Leigh Sales AM is a multi-award-winning author and journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and currently anchors the network’s prime time current affairs program 7.30.
She is the face of the ABC’s major events coverage, including federal election and budget nights. She has interviewed every living Australian Prime Minister and innumerable world leaders and celebrities from Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair to Paul McCartney and Elton John.
Leigh has held numerous roles at the ABC, including as Washington Correspondent, and is a three-time winner of Australia’s highest journalist prize, the Walkley Award.
She’s the author of three books, the most recent being national bestseller Any Ordinary Day.
Leigh also co-hosts a wildly popular podcast with Annabel Crabb called Chat 10 Looks 3. It attracts hundreds of thousands of downloads monthly and has an associated Facebook group with almost 40,000 members.
In 2018, Leigh was awarded the Order of Australia for her services to Journalism. She has a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of International Relations and was awarded Deakin University’s 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Over the past three decades, barely a year has passed where Nova Peris has not displayed excellence in some area of her life. Certainly, she has seldom stood still, always determined to educate and re-educate, in order to give herself the best possible opportunity to not only develop her own prospects in life, but, equally as importantly, those of her people throughout Australia and the Torres Strait Islands.
Whether in sport, federal politics, or any number of former and current work environments, Nova has remained at the forefront of the conversation for the best part of 30 years. Indeed, she has led the conversation!
Nova was a trailblazer in her sporting pursuits, competing at Olympic level in two sports while juggling the demanding role of being a young mother. Then, post her sporting career, she smashed through another glass ceiling by becoming the first Aboriginal woman elected to Federal Parliament.
Since the mid-1990s, she has spoken regularly on the plights facing Aboriginal people and has visited hundreds of communities throughout Australia to gain as much of an insight as possible into the issues facing people from all walks of life. Utilising the significant platform of Federal Parliament, in particular, Nova has given a voice to thousands of people who otherwise go unheard.
She has undoubtedly made an enormously positive and life-changing impact on young Aboriginal people, not just through her words but also her actions. Her ability to be able to speak equally with people from all socioeconomic backgrounds gives Nova a unique approachability and relatability that sets her apart from many with similar platforms and responsibilities.
Nova is certainly an inspirational and brilliant role model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Nova’s twin achievements of being the first Aboriginal Olympic champion and competing in two different sports at Olympic level, marks her as one of our finest athletes. As of 2018, long after retiring as an athlete, she is still ranked in the Australian top 10 for the 100m, 200m and 400m.
Nova was awarded Young Australian of the Year in January 1997 and has also 5 received the Medal of the Order of Australia. In 1998, Nova was honoured on television program This Is Your Life, then, in June 2000, she received the Australian Sports Medal.
She is acknowledged in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Hall of Fame and has written an autobiography, Nova—My Story.
Nova received official approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to utilise the coveted OLY after her name in any correspondence. She is also a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD).
US Department of Veterans Affairs
Ms. Pamela Powers served as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Chief of Staff when, on April 2, 2020, the President chose her to serve as Acting Deputy Secretary. As Acting Deputy, Ms. Powers serves in broad roles designated by the Secretary, to include leading enterprise modernization of the federal government’s second-largest Cabinet department with a budget of more than $218 billion and over 400,000 employees serving in VA medical centers, clinics, benefits offices, and national cemeteries across the country.
Ms. Powers has nearly 30 years of service in the Air Force and the Department of Defense, with experience in executive-level management, policy development, strategic planning and programming, legislation, operations, and communications.
Before joining VA, Ms. Powers served as Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. In that capacity, Ms. Powers was responsible for day-to-day operations of Department of Defense Total Force Management as it relates to readiness, National Guard and Reserve component affairs, health affairs, training, and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and quality of life matters.
During her military service, Ms. Powers was assigned to posts in Arizona, Delaware, New Jersey, Kuwait, and Washington, D.C. She served as the Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Legislative Affairs, where she managed operations of the Office of Legislative Affairs and led the Department of Defense Congressional Travel Program. Ms. Powers also served as the Executive Director for the Air Reserve Forces Policy Committee and as a Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Manpower and Reserve Affairs. In 2015, Ms. Powers deployed to Kuwait, where she served as Chief of Staff to the 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force-Levant, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Psychology, Ms. Powers holds a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College and a Master of Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. She also served as a Department of Defense Congressional Fellow in the Office of Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Ms. Powers retired from the Air Force as a colonel on March 1, 2018, and her awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.
Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet
Mr Andrew Colvin APM OAM is a highly experienced leader who has dedicated his career to helping Australians.
Andrew completed his tenure as the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner in October 2019, having worked for the AFP for nearly 30 years.
Between 2002 and 2005, Andrew coordinated the AFP’s national and international response to terrorism, including the 2002 Bali bombings, 2003 Jakarta Marriot bombing and the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing.
