Women in leadership: forward thinking

Women in leadership: forward thinking

Apr 17
On the fifth anniversary of CEDA's strategic focus on issues of gender equality, join three leading women to discuss the evolution of policy, cultural and organisational change, and the future direction for business, government and society.


Michelle Dixon, Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Maddocks
Kathryn Fagg, Chair, Boral
Professor Hannah Piterman, Director, HPCG Adjunct Associate Professor, Monash University, Founder of Gender Worx and Author of Unlocking Gender Potential: A Leader's Handbook
The Hon. Fiona Richardson MP, Victorian Minister for Women, Victorian Minister for Prevention of Family Violence

Event overview

CEDA welcomes the new Victorian Minister for Women the Hon. Fiona Richardson to provide insights and her perspective on the importance of leadership and culture in driving Australia's productivity. The Minister will be joined by two of Australia's most senior female leaders Kathryn Fagg and Michelle Dixon.

Improved female workforce participation will enhance Australia's productivity, competitiveness and GDP, but it takes strong leadership and cultural transformation to create an environment that values diversity and is empowered to innovate.

This event will examine the following questions:

  • How does solid leadership and cultural alignment provide the foundation for enhanced innovation and productivity?
  • According to recent data from the ABS, Australia's gender pay gap is at a 20-year high. What is currently being done, and what more could be done, to improve this outcome?
  • How have leaders drive meaningful change within their organisations, and what can business do better?
  • How has the conversation about women in leadership and workplace diversity evolved? Where should it focus next, and what policy and cultural debates need to be resolved?

CEDA has a proud history of encouraging debate in this area. In March 2015, CEDA released CEDA's Top 10 Speeches: Women in Leadership 2010-2015 to mark five years of CEDA's Women in Leadership event series. All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of this publication.

Meet the speakers

Michelle Dixon
Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Maddocks

Michelle was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Maddocks after 8 years at the firm, including 13 years as a partner of the firm's commercial disputes team. Under Michelle's leadership, Maddocks was this year recognised as an Employer of Choice by Australasian Legal Lawyer, and received citation as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the WGEA. Michelle is a strong advocate for the progression of women into leadership. She is an ambassador for the WGEA's 'In Your Hands' initiative for pay equity.

Kathryn Fagg
Chair, Boral

Kathryn Fagg is an experienced chairman and board member having worked in senior executive roles across a range of industries, from resources, to manufacturing and logistics, as well as banking and professional services, in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Kathryn is Chairman of Boral Ltd, and Non-Executive Director on the boards of ASX-listed companies Djerriwarrh Investments and Incitec Pivot. Kathryn is also President of Chief Executive Women, who released a new report in July 2018 on Backlash & Buy-In: Responding to the Challenges in Achieving Equality.

Professor Hannah Piterman
Director, HPCG Adjunct Associate Professor, Monash University, Founder of Gender Worx and Author of Unlocking Gender Potential: A Leader's Handbook

Dr Hannah Piterman is director of HPCG providing consulting advice to senior management and boards in the areas of governance, leadership, and executive development. She is the author of Unlocking Gender Potential: A Leader's Handbook, and a contributing author in CEDA's research publication, Women in Leadership, in 2013.

The Hon. Fiona Richardson MP
Victorian Minister for Women, Victorian Minister for Prevention of Family Violence

Fiona Richardson is the Victorian Minister for Women and the Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence. In January 2015, Fiona announced the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Family Violence, the most dangerous and revalent form of violence perpetrated against women. Ms Richardson has been the Member for Northcote since 2006. She served as the Shadow Minister for Public Transport from 2010 to 2013 and the Shadow Minister for Innovation and the Shadow Minister for Small Business from 2013.

Supported by CEDA member

Event sponsor

Further sponsorship available:

Align your brand with CEDA and communicate with hard-to-reach business, government and policy leaders by sponsoring this event. Contact Rohish Gupta on 03 9652 8403 or email

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Public event advice – Coronavirus

We at CEDA are proud to regularly convene and engage speakers and audiences as an essential element of our efforts to broaden discussion and debate of the most important policy issues facing Australia. In doing so, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our guests and staff.

With that in mind CEDA has suspended all public and trustee events. However CEDA remains true to its purpose of providing platforms to inform and promote debate of critical issues and driving policy solutions and are continuing critical discussions for Australia’s economic, social and environmental development through a digital events program including exclusive livestreams, podcasts and video, as well as our virtual Trustee roundtable discussions.

CEDA will continue to closely monitor government advice regarding public gatherings and act on relevant health advice from the Australian government in relation to COVID-19.