Shona Baxter
Director, Marketing and Communications, Australia

I think of myself as a frustrated creative existing within a corporate world!  Creativity, art and design is at the heart of everything I do. Working within the Commercial Real Estate sector for almost 15 years, I've continued to push the norm to innovate and bring a creative perspective to traditional B2B marketing and business development efforts.

After completing Graphic Design and Visual Communications at university, I have continued my education in Strategic Marketing at UTS and Digital Design at Tractor Design School.  It’s fair to say I ‘fell in’ to property, but have found it to be an exciting sector that is always evolving and presenting new challenges.  I continue to seek ways to break the corporate rules, discard the red tape and bring new thinking to all that I do.

Yolanda Beattie
Principal and Practice Leader – Diversity & Inclusion

I currently lead the diversity and inclusion practice for Mercer in Australia. In this role, I work with employers to analyse their people data and design interventions that create workplaces where everyone has equal access to development opportunities and earnings potential. Currently for most workplaces that means systems, policies and culture need to evolve so that groups that don't conform to the dominant norms (usually women, increasingly young fathers and people from different cultural backgrounds or who have a different sexual orientation) are on a level playing field with the group that does (usually white, middle aged men, working full time in the office).

It's fascinating work that changes the lives of individuals and the performance of companies. Embedding accountability for diversity and inclusion outcomes throughout companies and building manager capability is key. And, of course, nothing changes without leadership.

Caoimhe BuckleyWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Former VP Corporate Affairs Projects
BHP Billiton

Caoimhe is was Vice President, Corporate Affairs Projects at BHP Billiton’s global head office in Melbourne where she was leading a technology and corporate affairs team to design and implement the company’s digital workspace.  Prior to taking up this role in January, she was Vice President, Communications. She joined BHP Billiton in London in 2012 as head of public affairs for Europe.

Caoimhe has worked in strategic communications, brand and marketing, government relations and public policy, employee engagement, sustainability as well as digital. She has worked for different industries spanning consultancy (Saatchi & Saatchi), financial services (Standard Chartered), natural resources (BHP Billiton and the London Metal Exchange) and the public sector (European Commission and UK Trade & Investment) and has worked in the UK, Ireland, Spain, France, China, Australia and South Korea.  

Caoimhe has a Masters in Economic Science, from University College Dublin, and a Masters in Politics and Economics from Trinity College Dublin.

Caoimhe lives in Brighton, Victoria with her husband and two children.

Caroline CaseyWomen communications public relations conference 2016 August Sydney
Director of Product & Audience
Yahoo 7

Caroline joined Yahoo7 as Director of Product and Audience in February 2014. In this role she is responsible for growing the Yahoo7 audience and the development and enhancement of its range of consumer products including, catch-up TV service PLUS7, Flickr, Yahoo7 Mail, Yahoo7 news, sport, entertainment and lifestyle sites as well as the Yahoo7 homepage.

Caroline has an extensive background in digital development, content production and management for some of the world’s biggest media brands including A+E Networks UK, CNN International, Turner Broadcasting and Fairfax Media.

Angela Coombes
Public Relations Manager
NEC Australia

Senior communications professional with expertise in corporate communications strategies for enterprise software, hardware and ICT services. With over sixteen years practical experience managing local and global marketing, corporate communications and media relations campaigns, Angela is an accomplished communications strategist, with a proven track record of managing successful campaigns for some of the world’s leading ICT companies.

Helen Corcoran
Marketing and Communications Director
Clean Energy Finance Corporation

Helen is Marketing and Communications Director for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), an Australian Government agency which is working across the economy to drive the adoption of clean energy solutions to reduce carbon emissions. 

Helen has broad experience across corporate affairs, marketing and communications. She is passionate about the central role of integrated marketing and communication in engaging stakeholders and driving change, including for investors and business, media, policy makers and employees. 

Helen began her career as a journalist, covering politics and sport, and has had broad professional experience in Australia and globally, working with senior leaders in both private and listed entities.

