dynamics and challenges of exercising leadership, and a graduate of The Art and Practice of Leadership Executive Education program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Michelle Baltazar

Editor-in-chief, Money and Executive Director - Media, Rainmaker Group

Award: Technology and Innovation Acceleration Program - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) CEW/Maureen Kerridge AM Scholarship

Michelle Baltazar is an award-winning writer, journalist and editor with more than 20 years of experience in financial services media. She is the Executive Director - Media at the Rainmaker Group, a financial services research, data and media company which publishes Financial Standard, FS Sustainability, Industry Moves and Money Magazine.

In her role as editor-in-chief of Money Magazine, Michelle is responsible for the strategic direction of Australia’s most-read and longest-running personal finance publication. Under her leadership, Financial Standard has grown from a single newspaper title to a multi-channel, multi-platform media business that is at the forefront of covering environmental, social and governance (ESG) news and insights in Australia.

Born in the Philippines, Michelle is active as a volunteer and fundraiser for several not-for-profit organisations promoting Philippine arts, culture and migrant rights in Australia.

She has won awards in media for her work as a TV news correspondent and radio broadcaster reporting on Philippine-Australian news and community affairs. Michelle advocates for the social and economic empowerment of migrant women through her publication The Australian Filipina.

Nadine Rabah

Media Manager, Australian Football League

Award: Authentic Leader Development Program, Harvard Business School
CEW/Maureen Kerridge AM Scholarship

Nadine Rabah is the Media Manager for the Australian Football League where she leads the communications, media and public relations for the men’s and women’s elite competitions.

She is known across the AFL and wider football industry for her strong leadership and her ability to build trusting relationships, as well as her desire to advance others.

Nadine has been charged with leading the communications strategy for the AFL industry as it navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and has become one of the key members of the AFL and AFLW Return to Play group – an internal working party within the AFL that operates to ensure the men’s and women’s seasons are kept alive and completed through the ongoing pandemic.

She believes in the power of football and through her lifelong involvement in Australian Football as a player, umpire, volunteer, and sometimes community coach, Nadine has become a strong advocate for making the game accessible to all.

She has a passion for equality and equity that she brings to every aspect of her work. She wants to see more women, multicultural and Indigenous representation across all aspects of the game, at all levels of the game, and is both selfless and relentless in advocating for more diversity in football.

Nadine has contributed across many areas through her support and mentorship of multicultural and Indigenous AFL & AFLW players who value her insight and respect her judgement through their transition in and out of the game.

Her contribution to the elite AFL and AFLW competitions sees her advise on football matters including the Laws of the Game, Umpiring and Match Review matters. Nadine is a graduate of La Trobe University, where she holds a Bachelor of Journalism / Business Management (Sport).

Asha Kayla

Program Manager, Circular Economy & Sustainability, Woolworths

Award: Purpose & Profit Creating Shared Value - Harvard Business School

ANZ & CEW Sustainability Scholarship

Asha joined Woolworths in August 2019 with responsibility to drive Sustainability & Circular Economy change programs. She is currently a key member of the W360 team, Woolworths Group's engine for sustainability innovation established to help unlock solutions for the business and industry.

Values led and purpose driven, Asha strongly believes in the power of ‘business for good’, to solve complex environmental and societal challenges, shaping a better tomorrow through innovation and collaboration. She is known for helping companies embed Responsible Business and Sustainability into the DNA of the business. Her extensive experience spans 15 years across the UK and

Australia. Asha has previously held senior executive positions at Fujitsu, Boots (now Walgreens) and Royal Mail. Asha holds a post graduate diploma from the University of Cambridge and a Masters degree from the London School of Economics. She is also a Fellow of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership. Passionate about tackling gender equality, Asha is the Chair of the Board and a Non-executive Director of the girls education I-NGO - One Girl. Asha is originally from the UK and of Indian Punjabi heritage, she moved to Australia in 2014 and now lives in Sydney.

Marianna O’Gorman

Director, Stanwell Corporation

Award: Trustee Directors Course, AIST and Company Directors Course, AICD

Sustainability CEW Scholarship

Marianna works with organisations who want to transition to a sustainable economy. She is a non-executive director, specialising in climate governance and risk.

