Upcoming dates for our Sydney walks

March 29, 2018

April 27, 2018

May 25, 2018

June 29, 2018

July 27, 2018

August 31, 2018

September 28, 2018

October 26, 2018

November 30, 2018

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February 23, 2018
March 29, 2018
April 27, 2018
May 25, 2018
June 29, 2018
July 27, 2018
August 31, 2018
September 28, 2018
October 26, 2018
November 30, 2018

Our Mentors

Our mentors are senior executives, thought leaders, business owners, boundary pushers and high achievers at the top of their field.

Each event brings together a diverse group of mentors from industries where they set a senior precedent and are established role models. Our mentors can choose to be involved in the series as a one-time commitment or as a regular mentor. Recognising the busy, and often travelling life of our mentors, mentor names are not disclosed prior to each event and there is no obligation to share contact information outside of our events.

Audette Exel AO
Founder and CEO of Adara Group

Audette Exel is founder of the Adara Group and CEO of Adara Advisors . She is also Co-Founder and Chair of Adara Development. Audette is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Steamship Mutual, one of the world’s largest Protection and Indemnity clubs for the shipping industry. Audette is also a NED of Suncorp Group Limited.

Audette’s career history spans from being the MD of Bermuda Commercial Bank, Chairman of the Bermuda Stock Exchange and has sat on the Board of the Bermuda Monetary Authority and Chair of its Investment Committee, whilst also practising as a lawyer specialising in international finance.

Audette has been awarded the following;

Global Leader for tomorrow – The World Economic Forum (1995)
Economic Justice Award – YPO Social Enterprise Network (2010)
Bank Business Owner Award – Commonwealth Bank & Telstra (2012
Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award – Telstra (2012)
100 Women of Influence – AFR’s (2012)
Honorary Order of Australia for service to humanity (2013)
Hero of Philanthropy – Forbes (2014)

Lindley Edwards
Group CEO at AFG Venture Group

Lindley Edwards is a specialist adviser in merger, acquisition, divestments, fund raising, strategic consulting and licensing for growth in public and private companies.

Previously Lindley was a State Manager (Vice-President) with Citibank. Prior to this position she spent nine years with Macquarie Bank and was an Associate Director with the Corporate Banking Division. Lindley has also worked on a secondment basis for Boston Consulting Group and for the Victorian State Government Project.

She is an accountant and a Senior Fellow of FINSIA. Lindley holds two undergraduate degrees, one in Accounting and the other in Banking and Finance. She also holds a Graduate Diploma in Governance of ASX Listed Companies.

In 2000 Lindley was admitted to the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame.

Suzie Shaw
Managing Director of We Are Social

Suzie Shaw is Managing Director of the social-led agency, We Are Social, heading up its 35-strong Australian team. She joined the company in mid-2015.

Suzie is a strategic and creative thinker with extensive comms and marketing experience across a broad range of categories, including financial services, travel and tourism, FMCG and more. She worked for 14 years in London advertising agencies – including a decade at TBWA London – before returning to her native Australia in 2011.

A skilled networker, Suzie is passionate about championing the progress of women in leadership and is the founder of SWIMM Australia (Senior Women in Media and Marketing). She was a finalist in B&T’s Mad Week Women in Media Awards, named one of The Australian’s top 50 Women in Media, was featured in AdNews’ 40 under 40 and also AdNews’ Women of Influence.

Claire Dobbin
Australian Script Advisor/Editor

Claire Dobbin AM, is an Australian script advisor/ editor who works globally with development agencies, screenwriters and filmmakers. Claire is also the Deputy President and script advisor at the acclaimed international script workshop éQuinoxe Europe and regularly runs screenwriting workshops/ lectures in Australia, Iran, New Zealand Europe, India, China, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

From 1986 – 2000 Claire was the Senior Development Executive at the Australian Film Commission, (Australia’s then national development agency) where her role was to support investment in the development and production of Australian films. Since 2003 Claire has been Chair of “Australia’s most significant screen event” (International Screen Guide), the Melbourne International Film Festival. Claire devised and secured the funds for MIFF’s international film finance market MIFF 37 Sth and also for MIFF’s film investment fund, The MIFF Premiere Fund. Claire chairs the MIFF Premiere fund and has overseen MIFF’s investment in over 50 Australian films receiving their world premiere at MIFF. Many of these MIFF supported films have gone on to screen in major international festivals including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto and Venice and have launched the careers of Australian film makers.


Claire is currently working as a script consultant with screenwriters in New Zealand, Australia, Norway, London, USA, Germany and Austria.

Naomi Simson
Founding Director of RedBalloon

We know her from Channel Ten’s Shark Tank as the ‘Red Shark’ and the best-selling author of Live What You Love. However Naomi Simson has many labels: Entrepreneur, Speaker, Blogger, Mother and a passionate individual to name a few.

In 2001, from just an idea and persistence she founded one of Australia’s tech success stories, RedBalloon, an online experience gift retailer with just $25,000 and a second-hand computer. From its humble, home-based beginnings, RedBalloon with its mantra ‘Give, Share Live’ has now served more than 3.5 million customers and supports more than 3000 activity partners throughout Australia and New Zealand. The company also featured in BRW magazine’s Great Places to Work list five years in a row.

Before founding RedBalloon, Naomi worked for large corporate businesses including IBM, Apple, KPMG and Ansett Airlines – all of which influenced her views on workplaces.

Along with her investments from Channel Ten’s Shark Tank, Naomi is a keen investor and supporter of the start-up community. Recently recognised as the 7th most followed woman on LinkedIn with some 1.5million followers,  Naomi uses the platform to share her insights, experience and observations about business, innovation and success. Naomi has received a number of high profile awards including the 2008 National Telstra Business Women’s Awards for Innovation and in 2011 she won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Industry category.