Jackie Crossman
Red Agency

Jackie Crossman is a distinguished member of the Australasian PR community by any measure – longevity, client acquisition and impact, industry service, peer recognition or awards success.

A Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) and frequent judge of PRIA’s Golden Target Awards and State Awards for Excellence, Crossman is a corporate and marketing communications specialist with extensive experience and expertise in issues and crisis management, social media activation, event and sponsorship solutions and media strategy, relations and interview skills training.

Her early career was in radio and after a grounding in PR with global firm Burson-Marsteller, Crossman founded her own consultancy in New Zealand in 1988, a business that eventually became Porter Novelli New Zealand of which she was Managing Director.

Prior to forming Crossman Communications again in Australia in 2003, she was Executive Director of NISAD Schizophrenia Research based at the Garvan Institute in Sydney.

The creator of the long-running Weet-Bix Kids Tryathlon, National Vegetarian Week and ‘Thank You Day’ for Research Australia, Crossman has counseled many of Australia’s most successful companies and has won multiple PR awards at state, national and international level.

Sofia Dedes
National Media and Strategic Communications Manager
The Heart Foundation or Australia

Having spent a good part of her 15 year career advising Government Ministers and Premiers, Sofia Dedes has also worked for United Nations in Lebanon and prides herself on being cool in a crisis.  Sofia increased the profile and promoted the research work of the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne and now at the Heart Foundation of Australia, educates the community about the risk of heart disease, Australia’s single biggest killer.

A Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), her early career was spent in journalism, working for both The Age and Leader Newspapers. A firm believer in advocating for the greater good and carving a path for the next generation of journalists and media professionals, Sofia now also sits on the board of Student Youth Network (SYN) Media at RMIT.

Catherine Donovan
Head of Publicity
Network Ten

Catherine Donovan is Head of Publicity at Network Ten with more than 14 years’ experience in PR and Publicity in the commercial sector. Catherine joined Network Ten in 2004 and went on to hold several senior publicity roles including Sydney Publicity Manager and Network Publicity Manger, Sport, before she was appointed Head of Publicity in September 2012. Prior to joining Network Ten, Catherine worked in the communication department of Warner Village Theme Parks.

Jayne DullardWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Executive Director Communications
The Royal Children's Hospital

As a newspaper journalist and editor, radio producer and broadcaster, communications consultant, company CEO and board director, Jayne has spent more than 25 years studying how people consume and respond to information.

She joined The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne as Executive Director Communications late in 2012. The award-winning social media footprint built by Jayne and her team has made the RCH Australia’s most visited online health service, and become the hospital’s key tool for issue and crisis management. But in a business where life and death are negotiated daily, Jayne’s greatest achievement has been to change how information is shared inside the organisation, with significant results.

Kate Greenwood
Insights Specialist

Kate is an Insights Specialist at Isentia, where she produces media analysis for a wide range of government clients. Kate has been researching media for over ten years, and is fascinated by the stories we tell ourselves through the media about ourselves and the world we live in, and how we can use data about these stories to enact change. Kate’s research on gender and age discrimination has been recognised with awards from the international Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication.

Kate holds a PhD in English from the University of Adelaide, where she also worked as a tutor and lecturer in the disciplines of English and Media, and is currently completing a Master of Publishing and Communications at the University of Melbourne.

Angela Harper
Communications Director
Queensland Resources Council

I have spent the past 16 years working as a journalist and in media relations across government, as PR Director for a global ad agency, an international mining company and now the Queensland Resources Council. Before completing my degree in PR and Journalism, I spent 10 years as an aviation paramedic in the Australian Army which gave me a solid foundation and work ethic as well as a lifelong commitment to health and fitness and, not only a love for teamwork, but to take the lead when required.

