It’s time to invest in your leadership journey at the seventh She Leads Conference – back and better than ever to convene Australia’s most compelling women leaders.

This premier event for women at all stages of their career will be held at Kambri Cultural Centre, ANU on Friday 23 July 2021, and is set to attract a diverse range of women leaders, including non-binary people, from every industry and vocation in the Canberra region and beyond. It will inspire and equip you to build your leadership skills, share stories, and will grow your capacity to thrive in your community or workplace while supporting other women.

This year’s theme is Power – and what it’s like to have it, own it, and challenge it.

Through a packed program of keynote speeches, panels, seminars and networking sessions, we will explore leadership through the lens of Power, and equip you with skills, strategies and concepts to take back to your professional and personal lives. You will learn how to deconstruct and reconstruct notions of power and gain an understanding of how power influences our systems and structures, and how you can use it to the benefit of yourself and those you lead.

The complete program, speaker line-up and scholarship availability will be released soon. Our MC for the event is Chris Ryan who is one of the most exciting voices in Australian comedy.

The full program is now available for download.

To stay updated on future She Leads events and workshops, sign up for our She Leads Newsletter or email us.

You can learn more about our previous She Leads Conferences.

If you’re interested in becoming a YWCA Canberra, you can sign up now on our membership page.

Networking Event

On Thursday 22 July, the night prior to the Conference, you’re invited to join us for an evening of networking over drinks and canapes. With a highly limited number of tickets, this special event provides attendees with the exclusive opportunity to meet like-minded people prior to attending the Conference.

The Networking Event includes complimentary drinks and canapes, as well as entertainment and games.

Who should attend?

The 2021 She Leads Conference is for you if you:

  • want to acquire the tools to reignite your leadership journey
  • are at the start of your leadership journey, and want to learn from incredible role models from across public, private and community sectors, and media and entertainment industries
  • manage a team, and want to bring them to the next level in their leadership journeys
  • want to connect with like-minded women from across Australia
  • would like to explore the notions of power in our workplaces and our society
  • want a gendered approach to your leadership growth


We have an incredible line-up of diverse and dynamic women speakers at She Leads Conference 2021. Find out more below.


Chris Ryan

photo of chris ryanA journalist, mum and one of the most exciting new voices on the Australian comedy scene, Chris Ryan won Best Newcomer at the Sydney Comedy Festival in 2019, and was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2021 for her hour solo Big Hair, Big Dreams. Her laconic take on everything from romance to passive aggressive co-workers earned Chris spots in galas events at the Sydney Comedy Festival, Canberra Comedy Festival, Floriade Nightfest and TEDx Canberra and feature spots in the 2021 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Up Front Women’s Gala, the Audible Presents Live event.

Chris has toured around Australia, including with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow and Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase, sold out shows at the Perth and Sydney Comedy Festivals, and performed for the Australian troops in the Middle East.  She has hosted and performed at major events including co-hosting the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, the Canberra Writers Festival and the RSL & Services Clubs and Leagues Clubs Australia National Conference.

After co-hosting a breakfast show on Canberra’s 2XXFM for two years, Chris is a regular guest on ABC Radio Canberra and appears on ABC Radio Sydney’s Thank God It’s Friday with Richard Glover.
In 2020, Chris taught herself to use semi-automated animation software and produced a six-part online series called Chats with Mum, an unscripted, sometimes outrageous series of chats with her mum Wendy. A second series is due this year. Chris will also film her debut special in 2021 in Canberra with thanks to a Homefront Grant, supported by the ACT Government.


Dr Mehreen Faruqi

mehreen-faruqiDr Mehreen Faruqi is the Greens Senator for NSW and Spokesperson for education, anti-racism, animal welfare, housing, international aid and industry. She is a civil and environmental engineer and a life-long activist for social and environmental justice. In 2013, Dr Mehreen became the first Muslim woman to sit in any Australian parliament when she joined the NSW Parliament. Since joining the federal senate in August 2018, Mehreen has been an outspoken advocate for public education, anti-racism and feminism.