Michelle Garnaut
Founder & CEO – M Restaurant Group

Michelle Garnaut is an Australian restaurateur and chef best known for her series of award-winning upscale restaurants in China: M at the Fringe, M on the Bund, Capital M, and the Glamour Bar.  Each became an icon in its city, with the unique M combination of modern European cooking, stylish yet comfortable decor and real sense of place.

Michelle is also a founder of the Shanghai International Literary Festival and the Capital Literary Festival Beijing. M Restaurants have become a hub for cultural events and entertainment, including the annual Shanghai and Capital Literary Festivals, a regular chamber music series in both cities, the Shanghai Chamber Music Competition, a monthly series of talks in both cities and late night entertainment in the Glamour Bar

Bobbi Mahlab
Managing Director of Mahlab

The Managing Director of Mahlab, Bobbi runs an internationally recognised content marketing agency that helps brands become publishers.

A former board member of Publishers Australia, Bobbi has experience on many non-profit boards and is a member of the Sydney Women’s Fund Advisory Board and Detour House. She has a special interest in and knowledge of the publishing and media industries and business.

Bobbi began her career as a journalist. She has two children and has lived in Melbourne, Canberra, New York and Sydney. She is an alumni of the 2015 EY Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurial Winning Women program.

Mandi Gunsberger
Founder and Managing Editor of Babyology

Mandi is the Founder and Managing Editor of Babyology, Australia’s largest digital media company for parents. With a social media following of almost one million Facebook fans, Babyology knows how to reach their audience of 20-45 year old women.

Babyology is now considered the online market leader in native editorial content for Australian parents, reaching an audience of over 1.3M unique visitors a month and counting, with 3.4 million monthly page impressions.

Mandi was recently named one of Australia’s Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs Under 40 and was included in the book ‘Inspiring Rare Birds’, which showcases inspiring women entrepreneurs in all fields.

Amanda Price
Head of high growth ventures- KPMG

Amanda has worked in the nascent Australian start-up world in a number of senior sales, marketing and business development roles until appointed CEO of AirWORKS Media in 2003.

In Los Angeles Amanda joined EYEcorp as the Vice President of Business Development, Partner Relations and Operations. I was responsible for identifying opportunities for growth and acquisition, developing strategic and operational plans, and managing key partner relationships.

In 2010 Amanda founded Ausemerge and has worked with over 80 high growth technology enabled companies to accelerate their entry into the US, providing access to in-market expertise and an established network of Australian and US entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and potential customers.

Amanda joined KPMG in September 2016 as Head of High growth Ventures. The role is responsible for leading the firms interactions with key stakeholders in the start-up community – including early stage, high growth entrepreneurial businesses, incubators, accelerators, angel investors and VC’s – helping to define and develop our capabilities in servicing this unique and exciting market.

Adina Jacobs
Co-founder & Director of Product at STM

Adina is a co-founder and Director of Product at STM, a global brand designing lifestyle accessories for tech devices. Her background is in product development, having worked as Accessories Buyer for a number of Australian brands.

Most days include a good mix of family (3 kids under 10), STM, planning the next work trip and anything else she can squeeze in.

She is an alumni of the 2016 EY Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, an eastern region nominee in the 2012 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award, she’s one of the Rare Birds: Australia’s 50 Influential Women Entrepreneurs and an active member of the Entrepreneurs Association, Sydney Chapter.

Meryl Tankard
Director, Choreographer & Designer

Meryl has over 25 years experience creating/directing full length dance theatre productions, as well as working in opera, ballet, tv, film and musical theatre (Broadway and West End), in Australia, USA and Europe. Meryl also created the opening section of the 2000 Olympic Games Ceremony in Sydney.

Since graduating from Aust Film TV Radio School in 2010 Meryl has been making films and is currently working on screenplay for a feature.

Before directing and choreographing her own work Meryl was well known as one of the leading performers with Pina Bausch’s Wuppertal Tanztheater.

Serafina Maiorano
Global CEO of Advance 

Serafina is a global connector who is growing a platform to harness Australia’s global talent, expertise and energy through a highly collaborative network. That global innovation network, Advance, was formed in 2002 and is supported by the Australian Federal Government and a wide range of Australian companies, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, creative talent and social innovators around the world.

Serafina had over 25 years’ experience of global strategic thinking, planning and creative consulting, and has helped entrepreneurs and business owners build a more progressive and sustainable world through bold, innovative and inclusive networks and targeted programs. Her passion for building a better planet has taken her around the world, working across the UK, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, Singapore, USA, China and India.

Serafina is the inaugural ‘Global’ winner of the Australian Financial Review/Westpac 100 Women of Influence Award.

Malinda Wink
Founder and Managing Director of Good Pitch

Malinda Wink is Executive Director of Good Pitch Australia and Director, Policy and Impact at Shark Island Institute.

Malinda’s professional experience spans senior roles within the corporate, political, philanthropic and NGO sectors. In recent years, Malinda served as Executive Director of The Caledonia Foundation until August 2010. She then lived in The Hague and Budapest for two years completing a Masters in International Development and Public Policy with a full scholarship from the European Commission’s Erasmus Mundus program (2010-2012).

Gillian Corban
Co-founder Corban & Blair

Gillian is co-founder of Corban & Blair, designers of marketing, presentation and gifting solutions and is in its 28th year of business.

Giliian is committed to operating a business that focuses on economic and environmental sustainability.

Gillian also support the arts, schools, women and homelessness, education and mentor and coach within the business & arts community.

Jamila Gordon
Non-executive director of GetSwift

Global technology and digital executive, with over 20 years’ experience, including as Group Chief Information Officer of Qantas Airways and CIMIC (formerly Leighton Holdings).

Based in Sydney Jamila is currently the non-executive director of GetSwift a ‘real-time’ logistics software-as-a-service startup, with presence in more than 50 countries just 18 months after launch.

Formerly IBM executive responsible for AXA Insurance’s global private cloud transformation based in Paris, and IBM executive responsible for ABN AMRO’s IT across Retail Banking (ex-Netherlands) and Private Client Banking (globally) based in Amsterdam. Member of La Trobe University Council 2009 – 2014.

