The WILD Program® is delivered through a unique blend of online and in-person workshops and events (including the flagship WILD Executive Leadership Retreat).
Since the start of the Program
of participants have attained a new role or position
of participants are serving on boards
Key Components of the Program
- Part 1: The Company Directors Course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors – a five-day course covering areas such as governance, decision making, legal obligations, risk, strategy and finance;
- Part 2: Executive leadership retreat – training on topics such as negotiation, influence and executive communication, that can greatly assist women in obtaining and performing well in senior leadership roles; and
- Part 3: Board observership experience – each participant attends board meeting/s and a de-briefing session to consolidate their learning and help prepare them for working with boards and senior management.
“The WILD Program® came along at the perfect time in my career. It was an intensely rewarding experience that gave me extra confidence in skills I’d already been exercising in my role leading a commercial laboratory. The added bonus has been the creation of a close-knit group of women that are wonderful at sharing their expertise and amazing skill sets”
Dr Catherine Osborne CEO, Crux Biolabs
Benefits of the Program include
Completing an accredited and globally recognised governance training course
Gaining a better understanding of your leadership style and confidence when facing leadership issues
Completing a real-world board placement
Opportunities to grow your professional network
Executive and peer mentorship
Access to the WILD Community including past cohorts
Eligibility & Key Dates
The WILD Program® is committed to fostering an inclusive and respectful leadership program for women in STEM.
We welcome and encourage applications from women (and non-binary) leaders in STEM with diverse lived experiences including those living with disability and neurodiversity, those living in rural and regional locations, those of culturally diverse backgrounds and of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.
Who can apply?
- Currently employed in a professional position relating to science and life sciences, technology, engineering or mathematics (if your primary position is in academia or research you are ineligible); and
- Have a minimum three years of non-academic professional experience in a STEM-related field; and
- Have postgraduate qualifications or undergraduate qualifications (plus equivalent experience) in either science or life sciences, technology, engineering or mathematics
2024 Application Key Dates
- Friday 7th July 2023 – Applications Open
- Monday 14th August 2023, 17:00 AEST – Applications Close
- Late November 2023 – Successful candidates notified
2024 Program Key Dates
- Monday 5th – Friday 8th February 2024 – 5-day AICD Course (in-person)
- Tuesday 6th February 2024 – WILD Open Event
- Wednesday 1st – Friday 3rd May 2024 – 2 day Executive Leadership Retreat
- By End of June 2024 – Completion of AICD assessments within three months of last day of course
- Date TBD – Closing Event
- January – October 2023 – Board Observership*
*The Board Observership component runs throughout the duration of the program, depending on the selected Board’s meeting schedule and frequency.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the WILD Program and why was it created?
Diversity in leadership and on boards ensures depth and breadth of insight, healthy debate and good decision making, leading to better company performance. Yet while the benefits of diversity are clear, women – and specifically, women with STEM backgrounds – are vastly underrepresented in leadership and board positions across Australia. Currently, just 8% of CEO roles in STEM are held by women.
The WILD Program was established in 2018 by three professional STEM-qualified women to provide tangible solutions to address the critical need for diversity in senior leadership and boardrooms across Australia’s STEM sector. After a successful pilot of the WILD Program in 2019, WILD was awarded funding by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to roll-out the Program, in partnership with Brandon BioCatalyst, from 2022-2024.
Each year, the program provides 25 STEM-qualified women leaders with recognised qualifications (including the AICD Company Directors Course), board observership experiences and key networks to enhance opportunities and success in leadership roles.
What is the key selection criteria for the WILD Program?
Key selection criteria for the WILD Program include:
- Demonstration of leadership, achievements and contributions within the applicant’s field of expertise (relative to opportunity)
- Explanation of how the WILD Program will help the applicant overcome barriers to achieving future career goals and progression
- Demonstration that the applicant has aspirations to attain a board position in the short-term (12-24 months)
- Demonstration that the applicant has significant skills, knowledge and insights to contribute to Australia’s STEM sector in a key leadership or decision-making role
- Potential contributions by the applicant to the WILD cohort in 2024 and beyond
Judging will be focused on potential impact rather than seniority or scale of experience. Candidate assessment is based on the quality of the application and the dynamic of the cohort as a whole. All decisions on eligibility and shortlisting are final, and at the discretion of the WILD Advisory Board selection committee.