Before entering politics, Senator Faruqi worked as a civil and environmental engineer in local government and the private sector, and as an academic. She directed the Institute of Environmental Studies at UNSW and was an Associate Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management.


Cath Grassick

Cath Grassick was a police officer for the Australian Federal Police for 36 years, reaching the rank of Superintendent. She worked in a variety of roles from community policing in the ACT to specialist policing in areas of internal investigations, intelligence (counter-terrorism and aviation), bomb response, maritime, negotiation, search and rescue and canine operations, as well as specialist corporate disciples related to human resources, learning and development and security operations.

Cath was the youngest Sergeant when promoted in 1989 at 23 years old. She was instrumental in the development of the AFP’s first distance learning package, countless new recruitment policies and initiatives and implementation of the first drug testing program for law enforcement in the late 1990’s. After being promoted to Superintendent in 2001, she was tasked with the largest AFP recruitment program recruiting 520 new police. Most recently Cath oversighted the development of new canine capabilities in technology detection which is a first for law enforcement in the southern hemisphere.

An integral member of the AFP’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) Network since 2010, Cath has actively worked in the diversity space throughout her career culminating in the awarding of the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Out Role Model in 2020 for work, knowledge and positive leadership and commitment to inclusion in the workplace.


Nina Funnell

nina-funnellNina Funnell is a Walkley award-winning journalist, author, and sexual assault survivor advocate/campaigner. In 2018, Nina created the #LetHerSpeak campaign after learning of sexual assault victim gag-laws which prohibited rape survivors in Tasmania and the Northern Territory from self-identifying in media.

Since then, Nina has published over 120 articles on victim gag-laws and has raised in excess of $100,000 to fund the legal work of the 17 survivors featured in the campaign.

In 2020 the #LetHerSpeak/ #LetUsSpeak campaign achieved four law reforms across three jurisdictions. That year, Nina was also awarded the Walkley Award for Public Service Journalism, the Our Watch Walkley Award, a Kennedy Award and an MEAA Northern Territory Media Award for her own reporting on victim gag-laws. Nina has previously served on the NSW Premier’s Council on Preventing Violence Against Women, the board of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre, and the board of the National Children’s & Youth Law Centre.


Amy Thunig

Amy Thunig is an academic in the School of Education at Macquarie University, where she is also completing a PhD in education with a focus on Sovereign Indigenous women in academia. A Gomeroi/Gamilaroi/Kamilaroi woman, Amy began her journey into formal education as a Primary School teacher, attaining a Masters Degree in Teaching before moving into her academic role.

In 2019 Amy was invited to give her TEDx talk ‘Disruption is not a dirty word’ and was named ‘Emerging Leader in the Public Sector’ at the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards. In 2020 Amy signed her first book deal for her forthcoming collection of personal essays titled ‘Tell Me Again’ with University of Queensland Press (UQP) and launched her podcast ‘Blacademia: yarns with First Nations/Indigenous academics’. A freelance media writer and panellist, Amy regularly appears on television programs such as ABC’s The Drum, and writes for publications such as Buzzfeed, Sydney Book Review, IndigenousX, The Guardian, Junkee, Women’s Agenda and more.  A mother and active community member, Amy resides on the unceded Awabakal land.


Panel: Breaking up the boys’ club: Finding individual power within male-dominated spaces

Karen Middleton- facilitator

Karen Middleton has covered national and international affairs as a political journalist for more than 30 years. The author of two books, Karen is the Chief Political Correspondent for Schwartz Media’s The Saturday Paper, a regular contributor to ABC radio, ABC TV’s Insiders and the Ten Network’s The Project.

She is also a correspondent for Radio New Zealand, Monocle24 radio London and Turkey’s international television network TRT World. Karen spent a decade as political correspondent for SBS Television and undertook three military embeds as a war correspondent in Afghanistan.

A former president of the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery and a Churchill fellow, Karen holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra.


Jo Farrell

Jo Farrell is passionate about women’s representation in construction. Through her extensive history working in the civil, residential, and commercial building sectors, Jo now leads as the General Manager for Kane Constructions in the ACT.