Deanne Weir
Chairman at Ai-Media

Deanne Weir is a company director and media entrepreneur with over 20 years experience in the media and communications sectors.

A former corporate lawyer, Deanne is an experienced leader, strategist and communicator, with a deep interest in how new forms of media affect business and society, and a passion for philanthropy that improves the lives of women and girls.

Deanne has made significant investments in the telling of Australian stories, the exploration of new forms of media and the development of new technology. In June 2016, Deanne returned to a full-time corporate role with Foxtel.

Bronwyn Evans
CEO of Standards Australia

Dr Bronwyn Evans is CEO of Standards Australia.  She has a Bachelor of Engineering (Elec) and PhD in Electrical Engineering in industrial automation.  Dr Evans has over 30 years’ experience in medical devices, engineering education, standards development and power generation. She Chairs the Growth Centre for Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals, is a member of the Australia-Japan Foundation and in September 2016, was appointed VP (Finance) for the International Standards Organisation, ISO.

Dr Evans has previously held positions as Deputy Chair of The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, an independent non-executive director of John Holland Limited, Chair of the Medical Technology Association of Australia Board and Chair of the National Board of the Centre for Engineering Leadership and Management.

Dr Evans is a Fellow of The Institution of Engineers Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, an Honorary Fellow of University of Wollongong and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  In 2014 she was awarded the Engineers Australia President’s Award. In 2014 and 2015 was recognised as one of Australia’s 100 most influential engineers in 2014, and in 2015 was acknowledged as one of Australia’s Knowledge Nation 100.

Jo Burston
CEO and Founder Job Capital and Rare Birds.

Rare Birds works to promote opportunity for women in entrepreneurship and is partnered with Phronesis Academy to provide a blended learning environment to teach the skills and mindset of entrepreneurship to children and adults.

Jo has been recognised as one of Australia’s top entrepreneurs for the past six years and is a global ambassador for Microsoft, a regional Oceania ambassador for the UN recognised Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and is on the advisory board for:

  • University of Sydney Business School.
  • University of Sydney Innovation and Entrepreneur Advisory Group.
  • LaunchVIC.

She is also on the global board of Women’s Network and is a global ambassador for innovative accounting software Xero.

Her philanthropic interests include R U OK?, Can Too, Project Futures, and School of Life Foundation. Her current businesses hold partnerships with Virgin, Xero, Australian Chamber of Commerce, Moet Hennessy, CPA plus Angel, VC’s, Seed Funds and many others.

Jo has personally advised The Prime Minister and the top 20 heads of entrepreneurship and innovation in Australia across academia, industry and government, which resulted in the release of Australia’s Innovation paper in 2015.

Karen Eck
Founder & MD of Eckfactor and Partner of Plus1 Talent

Karen Eck is a specialist in publicising and promoting leaders and their brands in the entertainment, media and business world.

With 25 years of international media and publicity experience, she has worked with some of the biggest entertainment names in television.
Karen founded eckfactor in the United States in 1999, managing publicity campaigns for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Columbia Tri-Star International and USA Networks.

As well as her media expertise Karen is the general manager and co-founder of Plus1 Talent, an international celebrity management company.

Lynn Kraus
Managing Partner of EY Sydney 

Lynn has over 18 years experience in both corporate and consulting environments with broad industry experience across the US and Australia. As a Partner at one of the world’s leading Professional Services firms EY, Lynn has advised clients in Real Estate, Financial Services, Government and Healthcare sectors.

Lynn’s corporate experience includes two years working within Wachovia Corporation and Westpac Bank. Her combination of corporate and consulting experience provides a unique point of difference in providing client service and quality.

Lynn combines a unique technical commercial background with a focus on people and service. Lynn has a passion for diversity and inclusiveness. She is an active advocate for diversity and inclusiveness issues and representation inside EY and the wider market place. Lynn is also passionate about developing senior female executives.

Patricia Powell-Hughes
Founder and Managing Director of EP Australia

Patricia Powell-Hughes is the Founder and Managing Director of EP Australia, the leading executive search and recruitment firm for TV, media & entertainment. Patricia has led the team for 17 years and is a highly connected industry powerhouse, responsible for head hunting the best and brightest talents for Australian and international media organisations.

Patricia has developed an extensive understanding of the industry and a far-reaching network. Her deep market insight and razor sharp business acumen combine to consistently deliver career-defining opportunities and innovative solutions for key players in Australia and internationally. With her commercially focused market approach, entrepreneurial spirit and dynamic personality, Patricia is a powerful and influential driving force in the industry.

Patricia is an in-demand organisation design and strategy consultant. She regularly advises top TV & media companies as they navigate complex organisational changes such as revitalising team structures, retaining talent and preparation for growth.

Patricia mentors women in the Australian film & TV industry and is an advocate for gender equality in the sector and wider Australia.

Patricia is vice-chair of MediaRING, which is focused on leading, inspiring and driving positive change with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the media sector.

In 2016 Patricia established ‘It Was Fun Productions’ a television production company and is in early development of her first television series.

Helen Graney
SVP, Managing Director of Jack Morton

As SVP, Managing Director of global brand experience agency Jack Morton Worldwide, Helen oversees the Australian operations. Helen combines her passion for client service with her marketing experience and an ability to translate business objectives into communication strategy and deliverable projects.

Helen is an experienced executive with over 20 years’ in sales, marketing and management roles, working with the world’s most recognised brands across a wide range of industries, consulting on customer experience, brand experience strategies, employee engagement and internal communications programs.

Helen has a proven track record in business performance in tandem with building a customer service focused culture. A respected and committed leader, with the ability to build high-functioning teams.

She recently led the team to win the production of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Helen also sits on the board of Weave, is a business coach for Global Sisters and has been finalist for the B&T Women in Media Awards for the past two years.

Colette Grgic
General Manager at BlueChilli 

Colette Grgic is the General Manager for Innovation at BlueChilli where she builds the programs and frameworks to rapidly scale BlueChilli’s innovation arm in Australia and aboard, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and large companies to solve the world’s biggest challenges.