Imogen Hewitt
Chief Strategy Officer
Havas Media

Imogen has spent the last 16 years learning, honing and learning some more in full service, media and creative agencies both in Australia and South East Asia. In those years she has held many positions with roles across media, digital, creative, brand and  agency management. In 2010 Imogen moved to Singapore to become founder and managing partner of Naked Communications South East Asia. She managed clients such as Coca-Cola, Diageo and Nokia across multiple markets. During her time at the helm the agency held assignments from countries as diverse as China, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and India. 

Her broad background has sharpened her ability to think across disciplines and channels; To be able to bring a diverse strategic point of view to the tasks and challenges of communications now.

She is passionate about ideas, but no less passionate about the propagation of them. A dedicated believer in the power of great content, made greater still by brilliant context.

She holds herself, her work and her colleagues to the truth that "what we do is largely insignificant to real people getting on with real lives, so we had better make it spectacular".

Imogen has received numerous industry awards and judged many high profile awards - Most recently (2014/5)- Festival of Media global, Festival of media APAC, WARC prize for Asian Strategy.

Meshlin KhouriWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Director of Communications
Johnson & Johnson Medical

Meshlin Khouri is a highly experienced communications executive who works as a member of the senior leadership teams in complex, global organisations. With a background in healthcare, IT and professional services, she provides strategic communications expertise to manage, protect and enhance an organisation’s reputation in a competitive and dynamic business environment. She is passionate about using quality communication to build a brand, drive strategy execution and leverage employee engagement.

Meshlin has an impressive record of managing crises and issues to protect a brand’s reputation, and establishing companies as opinion leaders in industry and regulatory reform.  As Director of Communications for Johnson & Johnson Medical (JJM) Australia and New Zealand, she is responsible for developing and implementing integrated media and internal communications strategies.

Meshlin has previously held senior strategic communications roles for KPMG and EY, where she elevated the reputation of both firms by winning prestigious industry awards and influential thought leadership positioning. Prior to this, she spent a decade working in a variety of senior high profile communications and marketing roles at IBM. She was also Corporate Affairs Senior Manager Merck Sharp & Dohme, where she launched a number of new medicines.

In addition to her current role, Meshlin is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council.

Meshlin is a member of Women on Boards. She has an MBA (Business) from Macquarie Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communications & Japanese) from Macquarie University.

Dr Melanie King
Manager Media and Public Affairs
The Benevolent Society

Dr Melanie King is Manager Media and Public Affairs for The Benevolent Society as well as a Sessional Lecturer and tutor in Public Communication at University of Technology, Sydney. She is a Fellow at the Public Relations Institute of Australia. Previously, she as Head of Public Relations at 303MullenLowe, Managing Director at Mango Communications and Group Director Technology & B2B at PPR Australia.

Ava LawlerWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Managing Director, Australia
Weber Shandwick

Ava has had a 26 year global career in communications spanning the Australian, Chinese, Asia Pacific, UK and South African markets.

Ava is currently Managing Director of Weber Shandwick's Australian operations.

Ava spent 20 years of her career with Text 100 (including its sister company, AUGUST.ONE Communications) and was most recently serving as its Global Consultancy Director. She led the firm’s transformation to become a leader in integrated digital communications and consulted directly to the CEO on business strategy and talent management.

During her career Ava has spent more than 13 years establishing and managing businesses either locally or across Asia Pacific. In Australia she set-up two PR firms for the Next Fifteen Group (Text 100 and AUGUST.ONE Communications), both of which experienced significantly high growth under Ava’s leadership.

Client campaigns during Ava’s career have included ANZ, Australian Sugar Industry, Bayer, Brambles Commonwealth Bank , IBM, Monash University, Microsoft, Nokia, Telstra, Seppelt Wines, SABIC and Virgin Mobile.

Specialties: Business and team leadership, strategic planning, corporate communications consultancy, training services and talent development.

Allison Lee
Director, Media and Public Relations
Destination NSW

With more a career spanning more than 20 years in agency, in-house and government roles, Allison Lee is an award-winning communications professional with experience managing international PR campaigns, communications marketing, corporate affairs, internal communications and crises and issues management.

