Skip to content

WA Luncheon: Empowering women on boards

13 June 2024 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Engineers Australia Allendale Square, Level 10/77 St Georges Terrace WA
Member $0
Non-Member $0
Subscriber $0

Join CEOs for Gender Equity and the Governance Institute of Australia for a partnered event exploring the current landscape of women's representation on boards and the importance of strengthening their presence.

We will begin by examining the current state of play for women on boards in Australia, shedding light on both progress made and continuing challenges. We will explore the significance of enhancing women's representation on boards, as a matter of gender equity and a means of fostering diverse perspectives, driving innovation, and ensuring equitable decision-making processes.

Our panel of speakers will share their insights gleaned from their vast experiences in board governance. Drawing from their firsthand experiences, our panellists will provide invaluable perspectives on navigating the complexities of board dynamics, offering invaluable advice on effective leadership, strategic decision-making, and fostering inclusive corporate cultures. Each speaker will share their unique stories and lessons learned, providing attendees with actionable insights to drive their own board aspirations forward.

Special offer for attendees:

  • Non-Members will receive a 12% discount on Governance Institute’s Effective Director Course
  • Governance Institute Members who purchase our Effective Director Course in 2024, will receive a complimentary ticket to Governance Institute’s October Women in Leadership Luncheon
  • Individuals will receive a 10% discount on In-House Effective Director Course delivery for their organisation (a team of 20) - saving $3,780

Don't miss this opportunity to be part of a transformative dialogue shaping the future of board leadership in Australia.


Diane Smith-Gander AO FGIA FCG, Chair, Committee for the Economic Development of Australia

Diane Smith-Gander AO is a professional non-executive director maintaining a diverse portfolio across different entities, industries and geographies. She is an advocate for gender equity and a past president of CEW, Australia’s pre-eminent women’s advocacy group which counts more than 600 of Australia’s senior female leaders as its members. Diane is now Chair of Zip Co Limited, DDH1, HBF Health Limited and CEDA. Diane has also been active in sports administration and is a past Chairman of both Basketball Australia Limited, the sport’s peak body, and the (then) Australian Sports Drug Agency, the government agency responsible for deterring the use of performance-enhancing drugs. She currently chairs the inaugural Nominations Committee for the World Anti-Doping Agency. Appointed September 2020.

Suzanne Ardagh, Director – Board Advisory, Lester Blades

Suzanne is a governance professional, Chair and Non-Executive Director and leads the Board Advisory Service for the Executive Search Firm, Lester Blades based in WA.   Suzanne’s international career commenced at the Department of Foreign Affairs where she completed diplomatic postings to Vienna and Mexico City. She has also spent time in Vietnam working at RMIT University Vietnam.

Returning to Australia, Suzanne spent nearly a decade at Wesfarmers Corporate office and became the WA State Manager for the Australian Institute of Company Directors. During her time with AICD, she established AICD’s international division with Councils in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Suzanne has served on Boards including arts, sport and international development, these include the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Saigon, the Perth International Arts Festival, Musica Viva, Opportunity International, HBF Council and West Coast Fever. 

Suzanne is currently the Chair of Stanley College, a private dual sector international education provider.  She is Deputy Chair of WA Ballet and the Sisters of St John of God Ministries Advisory Committee and on the Board of the WA Cricket Foundation, a philanthropic organisation supporting diversity and inclusion programs in cricket.  She is also Patron of the WA Vietnam Business Council.

Suzanne has a Bachelor of Arts from UWA and an MBA from RMIT University. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mary Anne Stephens FGIA, Experienced, Non-Executive Director

Mary Anne is an experienced Non-Executive Director who spent more than 20 years in senior executive roles within the Financial Services, IT, Aged Care and Not-for-profit sectors.  She has extensive experience in strategy, finance, IT, risk management, audit, and corporate governance. Mary Anne spent most of her career in the Financial Services sector in Australia and the United States, having been a Chief Financial Officer for the Lumley Group as well as RAC Insurance.

Mary Anne is currently Chair of Diabetes WA, Chair of Venues West, Chair of Council on the Ageing (COTA) WA, and a Non-Executive Director of HBF Australia.  She holds a Master of Accounting degree, is a Fellow of CPA Australia, a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (WA) and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

John Poulsen, Principal, People Passion Performance

John Poulsen is a highly experienced business coach and founder of People Passion Performance, a company that specialises in helping individuals and organisations achieve their full potential. With over 25 years of experience in leadership development and organisational change, John has worked with a wide range of clients across various industries, from small startups to multinational corporations.

He is passionate about helping his clients develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed and thrive in their personal and professional lives. John's purpose in life is to help those in his sphere of influence to let go of fear, step into their values and find deeper purpose, meaning and joy in their life.

John was until 31 December 2017, the Australian Managing Partner and CEO of Squire Patton Boggs, a top 10 Global Law Firm with offices in Perth, Sydney and Darwin, which was a $50m business in Australia.

Chair: Ashley McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, CEOs for Gender Equity

Ashley has worked with leading Australian organisations to design, implement and deliver talent solutions. She is driven by social purpose and has a compelling passion for gender equity.

Ashley is completing a PhD focused on accelerating progress with female diversity and inclusion in the Western Australian Mining Industry. In line with the ethos of CEOs For Gender Equity (CGE), Ashley’s PhD is action orientated.

The thesis will be presented as a framework for success, a practical step by step guide to assist companies on their journey to gender equity.

CGE is poised for a dynamic period of positive change and evolution as it amplifies its scale to further turn the dial in WA.

Ashley is committed to inspiring and supporting members in fostering an inclusive and gender-diverse culture. Passionate about sharing personal gender equity journeys, she harnesses the influence of CGE's progressive members to advocate for change across public and private sectors.

Who should attend?  

  • Directors
  • Non-executive Directors
  • Chief Executive Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Governance and risk management professionals
  • Government/Public sector professionals
  • Non-Government organisations

Other events that might interest you

Governance and Risk Management Forum 2024 - NSW
23 May 2024
Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, 36 College Street, Sydney
Governance and Risk Management Forum 2024 - NSW (day 1)
23 May 2024
Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, 36 College Street, Sydney
Governance and Risk Management Forum 2024 - NSW (day 2)
24 May 2024
Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, 36 College Street, Sydney
Governance and Risk Management Forum 2024 - VIC
28 May 2024
Sofitel Melbourne, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne
View all events