IWFA Values

We are diverse, open and real.

We build trust and nurture a safe and caring environment.

We are determined to make a difference for each other and the next generation of women leaders.


We thrive on…

Sharing leadership stories, life experience and ideas to nurture our community, while reaching out to the membership to draw inspiration for our own personal journeys. We create opportunities for women leaders of the future to tap into the knowledge and support of the IWFA collective. We leverage and contribute to the global IWF network to promote better leadership for a changing world.

President’s message - kate mason

Hello wonderful IWFA Sista’s,

Following a very productive strategy session in Hobart last month, let me start by saying how incredibly proud I am to work with the IWF Australia board and to have represented our members through an incredible 2018. Let me congratulate our new Board Members Bronwyn Klei, Maria MacNamara and Maxine Morand and thank our retiring Board Directors Cathy Doyle and Chris Gilles.

The highlight of the year was, of course, the Melbourne Conference. Our key priority moving into 2018 was to create an event that showcased the warmth of the IWF Australia sistahood (as I like to call it) and the pioneering through-leadership of our beautiful country, to the world of IWF. With nearly 500 women leaders travelling to Melbourne, including 90 of our own members nationally, what a truly outstanding event it was! At the recent global conference in Miami, Australian delegates were still being inundated with glowing compliments regarding our warm welcome, our cutting edge content and our embodiment of a caring and courageous sistahood. Well done.

Further priorities for 2018 were set out to include increasing the diversity of our membership across professional, cultural, generational and geographical targets. I am very excited to say that our standard of membership continues to retain a very high bar professionally, as well as rigorous consideration taking in the cognitive diversity and community-mindedness brought by the candidate.

Reflecting our targets at the 2017 AGM, our membership engagement levels across both events and communications, continues to sit high on the scale, with 91% of our women actively coming together across events, social media and workplace to nurture and support each other. With financial planning in a healthy position, thanks to Treasurer Catherine Curry-Hyde, and governance emphasising a long-term view to succession planning, I feel we are truly setting IWF Australia up for a sustainable future.

At the IWFA Board Strategy Session in Hobart last month, we sat down with our stated values and purpose in front of us and concluded that our intent has stood the test of time. We reviewed our 2017 goals thoroughly and, as represented in my post-AGM 2018 report, found that our priorities have been actively pursued by the respective directors and continue to carry us forward to exciting years ahead.

It is my absolute pleasure as your President to carry out the year in review.

  1. The Melbourne Conference -

  2. New Communication Channels and Language

The Top Five Priorities for 2019 are:

  1. The IWF Australian inaugural Symposium: Responding to many requests from across our membership, we are tremendously excited to hold the Symposium on May 3-4, 2019 in South Australia. The event is about coming together as one sistahood to connect and grow. Hopefully you have already marked these dates in your diaries and responded to the survey we have sent out this week. Watch this space!

  2. Growing the Leaders of Tomorrow. Our fabulous Chrissy Gilles is going to lead a pilot program in Melbourne for aspiring emerging women leaders to learn from both the professional and personal experiences of our members. We have been thrilled at the very high response rate the Mentoring Letter has had amongst our members. Thank you to so many of you for wanting to be involved.

  3. Sustainability and succession planning. This is a high priority topic for the Board and the Nominations Committee. Over the next two years we have all remaining Founding Board Directors transitioning out. We have been initiating these as per the successful transition of the Membership Director role from Cathy Doyle to Maria MacNamara via a supported six month handover period. We will follow this model for the Treasurer and Communications roles throughout 2019. To ensure the sustainability of the Board and chapter (and to align with the many global chapters who have a President Elect, President and past President on the Board), we would like to identify the new President and agree this at the Adelaide Symposium. This member will then become President Elect, begin the induction and be formally recognised and approved at the 2019 AGM in November 2019. The past President will stay on the Board for the first year to support the new President. Thus, I will retire as per our Director terms at the end of 2020. We extend an invitation to our membership to consider joining what we is a know as a fun, dynamic and supportive Board in any of these roles. Please put your hand up and have a chat with your State Chairs, or reach out to me with expressions of interest. Personally, there have been incredible learnings and amazing friendships from my time on the Board since our formation. To further the good governance of the board we have invested in a new Operations Manager with an expanded role and responsibilities. Welcome Amanda Laver.

