Meet some of our 2023 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards judges!
Our judges have been selected from a wide range of industries, businesses and backgrounds, with the panel chaired by leading non-executive director, Shirley Chowdhary. Please note, the panel is not yet finalised, and we’ll be sharing more details shortly.
Shirley ChowdharyChair of the 2023 Judges Panel
Shirley’s current portfolio aims to create commercially sustainable and inclusive services for all members of our community. Her career has been driven by a strong desire to create a connection between people, place and purpose and this work was recognized when she was selected as one of the 2019 AFR 100 Women of Influence. Shirley is currently the Chair of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and Women for Election, and is a Non-Executive Director on the boards of the Australian Associated Press and Northrop Engineers Consulting. She is also on the Advisory Boards of Mentor Walks and Propel, an organisation empowering companies and individuals to manage digital reputation. She is currently consulting with the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School and Shalom Gamarada on their Indigenous education programs. Shirley is a keynote speaker and presenter for Saxton Speakers and her portfolio also includes an extensive array of mentoring and volunteering.
Founder and CEO, Indigital
Mikaela is a Cabrogal woman of the Dharug-speaking Nation of Sydney. She began her career as a national park ranger, drawing on her background in environmental biology. While working in the remote Northern Territory, she started a project that led her to found Indigital: Australia’s first Indigenous Edu-tech company. In 2022, Mikaela was announced as one of 15 leaders to be awarded the Schwab Foundation 2022 Social Innovators of the Year award, was nominated for the ACT Australian of the Year Award, and was named ANU Indigenous Alumna of the Year.
Founder and Director, The Creative Co-Operative
Priyanka is a Muslim woman from Bangladesh who previously worked as a lawyer before transitioning into technology and entrepreneurship in establishing The Creative Co-Operative, or The CCO. The CCO is the first 100% Woman of Colour owned, led, and operated social enterprise in Australia working to close the intersectional and intergenerational wealth gap by leveraging technology to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Black, and Women of Colour in building shared economic power and improving access to mental health and wellbeing.
Leading board director
Marina Go is Chair of Adore Beauty and a non-executive director on the boards of Transurban, Energy Australia, 7-Eleven, Autosports Group, Netball Australia and the AICD. She is a member of UNSW’s Business Advisory Council, the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations Advisory Board and ANU’s Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership (CAAL) Advisory Board, and author of the business book for women, Break Through: 20 Success Strategies for Female Leaders. Marina is a co-founder of Women’s Agenda, a website about female leadership.
Chair and Founder, Mahlab Media
Bobbi Mahlab is the Chair of Mahlab, one of Australia’s largest independent communications, marketing and publishing agencies, which she founded in 1997. She led the successful transformation of Mahlab from a print publisher to a digital marcomms agency, serving clients throughout Asia Pacific. Bobbi is also the Co-Founder of Mentor Walks, a fast-growing mentoring program for career women. Launched in Australia in 2016 and now established in four countries and 14 cities, Mentor Walks has provided mentoring to more than 8000 women and is scaling globally.
CEO and Co-founder, Verve Money
Christina Hobbs is the CEO and Co-Founder of Verve – Australia’s first ethical investing community for women, by women – including women’s focused super fund Verve Super, and ethical investing platform Verve Money. Christina is an experienced Board Director in the super industry and a published author on gender equality. Prior to founding Verve, Christina worked for over a decade with the UN as a humanitarian financial inclusion expert.
Dr Kudzai Kanhutu
Dean, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, MBBS (Hons); BA/BSc; MPH; FRACP;GAICD; EMBA Multi-award-winning infectious diseases specialist, has received national recognition for her contribution to health equity initiatives. She has a particular interest in technical solutions to health problems from her experience of health innovation in her birth country Zimbabwe and working in rural and regional Australia. As Dean of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Dr Kudzai is the organisation’s chief medical voice supporting the professional journeys of over 30,000 medical specialists across Australia and New Zealand.
As the CEO at Flybuys, Anna leads the national growth and performance of Australia’s #1 loyalty program, where she inspires over 300 employees to make everyday spending simple, safe, and rewarding for over 9M Australians. Anna leads with integrity, intellect, and authenticity to develop a constructive, diverse and inclusive organisational culture that isn’t ‘business as usual’. With over 25 years’ experience, Anna has managed broad remits including Operations, Finance, People & Culture, Legal, Risk & Compliance, IT and Office Management functions. Starting her journey with “Big 4” disciplines, she has since paved a successful career in high-growth corporate environments.