A startup founder, advisor and investor, she now guides Australia’s largest corporates on how to innovate like startups and how to work in collaboration with entrepreneurs to create exponential impact through new tech startups. Colette keeps her finger on the ecosystem’s pulse as a mentor, speaker and judge and is recognised as StartupDaily’s Top50 Women in Tech for Australian and New Zealand and the AWLA Emerging Leader in Technology 2016.

She is actively working on getting more women to participate in tech startups through the SheStarts campaign, and is a champion for open innovation.

Michelle Goldstone
Investor, Advisor, Non-Executive Director, philanthropist

Michelle Goldstone is a Director of a private investment company, advisor to HNW families, Chair of the Investment Committee of Impact Investment Group, and Non-Executive Director of a number of philanthropic organisations including So They Can, an African NGO focused on educating the poorest of the poor to break the poverty cycle; and the Jewish Care Foundation responsible for investing capital which enables Jewish Care to provide services for vulnerable and needy members of the Jewish community in NSW. In late 2016, Michelle stepped down as Chief Investment Officer of Ivany Investment Group, where for 10 years she was responsible for investing for the family office as well as banking and funding arrangements, tax, strategy, capital allocation, risk management and structuring. She spent many years as a “big sister” as part of the Big Brother Big Sister Program and is an active member of the Young Presidents Organisation. Michelle has a background in corporate finance and banking. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Western Australia, is a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australia and also a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Yvonne Coburn
CEO, CreatingWE Institute ANZ

Yvonne Coburn is an experienced human resources professional with a background in the delivery of leadership programs designed to achieve cultural transformation for client organisations.

Yvonne has worked as a Feedback Facilitator at Mt Eliza Executive Education, Melbourne Business School, in Leadership and Management. Yvonne has also provided executive coaching at leadership programs for Leadership Victoria, an organisation that provides leadership consulting services to the government, semi government and not for profit sectors in Australia.

Yvonne’s varied career experience qualifies her with a deep understanding of a range of industry sectors. That experience has included a period as a lawyer in private practice, a senior manager in human resources for a large law firm (now Herbert Smith Freehills), a period as a consultant with Morgan & Banks, a founder of Crowe Legal (a recruitment firm), experience as an Executive Search Consultant with A T Kearney & Associates, working as an executive and later advisory board member of search and leadership consulting firm Emissary Partners, service on a number of charity and pro bono boards including school boards (for example, Moriah College and Woodleigh School), and service as an elected Councillor on Waverley Council in Sydney. She was also an Ambassador for the NFP Fitted for Work, assisting women back into the workforce after a period of absence.

In addition to her accreditation in the products and services of the CreatingWE Institute (including Conversational Intelligence), Yvonne is also accredited to deliver a range of psychometric instruments.

Yvonne’s company , YAC Consulting Pty Ltd, operates the CreatingWE Institute Australia and New Zealand.

Karen Taylor 
Managing Partner Hourigan-International

Hourigan International is a global talent business. We represent and place Creative Leaders in Australia’s top corporates from Telstra, McDonald’s and Commonwealth Bank to Aesop, Foxtel and News Ltd. The bulk of our placements are in the CMO, Digital and Innovation portfolio. We also place leaders of creative and media agencies at CEO, MD level, Executive Creative Directors and Chief Strategy Officers.

Karen is a senior Partner and leads the entire team of Consultants across all disciplines within Hourigan International. Her deep experience spans leadership roles in marketing and brand, advertising, digital, media, design and PR. Karen has placed CEO’s, CMO’s, as well as agency leaders, (across planning, creative and account service) into some of the most coveted roles globally.

Erica Berchtold
Managing Director, Super Retail Group 

Erica joined Super Retail Group in November 2011 as Managing Director for the Sports Retailing Division which incorporates rebel, Amart Sports and Infinite Retail.

Prior to joining Super Retail Group she held a number of executive positions at organisations including Specialty Fashion Group, Harvey Norman, Tech Pacific and Rebel Sport and has over 20 years retail experience.

Erica is President of the Australian Sporting Goods Association and a board member of A-League Club Sydney FC.

She is passionate about sport and retail, and she is also passionate about supporting women in both of these fields.

Nicole Kersh
Founder of The Content Folk & Education Director at Silicon Paddock

Nicole Kersh is more than a garage to make-good story. At 21 Nicole discovered a niche by drawing a correlation between her observations and the way the online economy was shifting. Realising it could be applied across any industry, she saw a gap in the market and decided to do something about it and 4Cabling began.

4Cabling is Australia’s leading direct-to- consumer manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of cabling and IT infrastructure. Teaching herself to code, Nicole revolutionised an industry and built one of Australia’s fastest growing e-commerce businesses.

Nicole recently sold 4Cabling to private equity investors. Fiercely driven by the desire to innovate and create, Nicole has recently started her next venture, The Content Folk, a strategic content marketing agency for organisations wishing to bridge the digital divide.

Sandra Levy
Producer of film and television

Sandra levy is  one of Australia’s most significant contributors in film and television.

She was appointed CEO of the Australian Film Television and Radio School [2007 -2015 ] following on from  her roles as Director of Television at the ABC [2001 – 2005 ],

Director of Development at Channel 9 [2006], Head of Drama at Southern Star [ 1998 – 2000 ], and Head of Drama at the ABC [ 1986- 1989 ]

A successful and multi award winning producer of film and television, she has been a Board member of the Australian Film Finance Corporation,

the Australian Film Commission, the Australian Film Television and Radio School, Deputy Chair of the Sydney Theatre Company, and Board member of the St James Ethics Centre. In 2010, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Macquarie University.

She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014 for ‘distinguished service to the  arts  ….. and through strategic leadership and educational roles.’