Marianna is the co-founder and board member of the progressive public policy think tank the McKell Institute Queensland.

Her career has led her to the Middle East, USA, Asia, UK & Europe representing Australia at climate negotiations; to Washington DC, where she worked on the World Bank’s first climate change education program; and to Canberra where she contributed to the design and implementation of a national carbon price and worked on the formation of (and later at) the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. She has undertaken research on decarbonisation as a Fellow at the Australian National University’s Centre for Climate and Energy Policy and recently became a non-executive director of the Queensland Government’s Stanwell Corporation which is exploring a pipeline of renewable energy opportunities.

Marianna mentors founders of early-stage clean tech with Energylab - Australia’s largest climate tech startup accelerator; is a committee member of the Elizabeth Reid Network – which empowers and promotes women in politics; is a recipient of the AICD Regional Leaders Scholarship and Ross Garnaut Prize for study in Climate Change. Marianna is passionate about the marine environment and its protection and is out very early most mornings, exploring the sea, swimming with turtles, stingrays and the occasional baby shark.

Sonya Rand

Head of Sustainability & Community, Bunnings

Award: Executive Development Program at Wharton Business School

Sustainability CEW Scholarship

Sonya joined Bunnings as Head of Sustainability & Community in early 2020, bringing with her extensive knowledge in the sustainability space gained from more than 25 years’ experience in retail, consumer goods and manufacturing industries.

Specialising in stakeholder engagement, policy development and risk management, Sonya’s role sees her leading the growth of existing sustainability and community programs and finding new opportunities to drive positive long-term change across the business.

A chartered Chemical Engineer, Sonya is currently a member of the Australian Government’s Modern Slavery Expert Advisory Group. Sonya is also a Board Director of Engineers Without Borders Australia and the Alliance for Water Stewardship Asia-Pacific.

Commodore Fiona Sneath, RAN

Deputy Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force

Award: Vincent Fairfax Fellowship - Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership

Public Sector CEW Scholarship

Commodore Fiona Sneath, RAN is the Deputy Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force. The office provides an oversight and integrity function for the Australian Defence Force conducting inquiries, audits and providing advice to military commanders, managers and the Chief of the Defence Force on matters of military justice.

Fiona commenced her career in the Australian Federal Police before joining the Royal Australian Navy as a specialist Legal Officer.  She has enjoyed a diverse and challenging range of professional roles.  Highlights include investigation of organised crime, secondments to the NSW Police Prosecutors Branch and the Office of the Commonwealth Defence Force Ombudsman; duties at training institutions (HMAS Cerberus where she developed a Sexual Offence Support Network, and the Australian Defence Force Academy); deployment on operations in the Middle East; Staff Legal advisor to the Chief of the Defence Force, and Director of the Military Law Centre/Deputy Director Asia Pacific Centre for Military Law.  Immediately prior to taking up her current appointment, Fiona had the honour to command HMAS Albatross - the Naval Air Station and base for the Navy Fleet Air Arm - the first woman, and lawyer, to do so.

Fiona is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Command and Staff Course, and holds post-graduate qualifications in Dispute Resolution, Maritime Studies, and International Human Rights Law.

Esmee Ng

Chief Executive Officer,
Health Empower Australia

Award: Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing - The Langley Group Institute

Small Business CEW Scholarship

Esmee Ng is the Chief Executive Officer at Health Empower – a social enterprise founded to improve the health and well-being outcomes of children and families.

Esmee has a strong interest in supporting our community to lead healthy, positive and fulfilling lives. She also has a passion of working with organisations to improve organisation culture and well-being through positive leadership.

She was acknowledged as Top 20 LinkedIn Voices 2020 Australia for her influence in mental health, self-care and parenting strategies. She was also recognised on International Women’s Day 2021 by Department of Communities for her impact in our community.

Esmee has empowered over 1,200 children across diverse communities across Western Australia by delivering programs focusing on positive and healthy everyday choices. Additionally, Esmee has positively influenced more than 300 educators and professionals.

“We measure success by the number of people we can positively impact”.