Do I need to meet all eligibility requirements, including a post-graduate qualification in STEM?
Post-graduate qualifications are highly regarded as this advanced STEM training can support better decision making in senior leadership and board positions. However, we recognise that it is possible to gain skills equivalent to post-graduate training through professional development and work experience. We therefore offer flexibility towards this requirement, and accept applications from applicants who have an undergraduate qualification in STEM plus experience which can be considered equivalent to post-graduate qualifications.
While difficult to define, ‘equivalent experience’ might include several years of relevant work experience, courses and/or credentials, and these will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In the application, you will be asked to demonstrate your relevant experience equivalent to postgraduate training within your field.
Unfortunately we are unable to accept applications from applicants who have not completed a university qualification in STEM.
Why are academic STEM professionals not eligible for the WILD Program?
We recognise that academia is a large part of the STEM sector, and are very aware of how pervasive gender disparity is in this area.
However the WILD Program is built around industry careers; we’re focused on supporting more STEM women into senior leadership and board level positions to drive better decision making and improved business performance. As the WILD Program has been specifically designed, built and funded for this purpose, we are not able to accept applications from applicants whose primary role remains in academia or research.
If your role is primarily in academia or research, we encourage you to explore other programs for career progression and participation in academic careers.
Can I apply to the WILD Program if I work in a professional role at a university or research institute?
Yes! Assuming you meet the eligibility criteria and your primary role is not in academia or research, you may be eligible to apply to the WILD Program.
Do I need to currently be in a leadership or executive role to apply to the WILD Program?
Applicants to the WILD Program do not need to currently be in a leadership or executive role, however you do need to demonstrate strong leadership potential and an aspiration to attain a board position in the short- to medium-term (12-24 months). As outlined in the Key Selection Criteria, applicants also need to be able to demonstrate achievements and contributions within their field of expertise (relative to opportunity), explain the barriers they are experiencing to career progression and articulate how the WILD Program will help them overcome those barriers.
Can I apply to the WILD Program if I've already completed the AICD Company Directors Course?
As the AICD Company Directors Course is a major component of the WILD Program (from both an experience and cost perspective), applicants who have already undertaken the AICD Company Directors Course may be overlooked in the selection process. However, if you have already completed the AICD Company Directors Course, or similar formal governance training, we encourage you to apply to our new program, WILD BoardX.
Can I apply for the WILD Program if I am between roles, on maternity leave or a career break?
Absolutely! So long as you have recently been employed in a professional role relating to STEM (rather than currently) and meet all other eligibility criteria, you are eligible to apply. If your circumstances mean that you are unable to provide a signed Employer Endorsement form as part of your application form, please upload a signed statement saying that you are aware of the time commitment involved in the WILD Program (~200 hours), and will notify any new employer of this commitment as soon as is practicable. In the event a new employer does not support your participation in the WILD Program, please be aware that you may be required to forego your place in the WILD Program and pay back part of the Program costs (including the AICD Company Directors Course fee
How do I apply for the WILD Program?
To apply for the program, you will need to complete the online application form (available via our website) before the submission deadline of 14 August 2023.
As part of the online application, you will be required to answer the following three questions:
- Reflecting on your career achievements and leadership experiences to date, why do you think you would be an ideal candidate for the WILD Program? (300 words)
- How will completing the WILD Program help you overcome career barriers and/or achieve your career aspirations? (300 words)
- On completion of the WILD Program, what is your vision of your contribution to the STEM sector in Australia? (200 words)
You will also be required to upload:
- a link to a short video (60-90 seconds, uploaded to Youtube) outlining who you are and what attributes would make you a great candidate for the 2024 WILD Program; and
- a high-res headshot for promotional purposes (should you be accepted into the program); and
- a two-page CV (in Microsoft Word or pdf format) highlighting your relevant qualifications, previous leadership experience and achievements within your field; and
- a signed Employer Endorsement Form.