Robi Stanton
Vice President & General Manager, Turner International- ANZ & Pacific

Robi Stanton is an experienced media executive having held senior roles across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

In Robi’s current role she is responsible for developing and driving the Turner’s strategy, coordinating and leading all company business divisions and overseeing Turner’s global brands and franchises in the Australian market.

Robi oversees all revenue streams for the business and has considerable experience in commercialising new ideas – across broadcast, digital platforms, digital products and local productions.

Robi has a degree in theatre studies and completed her MBA in 2001.

Jane Ryan
Acting CEO Sementis Ltd

Jane has many years of international experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry where she has managed research and development programs, as well as having key roles in business development and alliance management.

As a senior executive, she has been involved in M&A activities. She successfully negotiated a $231M US government contract with BARDA to support product development in the infectious diseases field.

As Vice President of Product Development and Strategic Marketing at Biota she oversaw, clinical, regulatory, manufacturing, toxicology, safety and market access groups

Jane is currently a Board Member of; Diabetes, Victoria, Victorian Endowment for Science Knowledge and Innovation, TechInSA. Previously, Diabetes Vaccine Development Centre.

Catherine Fritz-Kalish 
Managing Director, Global Access Partners

As co-founder and Managing Director of Global Access Partners Pty Ltd (GAP) Catherine has spent the last fourteen years growing GAP to be a proactive and influential network and public policy institute.

GAP initiates high-level discussions between business, government and academia at the cutting edge of the most pressing commercial, social and global issues of today. Through forums, global congresses, research projects, task forces, annual summits and government advisory boards, GAP facilitates real and lasting change by sharing knowledge and creating input for government policy.

Catherine’s broader business experience includes coordination of a number of international initiatives as part of the annual programme for the small and medium sized enterprise unit of the OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development), at headquarters in Paris, France; experience in marketing and brand management within all 7 divisions of the George Weston Foods Group; and just prior to establishing GAP, working within the TCG Group of companies particularly in the area of startup incubator establishment.

Andrea Culligan 
Chief Customer Experience Officer at Redii.com

Over 17 yrs, 7 businesses and 2 countries, Andrea’s passion for entrepreneurship has spanned the globe and a diverse range of industries. Working across branding, communications, publishing, distribution and logistics, digital media and dot.coms Andrea has enjoyed building businesses, solving customer problems and creating new concepts.
This passion and drive has been recognised in numerous areas. Most notably winning the Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year in 2009 (NSW), the Telstra Small Business of the Year 2009 (NSW), listed on the BRW Fast 100 list (2010) and winning a multitude of client, industry and outcome based awards over the years.
Using her passion for customer experience Andrea has recently taken the role as Chief Customer Experience Officer for Redii.com – a cloud based employee recognition and rewards platform founded by Naomi Simson.
Living life with courage, clear communication and authenticity is her key to personal success and with a thirst for adventure she is regularly torn between the big city lights and the great outdoors.

Julie Demsey
General Manager of SBE Australia

Julie Demsey is the General Manager of SBE Australia, an accelerator program helping female led companies grow and scale sustainably.

Prior to relocating to Sydney, Julie spent over two decades int he Silicon Valley where she  work with a variety of tech from small start ups to large companies like Yahoo!

Anny Havercroft
Director at Thirtyfive Ventures

Anny Havercroft champions digital innovation within organisations.  The marketing communications and media leader built her 16-year career in global marketing communication agencies consulting to top tier ASX, FTSE and Dow Jones companies in the UK and Australia.

Her digital media thought leadership and award-winning campaigns saw her recognised as one of AdNews ‘40 under 40’ top media industry talent.

It’s her desire to help more businesses navigate digital transformation successfully that has led her to leave her role as Managing Director at WPP-owned MediaCom (Melbourne) in 2016 to launch Thirtyfive Ventures, a consultancy that guides businesses and brands through digital transformation.

As an active member of the start-up community, Anny is also passionate about supporting start-ups in an advisory capacity and backing female entrepreneurs through Scale Angel Investors network.

Natalie Goldman
CEO at FlexCareers
Natalie is driven by making a difference in this world, through her passion for creating economic empowerment for women. She has over 20 years experience across numerous landscapes including being an entrepreneur, corporate, Government and Not For Profit – particularly in technology, HR, learning and development and organisational psychology. Most recently she is the CEO of FlexCareers, a disruptive online talent matching platform connecting talented women with progressive employers offering flexible work.
Natalie sits on a few boards including the Women’s Indigenous Network and Global Sisters.
She is a believer of challenging the norm, being curious and innovating, finding better and different ways of doing things, of connecting and collaborating.
Rhonda Brighton-Hall
Founder/CEO of MWAH, Director of the Australian Human Resources Institute

A former HR Leader and Telstra Businesswoman of the Year, Rhonda is a current Director of AHRI, and recognised as one of Australia’s foremost experts in human resources and the people side of business, specialising in leadership, innovation and the future of work. As a recognised champion on true workplace diversity, Rhonda’s fundamental belief is that inclusion and good leadership are not only foundational for good people practices in organisations, but equally of more equitable and prosperous economies and communities.

Her career has spanned four large multi-nationals – BHP, Sara Lee, Luxottica and CBA, living and working in Europe, Asia, and the USA.

She now lectures at Sydney University and works with entrepreneurs, businesses and corporations focused on improving the way we work. To this end, she is CEO and Founder of mwah. making Work Absolutely Human.

Jenny Morawska
President & CEO of The Morawska Group

Jenny has extensive experience in executive leadership and management. Her experience has been gained in various executive roles in a number of large complex domestic and international organisations, in multiple industries, and in both private and public sectors.

Jenny held various senior executive roles in Government and CSIRO, and also undertook  University lecturing (ANU, University of Canberra, Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney), postgraduate studies, teaching and research.

She is advisor to the Swedish Foreign Ministry and the Folke Bernadotte Academy, Sweden, and advisor to the United Nations General Assembly regarding establishment of dialogues for peace.

She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, member of the Advisory Board International Management Institute Doctor of Business Leadership, past secretary of the Australasian Evaluation Society and past Executive Council Member of the Australian Institute of Management Consultants.