Rowan Brookes

Academic Program Director (STEM), Melbourne School for Professional and Continuing Education

Award: Vincent Fairfax Fellowship for Ethical Leadership - Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership

STEM CEW Scholarship

Rowan believes in the transformative power of education and has over a decade of experience leading educational change in science in Higher Education. She is currently the Academic Program Director of STEM at the Melbourne School for Professional and Continuing Education at the University of Melbourne. Previously she has worked at Monash University as the Director of Education in Biology and developed Australia’s first science degree that built skills in leadership and entrepreneurship.

Rowan is an advocate for women in STEM. In 2018 she co-founded a program to support women in STEM called STEM side-by-side with veski and the UK Consular General. She is the lead of the leadership faculty for Homeward Bound, a global initiative to support women in STEM. She has sat on the Minister for Science and Innovation’s Gender Advisory Roundtable and frequently mentors other women. One of her current lines of research is the experience of gender in science education at Australian Universities.

In addition to academic publications, she has written for The Scientific American, The Conversation, Huffington Post, Mamamia, Women's Agenda, We are Explorers, Trail Run Mag and The Australian.

Rowan has a PhD and a BSc in ecology and a BA in anthropology and religious studies. She has also completed executive education in leadership at Harvard and Stanford, as well as other leading institutes. Her research interests centre on gender, employability skills and leadership in science education.

In her work, she draws upon her experience as an endurance athlete where she can be found regularly lining up on the start line of some of Australia’s longest races and trails.

Sarah McSwiney

Senior Manager of Strategy and Operations for the Office of the Chief Engineer, Boeing Defence Australia

Award: Strategy and Innovation Executive Certificate - MIT Sloan School of Management

STEM CEW Scholarship

Sarah McSwiney is the Senior Manager of Strategy and Operations for the Office of the Chief Engineer at Boeing Defence Australia. Prior to this role Sarah has held various engineering and management roles for the past 16 years at Boeing, most recently as the Composites Technology Manager at Boeing Research and Technology Australia, leading a team in Resin Infusion material and process development and helping guide the Enterprise Resin Infusion Roadmap. Sarah previously led the liaison engineering team across all programs at Boeing Aerostructures Australia, and prior to that she worked as a design engineer and liaison Engineer both in Melbourne and Seattle.

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company directors, Sarah is also the Deputy Chair of Kilvington Grammar and is on the industry advisory boards for Aerospace Engineering at both Monash and RMIT Universities. Sarah holds an Executive MBA from Monash University and a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering (Hons) from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Sarah is passionate about gender equality and encouraging more young women into the fabulous Australian Aviation and Aerospace industry.

Dr Hema Wadhwa

Remote Monitoring and Digital Engineering Solutions Manager ANZ, Worley

Award: Graduate Certificate in Business - The University of Melbourne

STEM CEW Scholarship

Dr. Hema Wadhwa’s diverse career path has spanned Academic Research, Engineering, Model Testing, Automation, Business Development, and Innovation. She is a dedicated professional with commitment and passion for development of new technologies, analytical methods. Hema is

passionate in driving development of the engineering industry, creation of innovative and practical solutions that increase efficiency and enhance safety for both projects and production operations.

Hema played a key role in exporting specialised Houston-developed capabilities into the Perth market, creating valuable differentiation in a competitive segment.

She is a thought leader and collaborates to propose and deliver best solutions for clients. Hema has also worked on a model testing campaign as a hydrodynamics SME at the Neutral Buoyancy lab at NASA in 2014.
She has authored and co-authored over 20 technical papers and has presented technical work at local and international conferences. She was also recognized in the top 25 migrants by the ‘Skilled Migrant Professionals’ summer magazine issue in 2017. She is nominated for a 2021 Women in Technology WA award.
Hema is an elected board member and office bearer of Society of Underwater Technology.

She was invited as a keynote speaker at the 2018 graduation ceremony of the prestigious University of Western Australia. She was awarded ‘Women in Leadership’ award on International Women’s Day in 2021 by Indian Society of Western Australia (ISWA), Perth. She is recognised as Top Talent at Worley and has recently accepted promotion to ‘Remote Monitoring and Digital Engineering Services Managers’ in Worley’s Power Business. She believes in ‘pay it forward’ opportunities by mentoring PhD students and recent graduates.

