The Police, Defence and Emergency Services Women’s Leadership Summit

Friday 24th March 2023

Interactive Online Event

Panel Members

Guiding our organisation through the coronavirus pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on leaders across Australia and the world. The world as we knew it has changed, and for many, some level of ambiguity and change will remain. This critical juncture presents a timely opportunity to reflect and learn from our recent experience and rethink the way we have done things in the past. How do we capture the gravitas of what we've been through and at the same time capitalise on the unique opportunity we have been given to co-design a better future? In this interactive session our panel of experts will reflect on their learnings from this time of challenge and complexity – and consider what we can let go of and what we can take forward, as we lead our teams through recovery and into the future.

Where to from Here? Learning from challenge, complexity, and uncertainty

Panel Discussion

11:40 - 13:10​

Gai joined the Queensland Police Service (QPS) in 1987 and has worked in operational, specialist and corporate roles. During her career, Gai has been Officer in Charge of a Brisbane suburban police station and an on-road supervisor for the South Side of Brisbane. In addition to her vast operational experience Gai has undertaken corporate and specialist roles at Strategic Planning and Performance, Queensland Police Academy, State Intelligence and Forensic Services. Gai is a founding member of the QPS Pride Network, dedicated to supporting LGBTIQ staff members. The Network has been recognised by numerous awards including Premiers Award for Excellence in leadership for the video “It gets better.” Improving organisational inclusion and diversity for LGBTIQ+ people is a driving force for Gai, having recently developed the QPS Gender Affirmation Policy and Guidelines. Gai was named in the Deloitte Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders List.

Born and raised in Hungary, Barbara Olah emigrated to NZ as a 15-year old with her family.  In her 20’s she moved to Melbourne before heading back to NZ to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies. Barbara spent a year after university working as a Hazardous Substances Advisor for the Environmental Protection Authority NZ, before being accepted as a recruit firefighter with The New Zealand Fire Service (now Fire and Emergency New Zealand). She progressed through the rank structure to be appointed Station Officer in the Dunedin Fire Brigade in 2020.  She has been involved with the Women in Fire and Emergency NZ network from its inception in 2015. In 2021, Barbara was successful in gaining an 18-month secondment to my current position. She is relishing the challenges of this new role, being supported by her National Advisor and Coordinator.

09:00 - 09:25

Welcome and Acknowledgement of Country

Director of Programs and Senior Facilitator, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Janet Smith

National Manager, Women's Development, Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Barbara Olah

Inspector Gai Bolderrow

Inspector, Forensic Services Command, Queensland Police; QPS Representative, Queensland Government LGBTI Roundtable and the Pride in Diversity Executive Ally Network

Director of Programs and Senior Facilitator, Women & Leadership Australia

Dr Janet Smith

14:10 - 15:00

Development Session

Dr Janet Smith

16:20 - 16:30

Closing Comments

Director of Programs and Senior Facilitator, Women & Leadership Australia

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women & Leadership Australia

Janet Horton

Senior Manager, Deloitte; Co-Founder, #PropelHerAUS; Veteran

Shamsa Lea

Shamsa Lea is an Air Force Logistics Officer by trade, and a veteran of Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and the Middle East Region. She is currently a Senior Manager in Workforce Transformation at Deloitte, with a focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In 2020, Shamsa co-founded Propel Her Australia – The Defence Women’s Leadership Series, an online hub for resources specific to a woman’s career development experience in an Australian Defence and public sector setting. Shamsa and her co-founder MAJ Lyndsay Freeman received the 2021 ADM Women in Defence Awards People and Culture Leaders of the year. She has dedicated her career to advancing the gender lens and shaping cultural change across the Australian Defence Force, and now more broadly in the Australian context. Additionally, she sits on the Board of Directors for Carry On, the leading Veteran Support organisation for crisis housing in Victoria.

A Closer Look: Where to from Here?

Following on from the Panel Discussion, this Development Session will explore more deeply how we can effectively lead our teams through recovery. We will discuss practical tools for reflecting on and letting go of the practices that have not served us in the past, and carefully considering those which will serve us moving forward.