As a leader with extensive commercial and government experience, the focus of her career has been on delivering tangible commercial results in challenging, complex and fast-paced environments. These have been achieved through a business performance mindset, coupled with excellent transformational change skills, requiring support of diverse stakeholder groups.

Her passion is for building a sustainable future for organisations and individuals.

Adelle Howse
Strategic Advisor

Adelle Howse is a C-level leader skilled at navigating complexity to deliver strategic business transformation, operational performance improvement, structured M&A and corporate finance.

8+ years’ experience at executive team level leading international, enterprise-wide strategic business transformation at $multi-billion scale.

Leader of large-scale corporate activity, capital raisings, mergers, acquisitions, investments and divestments with complex finance structure.

Builder of high-performance management teams, business operating models, robust governance and performance-led culture.

Focus on creating successful outcomes from complex organisational situations.

Narelle Hooper
Adviser, Director, Author                                           

Narelle grew up in country NSW, where her family operated a dairy farm and a pub. Narelle was the first in the family to go to uni and curious about the world, ideas and people ever since.Narelle spent 20 years in business media across print, radio, TV and web, at the Australian Financial Review, Fairfax Media, ABC, SBS TV. Former editor of BOSS Magazine and founding co-chair of the Financial Review – Westpac Women of Influence awards.

I’m on the boards of The Ethics Centre, the women’s global entrepreneurship accelerator Springboard Enterprises Australia and Documentary Australia Foundation. Also part of the mwah.live family, a community and knowledge resource focused on making work absolutely human.

Karen Penrose 
Non-executive Director for public, Government, private and charitable organisations
Karen is a full time Non-executive Director serving on boards including Bank of Queensland, Vicinity Centres, Spark Infrastructure and Future Generation Global.
Karen is active in investing in her skill set as a NED, including as a participant in the AICC Women Leaders Mission to Israel in May16, spending time in Silicon Valley in Jul16 and refreshing her coding skills via DeCoded. In May 2017, she will attend the global risk summit of the International Institute of Finance in Tokyo.
Karen has specialist knowledge in finance and capital markets, risk management and compliance, mergers, acquisitions and divestments, built throughout her prior executive career which included 20 years in banking with CBA and HSBC and eight years to early 2014 as a listed-company CFO and COO.
Gina Lednyak
Founder and Managing Director

Gina Lednyak is the Founder and CEO of global agency L&A Social Media and has been at the forefront of social media strategy and implementation since Mark Zuckerberg tested and launched ‘the Facebook’ in her University town of Boston. Gina studied engineering and psychology before relocating to Sydney in 2007. She quickly recognised an opportunity in the local market and soon launched L&A Social Media, a full-service strategic social media and digital agency, with a strong focus on creative content execution, analytics, and consumer behaviour.

L&A Social manages the social media strategy, content and implementation for brands like NETGEAR, Sol Beer, Rekorderlig Cider, AutoDesk and many more consumer brands. The company has grown significantly from its humble beginnings in Sydney, Australia now with over 60 global clients across 3 countries and a thriving team. Gina is also the 2016 NSW Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year and previous winner of AIMI Future Leaders Award and B&T 30 under 30.

L&A focuses on results delivered by people with first hand experience of social media success. Gina regularly gives keynote speeches on company culture, fast growth companies, social media and fostering a culture for female entrepreneurs. Through strategic storytelling & a wealth of experience across a variety of industries and skills, L&A Social Media ensures that their brands stay relevant, innovative and start powerful conversations within their target demographic. From digital & brand strategy to social media strategy & implementation, through to content marketing, photography & videography and analytics & insights, Gina’s agency delivers authentic communication as a driver to develop long lasting, trusted relationships between a brand and their customers.
Greta Thomas
Non Executive Director & Co-Founder

Greta is a professional non-executive director and Board advisor. She is also Co-Founder of a leadership development business with a particular focus on women. Greta has held senior roles at McKinsey & Company, Bono’s PRODUCT (RED) overseas, as well as C-suite roles at Sydney Opera House and eBay Australia.

Avril Henry
Leadership Futurist

Avril Henry is an acclaimed keynote speaker, consultant, coach, mentor and author, who is passionate about gender, generational and cultural diversity, developing collaborative leaders and positive workplaces. Her consulting business over 14 years has worked with organisations in the private and public sector, to change their culture and build their leadership capability, one leader, team and organisation at a time.Avril’s career has spanned senior roles in finance, IT, project management, change management and human resources. She is a Fellow of CPA Australia, a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and member of the Australian Human Resources Institute.

In September 2015 Avril was named as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Australia, and one of the 10 most influential women in the diversity space. She has been recognised by the Human Rights Commission and has received several business awards in Australia and the USA, for her diversity programs. In 2006 she received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement in HR Award at the Australian Human Resources Awards, and in 2012 was awarded a global award for Excellence in Leadership Coaching.

She is a senior advisor on cultural transformation, gender and diversity to the Chief of Army, Australia, the ACT Commissioner of Emergency Services and is the longest serving member of the Navy People & Capability Committee. She is the author and co-author of several books on leadership and the different generations at work.

In her spare time you will find her running adventure runs around the world to raise money for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, Camp Quality and Can Too.

Mariam Veiszadeh
Lawyer, Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner, Advocate and a Social Commentator

2016 Fairfax Daily Life Woman of the Year, Mariam Veiszadeh is a Lawyer, Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner, Advocate and a Social Commentator.

Proud of her refugee background, Mariam is passionate about championing the rights of minority groups in an endeavour to normalise ‘difference’ or rather, normality.

Mariam is an Ambassador for Welcome to Australia, which aims to provide a positive voice in the public conversation around asylum seekers, refugees and multiculturalism.

In 2015, Mariam was selected by Elle Magazine Malaysia as one of 12 women who were helping “change the world”,  alongside the likes of Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie. Mariam was also a finalist in the Daily Life Women of the Year Awards as well as being awarded Westpac’s ‘Woman of Influence’ Award for 2015.