Hayley Foster

CEO, Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia

Award: Harvard Authentic Leader Development Program

Not-for-profit CEW scholarship

Hayley Foster is the Chief Executive Officer of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia and the Full Stop Foundation. With over 20 years’ experience in policy, practice and law reform, Hayley is deeply passionate about putting evidence into action and working collaboratively to address sexual, domestic and family violence. Hayley holds a Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance), Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and postgraduate qualifications in Social Sciences, Financial Planning, and Family Disputes Resolution.

Throughout her career, Hayley has worked in frontline specialist sexual and domestic violence services, family law practice, family disputes resolution, accredited behaviour change, violence prevention, policy and law reform, and executive management.

She has worked across the business, social services, health, and justice sectors, with diverse population groups across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote Australia; advocating for inclusive change with a social justice lens.

Hayley is passionate about women’s leadership and system reform. She currently holds advisory positions at the state and federal level, including the NSW Minister’s Council on Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence, the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research Sexual Assault Advisory Panel, the Chief Justice of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and the Federal Government’s Advisory Group on the Successor Plan to the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2021-2022.

Hayley’s recent advocacy has been focusing on the experience of sexual assault complainants through the legal system, advocating for safer courts and the criminalisation of coercive control.

Hayley has secured critical funding for frontline sexual, domestic and family violence services in response to the increased demand on services resulting from Covid-19 and lockdown orders.

Currently, Hayley is working alongside survivor advocates to campaign for respectful relationships, consent education in schooling, national definitions of coercive control, sexual consent and grooming.

She is passionate about supporting and nurturing young women leaders, including those impacted by gendered violence, to ensure that we create lasting change and put a full stop to sexual, domestic and family violence.

Jerril Rechter AM

Member of Champions of Change Coalition

Director Western Bulldogs Community Foundation

Award: CEW Leaders Program

Not-for-profit CEW scholarship

With an executive-level career spanning over 20 years, Jerril Rechter AM is known as an innovator, a leader and an influencer.  She has extensive leadership experience across government and not-for-profit sectors including CEO of Basketball Australia, the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and Leadership Victoria.

Throughout her career, Jerril has embedded innovation at the centre of the organisations she’s worked with. An accomplished and persuasive influencer adept at leading high performing organisations, Jerril’s breadth of career experience spans income generation and maximisation of

commercial sponsorship opportunities; strong brand, marketing, digital and campaign expertise; and high-level stakeholder management in complex environments: including local, state and federal government; peak health, wellbeing and sporting bodies; arts organisations, universities, local and national media outlets.

Jerril is a past and current member of numerous boards and committees in government and not-for-profit sectors.  These include the Western Bulldogs Football Club, Chair of the Stephanie Lake Dance Company, several Victorian Government ministerial committees including Chair of the Justice Health and Ministerial Advisory Committee and member of the Inquiry into Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation, and internationally a World Health Organisation Adviser and Chair of the International Network of Health Promotion Foundations.

She regularly presents at conferences and events in Australia and internationally regarding innovation in leadership, sports, health and wellbeing.

Jerril is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Master of Business Leadership from RMIT University in Melbourne.  She is a recipient of Fellowships from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Australia Council, Harvard Club of Australia and the Australian Davos Forum-Future Summit. In 2015, she was named Victorian winner of the Government and Academia category at the prestigious Telstra Victoria Business Woman of the Year Awards. Jerril was named in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence in the Public Policy category for 2016. She was recently included in the inaugural Top 50 Public Sector Women (Victoria) list, which shines a spotlight on exceptional leaders, highlighting their work and creating role models for other women in the sector.

Michelle Lynch

Chief Operating Officer | Ramsay Pharmacy Group

Award: Executive Development Program, Wharton School, USA

Michelle is a registered pharmacist with over 25 years in healthcare, working across public and private sectors.  Prior to her current role, she was a senior consultant for an independent specialist consulting firm providing advice and solution on medication management and pharmacy service issues and challenges to private and public hospitals, state and federal governments, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Michelle joined the Ramsay Pharmacy Group (RPG) in February 2016 and currently holds the role of Chief Operating Officer of RPG, with accountability for the operations of the pharmacies within Ramsay private hospitals in Australia and supporting the franchise network of community pharmacies, over 100 locations.

