You have just taken a huge step towards addressing your career challenges by learning from Australia’s most influential business women – so trust us when we say you’re in good hands!
Please ensure you read the below information about our walks prior to purchasing your ticket
On the day you will be grouped with a mentor and up to two other mentees. From there you will walk and talk for an hour.
Each mentee must come with a question that they’d like to discuss with their mentor. You’ll be asked to submit this when you book your ticket.
If you ‘re not sure what to ask, here’s some ideas:
What makes a great leader?
I’m a start-up. How do I take my business to the next level?
I want to change my career. What steps should I take?
How do I ask for a pay increase?
Just know, there is no issue too big or too small. You can come to talk about anything!
To join a Mentor Walks event in Wollongong click below
If you have already registered as a mentee, please click the below
Please note we are unable to take full time students as mentees
In Wollongong, Mentor Walks run bi-monthly from 7:30am and finishing at 8:45am (location provided once ticket is purchased)
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Wednesday, 8 July 2020
Wednesday, 5 August 2020*
Wednesday, 9 September 2020
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
*walk will take place from 12:15pm
Each event brings together a group of mentors from diverse industries where they are already established role models. Our mentors can choose to be involved in this event as a one-time commitment or on a regular basis.
We recognise that our mentors lead very busy lives, which is why their names are not disclosed prior to each event and there is no obligation to share contact information outside of Mentor Walks.
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.
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. Prior to the US Jo-Anne spent four years as Financial Advice Leader for Mercer in Australia.
Prior to this Jo-Anne was the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) – a role she held for almost four years. She has also 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, a member of the Federal Government’s Superannuation Advisory Council and Financial Services Task Force and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
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.
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.
Tania Brown is the Chief Operating Officer at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility with responsibility for the day to day operations of this $62 million national facility, including managing stakeholder relations and attracting investment to the Facility.
Prior to joining the University in 2009, Tania spent 13 years working for State and Federal Governments. Her role as a Senior Ministerial Policy Advisor saw her dealing with the development, implementation and communication of government policies in a range of areas.
Tania was elected as a Councillor for Ward 2, Wollongong City Council in September 2017.
Annalisa is an experienced Organisational Change Manager with demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. Experience delivering change programs across business transformation, system integration, organisational restructures, cultural change and large scale program of works. Passionate about designing and delivering focussed change solutions that minimises impact on people and maximises business outcomes to achieve commercial results. Exceptional stakeholder engagement skills who strives in a high demanding, dynamic and rapidly changing working environment. Holds Prosci Certification in Change Management.
Vicki is an experienced marketing practitioner with a skill-set drawn from working in finance, retail, charity and media. After 13 years of working in the media, she co-founded Waples Marketing Group in 2003 which delivers marketing service across six key areas – strategy, PR, creative, digital, events, advertising. An industry-recognised multi-stakeholder specialist, Vicki possesses corporate acumen, is politically savvy and connected, with contacts at key media to peak corporate levels. She has served on local and state government boards for over 20 years, is co-founder and Chair of the International Women’s Day Illawarra committee and a founding member of the Legacy Business & Community Support Committee. Currently Vicki is Wollongong’s Citizen of the Year.
Melissa leads a team that drives the University’ community engagement achievements. Our programs include the Community Engagement Grants Scheme, Community Investment Program, UOW Cares Workplace Giving Program, the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Community Engagement and the Community Fellowship Awards. We support several key advisory bodies including the Community Reference Group, Community Engagement Committee, and the Community Investment Steering Group. We also host a number of community activities and events on campus, highlights include an annual Iftar Dinner and a popular campus tour program.
Sandy’s role is to facilitate the strategic engagement of Nuclear Science & Technology and Landmark Infrastructure (NSTLI) with industry and a broad range of stakeholders from government, academia, publicly funded research agencies, funding bodies and NGO’s.
Primary responsibility for working with the NSTLI Industry Stakeholder Engagement Team (NISE) to develop, implement and deliver industry engagement and stakeholder engagement strategies in consultation with NSTLI Leadership and aligned with the wider ANSTO stakeholder engagement objectives.