Since joining Kane Constructions, Jo has increased the branch’s gender equity from 6% in February 2020 to 42% in October 2020. Her role largely focuses on working with government, peak industry bodies, unions, training organisations and progressive building contractors to engage, recruit, train and employ women in all trade roles.

Jo’s personal mission is to create pathways and opportunities for women of all backgrounds to pursue a career in construction. In 2020, Jo founded the Not-For-Profit, Build Like A Girl, to help empower women and young girls to succeed and thrive in the construction industry.


Marissa McDowell

Marissa McDowellBorn in Cowra NSW, Marissa McDowell is a proud Wiradjuri woman, filmmaker, writer, artist and facilitator. She is the Commissioning Editor for NITV and SBS and is the Creative producer for Black & White Films. Marissa has worked closely with Indigenous communities telling their stories through multi-media platforms across Australia and has produced a number of documentaries for SBS, NITV and ABC news.

Her poetry has been published in a number of popular publications such as the literary journal Ora Nui and Overland’s Emerging Poet Series, and is a featured contributor for A Pocketful of Leadership and Too Deadly Our Voices Our Way Our Business.

In 2018, Marissa received her Master of Arts Screen Business and Leadership at AFTRS and is currently undertaking her Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage at Charles Sturt University.


Olivia Thornton

Olivia Thornton was raised on a citrus and stone fruit farm at the foot of the Blue Mountains. From an early age, she developed a genuine passion for all sports, particularly cricket, and sampled most throughout her youth. Sport has had a significant impact on Olivia, both personally and professionally. She believes that the positive power of sport brings people together and promotes a more inclusive, diverse and peaceful society through its universal values and principles.

Throughout her life, Olivia has worked across a number of different sectors including education, local government, state and national sporting organisations and agencies. Olivia actively sets out to create high performing cultures whereby staff/players/students feel empowered, trusted and supported to achieve their goals. In February 2021, Olivia was appointed the first female CEO of Cricket ACT in its 99 year history, an achievement she is incredibly proud of.


Zakia Patel

Zakia-PatelZakia Patel is a community leader with a passion for using her skills to support marginalised communities, with a particular passion for young people. Zakia is the Managing Director of the Multicultural Hub Canberra, with responsibility for Multicultural Centres in Canberra, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Bega and Cooma.

Zakia has over a decade of experience working in the community sector, and has previously held senior positions with YMCA Canberra and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council. She holds a Bachelor of Law/Economics.

In addition to her professional work in the community, Zakia has been a volunteer with the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) for over 12 years and is the Unit Commander for the Queanbeyan SES Unit. Zakia has had the opportunity to participate (and provide leadership to the 100 or so volunteers in the Queanbeyan Unit) in many local and interstate operations and is passionate about encouraging and empowering migrant women to volunteer in a predominately male-dominated industry


Panel: Standing in the way of control: Letting go of problems and things out of your control to create healthier outcomes

Nipuni (Nip) Wijewickrema- facilitator

nipuni wijewickremaNipuni (Nip) Wijewickrema is a passionate and driven young woman, trying to change the world one flower at a time. At the age of 20, Nip realised there was a lack of meaningful employment opportunities for people with special needs, specifically her sister Gayana who has Down syndrome. Unable to sit back and let Gayana live a life without purpose, Nip and her family established Canberra’s most loved floral business: GG’s Flowers.

Starting in the bathroom and moving to the garden shed, GG’s Flowers has now grown into a successful and established business that is empowering and employing people with special needs from all walks of life and has delivered beautiful bouquets to thousands of Canberrans.

Nip believes that all people with special needs are capable of leading fulfilling and engaging lives and this can be achieved through meaningful employment. Nip understands that combined with a little bit of love, compassion and patience, her social enterprise has the power to change lives. In 2016, Nip was named the ACT Young Australian of the Year.


Celeste Trione aka Mae Q Sqwheel

Celeste Trione is the President of Canberra Roller Derby League and an Executive in the Australian Public Service. With over 15 years of experience in the APS, Celeste has worked in central and line agencies in areas including executive government support, strategic policy and governance. Currently, Celeste works in a reform taskforce, supporting a Commonwealth/State funding agreement negotiation.