In 2003, he was awarded the Order of Australia medal for his contribution to the investigation of the Bali bombings and Australia’s counter-terrorism frameworks, and in 2008 he was named in the Queen’s Birthday honours list and awarded the Australian Police Medal.
Andrew joined the NBRA when it was established in January 2020. He is committed to putting bushfire-affected people, communities and environments at the centre of all actions. As the National Coordinator, he is responsible for ensuring the Agency is focused on:
- recovery in 2019-20 bushfire-affected regions
- issues where the Commonwealth can make a unique contribution
- drawing on the expertise and practical experience of others
- convening and connecting.
- Andrew grew up in Rockhampton, QLD. He is married with two teenage children.
NSW Department of Customer Service
Emma Hogan is the Secretary of the NSW Department of Customer Service.
Emma was the NSW Public Service Commissioner from May 2018 to October 2019.
Emma joined the NSW Government after a career private sector, working with iconic Australian brands across hospitality, retail, aviation, media and entertainment.
Emma’s career spans executive leadership roles in people and culture (human resources), communications, customer experience, digital, change and transformation. She has led teams of up to 5000 people both in Australia and off-shore.
Emma has worked in start-up, growth, acquisition, disruption, maturation and divestment environments.
Emma holds postgraduate qualifications in Human Resources and Business Management, and is a graduate of the Stanford University Executive Program.
Jacqui Lambie Network
Jacqui Lambie was born on 26 February 1971 in Tasmania and was raised in a public housing estate in Devonport. She served 10 years in the Australian Army before injury forced her out of uniform. She was elected as a Senator for Tasmania at the 2013 federal election representing the Palmer United Party. Her term began in July 2014. In November 2014, Lambie resigned from the Palmer United Party to sit in the Senate as an independent. In May 2015, she formed the Jacqui Lambie Network political party, established with Lambie as its leader. She was re-elected to the Senate in 2016. On 14th November 2017, she resigned from the Senate after it was confirmed she was a dual national by descent. She was re-elected to the Senate in July 2019. She is the mother of two boys.
The Australian Army
Warrant Officer Felmingham enlisted in the Australian Regular Army in July 1986 and became a Medical Attendant in 1990. She has had a balance of trade, instructional, regimental and operational appointments throughout her career. Her first appointment as a Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) was in 2006. Her subsequent appointments have provided her the opportunity to gain extensive experience from the tactical to strategic levels of command. She has extensive all-corps training experience due to instructing at each level of Army’s All Corps Soldier Training Continuum from the Recruit to the Regimental Sergeant Majors Course, and the United States Army Sergeants Major Course. Warrant Officer Felmingham has deployed on operations at every rank level from Junior Non Commissioned Officer to Warrant Officer.
Warrant Officer Felmingham has had significant professional development opportunities across combat and combat service support environments. These opportunities include attendance at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy in 2007, Faculty Advisor, Military Operations Division in 2008, RSM JTF 633 in 2013 and attendance at multiple international seminars and leadership conferences in the United Kingdom, Canada, Korea and the United States of America. In 2018, Warrant Officer Felmingham attended KEYSTONE at the National Defence University, Washington DC which provided her development in current United States of America strategic interests, Department of Defence capability, foreign policy and military strategy.
Warrant Officer Felmingham has been awarded the Nursing Service Cross in 2000, the United States of America Meritorious Service Medal in 2010 and the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2018.
A career highlight for Warrant Officer Felmingham was her appointment as the Regimental Sergeant Major, 2nd Division. This appointment provided her the opportunity to be an ambassador for reform and change due to the division’s unique, integrated, diverse and dispersed workforce.
Warrant Officer Felmingham is a Director on the Board of the Army Amenities Fund which provides amenities and related services to Army members and their families.
Transport for NSW
As Secretary of Transport for NSW, Rodd Staples leads the Transport cluster which has more than 25,000 people working across the transport agencies on behalf of the NSW community. He is responsible for leading the Transport cluster to deliver Premier’s and State priorities, and his role covers the planning and delivery of services and infrastructure across the transport system including trains, buses, ferries, roads and traffic, freight and ports, light rail, point to point transport, intrastate air services, and active travel. Rodd is accountable for delivering the largest transport infrastructure pipeline in a generation, which includes $43bn of capital works over a four year period.
He’s also accountable for better integration across transport services, implementing technology and innovation to improve customer service, and driving reforms and long term planning to make the transport system more customer-focused and efficient.
In his previous role as Program Director, Sydney Metro Delivery Office, Rodd was leading the delivery of Sydney Metro – Australia’s biggest public transport projects, with 31 stations and 66km of new metro rail.
An engineer who grew up in Sydney’s south, Rodd has also worked in the fields of transport and infrastructure planning for nearly two decades, across Australia and in both public and private sectors.