Michelle is passionate about the pivotal role pharmacists can play in the multi-disciplinary healthcare team combined with the use of technology, to deliver best health outcomes to patients.

Michelle also contributes to the wider pharmacy profession as Director of The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and is currently one of the National Vice-Presidents.  She chairs the boards Finance Audit and Risk Management committee.  Michelle was awarded a Fellow of The Pharmaceutical Society of Australian in 2019 for her service to the pharmacy profession.  She has held positions on the editorial board of the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary, the clinical advisory board of the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network and is currently appointed as a member of the Australian Advisory Council of the Medicinal Use of Cannabis to the Federal Minister of Health.

Caroline Patrick

Director of Brand and Member | Super SA

Award: Executive Development Program, Wharton School, USA

Caroline Patrick is the Director of Brand and Member for Super SA, the Government of South Australia’s $30 billion superannuation fund, Caroline leads the organisation’s diverse member engagement functions.

Caroline has held senior and executive positions in highly regulated industries including banking, wealth management, credit finance, health insurance and superannuation.

With an accomplished career in marketing, honours included Australian Marketer of the Year, Fellow and Patron of the Australian Marketing Institute and Head Judge of the Marketing Awards for Excellence.

Caroline has served on the boards of complex not-for-profit organisations in the disability and health sectors and is an active member of industry relevant committees.

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Directors Company Directors Course, Caroline also holds an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business and has studied Disruptive Strategy at Harvard Business School.

Alison Price

Founder and Managing Director | SoilCyclers

Award: Executive Development Program, Wharton School, USA

When SoilCyclers Founder and Managing Director Alison Price first set up her new business in 2009, she had never owned a pair of steel cap boots; and the last time she wore fluoro orange was as a kid in the ‘80s. Now, almost 12 years later, Alison has turned her business into one of the largest full-scale soil recycling operations in Australia and oversees recycling projects on more than 50 sites annually.

These projects recycle up to half a million cubic meters of material, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, save clients more than $5 million, take approximately 30,000 truckloads off local roads, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 6000 tons, and reduce the use of virgin resources. In addition to this, the methods used to recycle and improve soil ensure that local animal habitats are protected.

As a strong, female leader working across three out of the four most male-dominated industries in Australia, Alison prides herself on her ability to think differently. Since 2009, she has been campaigning to make positive changes to traditional practices in the construction, waste and mining industries, and has achieved this through her innovative recycling methods such as soil amelioration, remediation and decontamination.

Alison holds a Bachelor of Business from the Queensland University of Technology and previously worked as a knowledge management specialist for an Information Management consultancy. She is a former Director and Vice Chair of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), a Director of Austmine, a Board Member for the Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) and a Director of Circular Mine Pty Ltd (an Australian and European consortium recently selected as a finalist in the BHP Tailings Challenge).

Alison’s recognitions and awards include the:

  • 2020 Australasian Awardee for the WE Empower United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Challenge.
  • 2020 Queensland Major Contractors Association Ian Harrington Award for Collaboration
  • 2020 ROAR Silver Award for Best Eco Product
  • 2020 Best Waste Reduction and Landfill Mining Company - Australia, CV Small Business Awards
  • 2019 APC ‘Woman of Waste’ Award
  • 2015 Civil Contractors Federation Earth Awards Finalist for ‘Earthmover and Civil Contractor Environmental Choice’
  • 2014 Civenex-Q Winner for ‘Best Green Site’
  • 2014 NAWIC Queensland/Northern Territory Crystal Vision Award for Achievement in Construction (Civil Works)
  • 2013 NAWIC Queensland/Northern Territory Achievement as a Businesswoman (Small Business) Award
  • 2013 Australian Business Awards ‘Best Eco Product’

Le Truong

Nurse Unit Manager | St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne

Award: Bonnie Boezeman AO Leadership in Nursing Scholarship, Southern Cross University

Le Truong is the Nurse Unit Manager of an Acute General Medical ward at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, where she has recently celebrated her 10 years of service.