Celeste has a passion for volunteering in community sport, recognising that sustained effort, deliberate planning and accountability are required to ensure these organisations perform at their best. She is committed to supporting the personal and leadership development of women in sport.

In her 10th season with Canberra Roller Derby League, Celeste has performed various leadership roles and currently holds the position of President. She has also been involved with the Gungahlin Jets for over a decade, supporting her family’s involvement in community-level AFL.


Sally Gibson

Sally entered the ACT Government in 2001 from managing a community based domestic violence homelessness service, Doris Women’s Refuge. Through the 10 years working there, Sally contributed in making the organisation fit for purpose. In 20 years in the public service, she has developed housing policy and managed homelessness, disability and community housing funding programs before establishing the ACT’s first community housing regulatory system in 2008. Since that experience, she has developed systems and frameworks for responsive regulation in the areas of care and protection, disability and the reduction and elimination of restrictive practices.

When she is not at work, Sally has volunteered as President, both club and zone level, instructor and is currently Senior Instructor at her Pony Club, part of the Pony Club Association of New South Wales, a youth organisation that raises awareness of sportsmanship, fosters care for horses and develops citizenship among young people.


Nicole Short

nicole shortNicole Short is a place management, marketing and hospitality professional with twenty years of experience  Working in national and international marketplaces, she has a proven track record in achieving key business objectives, opening new and re-launching businesses, meeting sales targets and streamlining operations for start-up teams and clients  Nicole’s career highlights include being part of the core opening team for MGM Resorts International – ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCentre ($12bn USD),  co-owning Monocre Advertising and Design, securing record levels of corporate sponsorship for the Stage 1 re-development of the National Gallery of Australia, managing a buy-sell and brand conversion of Hotel Hotel to Ovolo Nishi and most recently, in her employment by Wiltshire + Dimas, opening and managing the Kambri Precinct at ANU

Nicole is passionate about supporting the Canberran community, having served on the Canberra Convention Bureau Board, volunteering for ten years at Karinya House for Mother’s and Babies, and most recently being part of the City Renewal Authority Marketing and Engagement Committee.


Dixie Crawford

dixie crawfordDixie Crawford is a Barkindji woman from the Darling River, she was born in Broken Hill and raised in Brewarrina. Dixie leads Source Nation with 13 years of experience in the NSW Public Services, working cross Government and closely with Corporate and not-for-profit organisations in clinical and non-clinical health care, child protection and research and evaluation.

Dixie has a Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health), Advanced Diploma in Leadership and Management, Certificate IV in Aboriginal Family Health and Statement of Attainment for the Advanced Diploma for Aboriginal Specialist Trauma Counselling.

Dixie is an Indigenous thought leader and a certified organisational coach and has held various senior leadership and management roles while leading and implementing various projects from construction, human resources, community engagement and consultation, strategic planning and research and evaluation.


Panel: Tipping the scale: redressing power imbalances.

Misha Schubert- facilitator

Misha Schubert is CEO of Science & Technology Australia, the peak body representing around 88,000 scientists and technologists. She is also a visiting fellow at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at ANU and a Vice-President of the National Press Club of Australia.

Her career has combined deep expertise in public policy and policy advocacy, executive leadership, Government relations, member and stakeholder engagement, communications, journalism – and great storytelling. Misha has worked for major media outlets including The Australian, The Age, the Sunday Age, and the ABC. She also held senior executive leadership roles at Universities Australia and in the movement for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Christina Ryan

Christina Ryan is the CEO and Founder of the Disability Leadership Institute. She has been an active leader in the Australian disability community for over 20 years, working at an international, national and local level to change the diversity agenda, while mentoring and supporting numerous people with disabilities to their own leadership success.

Christina pioneered the use of mainstream forums by women with disabilities at the United Nations, and now mentors and teaches effective use of the UN for rights activists globally, while working as a leadership coach for people with disabilities. After 20 years working in community sector management, Christina realised that the levels of violence and marginalisation experienced by people with disabilities were the direct outcome of inequality, and that to address this we need a growth in disability leadership right across the public domain.