Principal Lawyer, Environmental Justice Australia
Hollie is an experienced litigator and legal advocate. She is the principal lawyer of Environmental Justice Australia, a public interest legal centre. She was previously the climate lead at EJA, prior to which she worked at the Human Rights Law Centre and Victoria Legal Aid on strategic litigation and campaigns for legal change including in response to Robodebt, in support of the rights of people with disabilities, people seeking asylum, and on behalf of communities calling for the clean-up of Rio Tinto’s abandoned mining operations. Hollie is published on women and the law, leadership, and public law. She is the 2022 Women’s Agenda Emerging Leader on Climate Action.
Founder and CEO, Parents At Work
Parents At Work Founder and CEO Emma Walsh is recognised globally as a pioneer in the development and implementation of inclusive workplace policy. For over two decades, Emma has been a clear voice on the social, economic and business benefits of inclusive workplaces, advocating for the widespread implementation family-inclusive workplace policies and practices to improve gender equality, child and work-life wellbeing outcomes. Emma has been formally recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission with a finalist business Award in 2015. Parents At Work has also been named as a top 200 ‘Businesses of Tomorrow’ by Westpac.
CEO at AIGI
Jess is Wiradjuri from Tumut and Brungle in country NSW and grew up in a big proud Aboriginal family, connected to culture and fortunate enough to witness great Elders and leadership. CEO of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, Jess serves as Co-Chair on the Board of Outward Bound Australia and the External Co-Chair for GHDs RAP Advisory Group. Jess began her career as a teacher and has worked in Education, Employment and the NFP Sector for the past 15 years. She’s passionate about Indigenous Governance, Leadership and Capacity Building and seeing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities thrive.
General Manager at CommBank
Rebecca Warren is the Executive General Manager of Small Business Banking at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). She leads a diverse national team of circa 500 across Australia. This includes Small Business Bankers and Analysts, Business Home Lending, Broker, Agency and Specialist Services, and Operations teams. She has previously led the BB and IB&M Business Marketing, and Strategy and Transformation teams during her tenure at CBA, and prior to joining CBA, she held various senior roles at NAB and St. George Bank, covering Business and Corporate Banking, and Retail Banking.
CEO, Real Estate Industry Partners
Sadhana Smiles is a CEO, Multi Award Leadership Winner, Author, Podcaster, Migrant, Business and Social Entrepreneur. She epitomises the concept of having it all. Starting her career as a receptionist she has created a brand that has placed her amongst her peers as a thought leader and industry commentator. Arriving in Australia at the age of 16, with dreams of making a mark, Sadhana Smiles has blazed her own trail. She has a strong voice on the issue of diversity and brings business and personal experience to the conversation. In 2013 Sadhana won the Vic Telstra Business Woman Award and in 2016 named 100 Women of Influence Winner.
Managing Director, Propel
Roger Christie is the Managing Director of multi award-winning advisory firm Propel. His primary focus is to help leaders use LinkedIn as a strategic business tool, and a vital asset to protect and enhance their professional reputation. Roger has spent the past fifteen years coaching hundreds of leaders across the public, private and NGO sectors to reach and influence key audiences – talent, partners, customers, investors, media – via LinkedIn. Roger hosts the Your Digital Reputation podcast, authors the Your Digital Reputation newsletter, and publishes the Digital Reputation Report – looking at how leaders use LinkedIn – each year.
Dr Neela Janakiramanan
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
Dr Neela Janakiramanan is a fully qualified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon with additional expertise in Hand and Wrist Surgery. She works in Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula. Neela is dedicated to making it easier for patients to access expert hand surgery services. She has been the Clinical Lead in Hand Surgery at Eastern Health since 2017, and in 2022 was appointed to the role of Clinical Director of the Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery Unit at Eastern Health. She also sits on the Medical Advisory Committee at Epworth Eastern and is an examiner in Plastic, Reconstructive and Hand Surgery for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeon.
Group MD, AFG Venture Group
Lindley Edwards is the Group Managing Director of AFG Venture Group and its various subsidiaries. Lindley is an experienced corporate advisor and has worked on numerous private and public M&A and corporate transactions in the food/agri, services, environment, technology, education sectors. Her work involves merger, acquisition, divestment, fund raising, licensing, strategic consulting, distribution and joint ventures. Since the mid 90’s Lindley has been very active in Asean, North Asia, the US and Europe undertaking cross border corporate transactions as well as focusing on social impact work.