Courtney West provides taxation, compliance and business services to a range of clients across the Illawarra. Courtney is proud to be KPMG Wollongong’s first female Partner. Courtney enjoys working with her clients and teams to navigate change. With over 20 years experience, Courtney brings insights to help her clients and teams grow and succeed. Courtney is an alumni of the University of Wollongong & the Sydney Business School’s Leadership Program. She is currently on the board of two not-for-profit organisations, but her most important role is mum to Matilda.
Carmen has broad HR experience in Organisation Development, Recruitment and generalist HR as well as having been self employed as a HR Consultant. In her current role she is responsible for ensuring that efficient systems and processes are available to allow BlueScope employees across Australia to access the training required to perform their roles effectively and efficiently as well as managing BlueScope’s Australian Graduate Development program.
Nicky is an experienced leader who uses her skills and energy to promote better outcomes for the community/human services sector, and for vulnerable communities. She has experience in a wide range of managerial roles, strong research and analytical skills, good understanding of regional development and a strong appreciation of factors affecting business growth and sustainability.
Maree joined Peoplecare in 2011 and is Head of People and Culture. She has 20 years of HR Management experience across various industries, including education, hospitality and general insurance. As Head of People, Culture & Capability, Maree is responsible for ensuring that our people processes and practices retain Peoplecare’s status as a true employer of choice with an exceptional level of staff satisfaction. Maree supports our managers and staff in the areas of recruitment, training and development, WH&S, Human Resource policy, and cultural development. Maree was awarded Australia’s HR Manager of the Year for 2013 at the Australian HR Awards. Her particular areas of expertise are leadership development and training.
Gabrielle is a co-founder and Director of Marketing at Alpha Vet Technology Solutions (AVT), a global business in the animal health and performance space. An entrepreneur with a background in fashion design, Gabrielle has harnessed her experience to switch industries and build a start-up in a dissimilar industry. As a woman with no technical experience, Gabrielle has overcome many business challenges to succeed in a predominantly male dominant space. Gabrielle’s goal is to share these experiences and knowledge to women who are progressing in their career journey.
Renee is the Director Corporate Services at Wollongong City Council, responsible for the oversight of Governance, Legal + Risk, Customer Service, Information Management + Technology, Human Resources and Financial Services. Leading a staff of over 160 people, Renee has a strong focus on the health, safety and welfare of her team and on improving business outcomes. Renee has recently completed a Masters in Urban Policy and Strategy from the University of NSW and also has a Masters in Strategic Management and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Wollongong. Renee is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is also an Evaluator with the Australian Business Excellence Foundation.
Jelena recently joined Mercer Wollongong as a Shared Services Leader focusing on building training and analytical capabilities within the organization.
Prior to Mercer Jelena worked as a Senior Operations Manager for Macquarie Group where she managed Global Projects, lead Operational Excellence and Cultural Change frameworks. Jelena’s key focus is on building strong teams and frameworks to identify and eliminate knowledge, skill and process gaps. She is a change agent with strong focus on future state by building stronger frameworks to help develop, motivate and empower our people and enhance current systems and processes.
Melissa is an experienced Manager with a highly developed understanding and application of best practice methodologies in software development with a passion for producing quality outcomes. She is an innovative and successful People manager with a proven ability to create a sense of direction and purpose for others in a complex change environment. Melissa has extensive Stakeholder and Vendor Management experience with a key focus on staff engagement and mentoring to create motivated teams who actively work to enhance career progression.
Leila Hogan is a People and Culture professional specialising in organisational development and strategy. She currently holds the position of Organisation Development Manager at Wollongong City Council. Prior to this she has held senior roles in strategy and Human Resources at BHP, the Port Kembla Coal Terminal, BlueScope Steel, South32, SCE Group, and the NSW State Emergency Service. She has led HR functions across heavy industries and billion dollar mining projects. She is a seasoned coach and actively pursues an interest in organisational & individual growth, mental health, building inclusive high performance organisational cultures, and cultivating resilience and mindfulness across all levels. When she’s not working you’ll find her working on her small holding, caring for her menagerie and most importantly, the three men in her life.
Nicki is a keynote speaker, facilitator and expert authority on leadership. Her career spans Board and executive roles across many fields including mining, manufacturing, finance and sport. She is a director of Football South Coast Limited and Dress for Success Sydney and is the Founder and Chair of its Illawarra Branch.