So, Christina established the Disability Leadership Institute in 2016 as a professional hub for leaders with disabilities to build & support our disability leaders. It is the first organisation of its kind globally, run by and for disability leaders. The DLI aims to grow the presence and recognition of disability leaders across all sections of our community. Christina is also a regular keynote speaker and commentator.


Megan Fechner

Megan Fechner is co-founder and Principal of Astryx, a Canberra based consulting firm specialising in procurement and commercial services.

Megan leads a predominately female team to disrupt the tradition consulting image in Canberra.

Megan will talk to her experience within the Australian Government, multinational and local firms, as well as in establishing a consulting practice.



Rachelle Towart

Rachelle TowartRachelle Towart OAM, is the Managing Director of Pipeline Talent, and is recognised nationally in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, governance and education. Rachelle received her OAM in acknowledgement of her achievements in these areas.

As the former CEO of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, Rachelle trained thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and was recognised with a wide range of awards. This included the prestigious Westpac Community CEO of the Year (2014).

She is also one of Australian Financial Review’s Australian Women of Influence.

Rachelle is passionate about supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reach their leadership potential.


Joanne Fenton

joanne fenton Joanne Fenton is the Manager Business Growth QLD/NSW/ACT with HESTA — the industry super fund dedicated to those working in the health and community services sector. Joanne has held various positions within the financial services sector, in particular, superannuation over her career spanning 30 years.

Joanne and the HESTA business relationship team are responsible for engaging with stakeholders across the sector to grow awareness of HESTA and their advocacy work.



Seminar: Navigating difficult conversations

Nadia Pessarossi

nadia pessarossiNadia has over twenty years’ experience in business management in various positions with a strong focus in the running of day to day, business development, PR and marketing in the private, public and not-for-profit sector. Nadia has held a number of professional positions, including head of product development and retail at the Australian War Memorial (AWM), CEO of the Tara Costigan Foundation and now an associate partner as COO and Brand Director at Rubik3.

Her capacity to lead, motivate and develop a team is demonstrated in her employment record which exemplifies excellent people management, business acumen, strong relationships with both internal and external stakeholders, adaptability, tenacity, passion, an exceptional work ethic and strong leadership. Nadia has a proven track record that demonstrates her strong personal drive and ability to work strategically in a high-pressure environment.

Nadia’s expertise is project management and people leadership. She has a passion for PR and Marketing and uses these skills within Rubik and for her clients.
She lives by the motto ‘use your powers for good’ and with core values such as honesty, authenticity and integrity she’s recognised as a small business advocate and dedicated community mentor.


Seminar: How to communicate effectively for productive outcomes

Llewella Jago

Llewella has had an extensive career in marketing, communications and media for private enterprise and government. Llewella returned to Australia several years ago from senior marketing positions with the Guardian Media Group in the UK and Southern Cross Austereo in Asia to work in the federal government.

During Llewella’s time in federal government she was a senior communications adviser for a Coordinator General, Chief of Staff for the Hon Alan Tudge MP, led a $200 million program to partner with the largest companies in Australia, led communications for the Referendum Council and refocused stakeholder engagement for the Office for Women.


Seminar: Leading inclusively and authentically with self-reflection and purpose

Frances Crimmins

Frances Crimmins is the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Canberra and has a passion to see women achieve their potential and shape their communities. Having started her career in hotel management, she soon developed strong leadership and management skills which saw her take on senior human resources roles in the health sector. Frances’ natural drive and pursuit of excellence resulted in her former employer gaining accreditation as an Employer of Choice for Women, and ACT Employer of the Year for Apprenticeships & Traineeships.

Frances was drawn to YWCA Canberra in 2010 as she had always identified as a feminist, and has a strong belief in social justice, which she attributes to her mother’s influence. Having faced discrimination during her own career journey, she is now committed to being a strong voice for women.

Frances has been the CEO of YWCA Canberra since 2013. She has led YWCA Canberra through a significant change processes in integrated services delivery, corporate service review and evaluation frameworks. In response to identified community need, including during the COVID-19 crisis, Frances has spearheaded a range of new programs in the areas of addressing domestic and family violence and women’s homelessness, as well as empowering women to take authentic leadership journeys.

