News Relaunch

Reflections on the Relaunch Project

We asked four participants for their advice for women thinking about applying.

Seventeen women from across Australia have earned a place in an innovative program to support their efforts to return to the media sector.

In partnership with the Google News Initiative, the Relaunch Project aims to empower participants through one-on-one mentoring and workshops on topics including leadership, industry innovation, new technology and personal development.

We asked four of the cohort to answer this question: What is your advice for women thinking about applying for the Relaunch Project?

Ashlynne McGhee

The Relaunch Project has been the biggest gift – it’s part professional development, part industry insight and a full-blown cheer squad.

And the mentoring, WOW!

Returning after kiddo one was tough.

At times, I felt out of touch, my brain was scrambled with home and work priorities and I was desperate to get some runs on the board to remind myself and others that I still knew what I was doing.

Returning after kiddo two has been totally different because of the Relaunch Project.

I’m more focused, confident and comfortable.

If you qualify for this program, lucky you. Do it!

Andi Yu

I have had three children in four-and-a-half years and that has meant a lot of time away from journalism.

At the moment my days are structured around kindergarten runs for my older two and breastfeeding a baby.

It’s easy to start doubting myself as a journalist when I’m not doing it. Am I good enough? Have I forgotten everything?

Meeting other women in similar and also very different circumstances through this project has boosted my confidence.

My advice for those considering applying for this program is that it could help you think through your challenges and face change with more self-belief.

You will be prompted to analyse your skills and articulate your strengths.

You will be advised on returning to work, negotiating pay and pitching yourself to prospective employers.

The highlights of the program for me have been meeting this year’s participants and getting to know my mentor.

I am so thankful to have an experienced journalist sharing her time and wisdom.

Amanda Shalala

Go for it! Being a part of the Relaunch Project has been an incredible experience, and so much more than I could have hoped for going into it.

We’ve had access to a range of experts across many fields, who have helped empower, inspire, teach, and guide us.

We’ve heard frank and open conversations from strong women sharing their struggles and successes.

We’ve heard from business leaders providing us with valued advice.

We’ve learned from strategic thinkers who’ve given us the tools we need to navigate what can be a challenging transition back into the workforce.

And beyond that, we’ve created a wonderful community of smart, resilient, passionate women, who can now call upon each other for support and strength into the future.

Shannon Reid

Wherever you’re at in your career, there is no doubt you will benefit from being a part of the Relaunch Project.

I hesitated, looked at the application and closed it many times.

I wasn’t sure if I was the right fit to be ‘relaunched’, but I’m so glad I went for it and grateful to those behind this fantastic initiative for the opportunity.

From the very first session, I knew I was on this journey with a fabulous group of women, all at different stages in their careers, but like me, ready to grow, challenge themselves and build each other up along the way!

In addition to the stellar cohort, you also get access to some of the most brilliant and inspirational minds in the industry who will each leave you with practical advice and wisdom that stays with you and magically propels you in all aspects of your life.

As we near the end of our program, I have moved from a place of uncertainty to one of confidence as I work towards my goals with guidance from my incredible Relaunch mentor.

The Relaunch Project has helped drive this shift, so … just do it!

Related News

The Cohort

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Alice Gorman

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Amanda Shalala

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Jacinta Rose

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Rebecca McLaren

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Ashlynne McGhee

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Nance Haxton

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Mashaal Mahmood

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Rosie Lewis

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Regina Lovic

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Shannon Reid

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Robyn Fitzgerald

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Sue Smethurst

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Rosanna Ryan

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Andi Yu

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Anna Rogers

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Sally Dillon

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Virginia Lette

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Alice Gorman

In what seems another lifetime (many years ago) I won a Walkley Award for journalism and spent 20 years working in mainstream print media.

More recently I’ve juggled motherhood with my work as a consultant in agri-tourism and food tourism promotion, and in a broad communications, marketing, customer relations, packaging and new product development role for our fresh vegetable farming business.

I wanted to be part of the Relaunch Project because it’s time to return to storytelling and explore the professional opportunities available in the next stage of my life.

Meet

Amanda Shalala

I am a sports journalist/broadcaster and am currently leading ABC Sport’s 50:50 Project, which is dedicated to increasing coverage of women in sport, and elevating under-represented and diverse voices in sport, across all ABC News platforms.