His qualifications in engineering and finance provide the strong foundations required to deliver an unprecedented program of infrastructure works and service improvements across transport in NSW.
He lives in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire with his wife Maree and their three children Thomas, Anna and Jack.
US Department of Homeland Security
Ms. Oh is the Managing Director for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) Silicon Valley operations. She is responsible for engaging entrepreneurs and innovators to help them better understand DHS’s mission and widen the pipeline of technologies addressing our most difficult homeland security challenges.
Ms. Oh has been at S&T since September 2004 serving in several positions, including as the S&T Cyber Security Division Business Operations Manager, S&T Borders & Maritime Security Division Business and Finance Manager, Program Manager for several cargo security projects, and Program Support Contractor. Prior to joining S&T, Ms. Oh served as a project engineer in the Research, Development & Evaluation Branch of the DHS Customs & Border Protection’s Applied Technology Division. Ms. Oh holds a B.S. in Cognitive Science, specializing in Neuroscience, from the University of California at San Diego and a M.S. in Systems Engineering from George Washington University.
Australian Labor Party
Deborah is a Labor Senator for New South Wales.
She is the Chair of the Privileges committee in the 46th Parliament and also sits on the Education and Employment, Community Affairs and Corporations and Financial Services committees.
She first entered Federal politics in 2010, when she was elected as the Member for Robertson. She was elected as a Senator for New South Wales in 2016.
Before entering Federal Parliament, Deb was a high school teacher on the Central Coast for the best part of three decades. She was also a lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle, where she co-ordinated courses in teacher education.
Deb grew up in Western Sydney before moving to the Central Coast. Her connection to the Central Coast community through education guided her into politics. Here she saw the power of the Parliament, combined with her passion for social justice, in bringing people together to create a more inclusive society free from inequality of opportunity.
She is passionate about ensuring all Australian men and women, regardless of their circumstances, have access to secure work, income and a world-class health and education system. Deb lives on the Central Coast with her husband Paul and they have three children.
With over 25 years’ experience in the real estate sector, Angela has broad based expertise in property development, urban renewal and infrastructure projects. She previously headed up MinterEllison’s National Real Estate, Environment and Planning team and has been a long term contributor to various industry bodies.
Since joining Development Victoria in 2017 she has been part of the leadership of the organisation in various roles and was appointed CEO in February 2019.
Angela is passionate about creating a learning environment at Development Victoria, where people are encouraged to develop and maximise their potential, whilst achieving great outcomes for the community.
City of Sydney
Monica has been the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Sydney since 2006, having overseen the development and implementation of the City’s long-term vision for Central Sydney – Sustainable Sydney 2030.
She manages approximately 2400 staff, an annual Capital expenditure and Operational expenditure budget of approximately $850 million and $12 billion dollars of net assets including the Council’s commercial property portfolio. In 2019 the City of Sydney processed over $2.4 billion dollars of new development.
The City’s major projects are the CBD Light Rail which commenced operation in December 2019 (initiated and partially funded by City of Sydney but now managed by Transport for NSW) and the $13 billion Green Square Urban Renewal site.
Monica holds a Master’s in Creative Arts and was a 2014 ‘100 Women of Influence’ finalist. She is chair of the Resilient Sydney Steering Committee, on the board of the Global Resilient Cities Network, is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and of Chief Executive Women.
Jen is senior executive with 30 years’ experience across Retail Financial Services, Life Insurance and Federal Government roles.
Commencing her career with Westpac Banking Corporation for what she thought she would do for a year before she found a ‘real’ job, Jen went on to hold a number of senior roles across eBusiness, Strategy Implementation and Change Management, Program Governance, Operations Management and Contact Centre Operations. Upon leaving Westpac she headed up Customer Service and Operations for Australia’s leading life Insurer. Looking to expand her career across more than the private sector, Jen moved to Federal Government and commenced with Services Australia in September 2017.
A strong and inspirational leader, Jen was appointed to lead a team of approximately 10,000 FTE across 28 Smart Centres across 102 locations across Australia. Servicing around 23 million phone calls per year, and processing over 3 million claims for Centrelink, Australia’s Security and Welfare systems, a large part of Jen’s responsibility is to maintain operational and service effectiveness.
Jen holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Masters of Management in eBusiness and was a Chief Executive Scholarship winner in 2015. She also serves as the Chair of the Hills Montessori Pre-School Board and is the mother to Nicholas (11) and Alexandra (8).
National Library of Australia
Dr Marie-Louise Ayres was appointed Director-General of the National Library Australia in March 2017, having joined the Library in 2002. She has worked in research libraries for more than 25 years, after completing a PhD in Australian Literature at the Australian National University.
