13th National Higher Education Women's Leadership Summit

Practical strategies to navigate disruption

  • October 14th - 18th, 2019
  • Melbourne Marriott Hotel


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- Strategies to implement meaningful change
- Sharpen your leadership skills
- Optimise engagement as an authentic leader
- Lead with confidence through change & disruption


Helen Bartlett

Professor Helen Bartlett commenced her role as Vice-Chancellor and President of Federation University Australia on 1 May 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Masters of Science (Public Policy) and a PhD. Professor Bartlett has worked in higher education for more than 30 years, holding senior leadership roles at all organisational levels in universities in the UK, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia.

Vice-Chancellor & President
Federation University Australia

  • Su Baker
    Pro-Vice Chancellor, Engagement
    University of Melbourne
  • Linda Brown
    Chief Executive Officer & President
    Laureate Australia & NZ & Torrens University
  • Jenny Roberts
    Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Students
    Charles Sturt University
  • Jenny Watson
    Chief Technology Officer
    Swinburne University of Technology


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Clear, confident & mindful communication
Build a culture that thrives
Universities in transition - Navigate policy change
Overcome obstacles to career progression
The evolution of work-life integration
Harness the power of emotional intelligence
Optimise engagement & influence as a leader
Build successful mentoring relationships
The path to great leadership
Develop a future-focused mindset
Lead through change
Recognise your own unconscious bias
Servant leadership - Rising by lifting others
Resilience through adversity
Steps to success
Higher Education Women's Leadership Workshop - Day One
Higher Education Women's Leadership Workshop - Day Two
Pre-Summit Workshop

14 Oct


Your ability to engage others comes down to interacting mindfully and communicating in a confident, credible and targeted manner. To be a successful communicator, you need to understand others, be self-aware, manage your emotions, be receptive to feedback, and master the art of nonverbal language.

This interactive ‘hands-on’ workshop will explore these critical elements to build your confidence and enhance your natural ability to communicate with a diverse mix of stakeholders.

Discover why mindfulness is a leadership gamechanger

- Explore the science of mindfulness 

- The power of being present

- Active listening

Mindset matters 

- Link your mindset and communication 

- Learn to step outside your comfort zone

- 5 steps for successful conversations 

Communicate with confidence 

- Vocal intelligence 

- Communicate your ideas effectively 

- How nonverbal language can influence and impact

Engage and connect with audiences to deliver powerful messages using a Whole Brain® approach 

- Understand the neuroscience of the brain

- Employ the Whole Brain® Communication & Listening model for effective tailored communication 

- Learn how to harness your nerves and speak up in meetings and presentations 

Summit Day One

15 Oct

Case Study

Organisational culture is paramount to any business as it sets the tone for employee engagement. Jenny will explore ways to build a culture that unifies the voices of stakeholders and illustrates the image of the organisation.

- Understand the importance of organisational culture

- Communicate your vision and implement the right culture for everyone

- Lead by example and promote inclusiveness

  • Jenny Roberts Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Students Charles Sturt University

Case Study

The Higher Education landscape is a rapidly evolving space, with many external factors affecting how organisations operate. You will need an understanding of how these factors work to develop responsive strategies. Hear Catherine’s story of how she managed to stay afloat in an environment that requires you to think on your feet.

- Understand the influence of external factors in Higher Education policy

- Explore how policy changes impact you and your team

- Develop strategies to respond to organisational change

  • Catherine Burnheim Director, Education Portfolio Monash University


Sometimes career progression is simple, with a logical route and achievable steps. Other times it can feel like you're stagnating with no clear path to follow. Our panellists will equip you with practical tips and tricks to keep your career progressing and help you overcome obstacles through the most challenging periods.

- Identify and leverage opportunities for growth

- Understand the nonlinear nature of career progression

- Develop resilience to bounce back from setbacks

  • Jenny Watson Chief Technology Officer Swinburne University of Technology

  • Teresa Tjia Vice President, Planning & Governance Victoria University

  • Elizabeth Capp Head of Campus La Trobe University

  • Jessica Gallagher Director, Global Engagement & Entrepreneurship The University of Queensland

  • Natalie Kourtidis Director Kaplan International Australia & New Zealand

  • Kate Small Deputy Chief of Staff & University Quality Manager The University of Sydney

Case Study

The way we look at work-life balance is changing from balance to integration. Liz will share her insight into how she’s successfully integrated the two and how she’s leveraged flexible working in her organisation to achieve her career goals.

- Leverage flexible working in your organisation 

- Manage competing priorities and expectations 

- Learn to say ‘no’ without burning bridges

  • Liz Isenring Head of Program, Master of Nutrition & Dietetic Practice Bond University

Expert Commentary

Successful leadership incorporates three things - leading self, leading others, and leading your organisation. The ability to recognise, understand and navigate your own emotions, as well as the people around you, is critical for leadership success. In this interactive session, Karen will coach you through the three pillars of emotional intelligence and provide strategies to implement them in your professional and personal life.

- Develop an understanding of emotional intelligence and how it impacts leadership effectiveness

- Explore strategies to recognise the emotional states of others and respond effectively

- Increase self-awareness to identify your patterns and stressors and respond rather than react

Case Study

Focusing your attention as a leader is crucial for achieving organisational outcomes and personal growth. Naomi will explore how focusing her attention on improving the student experience has helped to benefit Victoria University. She will also reflect on what she has learned about leadership along the way.

