UNSW Women in Science Leadership Symposium









"It is incredibly important to have female role models and recognition of women’s achievements.

Part of being able to become a successful scientist is to have the confidence to try."

Professor Emma Johnston


Join us to participate in what promises to be an important, inspiring and informative day. Lunch will be provided, along with networking drinks and canapes at the conclusion. 

Q&A: If you would like to submit questions to the Getting There: Recipes for Success panel discussion please send them to


About the Symposium

Designed to showcase the achievements of women in science, this symposium will celebrate the successes of some of our best-known female scientists and explore the challenges of achieving leadership in science. To be held in Scientia from 9.30 to 3.30 on Friday 14 August, it will bring together some of the nation’s top female scientists who will share their insights and experiences as leaders in academia, research, industry and government.

The event will be hosted by UNSW Dean of Science Professor Merlin Crossley and opened by UNSW Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs, who has identified improving gender equity as an important priority for UNSW.

Executive Director and CEO of the Australian Museum Kim McKay AO will be Chair of the day's proceedings. 

Speakers include NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Professor Mary O'Kane, leading industry executives Dr Megan Baldwin, and Maria Halasz, and Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla.

Male and female UNSW staff and Dr Rebecca Johnson from the Australian Museum will discuss recipes for success at different stages of their careers. ABC TV Lateline presenter Emma Alberici will interview female leaders about the myths and challenges facing them as top managers and role models.

Peter Bailey, a member of the Male Champions of Change group and CEO and Chair of Arup, will speak about his personal commitment to fostering diversity and the initiatives that have won the company many awards and accolades for its achievements in this area. Chair of Pottinger Cassandra Kelly will outline the power of mentoring in both the public and private sector.

With gender issues in the news, Associate Professor Lynn Corcoran (WEHI), Professor Prem Ramburuth (UNSW) and Louise McSorley (Workplace Gender Equality Agency) will provide an overview of different approaches to gender equity, including the SAGE program and Athena SWAN charter. 


Add your name to the waitlist - the event is curently at capacity.


Symposium Program









Registration Opens


Chair of the event:

Kim McKay, AO

Executive Director and CEO of the Australian Museum


Coffee and Tea served





Professor Ian Jacobs

UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor


Opening comments



UNSW Science video presentation


Professor Angela Moles

UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Associate Professor Catherine Greenhill

UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla

Director, UNSW Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology  


Celebrating UNSW Women in Science


Dr Lisa Williams

UNSW School of Psychology



Benefits of a Diverse Workplace

 10:50am Catered morning tea break




Kim McKay AO


Professor Merlin Crossley

UNSW Dean of Science

Professor Emma Johnston

UNSW School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences

Dr Rebecca Johnson

Director Australian Museum Research Institute

Professor Peter Lovibond

UNSW School of Psychology

Deputy Dean of Science  



Panel Discussion 

Getting There: Recipes for Success




Emma Alberici


Professor Mary O'Kane

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer

Dr Megan Baldwin

CEO Circadian Technologies

Maria Halasz

CEO of Cellmid Pty Ltd

Dr Kate Wilson

Executive Director, Science Division

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage 


Panel Discussion and Q&A

Women in Leadership: Myths and Challenges

 12:40pm Catered Lunch Break


1:15 pm


Cassandra Kelly

Executive Chair of Pottinger



The Power of Mentoring



Associate Professor Lynn Corcoran

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Professor Prem Ramburuth

President UNSW Academic Board

Louise McSorley 

Acting Director Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency


Gender Equity on the Agenda in Australia




Peter Bailey

CEO Arup

Representative Male Champions for Change


Male Champions: driving gender equality in science and engineering workplaces.


Kim McKay AO

Summary of key issues by event Chair





Professor Merlin Crossley


Closing statements by Dean

 3:20pm Catered Networking Drinks and Nibbles