Challenging our Thinking series - 'He Said, She Said' (27th August)

We are delighted to announce our next Challenging our Thinking Series event, a speaking engagement in Melbourne on the 27th of August.

He Said, She Said

In a complex, changing, volatile, connected, uneasy, unhealthy, inventive, creative world...what makes for good leadership?

Join us for an evening of discussion hosted by Fabian Dattner with a panel moderated by Partner Jim Grant, along with a panel of 3 male and 3 female leaders, talking about what leadership skills it will take to ensure a sustainable healthy planet, whether or not those leadership skills are apparent today, and the extent to which gender imbalance may play a role in this.

This will be an entertaining, interactive evening where you will have ample opportunity to ask the panel any question you like - challenge their thinking and challenge your own!

Date: Wednesday, the 27th of August
Time: 6pm arrival until 8pm
Venue: Kew Golf Club, 120 Belford Road, East Kew, VIC, 3102
Tickets: $30 including a glass of wine on arrival and nibbles, plus our usual group rate of $120 for as many people as you would like to invite

Click here to book

Please contact Ami Summers for more information via email: or call 0409 708 471.

Meet the Panel

Dr. Jess Melbourne-Thomas
Ecological Modeller and Antarctic Scientist, Australian Antarctic Division

Jess is a marine biologist who works as a research scientist with the Australian Antarctic Division and the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. She has a PhD in Quantitative Marine Science from the University of Tasmania and was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford from 2003 – 2005. Jess has a passion for the marine environment, which extends well beyond the office – she is a keen scuba diver and dive instructor and has had the privilege of being part of a research team in Antarctica. Representing a new breed in leadership, Jess was also integral to forming a group known as Women In Polar Science, which grew to over 400 women globally in a few weeks once formed, This group is supporting each other and other women scientists across the world, and are currently working in partnership with Dattner Grant on a project that will involve delivering women's leadership program. Jess is also the Tasmanian Ambassador for Compass, our women in leadership program.

Peter Wilson
Chairman of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI)

Peter Wilson AM is Chairman of the Australian Human Resource Institute, Chairman of Yarra Valley Water, and a Director on the World HR Federation, and the Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Foundation.   He was Chair of Vision Super until the end of his rotational term on 30 June 2014 and continues as a Director of the board and as Chair of Vision Super’s Audit Committee.  He led the Business Council’s program to mentor senior executive women, is an Advisory Council member of the Harvard Business Review, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Management at Monash University. He authored the book “Make Mentoring Work” in 2012. Peter held senior executive appointments at ANZ, Amcor and the Federal Treasury, CEO of the Energy 21 Group, and also a range of senior board directorships. Peter lives in Melbourne and has two adult children.

Yolanda Vega
CEO of Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry 

Yolanda represented Australia at the first Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women's Economic Summit (WES), chaired by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in 2011. In 2012 Yolanda presented the AWCCI national research paper on female entrepreneurs at WES in Russia to 21 APEC economies. She also represented Australia as a 'Young Leader' at the 2009 International Women's Forum World Conference.Yolanda has owned several small businesses and was appointed to the Federal Government Ministerial Advisory Council in 2014 and the Small Business Advisory Committee in May 2012. Yolanda has appeared on several TV and radio programs including Q and A and has featured in BRW, SMH, The Australian Financial Review, The Telegraph, The Australian Women's Weekly, The Age, and The Australia, to name a few.

Richard McCarthy

General Manager - Boral Waste Solutions 
Richard McCarthy has been with Boral Limited for the past six years, most recently in his role as General Manager of Boral Waste Solutions, of which he has full strategic accountability and manages an innovative Waste project which seeks to change the way Boral develops and operates sustainable landfills from exhausted quarry voids. Richard is leading these new processes through state of the art cell construction, waste management and resource recovery processes, Boral Waste Solutions incorporates biogas-to-energy plants to generate 'green' electricity from decomposing waste. Before his current role, he was Group Strategy and M&A Manager where he coordinated the annual strategic plan for the Board and delivered various corporate and division projects. His breath of strategic experience spans over 20 years in managerial roles including Senior Associate of Booz & Company, Operations Manager and Strategy and Development Manager for Shell. Richard has three children and is mastering the art of playing guitar.

Caitlin Patterson
Director - Fresh Meal Solutions, General Mills 
A highly experienced FMCG marketer and strategy leader with General Mills ANZ, Caitlin made the leap into General Management in 2012 to run the newly acquired Pasta Master Fresh meals business and has not looked back!  In her strategy role before this Caitlin led the due diligence and acquisition of Pasta Master in 2010/11 and took over the General Management in 2012.  The business now has retail sales of ~$180MM and is growing fast in an extremely dynamic market. Caitlin’s current role is Director – Fresh Meal Solutions, General Mills Australasia.Completing a double degree in Marketing & Psychology Caitlin’s first role was in advertising and she then moved into FMCG via a graduate program sales role with Sunicrust Bakeries.  Following that Caitlin moved and advanced through Brand Marketing & Sponsorship Management roles at Spring Valley and Cadbury Schweppes, to critical Marketing Management roles at Kraft Foods and General Mills. In 2009 Caitlin was promoted to the Director Team at General Mills into the role of Director – Business Strategy & Improvement.  Caitlin is happily married to Mark, has a son Rex and a cavoodle Rusty and loves spending time with family and friends. Enjoying setting herself new challenges, in the past few years Caitlin has tried her hand at some black ski runs in Japan, the role of lead singer of the Hoodlum Circus, and surfing for the first time in Hawaii.

Hugh Van Cuylenberg
Founding Director of The Resilience Project and CEO of Step Back Think

Hugh has been working in education for over 10 years. Starting out as a primary school teacher, he then moved into a position with Cricket Victoria as a development facilitator working with disengaged adolescents. Hugh went on to be appointed Head of Education at En Masse, a training and culture change organisation. The highlight of his teaching career, however, was the year he spent in the far north of India volunteering and living at an underprivileged school in the Himalayas. It was here that he discovered resilience in its purest form. Inspired by this experience (and subsequent trips to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) Hugh returned to Melbourne and commenced working on his own programs for schools. 'The Resilience Project' was born. Strongly influenced by the work of Professor Martin Seligman and Dr Karen Reivich, Hugh's presentations emphasise the value of gratitude, empathy, kindness, positivity, optimism and mindfulness. Of note, Hugh has developed and facilitated programs for troubled youth around regional Victoria and written and implemented programs for the Education Department. Hugh is also the CEO of Step Back Think.


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