Amy is a Partner leading the Commercial Law Team at Kells. She is an Accredited Specialist in Business Law and advises businesses of all sizes on contracts, leasing, business transactions, business structuring, disputes and corporate governance.
Leanne is Executive Leader Strategic Innovation and Development at Warrigal, an Illawarra based community based not for profit aged care provider with 900 employees providing care and services to more than 2,300 customers in the Illawarra, Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands regions of NSW. Leanne is responsible for developing strategies to ‘future proof’ Warrigal– new business models, research and development, entrepreneurship, stakeholder engagement, community relations and partnerships, commissioning new developments and so on. Before joining Warrigal she has held senior management positions in a range of industry sectors including state and federal government. Leanne has been a passionate advocate for our region being: a current member of the Property Council’s Illawarra Committee; a Board Member of Regional Develop Australia’s Illawarra Board for 6 years; Chair of Leadership Illawarra Program’s Steering Committee; and Member of the Advisory Council to the NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services/Minister for the Illawarra. Leanne’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Business and Geography, a Graduate Diploma in Adult Education, a Masters of Education; and PhD level research in inter-organisational change. Leanne enjoys feeling connected to her home town of Kiama where she raised her two adult children and enjoys giving back to the Illawarra community through her volunteering work with Community Cancer Link.
Angela is a nationally recognised inhouse legal counsel and executive leader with experience in the tertiary, financial services and early education sectors, giving her wide knowledge of different situations. As a former uni drop out, she understands the struggles to achieve and the difference made by determination and encouragement, and is keen to help others through Mentor Walks.
Debra is a Strategy and Advocacy Executive, with significant experience in the mining, infrastructure and industry association sectors. Senior management roles held previously with Illawarra Business Chamber, BHP Billiton, Thiess and Australian Industry Group. Strong lateral thinking, negotiation skills, stakeholder engagement, strategy development and attention to detail. Strong change management and communication skills are used to turn strategy into action with payoffs. Proactive relationship development with clients, industry networks and government.
Renee joined the Mercer Leadership team in 2018 as People & Culture Leader for Mercer Administration Services. Renee has extensive experience with senior HR roles in the manufacturing sector with both international and domestic units, whilst residing on the Board of Directors. Renee has a broad relationship with the University of Wollongong (UOW) through tutoring and mentoring students and sits on the on the UOW Advisory Committee; School of Management. Renee has a passion for Human Resources and has achieved CAHRI membership with Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) and is the AHRI Network Convenor for the Illawarra region. Renee has professional qualifications in a Bachelor of Commerce (Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations), a Bachelor of Science (Psychology), and Masters in Strategic Human Resource Management and Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
Kate is the Founder and Director of Qulture, an HR Coaching + Consulting business, headquartered in the Illawarra. Kate works with organisations and leadership teams to support them in maximising their potential and performance. Prior to establishing Qulture Kate held management roles in a number of ASX listed businesses and has also worked in Asia and Europe. Kate is an active member of the Illawarra business community and sits on the board of The Illawarra Connection. As a mum to 2 young children Kate understands the challenge of juggling career, kids and home whilst trying to find that ever elusive balance!
Deborah is an experienced Senior Executive and Company Director. She has more than 25 years’ experience in communications, marketing, stakeholder engagement, issues and crisis management, media and community relations, and project and event management. Her current role sees her heading up the Customer and Marketing functions for IRT Group, incorporating the Communications, Marketing, Customer Relations and Sales teams. Deborah has been a Director of Community Alliance Credit Union for four years and was a Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber from 2008 to 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology/Management) and a Master of Arts (Journalism) from the University of Wollongong and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Deborah is married with two children.
Carolyn is a dynamic and experienced professional with significant experience working across a range of industry sectors who is passionate about working with people to achieve outstanding organisational results. Strong experience in strategic planning, project management, organisational change, developing and implementing high-level strategy and exceptional communication and interpersonal skills with a proven ability to liaise with colleagues, management, customers and internal & external stakeholders.
Deanne is the Manager Organisation Capability for BlueScope’s Australian Steel Products business. In this strategic role, she has responsibility for the organisational development, learning, talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion activities across 6500 employees in multiple sites across Australia. Deanne has a background in HR in heavy industry leading the HR operations for the BlueScope Manufacturing business, and with BHP Billiton in site based operational HR roles within their mining operations. Her work history has given her many experiences in managing competing priorities across multiple stakeholders, implementing strategic projects and building relationships across geographically diverse businesses.