-Develop a flexible perspective and an adaptable approach to setbacks

-Manage a variety of conflicting stakeholder priorities

-Reputation management with internal and external stakeholders

  • Naomi Dempsey Pro Vice Chancellor, Students Victoria University

Case Study

A mentor can guide you throughout your career by helping you navigate difficult decisions and offering support with everyday advice. But successful mentor relationships require trust, established long-term goals, and open communication. Dominique will share her experience from both sides of the mentor/mentee relationship, and provide insights for fostering successful relationships.

- Develop a relationship of trust

- Encourage the exploration of new ideas and innovative thinking

- Embrace the opportunity to learn and give back

  • Dominique Falla Deputy Director, Learning & Teaching, Queensland College of Art Griffith University

Summit Day Two

16 Oct

Case Study

Opportunities to learn aren't confined to the classroom and can present themselves at any time. Professor Bartlett will explore how she has developed her career and seized opportunities for personal growth, drawing from her experience in international leadership positions.

- The journey from research specialist to Vice-Chancellor   

- Recognise and seize unexpected opportunities

- Lessons learned through an international leadership experience

  • Helen Bartlett Vice-Chancellor & President Federation University Australia

Expert Commentary

These days, leaders are told to be mindful and present; that positivity is paramount to inspire and motivate your team toward a common goal. But Clare Desira disagrees. In this interactive session, Clare will address why positive thinking is dull and the value of developing a future-focused mindset.

- If not positive thinking, then what?

- Understand how our thoughts impact our lives

- Tools for productivity, mindset and a more prominent leadership impact


Change can be planned or unplanned. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to set the tone, provide transparent communication and set a clear vision for your organisation. Our panellists will discuss strategies to streamline change in your organisation and adapt in a shifting environment.

- Provide constant and clear communication to streamline change 

- Overcome employee resistance to change 

- Deliver results in a complicated and evolving environment

  • Su Baker Pro-Vice Chancellor, Engagement University of Melbourne

  • Mark Fidge Chief Executive Officer South West Institute of TAFE

  • Simona Jobbagy Director, Business, Design, Media & ICT Programs Swinburne University of Technology

Case Study

Overcoming unconscious bias starts by recognising it in yourself. Hear how Louise acknowledged her own unconscious bias and the steps she took to overcome it.

- Understand what unconscious bias is

- Build a culture that supports diversity

- Ensure everyone has the chance to speak

  • Louise Fleck Director, Research Services Macquarie University

Case Study

Interest in servant leadership has increased in academic research and the media, shifting the way leaders focus on achieving organisational goals. Linda will explore her people-centric approach, and the impact leadership has had on overall satisfaction and productivity.

- Reframe the leadership mindset

- Understand how to lead with empathy

- Pave the path for others to succeed

  • Linda Brown Chief Executive Officer & President Laureate Australia & NZ & Torrens University

Case Study

Your ability to bounce back is a means to survive in extreme situations and an essential to thriving in your everyday life. Following 12 years as an Officer in the Australian Army, and 15 years in various roles across the Higher Education sector, Vanessa brings a breadth of experience in leadership, governance and crisis response. Hear personal insights from her varied career and explore how she remained resilient in times of crisis.

- Identify and plan for potential threats and vulnerabilities 

- Build an adaptive mindset to respond in times of adversity

- Develop strategies to remain resilient in the face of hardship

  • Vanessa Cannon Chief of Staff James Cook University


What does career success look like to you? Angela will guide you through the takeaways and discuss the challenges you face as you create an action plan for career success.

- Reflect on key learnings from the two-days 

- Analyse and discuss current challenges and strategies to overcome 

- Map out your action plan for career success 

Post Summit Workshop

17 Oct - 18 Oct


Develop self-awareness and authenticity

- Values-based leadership - what it means to be an authentic leader

- Identify your key strengths and potential derailers as a leader

- Identify how best to utilise your optimal leadership style within the context of your organisation


High-level communication, influence and negotiation

- Manage emotions for positive and assertive communication and relationships

- Develop techniques of persuasion, negotiation and influence with coaching skills and “conversational intelligence”

- Prepare for and have difficult conversations with confidence


Develop self and others with “reflective leadership”

- Clarify the benefits of reflective practice in leadership

- Develop the skills and capacity for reflective practice

- Use reflective practice to influence the quality of the culture through the quality of relationships


Strategic career progression

- Everyday career management practices and creating a personal leadership plan

- Maximise existing relationships and networks and build new ones for professional opportunities

- Skills and approaches in managing your image and visibility without feeling you are “selling yourself”


Transformational leadership strategies to accelerate team performance

- Leverage team dynamics to enhance performance

- Challenging, supporting and empowering others

- Manage uncooperative staff members


Drive change and innovation as a female leader

- Recognise and overcome hurdles to change

- Trust your intuition and step outside your comfort zone

- Influence positive change culture in an organisation


Remain productive in a crisis

- Build resilience to thrive under pressure

- Support your team and engage others to deliver

- Debriefing after crisis - providing and accepting feedback


Action planning for leadership

- Develop a personalised approach - short and long term

- Understand challenges

- Strategies to take the next step


Melbourne Marriott Hotel

Corner Exhibition and Lonsdale Streets, Melbourne, VIC, 3000, Australia

03 9662 3900

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