Frances is the Chair of the ACT Council of Social Services, and volunteers on a variety of other boards and committees including: National Older Women’s Housing and Homelessness Working Group and Homelessness Australia. Frances is a former Board Director of WESNET, former Chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Committee for Women, former Co-Chair of Anti-Poverty Week in the ACT and former Board Director of No Sweat Fashion.


VIP session

Caroline McDonald

Caroline McDonald is a co-founder and Principal of Astryx, a Canberra based consulting firm specialising in procurement and commercial services.

Drawing on her legal background, Caroline enjoys working with her clients to develop tailored commercial solutions to address multi-faceted problems.

Caroline leans into an alternative and disruptive approach to shake up the status quo.



Holly Komorowski

Holly has been connecting people and property and helping them get settled for over ten years. She is a mother of six children and a former schoolteacher who has lived in Canberra her entire life.

Holly is a highly organised, energetic, motivated and positive person who loves real estate.

Her appreciation of the human element of real estate, the stories and personal narratives, inspired her to create her own real estate business, home.byholly



Leanne Castley, MLA for Yerrabi

Hard work and having a go: they are the values that define Leanne Castley, a proud single mum-of-two, country music singer and lover of cars, motorbikes and engines. Leanne’s passions are small businesses and working hard for the people in her electorate of Yerrabi, so the fast-growing area continues to be a great place to live and raise a family.

Politics was never on Leanne’s radar but she was encouraged to contest the October 2020 ACT election and was thrilled and humbled to be elected. “The chick from Charny” and a battler; that’s how Leanne described herself in her first speech on 3 December 2020, adding that she wanted to show that politics can be for hard-working, ordinary family battlers like herself.

Leanne has worked as an office cleaner, Tupperware lady, stocking vending machines, singing teacher, tuck shop lady, mechanics’ trade assistant, running a beauty parlour from her spare bedroom, owner and manager of car yards and roles at the AFP and Defence, using her Diploma in Project Management, and has recorded her own country music album.


Paula Goodwin

Paula has held a number of First Assistant Secretary roles, including Chief Operating Officer and First Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Environment and Energy. She is currently the Group Executive of Enterprise Services with the Bureau of Meteorology.

Her passion is organisational transformation and supporting organisations to deliver for their customers and the community—particularly from a people and culture perspective.
Paula has worked across a range of Policy and Human Resource functions both in the public and the private sector. She is a member of the AHRI ACT Council and a Fellow Certified Practitioner in Human Resources.


Boys’ clubs, we all know them, don’t we?

Whether it’s a male-dominated industry, board room, sporting arena, or even a social circle, there are spaces in our lives that are still created for, and dominated by men, so how do we break in and break them up to find our individual power?

This panel, led by renowned political reporter, Karen Middleton, will explore the gendered expectations, challenges and perceptions that women still face when entering these industries, from within the industries themselves, in the media or in the eyes of the public.

Presenting four women from different backgrounds who are not only working in these industries but are thriving in them, this conversation will also offer solutions and opportunities for women in overcoming these barriers to develop their own power in these spaces.

How many times have you been told to ‘let it go’?

As a leader, there are times where ‘letting it go’ is the difference between achieving a goal or not – maybe it’s even the ability to move in a different direction than what you were wanting for the greater good.

Being able to let go of control is a skill but how exactly is it done?

This panel, led by Nipuni (Nip) Wijewickrema, will explore exactly that: how we let go of things that are outside of our control for better outcomes.

This panel is for you if you find yourself in an environment that is constantly changing.

Power! When it’s equitable it’s a glorious thing but what happens when power is unbalanced? How do we start to shift it to a more equitable space, so everyone’s stories and experiences are heard?

Facilitated by the CEO of Science & Technology Australia, Misha Schubert, this discussion with four changemakers, who will provide their knowledge on how we can start to tip power imbalances with small shifts in our thinking and actions, will demonstrate how we each have the power to create meaningful change for others.

This conversation will focus on tangible things that we can all do to move the power balance to a more equitable space.