CEO, Screen Queensland
Jacqui Feeney commenced as CEO Screen Queensland in July 2023. Previously she held senior management roles at leading national and global media and entertainment companies including Fox Networks Group, National Geographic, Foxtel, and SBS World Movies where she led major commissions and growth initiatives. Jacqui has held a range of board responsibilities — including directorships with start-up incubator Fishburners, Foxtel joint-ventures Nickelodeon and XYZ, the ASTRA industry association plus NFPs Documentary Australia and the Sydney Film Festival where she was the chair.
Prof. Megan Smith
Executive Dean, Faculty of Science
Professor Megan Smith was appointed Executive Dean in January 2019 and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Science in May 2018 following 4 years as Head of School of the School of Community Health and inaugural Director, Three Rivers UDRH in July 2017. Whilst Megan’s role has changed, she remains closely involved with Three Rivers as an Advisory Board Member. Megan has held the positions of Physiotherapy Course Leader, Sub Dean Workplace Learning for the Faculty of Science and Acting Associate Dean for the Faculty of Science.
Partner, Lander & Rogers
Sally is a preeminent employment lawyer, consistently sought after to represent some of Australia’s most prominent businesses and government entities. Her dedication lies in developing strategic and practical solutions for her clients. Sally has been recognised by Best Lawyers for her employment law expertise. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Women’s Lawyers Association of Australia; the Commercial Law Association of Australia; and the Law Society of New South Wales.
Director of Medical Affairs, Organon ANZ
Julie Mullan is the Director of Medical Affairs for Organon in Australia and New Zealand. She is one of 9,000 founders of the world’s largest Women’s Health pharmaceutical company – Organon, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2021 after spinning off from MSD. Julie worked for MSD for almost 15 years in a range of therapeutic areas and leadership roles and within the Medical Affairs department, and held several roles at Novartis prior to working at MSD. She has a passion for supporting and developing people to be the best they can be.
Partner, Blu Snow
Tim spent over a decade in both Australia and London with one of Australia’s largest privately owned data consultancies, Servian. As a Partner he established the London practice, Australian Digital practice, Google cloud practice and an award winning Servian Graduate program and spearheaded a growing Snowflake practice. This led to being recognised as Google Cloud Services Partner of the year in APAC, Snowflake Partner of the year in Australia and Graduate program of the year in Australia.
Dr Linda Worrall-Carter
Founder & CEO, Her Heart
Dr. Linda Worrall-Carter is the Founder & CEO of Her Heart, an Australian non-profit organization dedicated to women’s cardiovascular health. She’s a prominent figure in the field of Cardiovascular Health for Women, with a national and international background encompassing health, leadership, entrepreneurship, and advocacy. Linda has held significant roles such as Inaugural Foundation Director of three Research Centres and held positions as Chair of various boards and steering committees. With over 25 years in health and 15 years of experience in heart disease research, Linda has secured more than $12 million in funding.
CFO, Business Banking CBA
Vicky joined CBA as the CFO of Business Banking in March of 2020. Prior to working at CBA, Vicky was the CFO at AMP Bank and before that was a partner at KPMG for almost 10 years. Vicky is passionate about: helping others find their balance, investing in her teams and colleagues to help them achieve their goals, working together with Mike and the Bank to make CBA a great place to work and one that customers value and want to do business with, and one where our people want to work, giving back to the community.
CEO, Living Future Institute Australia
Laura Hamilton-O’Hara is an accomplished leader and advocate for sustainability and social justice, with over two decades of experience in the field. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Ecology and an unwavering commitment to sustainability leadership. Having held strategic positions at renowned institutions such as Taronga Zoo, Macquarie University, and the Centre for Sustainability Leadership, Laura’s professional journey has been marked by her passion for creating positive change. She was recognised as one of the 50 Women in Global Sustainability Leadership by Sustainability X Magazine in 2022, a testament to her influential role in shaping sustainable practices worldwide.
HR Advisor at Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT
Peta-Lee is an experienced for-purpose Human Resources professional based on Darkinjung country. She takes a people-centred approach to HR with a particular interest in career development and management capability. Peta-Lee is a proud Gomeroi woman and was appointed to her inaugural Board position as Non-Executive Director at CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program in September 2021.
CEO, Australian Institute of Architects
Cameron is the CEO of the Australian Institute of Architects and was formerly the Dean and Head of School at The University of Queensland’s School of Architecture. He was previously the editorial director of Architecture Media, where his role included the custodianship of the centenarian magazine Architecture Australia. He is a respected leader and communicator in Australia’s architecture community and an advocate for the value of the built environment in shaping communities, cities, and regions. Cameron completed his practice-based PhD at RMIT University, and holds a Bachelor of Design Studies and Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Queensland. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of
Architects, a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia, and an Honorary Professor at The University of Queensland.