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Speakers

Our outstanding lineup of domestic and international speakers are first in their fields and will tackle Australia's most pressing equity issues, including politics, economics and socio-cultural factors. 
Anita Krohn Traaseth

Anita Krohn Traaseth is the CEO of Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Government's most important instrument for innovation and development of Norwegian enterprises and industry. Prior she was the first female MD of Hewlett-Packard Norway. She started her career as a trainee at IBM and has held several executive positions in Norway.

Krohn Traaseth studied communication and management at BI Norwegian Business School. At Harvard University she completed an executive leadership program and earned certification in strategy and innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Krohn Traaseth has received several awards, including Best Female Leader in the ICT Industry in Norway in 2012 and Social Media Personality of the Year in 2013. Anita is also titled as “Top 20 Women in Business in Northern Europe” and “Top 50 Most Inspiring Women in European Tech” in 2015 and 2016.

She is a mother of three, blogger and author of the book, Good Enough For The Bastards - a manager's thoughts about courage, vulnerability and credibility. Parts of the book income is donated to the #HearMyVoice initiative founded in 2015 with Plan Norway International.

Laura Liswood

In 1996, Laura Liswood co-founded the Council of Women World Leaders with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland. Ms. Liswood is the Secretary General of the Council, composed of women presidents and prime ministers which is located at the UN Foundation in Washington DC.

From 2001-2015, Liswood was named Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity for Goldman Sachs and became a Senior Advisor.

From 1992 – 1996, she interviewed 15 current and former women presidents and prime ministers, chronicled in her book and documentary, Women World Leaders

Liswood’s professional experience includes line management in Fortune 500 companies, including airline, banking and media companies. She is the former CEO of the American Society for Training and Development. After the U.S. events of September 11, 2001, Liswood became a reserve police officer in Washington DC for 13 years and recently retired as a sergeant.

She holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, a B.A. from California State University, San Diego.  She holds a J.D. degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Law and is admitted to practice law in California and Massachusetts.

Her latest book, The Loudest Duck challenges traditional workplace diversity efforts and provides strategies to create inclusive workplaces.

Professor Cordelia Fine

A professor in the History and Philosophy of Science program in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University Melbourne, Cordelia is also an internationally acclaimed writer and a Fellow of the Women's Leadership Institute Australia.

Together, her three books have established her “reputation for exemplary clarity on complex topics, pleasing wit, feminist principle – and beneath it all, the animating faith that people can be improved through knowledge,” as The Guardian (UK) put it.

Her second book, Delusions of Gender, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the Best Book of Ideas 2011, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the biannual cross-genre Warwick Prize 2013, and was a Guardian and London Evening Standard Book of the Year, a Washington Post Best Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and listed in “10 books by women that will change your life” (Sunday Times), “22 books women think men should read” (Huffington Post), “Top 10 books on women in the past 30 years” (The Australian) and “40 new feminist classics” (Literary Classics).

Cordelia's latest book is Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the myths of our gendered minds, “a witty corrective” (Nature) and an Amazon Best Book.

Cordelia has also written for outlets including The Monthly, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and The Guardian.

Dr Richard Dennis

Richard Denniss is the Australia Institute’s chief economist. He is an economist with a particular interest in the role of regulation. Prior to taking up his current position he was an Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University where he continues to hold an adjunct appointment.

Richard has also worked as Strategy Adviser to the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown, Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, and lectured in economics at the University of Newcastle.

Richard has published extensively in academic journals, is a frequent contributor to national newspapers and was the co-author of the best selling Affluenza (with Dr Clive Hamilton) and is the co-author of An Introduction to Australian Public Policy: Theory and Practice (with Dr Sarah Maddison.)

Alia Gabres

Alia Gabres is a Melbourne based Creative Producer, Cultural Broker and Storyteller. She is a CACD practitioner with a focus on arts facilitation using storytelling as a tool for knowledge generation and cultural transmission.

In 2016 she was invited to attend the Makassar International Writers Festival in Indonesia and 2015 saw Alia awarded as one of Melbourne Writers Festivals ’30 Under 30’, attend the Africa Writes Festival in the UK and complete a residency at the School for Social Sciences in Eritrea.

In 2014 Alia was in residence in Indonesia with Kunci Cultural Institute delivering a project that mapped traditional stories and recipes. In the same year she was program coordinator on the Global Express program that launched ‘Dialect’ a multi-lingual publication for emerging writers.

In 2013 Alia was invited as teaching artist with the Minor Disturbance Youth Slam team in Denver Colorado and co-produced an intergenerational narrative project in California. 2013 also saw Alia’s poetry video ‘Cotton Summer Dresses’ selected as a finalist of the National Blake Prize.

Alia has a Masters in Community and Cultural Development from the Victorian College of the Arts and is also currently a member of the Program Advisory Committee for the Creative Writing Degree at RMIT University.

She has sat on Literature, Community Arts and Cultural Development and Multi-Art Form assessment panels for Creative Victoria and the national funding body for the arts The Australia Council.  

Juliet Bourke

Juliet leads Deloitte Australia's Diversity and Inclusion Consulting practice and co-leads the Leadership practice.  She has over 25 years' experience in human capital, management and law. Juliet works with Executives and global organisations to improve workplace performance through cultural change, focussing on D&I, leadership and culture.

Her latest book, the 2016 bestseller entitled ‘Which two heads are better than one?: How diverse teams create breakthrough ideas and make smarter decisions’, helps leaders understand how to systematically create diverse thinking and take team performance to the next level.

Juliet is a member of the Australian firm’s Diversity Council, and sits on a number of boards and award panels, such as the Telstra Business Awards, the Harvard’s Women’s Leadership Board, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Diversity Council and the Deloitte University Press Editorial Review Board. Juliet’s own awards include Women Lawyers Association of NSW (Achievement Award), University of NSW (Alumni Award) and Centre for Leadership for Women.

A highly engaging public speaker, Juliet has keynoted at hundreds of global conferences, including TEDx.

Sadhana Smiles

Sadhana Smiles is the CEO of Harcourts Group Victoria, the fastest growing real estate group. She started her career as a receptionist, is an accomplished keynote speaker, a well-known industry commentator and author of People Power did you have them @ hello.

In 2013 she was named the Victorian Telstra Business Woman. In 2016 she was one of 100 Women of Influence in Australia.  In 2012 she bought Walk a Mile to her organisation which is now a national event raising funds for White Ribbon and making a statement that violence against women is not OK.

She is the founder of not for profit Links Fiji taking health care to rural areas of Fiji ensuring that the incidence of cervical cancer is reduced. She sees herself as a corporate activist, a change maker who makes things happen.

Sadhana’s goal is to have an impact on ensuring that the colour and gender of leadership and of our workplaces reflects the communities we live in.  

Hedy Cray

Hedy Cray is the partner in charge of the Brisbane Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety practice of Clayton Utz and is considered one of Queensland's pre-eminent workplace relations lawyers and trainers.

She has over 20 years' experience in industrial relations, employment law, equal opportunity, workers compensation and work health and safety.  Hedy is the "go to" person on strategy and for the hard, complex and sensitive matters, big and small. She leads a team of specialist practitioners providing multi-disciplined options for the resolution of difficult matters and streamlines advice.

Hedy is also a sought after speaker, trainer, investigator and negotiator. She is recognised in leading legal directories, including Chambers Asia Pacific and Asia Pacific Legal 500 for her expertise in employment and industrial relations.
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