Having difficult conversations is, well… difficult, but they are an unavoidable part of any leadership position. This seminar, facilitated by Rubik3 COO and Brand Director Nadia Pessarossi, will give you strategies that you can implement in your day-to-day life to make having these conversations more bearable, productive and efficient, so that everyone involved is heard.

Communication is the cornerstone of leadership and the foundation of a high-functioning and productive team. In this seminar by co-founder of Rowdy Digital, Llewella Jago,  you will learn techniques in effective communication that you can take back to your workplace to help you and your team’s productivity.
What is inclusive leadership, and what does it really mean to lead authentically? This seminar, facilitated by CEO of YWCA Canberra Frances Crimmins, will explore the importance of self-reflection, and will help you identify strategies that you can use to build an inclusive and purposeful environment for yourself and your team.

What’s included in your ticket

This is our entry level ticket. As the name suggests, it gives you access to the base She Leads Conference programming only, which includes:

  • four keynote sessions
  • your choice of panel session
  • your choice of seminar
  • morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea.

For those who want a little bit extra and enjoy their professional development with a side of celebration, this ticket option is for you. It gives you access to the base She Leads Conference programming, which includes:

  • four keynote sessions
  • your choice of panel session
  • your choice of seminar
  • morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea


  • the exclusive opportunity to meet like-minded people prior to attending the conference.

The Networking Drinks includes complimentary drinks and canapes, as well as entertainment and games. Watch this space for more details!

The ultimate She Leads Conference experience. With a highly limited number of tickets, this ticket option (only 30 available) is for you if you need a little bit more tailored help with your leadership journey, maybe you have specific questions, or maybe you just want to soak up every bit of She Leads Conference inspiration that you can.

Our VIP package gives you an all-access pass to the She Leads Conference. With this ticket you will get access to the base She Leads Conference programming, which includes:

  • four keynote sessions
  • your choice of panel session
  • your choice of seminar
  • morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea


  • the exclusive opportunity to meet like-minded people prior to attending the conference

The Networking Drinks includes complimentary drinks and canapes, as well as entertainment and games.


  • a ticket to the VIP only Power Play session over the lunch break.

In Power Play, you’re invited to join leaders from the Canberra community who are leading in a wide variety of fields. You will have the opportunity to ask questions, seek advice, and get inspired.

In this speed networking and mentoring style session, you will be broken up into small groups and paired with an expert in a relevant field, allowing you to add contacts to your little black book over a catered lunch.

Power Play is designed for attendees in the private and public sectors and for those who own their own businesses. Spaces are limited.

Just want to come to the party and meet some like-minded women? No worries, we’ve got you covered. With our Networking Event only ticket, you’ll have access to Networking drinks on Thursday 22 July, the night prior to the Conference. The Networking Event provides attendees with the exclusive opportunity to meet like-minded people prior to attending the Conference.

The Networking Event includes complimentary drinks and canapes, as well as entertainment and games.


She Leads is working to secure a number of full scholarships for this year’s Conference, which ensure equal access to this one-of-a-kind leadership event. With the generosity of our donors and supporters, we are hoping to have a wide variety of scholarship options to suit their personal circumstances. They will be announced as they are secured.

Scholarship applications are now closed!

To apply for one of the Jacq Burridge scholarships, applicants should:

  • be a woman or non-binary person
  • be a current full-time university student*
  • be a young woman (30 years and under)
  • commit to attending the event
  • write a 500-word article (by 16 August 2021) describing how attending the Conference has enriched your life after the Conference.

*Please note that scholarships are available for two students from each of the following Canberra universities: University of Canberra, Australian National University, and Australian Catholic University.

Apply for a Jacq Burridge Scholarship

To be eligible for one of the Strive to Thrive Scholarships, applicants should:

  • be a woman or non-binary person
  • be a current student of any VET course, including the She Leads Diploma program
  • commit to attending the event
  • write a 500-word article (by 16 August 2021) describing how attending the Conference has enriched your life.
Apply for a Strive to Thrive Scholarship

To be eligible for a Capital Chemist Scholarship, applicants should:

  • be a full-time carer* or work in a caring profession
  • be a woman or non-binary person
  • live in the ACT
  • commit to attending the event
  • write a 500-word article (by 16 August 2021) describing how attending the Conference has enriched your life.