I have worked across TV, radio, and digital as a reporter, producer, host and commentator, covering a wide array of major national and international sporting events including the Olympics, and four Paralympic Games.

I also teach Sports Media at the University of Technology Sydney, and Sports Journalism at Macleay College.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because I want to help create a level playing field in the Australian sports media.

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Jacinta Rose

I am a skilled media and communications professional with more than 15 years of experience.

I have worked across commercial radio news, print and online media, and in public relations with a strong focus on the health and lifestyle realms. This broad experience has allowed me to be both highly adaptable and knowledgeable, with a keen eye for what makes a great story.

Most recently, I have worked as a freelance writer, balanced with a keen interest in literacy and fiction writing. I have a Bachelor of Journalism.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because I believe it is the type of program that will boost my professional skills and confidence, and equip me with the right knowledge to understand what it is that modern media outlets are looking for.

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Rebecca McLaren

I discovered the joy of working in radio during a serendipitous short term contract at the local ABC station in 2007, and was instantly hooked.

I went back to uni, to WAAPA, to make sure I could do it properly and have been a presenter with ABC Radio ever since. I have worked around the country; Breakfast in Horsham; Afternoons in regional Queensland; Evenings in Darwin; and producing programs in Perth and Melbourne.

My first career was in heritage and museum curation, so I’ve always been focussed on telling stories, just in different ways.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because I learnt difficult lessons when I went back to work after my first child, so I wanted to make this time about more than just juggling and fighting for balance. I want the time I’m away from my children to matter.

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Ashlynne McGhee

I’m an investigative reporter at the ABC and Vice President of the Melbourne Press Club.

I’ve broken stories for the ABC’s flagship current affairs show 7.30, worked in the Canberra press gallery, reported as a VJ from remote parts of Australia and overseas and dipped my toe in investigative comedy (it’s a thing).

I’ve also worked really hard to develop programs that support young journalists, like the press club’s mentoring program and training series The Edit.

I have a few shiny awards that I treasure as valued recognition from my peers, including a Quill award, a fellowship from the US-based Investigative Reporters and Editors and two Walkley nominations.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because it’s about bloody time we embraced, supported and championed women during one of the biggest transitions we face.

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Nance Haxton

I have proven my excellent reporting track record over more than two decades with a range of Australian and international honours for powerful storytelling.

My investigative journalism skills have been recognised with numerous awards
including two Walkleys, and three New York Festivals Radio Awards trophies.

I have a passion for justice, and see my main motivation for working in journalism as giving those who do not normally have access to the media a voice. This experience saw me recognised as Griffith University’s “Journalist in Residence” in 2016.

I was the ABC’s sole reporter at South Australia’s Port Augusta outpost, covering more than half the state for ABC radio and television news, going on to report for ABC’s national radio current affairs AM, PM and The World Today from Adelaide and Brisbane for 15 years.

Now freelancing as The Wandering Journo from my mobile studio Mildred the cantankerous kombi, I am independently producing my audio slice of Australia “Streets of Your Town” and “The Journo Project”, featuring stories from everyday incredible Australians and some of Australia’s greatest journos.

I am also a respected MC, as well as producing a number of high quality podcasts for others, utilising my high end interviewing and production skills.

I am also acting as an advocate for the Disability Royal Commission,
helping people with a disability tell their stories to this once-in-a-generation investigation.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project so I can find my path back into the profession that I love – journalism. I want to embrace my years of experience rather than apologise for them, as women down the ages have been culturally trained to do. I also want to discover how to sell my best assets and skills, as well as continue my lifelong path of learning and self-improvement.

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Mashaal Mahmood

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because after switching careers to settle in Australia, I always wanted to get back in the media industry to achieve professional satisfaction. I have worked as a news reporter in my home country. 

However, since moving to Perth, I have worked as a school teacher.

Last year, I got an opportunity to volunteer as a radio announcer. After doing that for a year, I decided to get back to my true passion of working in this field. I believe The Relaunch Project will open numerous media career opportunities for me.

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Rosie Lewis

I began my career at The Australian in Sydney in 2011 and have been in the federal parliamentary press gallery for seven years, covering six federal budgets, three prime ministers and two elections.

I made my mark in Canberra after breaking story after story about the turmoil unleashed by the Senate crossbench of the 44th parliament.

More recently, my agenda-setting national reporting includes exclusives on the dual citizenship fiasco, women in parliament and the COVID-19 pandemic.