Le has experienced a broad range of areas within the hospital in these ten years, starting as a Graduate Nurse in the Orthopaedics Ward. Since 2011, Le’s roles have included; Orthopaedic Clinical Nurse Specialist, Orthopaedic Tumour Surgical Liaison Nurse, Continuous Improvement Coach and Nurse Unit Manager.

Le’s unconventional career path is a driving force in the professional development of her staff. Nurses play a pivotal role within hospitals, and Le is keen to further explore the potential of the nurses within her organisation.

After completing her Bachelor’s in Nursing degree, Le went on to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Continence Promotion and Management and has recently become a Nurse Immuniser to aid in Victoria’s Covid-19 response.

Le is well known for her transparency, lateral thinking and engagement of the Multi-Disciplinary Team in improvement work.

Having led a team of nurses through Melbourne’s COVID-19 Wave 2 in 2020, Le has discovered a strong calling to the wellbeing and retention of nurses. Le is passionate about the future of the nursing profession and is looking forward to further developing her leadership skills and employing these skills to make meaningful changes in the nursing profession.

Louise Gray

Chief Operating Officer| CARE Australia

Award: Schmidmaier / Mayne Scholarship

Louise is responsible for making CARE Australia a sustainable and impactful organisation. Since 2016, she has expertly led our finance, people management, IT, governance, compliance and business support functions. She is also the Company Secretary, Chief Finance Officer and Child Protection Officer. Her guiding principle is to use her voice and platform to affect change for the better. She is focussed on being bold and challenging the status quo so we can minimise overhead costs and direct resources to our core business.

Louise has strong governance experience, having held senior executive roles in government, not-for-profit and international aid organisations. Her achievements were recognised on the national stage when she was a finalist in the 2000 Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year Awards.

Louise has a strong interest in diversity and inclusion, particularly understanding how aspects of a person’s identity affect their experience of discrimination and privilege.

Louise was previously the Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer at Carers ACT, Director of Louise Gray Consulting Services, and Executive Director Corporate Services at Koomarri Disability Services.

Gaelle Gouillou

Chief Executive Officer | The Spiers Centre

Award: Schmidmaier / Mayne Scholarship

Gaelle has worked in leadership roles for over ten years across the not-for-profit sector in many service areas including aged care, housing, workforce development, family services, indigenous and

multicultural, youth services, refugee and migrants, community development and children’s services.

Gaelle has been the CEO of The Spiers Centre since March 2017and has led strategic and operational optimisation with multidisciplinary knowledge and proficiency. Gaelle has been recognised for leadership qualities as the winner of the Community Leadership Award 2019, Perth Business Women’s Alliance for Emergency Women in Leadership and as a nominee for the Impact

25 Pro Bono Australia 2019 Awards “Recognising Positive Impact”. Gaelle has contributed to the strategic goals in the sector of a number of committees and Boards in the multicultural youth, aged care and community legal service areas and currently holds appointments with several Boards and Committees.

Gaelle holds a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Commerce and General Studies, Graduate Diploma of Legal Practise and Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Law. Gaelle also holds

professional certificates in Arbitration and Mediation as well as Financial Management and Governance through the Governance Institute of Australia and Australian Institute of Community

Directors. She also holds professional membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Institute of Community Directors Australia.

As a CaLD, migrant woman who openly identifies as LGBTQIA+ Gaelle is committed to supporting communities with strong advocacy for equity, diversity and inclusion. Gaelle is highly passionate about building resilience and capacity to support the lives and well-being of individuals, families and communities.

Penny Palmer

Legal Governance Risk & Compliance Director | The Fred Hollows Foundation

Award: Schmidmaier / Mayne Scholarship

Penny is the Legal Governance Risk & Compliance Director at The Fred Hollows Foundation. She is passionate about transparent governance culture built on accountability, empowerment and integrity. Finding this balance is crucial when supporting lean teams working to end avoidable blindness and vision impairment across 26 risk environments as diverse as Ethiopia, Hong Kong, UK and Vietnam. Prior to The Foundation Penny spent nine engaging years at Commonwealth Bank across a variety of roles, finally heading up the Group Insurance team that won a CEO Award for risk management.