* Full-time carer defined as people who are caring for someone with a medical, physical, or mental complication.

Apply for a Capital Chemist Scholarship

To be eligible for a General scholarship, applicants should:

  • be a woman or non-binary person
  • live in the ACT
  • commit to attending the event
  • write a 500-word article (by 16 August 2021) describing how attending the Conference has enriched your life.
Apply for a general scholarship

Interested in providing a scholarship opportunity to women? Get in touch with Zoya Patel or call 02 6185 2000.





Principal partner



Kambri at ANU

Venue partner


Champion partner


Champion partner

Rowdy Inc

Conference friend


Beyond Bank

Conference friend



Conference friend


Conference friend

Home By Holly

Conference friend


Print partner


Women’s Agenda

Media Partner

Want to partner with us? Email Zoya Patel or call 0455 655 330 to find out more!

Other details

Cultural Centre Kambri (ANU Building 153), University Ave, Acton ACT 2601

Kambri is the living heart of the Australian National University, located in the centre of the Acton campus.

There are several hotels within walking distance to Kambri. We recommend:

  • Novotel: Canberra’s premium hotel offering Canberra accommodation in the heart of the nation’s capital.
  • QT Canberra: boutique Canberra accommodation boasts designer rooms, free WiFi, and the world-class Capitol Bar & Grill.
  • Ovolo Nishi: an artistic hotel offering the perfect launchpad to experience the cultural highlights of Australia’s capital city.

Walking: Kambri was conceived and developed with a people-first approach, which is reflected in the well-lit and pleasant pedestrian routes that connect with the surrounding communities and facilitate active transport opportunities.

Public transport: The ANU campus is served by Transport Canberra’s high-frequency ‘Rapid’ bus services. For more information on these, check out Transport Canberra’s Journey Planner.

Bicycle: Kambri is extremely bike-friendly – in fact, the Acton campus has over forty enclosures with enough storage for more than 2,000 bikes. The best way to find out about bicycle shelters on campus is to look under ‘outdoor facilities’ on ANU maps.

Taxi: The taxi and Uber rank is conveniently located directly outside the Cultural Centre, giving easy access to all visitors coming and going.

Parking: The car park is located at the corner of Kingsley Street and Tangney Road, Acton and offers affordable, secure underground parking, utilising the latest ticketless parking system technology.

There is 15-minutes-free access to the car park for drop-offs and pick-ups, with hourly, early bird, after 5pm, weekend, event and competitive monthly rates also available.

More info and questions
If you have further questions about accommodation and transit, please email us or call 02 6185 2000.


If required, there will be two Auslan interpreters at the event who will interpret the entire Conference and Networking Event. If you will require translators for personal conversations, please let us know.

Hearing loop

Wheelchair access

The venue is completely wheelchair accessible. The Conference takes place in the fully accessible Cultural Centre, Kambri. Each space is equipped with wheelchair seating accessible by ramp. Fully accessible restrooms are located in a central location.


If you need to pray anytime throughout the day, you can access one of the breakout rooms, located within the building. Please note that the breakout rooms will not be accessible while the breakout sessions are on, from 10.45 to 11.45am, and from 2.45 to 4pm. During these times, you may access the venue’s Greenroom If you require a different arrangement, please let us know so that we can work with the venue to organise something appropriate.


The 2021 She Leads Conference is a breastfeeding-friendly event. We welcome mums and bubs to attend the event. We want this event to welcome and include every woman. Therefore, consideration to others is paramount, and children are welcome so long as all attendees are able to enjoy the event with limited distraction and interruption to others.

The venue provides a private comfortable space to breastfeed or express during the day. Please email us or call 02 6185 2000 if you have further inquiries about bringing children.


If there is another accessibility inclusion not listed here that you require access to, please email us or call 02 6185 2000.

Still need help?

Reach out to our friendly She Leads Team by emailing us or calling 02 6185 2000.