Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the Program created and what is its purpose?

The WILD Program was created to meet a need. STEM industries are crucial to driving innovation, leading to new and better products and services, economic growth, and higher living standards. However, female STEM professionals are underrepresented in decision making and leadership positions. Females account for just 16% of the STEM workforce in Australia and only 3% of Australian STEM companies are led by women as CEO.

It is well recognised that companies with diverse leadership teams and boards perform better. Diversity at senior levels allows for more cognitive processing and knowledge sharing, which can lead to the generation of new ideas, foster creative solutions, decrease risk, and enhance corporate governance and group decision making.

The WILD Program is focused on increasing gender diversity at senior management and board levels within the STEM industry by providing mid-career STEM women with the training, skills, networks, mentors, and confidence to gain executive and board-level positions. The WILD Program aims to tackle some of the systemic barriers that have limited women’s career progression by increasing access to leadership training and skills, increasing exposure to mentors and role models, providing access to networks, and developing tools to support cultural change.


Where and when is the WILD Program run, and how can I apply?

The WILD Program is a nationwide program run annually, accepting up to 25 women in STEM per year from all Australian states and territories. The Program is spread across six months combining digital and in person components, so successful applicants must be available to travel and attend in person events and training. 

 To find out if you’re eligible, visit the WILD 2021-22 page on our website


What benefits do participants get from the Program?

Participants receive access to a globally recognised training course covering areas such as governance, decision making, legal obligations, risk, strategy and finance, board placements with STEM companies and a retreat covering skills such as leadership, negotiation, and influence

One of the most important components of the Program is the networking between the cohort – participants forge long-lasting relationships built off shared experiences and a motivation for attaining executive and board positions.

How is the WILD Program funded? Do I have to pay to participate?

The WILD Program is supported by a grant from the Women’s Leadership and Development Program delivered by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). Prior to receiving grant funding, the WILD Program was supported by the Centre for Eye Research Australia and Brandon Capital Partners.

Costs for the WILD Program (2021-24) are covered by the latest grant funding received from DPMC. Participants will be required to cover travel costs associated with the leadership retreat.

I want to be involved in this initiative, but I am not working in the STEM sector. What other opportunities exist?

The WILD Program requires more than just participants, but allies in the industry who are committed to supporting diversity in STEM leadership.

As part of the Program, participants are exposed to company boards via board placements with active STEM companies. We require partners, particularly commercial companies operating in STEM, who would like to offer a board placement to women in the cohort. Companies will be paired with a WILD woman currently working in the relevant field (e.g., life sciences, engineering, technology).

Our vision is to see the WILD Program become a sustainable, nationally available program for years to come. That requires ongoing funding and support, so we are also seeking sponsors for the WILD Program post-2024.

If you can support or require further information, please contact us at