I wanted to be part of the Relaunch Project because I’m currently strapped into the wild rollercoaster that is being a first-time mum. I often think about how I’m going to juggle a baby and work when I return so I wanted to grab any support, advice and networking opportunities with both hands. There are many brilliant mums in the federal parliamentary press gallery but the nature of our work means it is not always a family friendly place. Things change bit by bit. Perhaps this project could form part of that story.

Meet

Regina Lovic

I am a freelance content creator and social media manager, working with not-for-profits, private businesses and major political parties.

I am a former publicist, Chief of Staff with WIN News and features/promo producer at 9 News Brisbane. I have also been a print news reporter, photographer and videographer.

Always striving to better myself and those around me, I have been a member of Women in Media’s Queensland branch for a number of years, and recently took over the helm of social media manager.

A lover of coffee and my dog Zetha, I will marry my long-term partner this year.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because I was feeling lost, professionally, and looking for my next opportunity, to learn new skills, grow and network.

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Shannon Reid

Embracing a lifelong passion for telling stories, I trained as a journalist and, over a media career spanning more than 15 years, have worked with many of Australia’s most respected journalists, broadcasters and communicators.

I have been a leader and an integral part of ratings-leading and award-winning programs on both radio and TV, and have received the “Producer of the Year” accolade at the prestigious Australian Commercial Radio Awards.

I moved with my family to New York in 2019, but returned to Australia when COVID disrupted our plans. I am currently working in a community advocacy role and, in my downtime, enjoy spending time with my family, travelling (when it’s possible!), reading, indulging in podcasts and, I’m hoping to run my first marathon in Chicago this year!

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because I was excited by the opportunity to be mentored by and collaborate with some of the most talented women in Australian media.

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Robyn Fitzgerald

I began my media career in broadcast radio and television, working as a Triple M promotions assistant, moving into an on-air Announcer role and eventually advertising sales.

I had dual roles as an events assistant and producer’s assistant for Channel Seven, eventually rounding out my media working experience in print media.

My career expanded to public relations/communications and events management, designing and implementing effective social, broadcast and print campaigns for NFP, government and private sector entities.

I am a motivated and accomplished professional in strategic planning, media liaison and crisis plans in the sports events, entertainment, leisure and tourism sectors.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because I knew I would be surrounded by like-minded people with goals and aspirations, which in turn would fuel my desire to believe in myself and invest in my future.

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Sue Smethurst

I am an award-winning journalist and author who has spent more than 20 years working across television, radio and magazines, writing for some of Australia’s biggest selling titles including The Australian Women’s Weekly, The Weekend Australian magazine, Good Weekend, the Herald Sun and many others.

My career has taken me around the globe, interviewing an eclectic mix of questionable celebrities, minor royalty, scammers, cult leaders, colourful identities (read: complete crooks), sports stars and politicians.

I adore real people who have rich stories to tell, particularly those who don’t want to tell them, and love nothing more than gently unpicking the layers of a rollicking yarn.

I am also the author of nine non-fiction books. My latest book The Freedom Circus has been published in six countries.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because my love of a story is stronger than ever before and we are living in a time where the role of quality media and story-telling is vital to the progress of stable democracy, I want to continue learning the art of media and making a contribution to that journey.

Meet

Rosanna Ryan

I am a digital editor at ABC Radio National and love finding new ways to connect with audiences and tell stories that help them make sense of the world.

I lead RN’s digital strategy, edit and produce rich multimedia feature content, and collaborate on social media projects.

Before RN, I spent eight years in the busy ABC News Digital team. I’ve worked in community radio and as a journalism academic. I also help run Brisbane’s Hacks/Hackers meet-ups of technologists and storytellers.

I grew up in Brisbane and still live there with my two boys and their dad.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project because I love the idea of learning from, and sharing knowledge with, other women who are facing similar challenges while returning to work.

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Andi Yu

I’m a journalist for AAP based in Melbourne.

I report on a wide variety of national breaking news, but key areas of reporting interest include multicultural and faith issues, refugees and Australia’s relationship with China.

I was trained by AAP as a cadet and worked as a court reporter in Sydney and Melbourne.

I have freelanced for ABC Radio National’s Religion and Ethics Report.

Before AAP I worked for the Bendigo Advertiser in northern Victoria which was a fabulous training ground.

I grew up in Melbourne where I now live with my husband and our three children.