Allison is the Director of Media and PR at Destination NSW, the State Government’s tourism and major events agency, and leads a team of PR professionals to promote NSW domestically and internationally as a major event destination to assist achieve the goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure in NSW by 2020.

Allison’s role includes promoting Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest festival of light, music, and ideas, to Australian and International visitors. Owned, managed, and produced by Destination, Vivid Sydney attracted more than 2.31 million visitors in 2016, an increase of 35.4% against the previous year.

Suhana Lye
Head of Brand Communications

Angela Maher
Director Marketing, Media and Communications 
The iQ Group Global

Angela is a communications professional with broad experience across branding, internal communications, marketing communications, corporate communications and media.

Her experience spans a range of industries from government agencies through to FMCG, Energy and Airlines. Having worked with both international and local brands and organisations including Coca-Cola Amatil, Qantas Airlines, and AGL Energy Angela can share her experience of building functions, process and teams to meet the ever-changing and increasing demands for communication professionals in the new digital and social world.

Alana MannWomen communications public relations conference 2016 August Sydney
Senior Lecturer Director of Degree Master of Strategic PR
The University of Sydney

Dr Alana Mann is  Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. Prior to joining the academy in 2006 she worked in marketing and public relations in organisations including Fairfax Media, The Smith Family and Bertelsmann UK. She leads research projects within the Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) and the Charles Perkins Centre, and sits on the executive committee of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA), an organisation dedicated to creating a more ecologically sound and fairer food system for all Australians.

In 2014 Palgrave Macmillan published her book on international food sovereignty campaigns, Global Activism in Food Politics: Power Shift.

Vanessa MarvenWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Head of Marketing and Communications

From hosting media at New York Fashion Week to producing a campaign shoot in remote Outback Australia, Vanessa Marven has enjoyed a diverse career in marketing and communications for some of the world’s most recognised brands including HUGO BOSS, R.M.Williams and Universal Pictures.

With a career spanning nearly two decades, Vanessa has also applied her expertise to the not for profit sector, developing and promoting campaigns such as Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, to create public awareness and research funding for breast cancer in young women.

Vanessa has particular expertise in PR, CRM, retail marketing and brand partnerships and enjoys team management and mentoring.

She is currently Head of Marketing for HUGO BOSS Australia/New Zealand, based in Melbourne.

Nicole McInnesWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Marketing Director Australia 

Nicole has been fascinated with people and how they connect for years and has made a successful marketing career finding the common point between brands, our community and people’s lives. Having been a blogger, opinion writer and multi-award winning creative, Nicole has combined that whimsy with a deep curiosity for data and how it provides people with relevant, engaging and helpful information, and companies with the results to grow sustainably.

With marketing and advertising experience across 22 years, including stints with Amex, Dell, AAPT, Pandora Music and now leading the eHarmony team in Australia, Nicole believes creativity and strategic data insights combined is the best future for marketing. McInnes added "Each on its own is effective in business but put data and creative together with equal focus and they have the amazing potential to enhance people's lives beyond the short term P&L".

Jennifer Muir
National President

As one of Australia and Asia’s leading communication professionals, Jennifer brings more than 21 years’ experience in media relations, major events management, government relations, community and stakeholder relations, strategic engagement, and advocacy.
Jennifer has extensive media, policy and program development expertise. She also provides senior counsel to industry peak bodies and NGO leadership teams on effective engagement and communication.

Bernadette MurdochWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Head of Communications – Australasia

A corporate communications professional with more than 15 years experience leading teams across Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Extremely interested in how digital technology is disrupting industries and changing the way we work, learn, entertain ourselves and live every aspect of our life and how people, organisations and governments respond to the disruption.

Throughout my career, I have built strong corporate reputations, reduced the impact of issues and crises, created and implemented campaigns to build brands and sell products, and engaged and aligned employees behind the business strategy.