She was recently a finalist in the 2017 Western Sydney University Alumni Awards in the category of Community Champion.

As a fearless advocate, Mariam is accustomed to being both an advocate against and a victim of xenophobia.  In 2015, she made global headlines as she endured months of cyber-bullying  for simply speaking out against bigotry. Australians responded by rallying behind Mariam using the hashtag #IstandwithMariam. Her experiences of cyber-bullying have been cited as a case study in several publications and books including in Tara Moss’  ‘Speaking Out’.

Her influence is felt in the many initiatives she promotes across her social media platforms in which she collectively has close to 50,000 followers.

Kylie Green
Senior Manager – Marketing & Communications, Women in Focus at Commonwealth Bank

Kylie Green is a marketer, entrepreneur, supporter of women in business, networking champion, mentor, charity worker and solo parent of a gorgeous 5 year old through donor conception. She has a career which has spanned over 25 years to date in entrepreneurial, marketing and senior management roles.

Kylie recently joined CBA’s Women in Focus team as Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications after almost 4 years with Dentsu Aegis Network where she was Managing Director of MKTG, the group’s Activation agency, across Australia and New Zealand.

At 29 years of age Kylie started her first business, Kaleidoscope, a marketing agency, which she bootstrapped to selling 7 years later to an ASX listed company and further growing the agency to become one of Australia’s leading Activation agencies with offices in 3 states.

Kylie is also a Non-Executive Board Director of Layne Beachley’s Foundation called Aim for the Stars.

Kylie’s areas of specialisation include: Leadership, Management, Marketing, Advertising, Entrepreneurship, Business, Finance, Charity & Cause related work, Networking, Public Speaking, Mentoring.

Her personal interests include horses, riding, horse-racing as well as travelling and cooking.

Ann Sherry
Executive Chairman for Carnival Australia

Ann is Executive Chairman of Carnival Australia, the largest cruise ship operator in Australasia and a division of Carnival Corporation & Plc.

After joining as CEO in 2007, she has transformed the industry and growth has been in double digits each year since.

Prior to this, Ann was with Westpac for 12 years as CEO Westpac New Zealand, CEO Bank of Melbourne and Group Executive, People and Performance.

In addition to her executive role, Ann holds a number of non-executive roles including Sydney Airport, ING Direct (Australia), ING Group, The Palladium Group, Australian Rugby Union, Cape York Partnerships, Infrastructure Victoria and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

In 2001, Ann was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Australian Government and in 2004 was awarded an Order of Australia for her contribution to the Australian community. In 2015, Ann was named as the overall winner of the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Award.

Flo Mitchell
Special Counsel

I am a versatile, skilled litigator representing clients in matters as diverse as employment law, defamation, compulsory acquisition, contested estates, tribunals of enquiry , business disputes and professional negligence cases involving solicitors and accountants.

I am highly regarded amongst my clients and peers for my pragmatic, commercial approach to resolving disputes and proceedings. My particular skill is in identifying the core issues of a matter, and supporting clients in making an informed opinion regarding the merits of their case.

I ensure they fully understand the risks and options, constantly communicate with them throughout the progress of their matter, and develop strategies and plans to prepare for the unexpected.

I have substantial experience in most jurisdictions and regularly brief counsel for trial, interlocutory relief, injunctions and urgent hearings.

I am confident in leading and advising on large scale, complex matters and recently successfully acted in claims from modest amounts to up $17million. In 2016, I acted for approximately 25 different clients who were affected by the compulsory acquisition of their property and businesses, negotiating settlements in excess of 300% of initial compensation offers made. I have also acted for a client who was successful in winning the biggest defamation verdict in New South Wales.

I have three active young children and have worked as a mentor with the Law Society of NSW, assisting women to excel in the legal profession.

As well as being an accredited specialist in commercial litigation, I am a current Committee Member of the Law Society of NSW – for Accredited specialists in Commercial Litigation. I hold a Masters in Health Law from the University of Sydney, and law degrees from Portobello College and Queen’s University, Belfast. I regularly blog and comment on contemporary legal issues.

Jackie O’Brien
Partner, Norton Rose

Jackie O’Brien is an intellectual property lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience and a partner of global law firm, Norton Rose Fulbright. Jackie has extensive experience in IP litigation including patent, copyright and trade mark litigation, and is highly regarded for her skill in project managing large and complex IP litigation matters, particularly those with global implications.

Described as the “consummate professional” by a major client she has demonstrated legal and technical versatility in matters across a broad range of industry sectors including pharmaceuticals, mining, food technology, lighting technology, personal care products and financial services.

She is ranked in Chambers Global, Best Lawyers, Managing Intellectual Property and World Trade Mark Review as a leader in her field, and won the Partner of the Year Award in the 2014 Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards for the strength of her practice, the contribution she makes to the Norton Rose Fulbright corporate social responsibility program and her role as a mentor to other women.

Jackie is Chair of the firm’s CSR Committee, National Pro Bono Partner, and a member of the firm’s National Diversity & Inclusion and Graduate Recruitment Committees.  She also served on Norton Rose Fulbright Australia’s Management Committee in 2016 and 2017.


Nicola Mills
Founder of Pacific Retail Management

Nicola is the founder of Pacific Retail Management serving sushi, juice and coffee in outlets throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines with the following brands:

– Go Sushi – Australia’s No.1 regional Sushi Franchise
– Wasabi Warriors – fresh sushi with a green heart, in Australia, and the Philippines.
– Kick Juice Bars – fresh Juice throughout regional Australia
– The Cheeky Beans Cafe/s in New Zealand swimming centres.

Nicola was one of Smart Company’s Eight Entrepreneurs to watch in 2015, and in the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2015.

She founded, raised capital, and launched Ready Fund Go (crowdfunding for Australian business) in 2013, and exited in 2016 with a sale to a member of the strategic board.