I wanted to be part of the Relaunch Project because it’s an opportunity to be mentored, to develop media skills and clarify my goals.

Meet

Anna Rogers

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Communications from Mitchell College in the 1980s, I have been employed as a staff photographer on national, state and regional newspapers.

As a newspaper photographer based in Far North Queensland, my job allowed me to travel throughout Cape York and the Torres Straits.

It has been a privilege to document the news and the stories of people and their personal moments of sorrow and great joy.

The closure of hundreds of newspapers and the change to a digital format has meant that my job no longer exists.

I wanted to be part of the Relaunch Project because I hope to gain new skills to use digital media to tell stories in new and innovative ways.

While the media landscape has changed to a 24-hour news cycle, content is still king/ queen.

Recently I transitioned from photography to video and recorded a series of videos in 14 different languages for our multicultural community.

I am hoping the Relaunch Project will enable me to update my skills so that I can continue to work in a field that I love.

Meet

Sally Dillon

I’m a writer, community builder and problem solver.

A radio and print journalist, I’ve also written and edited Lonely Planet travel guides, done PR for charities, and run media training.

While raising my children I’ve built my skills as a volunteer; fundraising and running school fetes, training as a breastfeeding counsellor, organising community campaigns and even running for local government election.

I’ve discovered new passions in connecting people and solving communication challenges, and I’m ready to relaunch my professional career.

I wanted to be a part of the Relaunch Project to help me identify ways I could combine my skills to reach my full potential and to connect with a supportive network.

Meet

Virginia Lette

A passion for performing and a desire to work in the music industry ignited my media career when, at age 14, I applied for work at my local radio station.

Some 20 years later, I have presented and produced programs on some of Australia’s biggest radio and TV networks.

I then took a break from employment to support my husband and family. An anticipated return to work was then delayed by illness.

Eager to rediscover my passion, I want to be part of the Relaunch Project to understand where my skills and experience fit into a rapidly evolving media landscape.

The Speakers

Google News Lab

Uma Patel

Women in Media co-chair

Kathy McLeish

Brancher co-founder

Holly Brailsford

ViacomCBS

Beverley McGarvey

eckfactor founder

Karen Eck

Women in Media co-patron

Victoria Laurie

Television Presenter

Edwina Bathlolomew

News Corp

Laura Chalmers

Broadcast Journalist

Libbi Gorr

Executive Producer

Josie MacRae

Google News

Miguel D’Souza

CEO

Sean Hall

ABC Regional & Local l Director

Judith Whelan

Google News Lab

Irene Jay Liu

Business ICT

Nyssa Waters

Managing Director

Samantha Dybac

LinkedIn

Amanda Margariti

Executive and Leadership Coach

Reyna Matthes

Head of Agency Sales

Tamara McCann

Google Cloud

Karen Zhang

Cambridge University

Dorothy Byrne

Twitch

Ricky Chanana

Apple

Shannon Phelan

Strategist & Negotiator

Sam Trattles

Managing Director

Leane Pattinson

Google News Lab Teaching Fellow

Mrdula Amin

Customer Strategy: Women’s Markets Lead

Kirrah McClelland

Provost, Bond University

Professor Keitha Dunstan

People Possibilities Founder

Jac Peters

MacMorgan Managing Partner

Rowena Millward

Executive Director

Linda Robson

Strategic Partnership Manager

Jenni Ryall

Manager

Sasha Edwards

Google News Lab

Uma Patel

Uma Patel is the Google News Lab Lead for Australia and New Zealand.

She is responsible for working alongside academics, newsrooms, nonprofits and community groups around Australia and New Zealand to tackle misinformation, grow diversity within the industry and support digital transformation for journalists.

Women in Media co-chair

Kathy McLeish

Kathy McLeish has reported and produced widely across ABC programs including 7.30 Qld, 7.30, Landline and Australian Story.

She has won significant awards for her work which includes an investigative series that sparked a $60m overhaul of youth mental health services.

She’s currently working with the ABC’s top-rating television program Back Roads.

She’s also a trustee of the MEAA Media Safety and Solidarity Fund.

Brancher co-founder

Holly Brailsford

Holly Brailsford is a Registered Psychologist and the co-founder of Brancher.

Brancher is a mentoring platform that connects mentees with compatible mentors and supports them to realise the most from their relationship.