I have strong analytical skills, sound judgement and a focus on results. I am used to setting direction and building high performing teams in a complex and ambiguous environment.

Lorraine Murphy 
Founder & Managing Director 
The Remarkables Group

Founder and Head of Relationships at The Remarkables Group, the first dedicated influencer talent agency in Australia, which launched in May 2012 and represents a boutique group of 26 of the leading influencers in Australia - who have a combined reach of 8 million people a month.

Has built a reputation as one of Australia's foremost experts on influencer marketing, whose work has been recognised with both awards and media coverage. The agency has scooped awards including: Content Marketer of the Year, Emerging Agency of the Year and Australian Start-up of the Year.

Brings background in PR and communications strategy to assist brands in reaching their target audience by creating integrated campaigns across multiple social media channels.

Advocate for social media campaigns that deliver incredible results for brands and also support bloggers.

Avid trend-watcher and participant in social media who lectures in the strategic use of social media at both the University of New South Wales and Sydney University.

Passionate about entrepreneurship, especially about inspiring more women to start their own businesses.

Susan Redden Makatoa 
Group Managing Director, Corporate 
Ogilvy Public Relations

Susan has over 20 years’ experience in corporate communications, advocacy and change management. She creates clear and compelling campaigns carefully aligned with business goals. Particular strengths include communication strategy and implementation, media relations, message and media training and facilitation. At Ogilvy PR with oversight of a number of the companies and product offerings within the group, including public affairs company Parker & Partners, employee engagement and change communication consultancy, Ogilvy Impact, and Ogilvy’s Issues and Crisis Unit.

Previously a partner at SenateSHJ, Susan has extensive experience working at the highest level with major business and corporate communications clients and has won IABC Gold Quills, PRIA Golden Targets and Gold SABRE awards for for her work with clients. She is on the boards of Tresillian Family Care Centres, the Touched by Olivia Foundation and social philanthropy company Benojo. She is a keen advocate for workplace equity and is Chair of Executive Women Australia and a speaker on the importance of flexible working, including a presentation at TEDx Macquarie University.

Michelle Robbé
Coaching & Business Psychologist
Michelle Robbé Psychology and Consulting

Michelle is passionate about coaching leaders to leverage their strengths and have the courage to recognise and address potentially derailing behaviours in order to facilitate lasting change for optimal personal and organisational impact. She is an experienced executive coach, organisational development (OD) consultant and facilitator who is able to combine significant corporate and commercial experience with a background in senior management, business administration, organisational psychology and coaching psychology. Michelle has coached over 100 leaders and emerging leaders and has been appointed to the NSW Government Executive Coaching Panel since 2013. Michelle is a registered psychologist with a Master of Organisational Psychology and a Master of Business Administration.

Michelle has  more than a decade of middle, senior and board management experience at companies like IBM and Telstra and knows first-hand what it is to provide leadership through change and optimising organisational performance. She has spent over 20 years in designing and delivering programs for developing leadership skills and facilitating personal growth. She has also worked as a marketing manager and product development manager and so has an appreciation for the communications and PR landscape. She has worked with commercial, government and not-for–profit sectors across six industries (Health, Tertiary Education, ITC, Change Management, Coaching, Psychology Services).

Lisa RonsonWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Chief Marketing Officer
Tourism Australia

Marketing is responsible for the creation and development of Tourism Australia’s brand assets for global campaigns. Marketing manages the roll out of Tourism Australia’s global marketing strategy, ensuring that Australia’s tourism marketing efforts continue to cut through in the competitive international marketplace. Lisa Ronson is the Chief Marketing Officer of Marketing for Tourism Australia.

Lisa Ronson joined Tourism Australia in February 2015. Lisa has over 16 years’ experience in marketing working across a diverse range of brands and industries. Prior to joining Tourism Australia Lisa was the General Manager, Brand and Advertising for Westpac. Lisa has also held roles with Carlton and United Breweries as Senior Marketing Manager, with Visa International as Marketing Director for Australia and NZ, with Telstra as Head of Marketing Services and David Jones as General Manager, Marketing.