Her career commenced as a lawyer at what is now international law firm Allens Linklaters in Sydney, later moving to Clifford Chance in London. Penny has a strong interest in organisational ethics. She is a member of the Banking & Finance Oath’s Advocacy & Awareness Committee, assisted Amnesty International Australia on its Rethinking Governance project and is committed to The Foundation’s work supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Her favourite way to take a breather - racking up the family bikes for Tasmania.

Kate Percy

Director of Knowledge & Outcomes | Berry Street Victoria

Award: Schmidmaier / Mayne Scholarship

Kate Percy is the Director of Knowledge & Outcomes at Berry Street Victoria, one of Australia’s largest community services organisations, where she is also the Principal Privacy Officer.

Kate has worked in various national and senior leadership roles within the community sector, centred around strategy, service design, transformation, policy development and reform.

Before moving into senior leadership, Kate gained a depth of hands-on experience in project and program management; beginning her community services career in frontline service delivery as a social worker in government and NGO settings.

Kate is committed to breaking down barriers between the not-for-profit and the corporate world in pursuit of innovation and technology that enhances support to children, young people and families. She is also passionate about working to address the opportunity gap for girls and women living in rural and remote settings.

Kate lives on Yugambeh country with her partner and two small children.

Deanella Mack

Indigenous Cultural Capability Leader | EY

Award: CEW & Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarship

Deanella (Dee) Mack is the Indigenous Cultural Capability Leader at EY Australia (EY). Since November 2018, she has been providing cultural support and advice to EY staff and teams Australia wide to develop culturally safe workplace practices, increase staff cultural capability, and assist in implementing a culturally intelligent approach to working with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Prior to joining EY Dee worked in several roles within Aboriginal organisations, NGO’s and Government departments across health, mental health, legal, education and community services. Then in 2014, started her own business, Cultural Connections NT, to provide local cultural awareness training in her community and cultural tourism at Angkerle Atwatye, Standley Chasm.

In 2017 she received the NT Indigenous Person’s Award from the Australian Association of Social Workers and is currently a board member for the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT).

Dee is an Arrernte woman, born and raised in Alice Springs, Central Australia currently living and working in Brisbane, Queensland. She credits her maternal grandparents for influencing the work she does today and is passionate about creating systemic changes by embedding Indigenous cultural capability standards to inform workplace policy, processes, and practices.

Katrina Johnson  

Managing Director | Cartymara Consulting

Award: CEW & Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation Scholarship

A proud Gooreng Gooreng woman, Katrina Johnson was raised on my traditional lands located along the Burnett River from Cania Gorge to Bundaberg in South-East Queensland, Australia. I am a direct descendant of Granny Betsy, Granny Lexie, Lena Horton and Phyllis Appo.

Katrina lived and worked on Yorta Yorta country in Shepparton, Victoria, for over 30 years and used her extensive journalism, media management and communication skills to carve out a career serving her community.

Under the leadership of Yorta Yorta leader Paul Briggs OAM and driven by a commitment to empower others, her work has influenced various sectors including media, education, business, employment, youth and families, leadership, not-for-profit and community governance. An active contributor to my family and community, Katrina continues to lead in various roles outside her work commitments. A 2019 Executive Master of Business Administration graduate at Melbourne Business School, her next venture is tackling corporate, government, education and business domains to pursue avenues that will drive economic parity, cultural affirmation, and self-determination for First Australians and First Nations' Peoples of the world. Using a rights-based approach, she believes moving from intervention to investment will transform prosperity for both First Nations’ people and non-Indigenous peoples.

Katrina is an experienced corporate executive with a demonstrated history of working in leadership, people and culture, organisational development, media relations, management, strategy, business, engagement, and community organising. Katrina is a highly skilled journalist with newspaper publishing, editing and newsroom management skills.

Work and life has taken Katrina abroad and she currently enjoys doing business globally. Katrina is currently based in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA.

She is married to Mark Johnson with four children and three grandchildren.