ViacomCBS

Beverley McGarvey

Beverley McGarvey is the Chief Content Officer and Executive VP, ViacomCBS ANZ

With more than 25 years’ experience in television internationally and in Australia, she is responsible for all content and creative activities related to the company’s networks and digital properties including 10, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and streaming service Paramount+.

eckfactor founder

Karen Eck

Karen Eck is the founder of media relations agency eckfactor and the presenter of The Power of Visibility.

She specialises in putting brands and exceptional individuals in the spotlight.

She has built her career on strategically positioning clever and extraordinary people, allowing them to tell their stories.

In February 2020, she launched The Power of Visibility to help talented and experienced women achieve the success and recognition they deserve by building skills and confidence in their personal brand

Women in Media co-patron

Victoria Laurie

Victoria Laurie is a journalist, author. and national co-patron of Women in Media.

She has won numerous awards for her writing in publications including The Australian Weekend Magazine and The Australian newspaper, and is a Perth-based freelance contributor.

Television Presenter

Edwina Bathlolomew

Edwina Bathlolomew enjoys one of the most diverse roles at the Seven Network.

As well as her work on Sunrise as news presenter, she returned for her third Olympic Games coverage at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 hosting the afternoon broadcast each day of the games.

News Corp

Laura Chalmers

Laura Chalmers is the Editor in Chief of News Corp Saturday Weekend Magazines.

She oversees editorial content, commercial partnerships and digital strategy for all four Saturday magazines.

She has also worked for the Federal Government in Canberra, working as press secretary to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Penny Wong as Climate Change and Finance Minister.

Broadcast Journalist

Libbi Gorr

Libbi Gorr’s work has been seen as a guest reporter on ABC 7.30, ABC News Breakfast with a Remote Communities project, ABC International Women’s Day Specials as Creator, Producer and Host and of course across her huge, ground breaking and award winning Elle McFeast Portfolio in the 1990’s on ABC TV, with a focus on feminism, comedy and social issues.

Executive Producer

Josie MacRae

In more than a decade at Nine, Josie McRae has held five senior management positions covering the full spectrum of Nine’s news output.

These roles have included Content Director for Today Show and Head of News Digital, relaunching 9news.com.au and the 9News app.

She is Executive Producer, News Development at the Nine Network.

Google News

Miguel D’Souza

Miguel D’Souza is a journalist, digital producer and News Training Fellow at Google.

He first started working on the internet in 1996, before moving to digital newsrooms at Seven, News.com.au, SBS and later, Australian Associated Press.

At AAP, Miguel established video and multimedia graphics coverage, and also live reporting tools.

More recently, he has developed OSINT training for tools for reporters and continues to lecture media students.

CEO

Sean Hall

Sean Hall is a TEDx speaker, mental health advocate and CEO of human performance company Energx.

His specialty is helping humans slay the energy vampires that cause burnout, crush creativity and stifle inclusion.

He does this by teaching the skill of “Energy Intelligence”, which combines the latest science from fields including neuroscience, positive psychology, sleep science, growth mindset, nutrition, exercise and mindfulness.

Sean’s mission is to help everyone have the energy they need to discover and achieve their X Factor.

ABC Regional & Local l Director

Judith Whelan

ABC Radio appointed the former editor of The Sydney Morning Herald to oversee its talk networks and programs in November 2016.

After first being promoted to Acting Director of ABC Regional & Local in November 2018, she took on the role permanently six months later.

Her career in journalism spans more than 30 years and includes experience as a Walkley-nominated news and feature writer, senior editor and a foreign correspondent in both the Pacific and Europe.

Google News Lab

Irene Jay Liu

Irene Jay Liu leads Google News Lab in the Asia-Pacific region.

She was previously an investigative reporter and data editor at Reuters, where she was a 2017 Pulitzer finalist in the national reporting category.

Earlier, she worked at the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong and as a political reporter with the Times Union in Albany, New York.

Before moving to Singapore, she taught data-driven investigative journalism at the University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Business ICT

Nyssa Waters

Nyssa Waters, from Google Workspace at Google Cloud, works in Business ICT Sales, both fields largely dominated by men.

She has been lucky enough (worked hard enough) to have grown her career step by step.

Over the past three years, she achieved her biggest and best accomplishment yet – she survived two under two … just!

The last three years have been a juggle – work, life, babies, COVID, three promotions, two companies, five houses and a lot of grey hair!