Claire SalvettiWomen in Communications and Public Relations conference 2016 Sydney
Managing Director
One Green Bean

I am an energetic and brave PR professional with senior management experience in Australian, UK and International brand communications.

I deliver strategic, effective campaigns that result in earned & owned media and integrate into the bigger marketing picture.

As a leader and coach, I inspire and empower my teams to be curious, brave and strive for excellence, whilst enjoying the journey.

Kelly Ward
Industry Promotions Manager
Dairy Australia

Kelly Ward is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia and a strategic communications specialist with 30 years of public relations, marketing communications and media experience.

She has a special interest in developing and implementing social marketing campaigns to prompt behaviourial change and brings this experience to Dairy Australia where she is responsible for communications to support the Legendairy roll-out and related marketing initiatives.

Prior to joining Dairy Australia, Kelly enjoyed a long career as a public relations consultant working with local and international public relations consultancies.  Her award-winning work includes the annual community education campaign, ‘National Healthy Bones Week’, which she established; Vaalia yoghurt’s probiotic health education campaign; and, ‘Donate Food Day’ on behalf of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, its members and FoodBank Australia

Lynn Weekes
Chief Executive Officer 
NPS Medicinewise Group

As inaugural chief executive officer of NPS MedicineWise, Lynn has contributed significantly to the development of quality use of medicines (QUM) resources and services for health professionals and consumers in Australia since 1998.
In the 2013 Queen's Birthday honours Lynn was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to Australian community health through the promotion of quality use of medicines.

With her expertise in the QUM area Lynn sits, by invitation, on various national boards and committees from government, pharmacy and academic sectors.
As part of her PhD thesis, Organisational Structures to Promote Quality Use of Medicines, Lynn developed indicators for QUM for drug and therapeutics committees and for hospitals more generally. She has a strong professional interest in quality assurance, behaviour change and pharmacoepidemiology.

Prior to Lynn's appointment to NPS MedicineWise, she was executive officer of NSW Therapeutic Assessment Group where she was involved in drug use practice, evaluation and policy. 

Ursula Williams
PR and Communications Manager 

Ursula leads public relations and communications for PANDORA Jewelry across Australia and New Zealand. Working closely with digital and marketing, she drives communication of PANDORA’s brand and full-line jewellery offering to support strategic initiatives. Pioneering PANDORA’s digital influencer strategy, Ursula has forged meaningful relationships with a large community of fashion and lifestyle talent. Working across media relations, content development, fashion events, experiential, internal communications and more, Ursula is passionate about finding new and creative ways to tell brand and collection stories. 

Ursula has worked in a number of different industries for a range of global and local brands, working in-house and agency side. She has led numerous high-profile PR initiatives, from health awareness campaigns to crisis communications, new product launches to corporate rebranding. Previously she worked in the alcohol industry for a number of years, gaining strong experience in leveraging sponsorships and brand activations to drive positive brand exposure, while also overseeing a global digital and social media strategy, managing relationships with distributor teams and agencies in over 10 markets.

Ursula teaches Fashion PR at FBI Fashion College, having a strong desire to give back to the industry and guide up and coming PR talent.

She holds a BA in Public Relations and Organisational Communication from Charles Sturt University

Speaking opportunities are also available! 

Present your company, showcase your expertise and demonstrate how you can help by speaking to this gathering of leaders in the field of PR & communications. 

Use this unique forum to voice your opinions on the most important issues facing PR and comms today. Speakers will assert themselves as facilitators of the future success of communications professionals.

Contact Deen Haniff on +61 (0)2 8188 7501 or deenh@questevents.com.au to find out how we can put you in front of a highly engaged and receptive audience.

You can also download a copy of the partnership prospectus here.

Women in Comms and PR 2016