Libby Murphy has had an illustrious career in the public sector. With over thirty-two years in the Police Force, Libby climbed the ranks in a male dominated industry demonstrating how her resilience and determination, combined with her compassion, has been the foundation for her professional success. Libby has achieved a great deal as the first female in many of her career roles including as an investigator, supervisor, and manager across rural and metropolitan areas in the Police Force. Libby became the first female Assistant Commissioner - Road Policing Command. Libby has a love for learning, evidenced by her qualifications and studies in Frontline Management, Criminal Justice Administration and Executive Strategy while serving in the Police Force. Most recently Libby was appointed as Chief Operations Officer at Ambulance Victoria, the first female in this role.

Chief Operations Officer, Ambulance Victoria

Elizabeth Murphy APM

08:40 - 09:00     Online Registration

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women & Leadership Australia

Janet Horton


09:30 - 10:00

Keynote Address



Prof Tracy Smart is a physician, health leader, and retired Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) senior officer. Her 35-year RAAF career culminated in the role of Surgeon General of the ADF. She is currently Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine at the Australian National University and until recently was ANU’s COVID Public Health Lead. In addition, Tracy is: President, Australasian College of Aerospace Medicine; Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne; and Strategic Advisor – LGBTI Inclusion, Department of Defence. She is also a member of various advisory and steering groups, including: Defence Honours and Awards Tribunal; Australian Space Agency’s Technical Advisory Group on Space Medicine & Life Sciences; Australian Football League’s Mental Health Steering Group; Health Security Systems Australia, Divisional Advisory Panel; Australian War Memorial Development Project Veterans’ Advisory Group; and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Veteran’s Advisory Group. Tracy is also a fundraising volunteer for Lifeline Canberra.

Professor Tracy Smart AO

Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine, Australian National University; Air Vice-Marshal (Ret)

10:00 - 10:30

Keynote Address

Alex is a former Australian cricket captain who led her country to World Cup and Ashes victories. After 15 years representing Australia on field, Alex now enjoys educating individuals and teams on how to achieve sustained high performance in challenging environments. Alex appears regularly in the media as a sports commentator and social justice advocate and uses her platform to promote positive messages around high performance, inclusion, and health. Alex now works as a genetic counsellor at Sydney Children’s Hospital and The Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick. In June 2018 Alex became the first female elected director to Cricket NSW in its 159 history. In recognition of her eminent service to society by advancing important causes, Alex was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The University of NSW in 2019. Her memoir ‘Fair Game’ was published in January 2022.

15:10 - 15:40

Keynote Address

World Cup & Ashes winning cricket Captain; Genetic Counsellor; Patron @prideinsport

Alex Blackwell

Hannah is a Captain in the British Army. She commissioned in 2010 and since that time has commanded soldiers across the world. Hannah is also a transgender woman and her personal story of transition captured the imagination of the nation in 2015. A true advocate for equality, she used her public profile to promote a realistic portrayal of transgender individuals in the UK. Outside the Army, she acts as Patron for the charity Mermaids and is an ambassador for LGBT Sport in Wales. Her work in diversity has won her several accolades including Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year, an honorary fellowship from Cardiff University and in June 2019, an MBE for her work updating LGBTQ policy in the British Army. Hannah’s experience as a decorated Officer who transitioned within the Army perfectly places her to speak with confidence on all aspects of the military, diversity and inclusive leadership.

15:40 - 16:20

Keynote Address

Captain, British Army; Ambassador, LGBT Sport; Patron, Mermaids Charity

Hannah Graf

10:30 - 10:40     Break

10:40 - 11:30

Development Session

Janet Horton

Senior Facilitator and Executive Coach, Women &Leadership Australia

Taming the Imposter Voice

Did you know that most attendees of our summits and programs report that they sometimes hear an 'inner imposter voice'?  Learning how to manage that voice is a mindset choice.  With practice we can learn to recognise it and choose a more effective response.  In this Development Session, we will learn how to interrupt that voice when it arrives and replace it with a more helpful one.

11:30 - 11:40     Break

13:10 - 13:40     Lunch

15:00 - 15:10     Break

Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Hall


Cultural Advisor, Regional Force Surveillance Group (RFSG), Australian Army; One of the highest-ranking Indigenous Soldiers in Australia

13:40 - 14:10

Keynote Address

Colonel Timothy Rutherford

Commanding Officer of the 51st Battalion, The Far North Queensland Regiment, Australian Army; Commander of the Defence’s NT COVID-19 response 

09:25 - 09:30

Welcome Address

Chief Executive Officer, Women & Leadership Australia

Suzi Finkelstein