In 2016/2017 she facilitated, and drove the acquisition, and capital raising of The Cheesecake Shop to Singapore investors, with capital raised in excess of $100million through her personal and business connections.

Jeromine Alpe
Entrepreneur Executive Thought Leader

Entrepreneur Executive Thought Leader with a career spanning over 25 years, as Founder, CEO, HR Director, Executive Coach and Business Mentor. Jeromine is using her experience and expertise as a catalyst to empower female excellence for gender equity, inclusion, diversity, happiness and peak performance.

BCG _Corporate Diversity Partners – leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace through education, inspiration and motivation. Partnering with male champions of change, female entrepreneurs, executive women and our next generation of young future women leaders for greater futures. Fully customised 6-Step Corporate Diversity Strategy to position organisations for growth, resulting in increased revenue and profit. Integrated suite of leadership consultative services to develop and implement talent strategies that compliment and deliver on corporate strategy.  An evidence-based, structured approach to leadership performance and talent management.

Director, People & Culture of Top 300 Organisation. Member of the Senior Leadership Team. Leading through listening, observing and understanding cultures and sub-cultures. A belief that to perform at our peak professionally we need to be at our peak personally.

Partnering with organisations to establish best practice mentoring programs to help people become extraordinary and achieve extraordinary results. Rapidly increase employee skills, productivity and engagement.

YPO Committee Member – Mentor Chair & Young Next Generation Chair.

Ursula Hogben
Co-Founder & practice Leader, LegalVision

Ursula is a lawyer, entrepreneur and investor. She’s assisted over 1000 businesses, including to launch, grow and raise capital. She advises directors and management on strategic and legal issues. She is a trusted General Counsel, Company Secretary, Advisory Board Member and Notary Public.



Jo-Anne Bloch
Partner, Head of Mercer Administration Services, Wollongong

Jo-Anne leads Mercer’s Administration Services business based in Wollongong, NSW, formerly known as Pillar Administration. Mercer Wollongong provides superannuation and pension services to more than 1 million employees, with 650 people engaged in a variety of activities including client service, contact centre and document management, administration, registry services, technology, project management and fund accounting.

Jo-Anne returned from the US in June 2017 to take up this role, and was previously Mercer’s Innovation Leader based in Hoboken, New Jersey. Jo-Anne moved to the US in July 2014 to lead the newly established Innovation Hub with a focus on disruption and transformation in the areas of health, wealth and career and the future of work. Jo-Anne lead the development and launch of solutions such as Mercer PeoplePro, a technology enabled consulting platform employing Mercer alumni, and became an accredited Design Thinking facilitator, working with colleagues and clients to explore innovation ideas and solutions.

Prior to the US Jo-Anne spent four years as Financial Advice Leader for Mercer in Australia. Responsible for delivering innovative and industry leading financial advisory services to more than one million superannuation members, superannuation trustees and financial institutions, the business developed popular solutions in the mass market financial advice sector using technology to deliver fast and cost effective financial advice.

Jo-Anne was the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) – a role she held for almost four years.

Jo-Anne’s career has been predominantly in financial services having worked for National Mutual, Macquarie Bank, NSP Buck/Mellon, and as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Investment and Financial Services Association (IFSA). Jo-Anne also worked for Mercer in Australia following the acquisition of Sedgwick Noble Lowndes in 1999, and in the UK from 2004 to 2006.

Professional affiliations

Jo-Anne has served on the NSW Government’s Premiers Council for Women, as an inaugural Board Director of Pillar, as a Director of the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre, as a member of the global Financial Planning Standards Board Council and a member of the Federal Government’s Superannuation Advisory Council and Financial Services Task Force. Jo-Anne has also served as a member of ASIC’s External Advisory Panel and as chair of the Marsh & McLennan Women’s Network in Australia. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Maisie Lam
Head of Greenlight Operations ANZ at Uber

With 20 years of experience working in the Telecommunications sector in Australia, UK, Europe and Asia, Maisie Lam has held diverse roles across strategy and planning, customer and sales operations, program delivery and change management. She has led business integration teams in the launch of several mobile startups including 3 UK, 02 Germany and Telfort in The Netherlands; and for the merger between 3 and Vodafone in Australia.

After 3 years in Hong Kong (HK), Maisie recently returned to Sydney to take up the Head of Greenlight Operations ANZ role at Uber. Committed to supporting women in their professional career paths, Maisie participated as a mentor in The Women’s Foundation HK program and Mentor Walks HK.

She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies from the University of Sydney; and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM).

Karina Keisler

Karina Keisler is NBN Co’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer.  The team spans media relations, social media, government and stakeholder relations, employee communications and corporate social responsibility. When Karina’s not learning about broadband rollouts and launching rockets, she’s responding to the fibre-curious and helping to explain the complexities of one of the world’s biggest infrastructure projects.

Karina joined NBN Co in 2014 to help CEO Bill Morrow and the team elevate the conversation above the politics and get Australians excited about a connected future. Prior to this she led the corporate affairs team at Vodafone Australia following one of Australia’s most widely known reputation crises. Prior to Vodafone, Karina spent a decade at Telstra in corporate affairs, most recently as principal media adviser and national spokesperson.

Karina holds a Masters in Communications from Deakin University.

With 20 years of experience working in the Telecommunications sector in Australia, UK, Europe and Asia, Maisie Lam has held diverse roles across strategy and planning, customer and sales operations, program delivery and change management. She has led business integration teams in the launch of several mobile startups including 3 UK, 02 Germany and Telfort in The Netherlands; and for the merger between 3 and Vodafone in Australia.

After 3 years in Hong Kong (HK), Maisie recently returned to Sydney to take up the Head of Greenlight Operations ANZ role at Uber. Committed to supporting women in their professional career paths, Maisie participated as a mentor in The Women’s Foundation HK program and Mentor Walks HK.

She has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Post Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies from the University of Sydney; and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM).

If you would like more information about Mentor Walks Australia please contact us: charlotte@mentorwalks.com.au