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Developing tools and strategies to navigate disruption and advance your career

1 – 3 DECEMBER 2020

Whilst progress has been made to support women and achieve gender equality in the communications and public relations sector, there is still much to be done. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and added to the challenges that women in this sector face. Working from home, the blurred boundaries between personal and professional commitments and challenges to mental health have added complexity to the several ongoing commitments that women already juggle. Leading, motivating and engaging remotely located teams that communicate virtually, adapting skillsets to perform fluid roles and communicating effectively with stakeholders is critical as leaders look to navigate unchartered territory.


The Women in Communications and PR Leadership Summit  will provide delegates with tools to tackle the challenges currently faced by female leaders in the communications and public relations industry during this period of disruption and change. Delegates will also gain access to case studies and frameworks to position themselves as experts in their field, prioritise mental health to build resilience and mentor the next generation of female leaders.

By attending this online forum, you will  learn how to:

Establish yourself as a leader to gain credibility and executive buy-in

Create boundaries to juggle personal and professional commitments

Improve your ability to negotiate and advocate for yourself 

Build resilience – the logistics and practicalities of working in a 24/7 environment

Manage teams, people and priorities in a world of virtual communications

Communicate powerfully and effectively with your stakeholders

Mentor the next generation of female leaders


Olivia Nunn

Director of Communications
US Army Soldier for Life
Former Strategic Communication Planner Office of the Chief of Army Public Affairs
US Army

Jessica Appelgren

Vice President Communications
Impossible Foods, USA


Head of Communications
eHealth NSW

Ellie Laing

Deputy Chief of Staff
Office of the Speakers the Legislative Assembly, Jonathan O'Dea MP


Head of Executive Communications
News Corp


Communications Director
L'Oréal Australia

Michelle Sloane OAM

Director Communications
Media and Corporate Affairs, Sydney Trains


Public Relations Manager, Australia,
Tourism New Zealand


Head of Public Relations and Communications
Menulog ANZ


Head of Public Relations and Communications
Loan Market


Global Brand and Communications Manager


Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement
Department of Transport Victoria


Director Communications Strategic Projects
NSW Department of Customer Service


Managing Director and Founder
Blue Chip Communications


Managing Director
Pulse Agency

Melissa De Coster

Head of Content

Lauren Stephenson

Vice President of Global Marketing

This conference is developed for executives from the public & private sector who are:

CEOs/Heads of/Directors/Managers of:

Public Relations
Social Media


09:00 Opening remarks from the Chair 

Jacqui Abbott, Managing Director, Pulse Agency


Effectively leading teams and employees in times of crisis


9:10 Managing teams and employees in a world of virtual communication  

  • Utilising virtual communication platforms to stay connected and work together towards shared targets and goals 
  • Effectively connecting and building relationships with your employees to get the best out of your team 
  • How to inspire and motivate your team during times of crisis and disruption 


Olivia NunnDirector of CommunicationsUS ArmySoldier for LifeFormer Strategic Communication Planner – Office of the Chief of Army Public Affairs, US Army 


9:50 Political PR – understanding communications in a political environment

  • Understanding how Ministerial Offices work and how politicians think
  • The difference between making announcements and actually telling stories 
  • Building strong relationships between political leaders and the media 
  • Encouraging wellbeing and keeping track of what’s real and what really matters, while operating in a political ‘bubble’
  • A case study on developing programs that enhance wellbeing and encourage professional development in a 24/7 environment

Ellie Laing, Deputy Chief of staff, Office of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Jonathan O’Dea MP


10:30 Morning Break 


11:00  Panel Discussion

What attributes make a good leader? 

  • Examining the traits that you would attribute your success to 
  • Inspiring and driving your team to work collaboratively towards shared goals and visions 
  • Keeping sight of the long-term interests and broader vision of you staff and organisation  



Carden Calder, Managing Director and Founder, Blue Chip Communications 

Jacqueline Berry, Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement, Department of Transport Victoria

Ellie Laing, Deputy Chief of staff, Office of the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Jonathan O’Dea MP

Emma Sturgiss, Global Manager Public Relations, Tourism Australia


Developing the skills and attributes to communicate your value, advocate for yourself and influence top management 


11:50 Leveraging video as a tool to raise your company profile and increase your visibility and credibility 

  • Positioning yourself as a thought leader with video
  • Connecting and engaging your team virtually and setting the right sentiment
  • How to create videos easily and quickly at scale 

Melissa De Coster, Head of ContentShootsta

Lauren Stephenson, Vice President of Global Marketing, Shootsta  


12:30 Lunch Break 


1:30  Communications effectively and powerfully with stakeholders 

  • How to identify key internal and external stakeholders
  • Challenging ideas, authority, and bias ingrained in organisations  
  • How to communicate via virtual mediums whilst achieving maximum impact

Michelle, Head of Executive Communications, New Corp


2:1Collaborating with other executives to share learnings and thoughtprocesses 

  • Understanding the value in building your personal network to increase learnings  
  • Networking to grow from shared experiences, struggles and circumstances  
  • Getting the most out of your relationships with peers, superiors and mentors  


Jacqueline BerryDirector Corporate Communications and EngagementDepartment of Transport Victoria  


2:50 Afternoon Break  


3:20 Case Study 

Getting internal buy-in for business proposals and strategies 

  • How to create a case and pitch for higher management 
  • Proving your idea’s worth getting the final tick of approval 
  • How to share your vision and inspire your team to get on board and work towards the same goals 


Lauren Blank, Public Relations Manager Australia, Tourism New Zealand 


4:4End of day one and closing remarks from the Chair

9:00 Opening remarks from the Chair 

Michelle Sloane OAMDirector of Communications, Media and Corporate AffairsSydney Trains