Be sure to read and address the Key Selection Criteria when preparing your application.
When, where and how is the WILD Program delivered?
The WILD Program is an annual program open to applicants from all Australian states and territories. For 2024, the WILD Program will commence in February and conclude 30 June 2024. The WILD Program includes a mix of in-person and virtual training and events. Successful applicants must be available to travel and commit to all in-person events and training, including the five-day in-person AICD Company Directors Course and two-day WILD Executive Leadership Retreat.
Please note travel costs, as well as CBD accommodation costs for the five-day AICD Company Directors Course, will be at participants’ own expense. Please refer to Key Dates and relevant FAQs for further information.
Am I matched with a company board for the observership experience, or can I organise my own board observership?
We encourage participants to use their own networks to arrange their board observership experience with a company that aligns to their specific goals and interests. However, the WILD team can also help to facilitate board observerships with our network companies if participants are unable to secure their own observership.
If you’re interested in exploring longer-term board observership experiences (and already have formal governance training under your belt), you may wish to explore our new program, WILD BoardX.
What is the cost of participating in the WILD Program?
The WILD Program is fully funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is delivered through a partnership between WILD Women and Brandon BioCatalyst. The WILD Program (valued at over $20,000 per person) comes at no cost to the participant. There are, however, some costs participants are expected to cover to get the most out of the experience, including travel costs and accommodation associated with attending the five-day AICD Company Directors Course and travel costs associated with attending the WILD Executive Leadership Retreat. Any costs associated with attending board meetings as an observer must also be covered by the participant.
Please consider these costs before applying. Given the considerable benefits of participation to employers, it is common for employers to cover travel and other ancillary costs associated with the WILD Program.
What is the time commitment associated with participating in the WILD Program?
We estimate the WILD Program requires a commitment of six weeks full-time spread over the duration of the Program. Most of this (3-4 weeks) is related to completing the AICD Company Directors Course, which requires significant pre-reading, five days of course delivery and post-course study and exams. Time should also be put aside for arranging and participating in the board observership, attending the two-day retreat (including travel) and attending masterclasses and other events.
Do I need to complete the assessments associated with the AICD Company Directors Course?
.Yes! It is an expectation that all WILD participants complete the assessments associated with the AICD Company Directors Course. These include an assignment, exam and quiz, which must all be completed within three-months of the last day of delivery of the AICD Company Directors Course.
The delivery and assessments of the AICD Company Directors Course are independently managed by the AICD. Please note that extensions are very rarely granted by the AICD, and subsequent attempts at assessments (or attempts that are completed outside of the three-month timeframe) will be at participants’ own expense. You can learn more about the AICD Company Directors Course assessments on the website.
How can I contact the WILD Program team with further enquiries?
We’re a small team managing a large number of enquiries, so please be sure to read the FAQ in detail before reaching out. If you have questions about your specific circumstances, please send an email to email@example.com and we’ll aim to get back to you within 72 hours.
As a corporate can I pay for women (and non-binary) leaders within my organisation to participate in the WILD Program?
The WILD Program is funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, in partnership with Brandon BioCatalyst, to support the participation of 25 competitively-selected women leaders per year from 2022 to 2024. We’re currently exploring future funding and partnership opportunities to ensure the future sustainability of the WILD Program.
For the first time, we are offering a limited number of additional employer-sponsored places in the WILD Program in 2024. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll gladly set up a conversation.
As a corporate how can I support the WILD Program as a partner, supporter or sponsor?
We’d love to chat with you about how we can work together to support more women (and non-binary) STEM leaders into senior leadership and board positions across Australia’s STEM sector, and beyond! Take a look at some the organisations (link to Boards page) we’re already partnering with to achieve WILD’s vision to overcome gender disparity in STEM leadership by 2040.