Managing Director

Samantha Dybac

Samantha Dybac is the Managing Director and Founder of The PR Hub.

She has more than 20 years’ experience working with business leaders and founders to help unlock the value behind their personal brand and build awareness, credibility and trust that catapults both them and their companies into the spotlight.

In The PR Hub, she has created a rapidly growing public relations and strategic communications agency representing some of Australia’s hottest tech startups, award winning entrepreneurs and business leaders.

She is also the host of Top 10 Apple podcast, Influence Unlocked.

LinkedIn

Amanda Margariti

Amanda Margariti is the Senior Partner Manager at ANZ LinkedIn.

She is a passionate media and marketing professional with more than 11 years’ experience.

She is currently leading LinkedIn’s advertising technology partnerships in Australia.

Since joining LinkedIn three years ago, she has trained as a LinkedIn Coach and dedicates time to non-profit and educational organisations to mentor, upskill and share what the LinkedIn platform has to offer professionals.

Amanda has achieved industry recognition for her work from Cannes Young Lions, B&T 30 Under 30 and the Media Federation of Australia.

Executive and Leadership Coach

Reyna Matthes

Reyna Matthes is Director of Executive Central.

She delivers results for organisational clients through their most valuable resources – people.

Through amplifying leadership impact and invigorating leaders so that they are energised, connected and performing at their very best. she has coached more than 2000 leaders working with clients from 60 nationalities across a diverse breadth of 70 industries from ASX 200 companies in Australia and Asia-Pacific across a range of industries

Head of Agency Sales

Tamara McCann

Tamara McCann is Head of Agency Sales at Google.

She has 20+years experience in media which has spanned advertising and sponsorship sales, portfolio & stakeholder management, marketing (B2B, B2C), communications plus various people leadership roles.

Tamara is motivated by leading, mentoring and inspiring others to reach their full potential.

She is actively involved in various development programs within her organisation including the global #Iamremarkable program of which she is the country lead for Australia and New Zealand and a certified facilitator.

Google Cloud

Karen Zhang

Karen Zhang is a Corporate Account Executive at Google Cloud.

She is responsible for supporting organisations across Australia to digitally transform and innovate by adopting the latest cloud technologies.

Karen has served as the Women@Google Community pillar co-lead, which is a global network committed to empowering all women and allies at Google by connecting, developing and retaining female talent.

Cambridge University

Dorothy Byrne

Dorothy Byrne became the sixth President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge in September 2021.

Prior to joining the College, she was Editor at Large at Channel 4, a role that was specially created for her after she stepped down as Head of News and Current Affairs after 15 years.

During her time at Channel 4, she was responsible for news and current affairs programs that have had a national and global impact, winning her numerous international awards.

Twitch

Ricky Chanana

Ricky Chanana is Head of Sales at Twitch, AMAZON.

He launched Twitch Australia in 2020 and has since grown the business the team across ANZ.

He has been a mentor with IAB Australia for three years, mentoring more than 12 mentees.

He is also working closely with the Media Federation Australia, helping to mentor young talent, reducing industry churn.

Ricky is a guest lecturer at Macquarie University, Sydney University and UTS.

He has been a NSW Whitelion ambassador since 2019 – an organisation dedicated to breaking the cycle of substance abuse, criminal activity and incarceration by providing young people at risk with practical support.

Apple

Shannon Phelan

Shannon Phelan joined Apple in 2018 supporting retail team members through coaching, development and engagement initiatives.

She is passionate about building teams and helping others reach their full potential – which has led to her most recent promotion (on her first week of maternity leave) as General Manager, Sydney Market.

In addition, Shannon is Chair of Women@Apple ANZ, driving inclusion and diversity initiatives and bringing Apple’s values to life.

Strategist & Negotiator

Sam Trattles

Sam Trattles is the Founder and Lead Strategist at Other Side of the Table.

She empowers founders, CMOs, and deal negotiators — helping them to redefine their mindset towards negotiating and unlock their true potential.

With an additional 17 years’ experience in senior corporate marketing and sponsorship roles across Australia and the UK and as a Commercial Deals Negotiator, she loves negotiating and sharing this with others.

Sam’s books, I Love Negotiating and Negotiate Your Worth, are both practical guides to transform the way people feel and approach negotiations.

Managing Director

Leane Pattinson

Leane Pattinson is Managing Director of The Create Partnership.

She is a specialist HR & Recruitment Consultant within the media & advertising industry.