9:10 Negotiating and advocating for yourself to advance your professional development 

  • Learning to take credit for your accomplishments and successes 
  • Defining and communicating your value to your organisation 
  • Advancing your ability to elevate your career path, resolve conflict and problem solve 

Jessica AppelgrenVice President CommunicationsImpossible Foods  


Looking to the future: supporting and building the next generation of female leadership 

9:50 Case Study

Nurturing the next generation of female leaders at Lóreal 

  • Outlining what women entering communications and public relations need from their role models   
  • The role of mentoring in grooming future leaders and planning for professional development   
  • Supporting executives along their career journey to reach the top in their field 

Christine BurkeCommunications DirectorL’Oréal Australia 


10:30 Morning Break 


11:0Panel Discussion
How to hold difficult conversations and manage performance as a leader 

  • Providing regular feedback and opportunities to address performance issues early on
  • Understanding the dynamics that influence effective performance management
  • Building robust relationships built on honesty, transparency and clear communication
  • Tackling relationships where feedback is unwelcome and authority needs to be established 


Stacey Moseley, Head of Public Relations and Communications, Loan Market

Imogen CorletteDirector Corporate Communications Strategic Project, NSW Department of Customer Service

Catrin Hobart, Head of Communications, eHealth NSW

Christine Burke, Communications Director, L’Oréal Australia

11:50 Case Study
Working to prepare women for leadership roles at eHealth NSW 

  • Creating opportunities and support to help women break the glass ceiling
  • Strategising to support women in communications beyond the traditional 9 to 5 workday 
  • Delving into the challenges of equal access to resourcesimplications of the boy’s club and the conflict between flexibility and growth 

Catrin HobartHead of CommunicationseHealth NSW  


12:30 Lunch Break 


1:3Managing change in uncertain times – the logistics and practicalities of strong communications 

  • Defining change and aligning it with business strategy in times of uncertainty  
  • Navigating the logistics of communicating change whilst maintaining team morale and engagement 
  • Measuring change effectiveness through suitable metrics that assess company performance accurately  

Michelle Sloane OAMDirector of Communications, Media and Corporate AffairsSydney Trains 


Breaking down professional roadblocks to advance your career 


2:1Harnessing your potential to ascend to the top of your profession 

  • Cultivating growth by challenging yourself to move outside your comfort zone  
  • Breaking leadership stereotypes in maledominated leadership roles  
  • Leveraging your natural ability to empathise, communicate and manage relationships as an asset within communications and public relations  

Stacey MoseleyHead of Public Relations and CommunicationsLoan Market 


2:50 Afternoon Tea 


3:20 Cementing communications as business-critical  

  • Driving the communications agenda in a competitive and commercial-results focused industry  
  • Making communications central to the decision making process; consideration of internal and external stakeholders  
  • Gaining credibility across a business as an expert and becoming the go-to person for advice across departments  
  • Leveraging communications skills to help drive complex business projects 

Lisa BrownHead of Public Relations and CommunicationsMenulog ANZ 


4:0Creating a communications strategy to gain credibility and executive buy in 

  • Taking executives on a journey to gain buy-in and achieve effective stakeholder alignment  
  • Balancing personal instinct and the evidence from data to communicate responsively during disruption and crisis  
  • Aligning your personal and professional goals to identify opportunities that highlight your strengths  
  • Developing persuasive strategies to influence and gain recognition 

Imogen CorletteDirector Communication Strategic ProjectsNSW Department of customer service 

4:4End of day two and closing remarks from the Chair

9:00 – 12:00 Workshop A  


Maintaining a work-life balance whilst leading in crisis 


Maintaining worklife balance when you work in an industry that never rests and need to keep up with a 24/7 environment is challenging. Virtual teams, working from home, and a disrupted economy and market in this context have made separating professional and personal commitments more challenging than they have ever been.  

It has never been more critical for female executives to have the tools and strategies in place to  establish boundaries, maximise efficiency and protect their mental health. 


Attendees to this workshop will learn to: 

  • How to effectively maximise your productivity without compromising on your personal time 
  • Align your personal and professional values to increase job satisfaction 
  • Strategies to establish boundaries and protect your time 
  • Use tools that protect your mental health and help you to build resilience to overcome setbacks 
  • Practical techniques to combat burnout and manage your time while working from home and connecting virtually 


Imogen CorletteDirector Communications Strategic Projects, NSW Department of Customer Service 


1:00 – 4:00 Workshop B  


Developing the skillset to lead with confidence and authority 

Communicating clearly and effectively has always been critical to the smooth running of business functions, however, asserting yourself as a leader and speaking up are challenges that women continue to face on a routine basis.  

This collaborative and practical workshop will equip attendees with effective strategies to make their leadership and voices heard and respected in the workplace. 


Don’t miss the chance to learn how to: 

  • Respond more effectively authoritatively in situations of crisis 
  • Be more self-assured in your leadership by leveraging your natural passion and convictions 
  • Maximise and reinforce your impact in discussions 
  • Strategise with industry peers to learn practical tips to build your confidence and improve the way you react 
  • Develop and embody the skills required to create impact and gain credibility 


Jacqueline Berry, Director Corporate Communications and Engagement, Department of Transport Victoria


Early bird discount

Book now and save $200

Team discount 

Register 3-4 delegates and receive an additional 10% DISCOUNT off the standard price
Register 5-7 delegates and receive an additional 15% DISCOUNT off the standard price
Register 8 or more delegates and receive an additional 20% DISCOUNT off the standard price


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