The Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA)
The Women’s Leadership Institute Australia (WLIA) is a not-for-profit organisation, founded by Carol Schwartz AO. WLIA is the research and advocacy arm of the Trawalla Foundation, focused on finding the best levers for change to achieve equal voice, equal representation and equal recognition for women in Australia.
We fundamentally believe in the value of more female leaders. This is about optimising outcomes for our country by ensuring that men and women together share power, leadership and decision making.
We believe that we must grow the critical mass of female leaders in politics, business and the media to truly disrupt and change the way decision making is done. Equal representation will shape culture, decision making, collaboration, and ultimately reflect community issues in a more fulsome way.
We’re independent and apolitical
We’re agile and entrepreneurial
We’re bold and courageous
We’re pragmatic and collaborative
How We Work
We amplify and advocate
We leverage our expertise and networks
We scan the world for best practices and bring them to Australia
We partner to test and demonstrate
Our board works to inspire and affect systemic solutions to achieve gender equality in leadership.
CAROL SCHWARTZ AO
Carol Schwartz AO is one of Australia’s most dynamic business and community leaders with a diverse career across property, the arts, finance, investment, entrepreneurship, government and health. Carol is highly regarded as a public commentator and agitator on issues of gender equality, women’s leadership, governance and business.
Carol has been recognised for her leadership via a range of honours including her 2019 appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia, an Honorary Doctorate from Monash University, induction into the Australia Property Hall of Fame, and a Centenary Medal. Carol was also named one of Australia’s most influential women in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s Inaugural 100 Women of Influence Awards and inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll.
Carol has chaired and participated in numerous listed and private company boards, and has also chaired major government boards and conducted significant inquiries on behalf of government. Carol’s current board roles include the Reserve Bank of Australia, EQT Holdings Limited, Qualitas Property Partners and Skalata Ventures.
Throughout her career Carol has been a passionate advocate for women in leadership, particularly in business, politics and the media. As Chair of the Trawalla Foundation and the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia, she has catalysed a range of practical solutions, including the Pathways to Politics Program for Women, the Panel Pledge, and the Women for Media database. Carol is also the Founding Chair of Our Community, a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women’s Leadership Board, and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership Advisory Board, Kings College.
Denis Moriarty AM is Group Managing Director of Our Community and a Trustee of the Trawalla Foundation. He has a strong background in executive and change management in both the government and private sectors. His early career in the 1980s was as a bureaucrat tearing down pictures of Queen Elizabeth in government offices and pushing through government reforms and privatisation as a Deputy Secretary and Commissioner.
Denis' inspiration for starting Our Community came through his involvement in not-for-profit boards, which led to a realisation that technology and knowledge could be democratised to accelerate social sector reform. This thinking was crystallised during his 18-month participation in the Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Awards, run through the Ethics Centre.
Denis was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honors list in 2020 for his significant service to the community, to social welfare, and to public administration. Denis also received the Centenary Medal in 2001 in recognition of him establishing Our Community.
He describes himself as a social capitalist - believing markets, wealth and giving can be revolutionary when they are combined with a progressive social agenda. He loves that the biggest philanthropists in the world exist primarily through their amazing business acumen.
Denis believes we (including governments) need to be constantly reminded that while we often delight in and promote the value of our "communities", we forget they are often just an abstract notion, and that it's the 600,000 community organisations in Australia that are the true catalysers of communities. That is why the mission of Our Community is to build stronger communities through stronger community organisations.
Non-Executive Director & Secretary
Director of Our Community.
Kathy has a background in journalism and communications, and a long-standing passion for equality and social justice. She contributes to strategy formulation and implementation at Our Community, as well as overseeing content and publications.
Kathy joined the Our Community team in its formative years, working alongside the founder and board to meet the challenges of pursuing the dual goals of social benefit and profit. With her expertise in ethical business, she has played a key role in many significant Our Community initiatives, including GiveNow, Australia’s first donations platform, SmartyGrants, Australia’s leading grants management system, and the Institute of Community Directors Australia, which provides practical support to not-for-profit directors.
Kathy has served on a range of not-for-profit boards and committees on a voluntary basis. In 2014 she became an Eisenhower Fellow, travelling to the United States for seven weeks to complete a study of social impact projects. The questions she asks most often include ‘What’s the evidence that it works?’ and ‘How will we know if we are making progress?’
Madeleine has almost a decade of experience in leadership roles across higher education and government, and has been a trusted adviser to a number of senior Ministers, CEOs and heads of large organisations.
Throughout her career, Madeleine has been dedicated to exploring the power of authentic communication in leadership and has proven success building inclusive teams and leading complex programs of global strategy, change and engagement work. After working as Communications Manager at WGEA, Madeleine took this experience into supporting D&I teams at RMIT to develop and roll out sector leading policies around equal representation.
At an enterprise level, she led the engagement around a new bargaining agreement that recognised non gendered parental leave and flexible work arrangements in 2017. Madeleine has always been passionate about empowering more women to move into leadership, and loves to support early to mid career women as an accredited organisational and leadership coach.
Madeleine is the Founder and Director of Shape & Impact, a consulting and advisory practice helping purpose-led organisations and leaders drive strategic impact.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts/Media and Communications majoring in Political Science from The University of Melbourne and has undertaken further study at Melbourne Business School and through Harvard Business School Online. As well as sitting on the board of the Women's Leadership Institute of Australia, Madeleine also serves as Board Chair of CEAV Careers Counselling Australia.
As a CEO, senior executive, entrepreneur, publisher and business journalist Amanda has been a leader in the Australian communications and media industry for 25 years.
Amanda is now at the forefront of corporate communications transformation with deep expertise in social and digital media. As CEO of Notable Media, she works with CEOs, executives, managers and employees to create great social profiles, develop new communication strategies and skills to build trust and engagement, deepen customer and employee relationships and connect with new audiences including media.
She also runs the award-winning NotableWomen program, which has trained thousands of professional women to be visible and active in news media and professional social media.
Previously she was head of Head of Digital and Social Media for ANZ Bank where she pioneered the bank’s social media strategy and got many employees active and engaging. She was associate editor of BlueNotes, ANZ’s thought leadership publication and headed up ANZ newsroom. Prior to that Amanda created and build business media brands including SmartCompany, Start-Up Smart, Women’s Agenda, Fast 100 and was publisher of BRW and SmartInvestor.
Amanda is a sought-after trainer, presenter and speaker, addressing international world conferences, peak industry associations and company audiences, tailoring her talks so the audience always comes away inspired to take action. Amanda is a graduate of the Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and was an Adjunct Professor of Business at RMIT for 18 years.
"Twenty-five years ago, I spoke at a conference of 500 or so business leaders and I asked the question out loud “Where are the women?” 25 years later, I am still asking that same question! I’m passionate about the value of more female leaders, particularly in business, politics, and the media...We need to grow the critical mass of women in leadership to ensure that both men and women bring their diverse experience to the table, and work together in leadership and decision making to optimise the outcomes for our country."
CAROL SCHWARTZ AO, Founding Chair
The WLIA Team
Leadership and strategy:
Content and special projects:
Events and administrative support:
Finance and reporting:
Jessica Bonacini & Cristina Franco