After 20 years working in media and creative agencies across some of Australia’s largest global brands, she now runs her own consultancy, The Create Partnership, and is proud of this achievement!

It offers talent acquisition & retention strategies for clients, specialist recruitment services, and guidance on CV & interview preparation for candidates.

The Create Partnership uses its extensive industry knowledge to match the right people to the right jobs in the right organisations.

It’s all about creating partnerships.

Google News Lab Teaching Fellow

Mrdula Amin

Mrdula Amin works with newsrooms across the region to train journalists in the latest innovative digital storytelling tools.

She’s worked as a reporter and photojournalist with the ABC in the Sydney newsroom.

She has received three Walkley awards for her long-form feature and visual work and was named the 2021 Walkleys Young Australian Journalist of the Year.

She has created visual stories for international publications including The New York Times, National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.

Customer Strategy: Women’s Markets Lead

Kirrah McClelland

Kirrah McClelland joined Westpac Group (Australia) in 2014 working across Corporate Affairs and Strategic Marketing.

In 2017, she joined the Women’s Markets team, tasked with identifying opportunities to better support our female customers, and leverage initiatives to help build financial confidence in women.

In 2021, she was awarded the Carla Zampatti Young Women of Influence Award in the Westpac CEO Awards program.

Provost, Bond University

Professor Keitha Dunstan

Professor Keitha Dunstan is the Provost at Bond University.

In this role, she leads the research, learning and teaching strategies and oversees the academic operations of the university.

As the Provost, Professor Dunstan has oversight of the Bond University College, Transformation CoLab (including Core and Beyond Bond), Higher Degree Research Unit, Academic Integrity Unit, Microcredential Unit, University Curriculum Management, and the University’s Gender Equality, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenous strategies.

She has Chaired the Bond University Women’s Network since 2014 and was the Chair of the Academic Senate from 2012 to 2016.

People Possibilities Founder

Jac Peters

With more than 25 years P&C experience, Jac Peters is an experienced people leader, coach, leadership and learning professional, and passionate advocate for employee engagement.

Prior to setting up her own business, she worked as Head of Leadership and Engagement at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

Here, she led the development of the organisational leadership strategy including attraction, development, talent and succession with a focus on building female leadership capability.

MacMorgan Managing Partner

Rowena Millward

Rowena Millward has 25 years of experience in top 500 companies giving her insight into how growth and transformation happen.

Not the theory, but the practice.

Her knowledge of marketing, customer experience, innovation, and leadership enables her to identify what is uniquely holding each organisation back, and what are the three critical things to move them forward.

In addition, she provides career and life coaching for executive leaders.

Whether at a career or life crossroads, she helps to work through challenges with deep empathy, experience and insight.

She is renowned for helping leaders uncover who they are, what they really want, and how to make it happen.

Executive Director

Linda Robson

Linda Robson is Executive Director at The Hummingbirds.

She started in the advertising industry in 1986 when email didn’t exist and everything was sent via telex or the despatch boy.

She has worked at a multitude of advertising and media companies including Lintas, FCB, JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi, holding senior leadership positions in local and regional roles.

She transitioned into training with GroupM in 2007 and in 2017, co-founded The Hummingbirds, a learning and development company.

The Hummingbirds focus on creating and delivering training including presentation skills, communication skills, leadership skills and sales skills.

She is a strategist, facilitator, mentor, trainer, instructional designer and coach.

But her most important role is mum to her now 19-year-old son.

Strategic Partnership Manager

Jenni Ryall

Jenni Ryall is the Strategic Partner Manager [News Publishers] at Facebook.

Prior to Meta, she led strategy at news media companies and reinvented digital news brands through audience and growth strategies.

Before diving into the strategy side of news, she led breaking news editorial teams based in Australia, New York and London through major global news events.

She has worked at Mashable, news.com.au, Yahoo, 7News, Business Insider and Gizmodo.

She’s mum to a one-year-old boy, which is even more challenging than working in media.

Manager

Sasha Edwards

Sasha Edwards is the Partner Solutions Manager for news publishers across Australia and New Zealand at Meta.

She has a background in entertainment and media across several continents, working in strategic and operational roles at ABC, NBCUniversal and Discovery.

At Meta, she looks after partner strategy, product go-to-market, data analysis and all things digital trends.

She’s a mother of two energetic boys and a big believer that career and motherhood do match!

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