With more than a decade of senior management experience in the HR professional space, Ms Coombes offers a wealth of knowledge in strategic and operational ‘people management areas’. Ms Coombes has also close to ten years of experience teaching in the academic space with University of Wollongong.
A high-energy leader with exceptional integrity, Stephannie is known for her drive and commitment to achieving commercial outcomes through effective people and stakeholder leadership. With over 25 years’ experience in manufacturing and solutions across finance, procurement, business improvement and transformation, Stephannie has built a leadership reputation for actively and successfully disrupting the status quo.
As Manager Finance Transformation, Stephannie is creating the finance function of the future by leveraging data and technology, optimising core business processes and systems and ensuring capability meets current and future needs. She is extremely passionate about being a culture maker not a culture taker.
Stephannie has a B Comm from UNSW, is a CPA Fellow, and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is actively involved in the Illawarra community, holding a directorship on the Peoplecare Board and is on the Governance and Nominations Committee of St Mary Star of the Sea College.
Jenni is the CEO of Big Fat Smile. Big Fat Smile is a child and family services provider, primarily providing centre-based care to children 0-12 through early learning and care, out of school hours and vacation care. Big Fat Smile also provides inclusion support nationally in partnership with KU and Gowrie. Big Fat Smile provides community-based services such as Post Natal Depression groups, supported playgroups, a child and family café and an art school. Big Fat Smile partners with educational institutions to collaborate on research projects to continually improve on best practice.
Jenni brings a passion for strong governance and actively developing and enhancing innovative service delivery to reduce disadvantage in our communities and scaffold children and families to flourish and thrive. The underlying philosophy is about striving, through our values for a bigger, brighter more creative future for all Australians. Jenni’s work in NFPs has centered on working with individuals and communities to create change and meet the needs of our most vulnerable in the community. Jenni led the commencement of one of Australia’s first Social Benefit Bonds and has a passion for creating Child Safe Organisations.
Jenni’s leadership strengths lie in building a positive culture, strong partnerships and relationships and a successful focus on building and developing robust, evidence-informed service delivery which meets the needs of individuals and creates resilient communities.
Julie has 20 years senior-level human resources experience in high-growth international business environments, across a number of sectors including financial services, media and technology. Julie is a specialist in talent management and has extensive experience in organisational change management, leadership development, culture, and driving HR projects in major commercial businesses. Prior joining UOW Global Enterprises in April 2017, Julie held roles as Executive General Manager at Pillar Administration, Chief People Officer at Salmat Limited and Asia Pacific HR Director at Avanade.
Julie holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Human Resources & Industrial Relations from Western Sydney University, and is a member of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI).
Karen has been in her current role with The Salvation Army since 2012 as the Community Fundraising and Public Relations Coordinator for the Illawarra. Her role is to connect with the local community across the Illawarra to gain influential and monetary support for The Salvation Army so we can continue to provide the many services that The Salvation Army offers. A large part of what she does is to organise the Red Shield Appeal Business launch event and Doorknock activities across the Illawarra with the assistance of local business and community members.
Kylie is CanConquer, Exercise Beyond Cancer’s founder and is the powerhouse of energy behind the Illawarra’s only exercise oncology program of its type. Kylie has been practicing for 19 years in the health & medical industry, and exudes passion for what she does empowering people to achieve their physical and life potential, living by the phrase “Tutto ‘e possibile” – Everything is Possible. After 3 years in business, Kylie was named 2018’s Illawarra Outstanding Business Leader, and her clinic was awarded for Excellence in Customer Service and Best Small Business. She believes the key to success is practicing empathy and gratitude in the workplace- being more concerned about the human being and not just about their output.
A highly motivated Commercial professional with extensive experience in the manufacturing and education sectors. A strategic focus combined with a creative approach to designing and implementing strategies to deliver results on global strategic sourcing initiatives. Experience obtained through a broad range of Procurement and Business Development roles in organisations operating across multiple countries. Inclusive, supportive and builds relationships across networks to achieve successful outcomes. In my current position of Category Manager Paint & Chemicals for BlueScope, I’m responsible for delivering commercial solutions with a focus on product innovation, risk mitigation and the achievement of EBIT improvement for strategic critical goods.