Dr Ayres is the Chair of National and State Libraries Australia (NSLA), having previously been a leader and participant in many NSLA projects, including NED, the National eDeposit service that was jointly developed by Australia’s national, state and territory libraries.
Dr Cathy Foley is Chief Scientist of CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency and innovation catalyst. CSIRO solves the greatest challenges through innovative science and technology.
It is one of the world’s largest mission-driven multidisciplinary science and research organisations, collaborating with industry, government, academia and the community to unlock a better future for everyone.
Dr Foley has made significant contributions to the understanding of superconducting materials and to the development of devices using superconductors to detect magnetic fields and locate valuable deposits of minerals.
In 2020, she received an Order of Australia for service to research science and to the advancement of women in physics. She was awarded Agenda Setter of the Year in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards in 2019, the Australian Institute of Physics Medal for Outstanding Service to Physics in 2016, and the Clunies Ross Medal of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering in 2015. In 2014, she was awarded the International IEEE Award for Continuing and Significant Contributions to Applied Superconductivity, and in 2013 she was named `Woman of the Year’ by the NSW Government.
Dr Foley has a passion for advancing scientific research and has held various roles, including member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, President of the National Executive for Australian Institute of Physics, President of Science and Technology Australia, Editor-in-Chief of Superconductor Science and Technology journal, and Council Member for Questacon.
In 2020, Cathy was recognised alongside Australia’s top scientific minds and elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.
Dr Foley is a strong advocate for women in STEM and is committed to tackling gender equality. As a leader in CSIRO, she is working to enhance collaboration across the sector and turn more world-class research into benefits for the nation.
Department of Home Affairs
Ciara is currently Acting First Assistant Secretary of Aviation and Maritime Security Division in the Department of Home Affairs. She has 15 years’ experience in central, policy and operational agencies, including the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Ciara has a legal background with significant policy expertise in national security, transnational crime and international law and a focus on leadership, innovation, change management, and building organisational capability. Ciara holds a LLM Public International Law (International Criminal Law Specialisation) from Leiden University and a Bachelor of Asian Studies/LLB (Honours) from the Australian National University.
The Brand in You
I am a sociologist, author and TEDx speaker. I’m also a confidence-builder and apology-hater. I graduated with a Ph.D. in Sociology in 2014 (focusing on the sociology of women’s health), with no clear career in mind, until I attended an academic conference that completely changed the trajectory of my research, my career and my life. At that conference, I witnessed women at the pinnacle of their career deflecting praise (we call that feminine modesty) and over-apologising for mundane issues. I immediately became obsessed with apologies. I wrote my first book “Hey Ladies, Stop Apologizing… and other career mistakes women make” in 2015, the 2nd edition came out in 2017 along with the accompanying WORKBOOK. The audiobook came out in 2018 which is a best-of compilation for both the book, the workbook and my TV appearances.
My full-time job is on the public speaking circuit where I give talks and workshops to girls and women about all things related to confidence, communication and mindset. When I’m not giving talks, I’m either teaching Sociology of Health part-time at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario or I’m conducting my own research.
Nell Wilson Consulting
Nell Wilson is an internationally experienced Executive Coach & Leadership Development Specialist with over 25 years’ experience in Senior leadership and learning & development roles. Nell has helped hundreds of leaders around the world identify their strengths and barriers to success, many of whom have taken on more significant roles as well as high potential leaders who are being developed as part of a talent/succession plan. Nell has a Bachelor of Adult Education from the University of Melbourne, has studied Executive Leadership at Harvard University, and is an Accredited Executive Coach with the Institute of Executive Coaching & Leadership. Nell is also an accredited practitioner with the Human Synergistics Profiling tools and instruments, DISC, Situational Leadership II and a number of other psychometric tools and professional development programs.
Gender Gap Gone
Cath Nolan is an Executive Coach with over 15 years experience in organisational and professional development. Having consulted to over 350 brands globally and coached over 5000 individuals, she uses the latest research and practical frameworks to inspire action.
Cath’s business brands include Gender Gap Gone and CN Consulting. The programs that run through these businesses include Don’t be ARS’D®, The Diversity Collective and Brave Leadership
NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment
As the leader of over 11,000 employees in the recently formed DPIE, Jim Betts is faced with the massive cultural and organisational task of aligning industrial and economic growth with environmental sustainability. Luckily he is well equipped with leadership tools, having served as CEO of Infrastructure NSW and Secretary of the Victorian Department of Transport for six and five years apiece. Jim joins us to cap off our Public Sector Leadership Keynote series with the wisdom he has gained and his thoughts on the future of the public sector. Encompassing topics like mentoring and supporting people, interdepartmental collaboration, authentic leadership, the current state of play and the need for innovation into the future, this keynote and fireside chat is not to be missed.