At the recent Presidents Council in Miami, there were a couple of key agenda items that we considered as Presidents:

1.    Communication and developments from a global perspective. I was thrilled to be asked to present our points of difference on communication to the Presidents. The terrific news for 2019 is that we will have a new global website where all Forums will be connected under the Global IWF Framework. What I am particularly excited about is an optimised member login section that makes it easier to connect with international Sista’s when travelling.

2.    Bi-laws which exist as guide rails, to protect and clarify the way we work and drive transparency, consistency and predictability. These were discussed in terms of our ongoing sustainability as a global organisation. We also spent time aligning on board composition, term limits, president standards and succession.

3.    Accountability to the Global Standards of Membership and ensuring that each President is accountable to hold their chapter to these standards. A strong agreement was to continue to ensure that diversity is our strength.

Finally, I wish to thank the Board, the Melbourne Conference Committee - so well led by our wonderful co-chairs Michelle Loader and Karen Hayes. Most importantly, thanks to all of you, our members, for all that you do to make IWFA a unique and special place. A platform on which we can stand together as diverse and exceptional women leaders, and take on the world.

My warmest wishes,

Kate Mason


Vice President / conference co-chair update - michelle loader

What an incredible year it has been.

From evolution to revolution - In four years we have come so far as an organisation, with the Global Cornerstone Conference held in Melbourne in May, putting Australia well and truly on the IWF map. With outstanding speakers, extraordinary Welcome and Gala events, exceptional behind-the-scenes adventures and unforgettable dine-arounds ... it is the genuine sense of warmth our international guests found to be the real IWF Revolution when they visited in May this year.

Belonging - Kate calls it our 'sistahood', Helen summarises it as 'when an IWF member rings, you take the call', Sarah Court notes 'somewhere between colleagues and family - IWF are women who just get you'. However we describe this sense of belonging, we managed to extend it across the globe to all IWF members. And that is something to be very proud of. Next time you travel, be sure to reach out through the network and connect with these women. IWF Australia has earned a special place in the hearts of so many.

Thank You Conference Committee - we conjured, created and collaborated seamlessly to make the membership proud. Heartfelt thanks to Chris Gillies, Sue Renkin, Tracey Habron, Sue English, Mary Lemonis, Nikki May, Kate Roffey, Lisa Barron and Catherine Curry-Hyde and of course to my fabulous co-chair Karen Hayes for the tireless hours worked and the constant will to raise the bar. May Washington never forgive us.

Australian Members - a big thank you also to all the members across Australia who travelled to the conference. What a turn out! And a special acknowledgement of the wonderful shoulder events that were held throughout the country, enabling our global travellers to feel the warmth of the Forum wherever they went.


membership update - Maria MacNamara

During 2018 we have increased our membership to 139 members and continue to focus on the diversity of the collective. We have worked to ensure that we are creating a dynamic and organic sistahood. One that allows each of us to Connect as Women, Grow as Leaders and Grow the Next Generation of women leaders. Our goal is to enable our members to be networking with and supporting women that we would never otherwise have the opportunity to meet. This year for example we welcomed our first ever Astronaut to our collective in South Australia.

Membership retention/engagement – our 95% member retention and a similar figure representing engagement reflects the fabulous work of our state councils. So far this year we have run 50 different events across our states.

Membership Diversity: We are committed to continuing to focus on diversity and be truly representative of the Australian Community. We have identified the need to attract women from Indigenous and other underrepresented cultural backgrounds, female military officers, CEOs of ASX listed companies and returning global Australians who have built their careers overseas. Of course all candidates will be weighted against our stringent membership criteria.

Membership Centricity. You, as fabulous members, are the heart of IWFA and we, as a Board, are naturally very focused on making the membership experience the best it can be. We firmly believe that the true value proposition of membership is something that can only be felt to be understood. We committed to ensure we are sharing more IWF stories at the onboarding stage and will produce a video for new and prospective members using our voices, our passion and our language.

IWFA is looking for a woman of influence, a leader who excels in her field, who is driven to make a difference and who represents the vibrancy of her community. We seek a woman who is open, real and kind, who lifts as she climbs, and who adds to the diversity of our collective.