With 20 + years experience in the Health & Safety Profession, for the last 2 years I have been working in an Innovation role with the Safety Team at BlueScope Steel. This is an absolutely fascinating role where I have been able to connect with other organisations and professionals to bring new learning and knowledge into the business in both traditional safety but also health & wellbeing. I love the challenge of introducing new ideas and thinking to people, building relationships and connecting people around a new idea or initiative. I have 2 young children, Sophie and Ben and a love of Yoga and all things sustainable (bees, chooks and veggie gardens make for a chaotic home!)
Rachel Edwards is a dedicated Human Resources (HR) Practitioner who’s worked in FMCG’s and Manufacturing Companies in Asia as well as Australia across all facets of HR including talent acquisition, diversity, change management, workforce planning, performance management, training and development, employee relations and organisational development.
Carly Langston has worked in the Steel industry for close to 20 years, first at oneSteel before moving across to BlueScope 11 years ago. Prior to this she worked in Customer Service, Logistics, Demand Planning and have been in Supply Chain. In her current role she manages of team of people responsible for co-ordinating material through various manufacturing facilities at BlueScope to meet customer demand. She has an Honours degree in Mathematics and Masters of Science (Logistics) both achieved at the University of Wollongong.
Jillian is a Chemical Engineer by original training and also holding a Masters of Business and Technology, I’ve worked for BlueScope since 2002 in a range of engineering, operations, and innovation roles including Plate Mill Rolling Manager from 2012-2014. She is now the Innovation Portfolio Manager for the Australian Steel Products business, looking across a range of product development projects.
After spending 15 years working on large transformation programmes companies across Europe, the US and Australia, Jodi left the corporate world in 2017 to focus on executive coaching and facilitation.
By combining positive psychology, results-based coaching and business theory Jodi works closely with individuals and teams to help them gain the skills and knowledge they need to boost their satisfaction and performance.
Lauren opened her Conveyancing firm, Active Property Conveyancing as a sole trader in March 2008 and it has grown to the biggest sole Conveyancing firm in the Illawarra, now employing 9 employees.
In 2018 Lauren won the IWIB Innovative Business Woman award at the IWIB Business Awards and received Highly Commended in the IWIB Business Woman of the Year category.
Active Property Conveyancing won the Specialised Business Category at the Illawarra and South Coast Business Awards in July 2018 and was named as a Finalist in the Optus My Business National Awards for Property Business of the Year for 2017 and 2018.
Danielle has devised a framework to simplify the leadership code. Whether speaking or coaching Danielle combines cutting edge neuroscience with practical ‘how-to’s that artfully unlock automatic conditioned ways of thinking, accelerating leadership impact.
As a recovering CPA, Danielle utilises her extensive corporate experience and business capabilities built over a 14 year period which included living and working in 4 foreign countries in private practice, multinationals and Not-For-Profit organisations. Danielle noticed the increasing demands being placed on leaders, team and individuals in the workplace and beyond and identified the need to provide support and guidance with a focus on wellbeing. Danielle and has dedicated the past 7 years to coaching women and men facing burnout, looking to catapult their careers or feeling like there is more to life, to use wellbeing as a cornerstone for performance, fulfillment and human flourishing.
Danielle’s business acumen and skills as a coach, facilitator and speaker enable her to help others cut through the noise and see the opportunities and potential that exists.
Danielle specialises in partnering with Women Leaders which led her to undertake a unique research project involving in-depth interviews with over 50 female (90%) and male (10%) leaders from a cross-section of industries. This confirmed what Danielle knew from her work with women leaders, that there is an incredible amount of rich, untapped potential needing to be released for the benefit of workplaces, families, communities and the world. Based on her research, Danielle is currently working on a book – Ditch the Cape. The book aims to expose the myths women (and men) have innocently bought into over millennia, encourage women to have a conversation with themselves about what they have absorbed and why, decide what is relevant and then reorientation their lives and live it on their own terms.
As well as running her own coaching business, Danielle is given plenty of opportunities to practice her leadership insights in her most challenging role of all – being lead parent to three rather energetic boys! Danielle wishes someone had told her that looking after a baby was not the same as looking after a balance sheet and at the same time she realises that the return on investment is incredibly rewarding.