We’re always exploring new opportunities to partner through board observerships, offering employee-sponsored places on the WILD Program, program and event sponsorships, mentoring and broader collaborations. Please reach out to us at email@example.com and we’ll gladly schedule a conversation.
Meet our WILD cohorts
2023 WILD cohort
Alma Fulurija – Head, Australian Strep A Vaccines, Telethon Kids Institute / Co-Founder – Biotome Pty Ltd
Alma is a life sciences professional with 20 years of experience across the Pharma/ Biotech/ MedTech sectors, who is passionate about translating evidence-based research into clinical outcomes and commercial opportunities to benefit global health.
She is currently Program Director of the Australian Strep A Vaccine Initiative and co-founder and Director of Biotome Pty. Ltd, a Perth-based diagnostic start up. Prior, Alma led five R&D projects in Australia and Switzerland, developing vaccines and immunotherapies for the prevention of infections and inflammatory diseases. She is a strong, passionate advocate for women in STEM.
Hannah Brown – Science Strategy and Operations Manager – Victorian Heart Institute, Monash University
Hannah is an Adelaide born and educated, internationally trained, researcher-turned-leader and communicator who leads Science Strategy and Operations at the Victorian Heart Institute (VHI), in Melbourne, Australia. Having trained and worked as an academic, she now sits at the interface between science and the public, helping to turn ideas into impact through storytelling. She believes that creating clear and consistent narrative, engaging broadly with consumers, authenticity, integrity and humour are the keys to effective communication.
Hannah also consults on a range of projects in the communications, science and business strategy and diversity, equity and inclusion fields.
Chanel Egan – Manager, Technical Program Management – Mastercard
Chanel has 13 years of experience in Technology, having worked in government, consulting, education and finance sectors. Her career started in IT operations and transitioned to Project Management and people leadership. As a Technical Program Manager at a multinational organisation, she leads teams of engineers and developers to create products facilitating electronic payments.
With a Bachelor of Science, Master of Information Technology and Graduate Certificate in Project Management, Chanel is an avid learner. She volunteers for two organisations; Pint of Science and HunterNet. As Co-CEO of Pint of Science Australia, Chanel leads the organisation in science communication and D&I initiatives.
Christine Higgins – Co-founder – Accelo
Christine co-founded Accelo in 2009 to empower small businesses to survive and thrive. Now a multi-million dollar, VC-backed company, with 100+ employees in five countries, she cultivates a diverse and positive culture where everyone feels they belong, has a voice, and can succeed.
Christine holds a Masters in Computer Science and a double BA in Computer Science and Theatre. She believes diverse perspectives lead to stronger ideas and has a passion for taking complex problems and creating simple, elegant solutions. A caring mentor to young developers and new leaders, she strives for a future with more women in technology.
Deborah Pascoe – Head of Early Stage and Preclinical R&D – Vaxxas Pty Ltd
Deborah is Head of Early Stage and Preclinical R&D at Vaxxas, commercialising novel technology that enhances the performance of existing and next-generation vaccines. Deborah focuses on solving complex cross-disciplinary problems and developing people and ideas.
Before joining Vaxxas, she worked in the US in technical and business leadership roles at start-ups including Culture Biosciences and Zymergen, and she has company-founding experience along with earlier work at 23andMe and Genentech. She has also served in multiple non-profit board leadership roles. Deborah has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and a BE(Chem Hons) from the University of Queensland.
Denise Goldman – VP, Biosciences & Hearing Drug Solutions – Cochlear Ltd
Denise Goldman leads a global team as the Vice President, Biosciences and Hearing Drug Solutions at Cochlear Ltd and is a recognized leader in the hearing research field, working with varied stakeholders to drive the development of new interventions for hearing loss. She has over 15 years of experience across the biotech industry in research and business management. Denise is both personally and professionally committed to the delivery of accessible healthcare interventions and, to this end, has served on the Board of Directors for patient-centred Not-for-Profits (recently President of the Deafness Foundation).
Denise was awarded a PhD in Molecular Biology from Monash University and has held senior roles in the UK and Australia. She regularly mentors in the STEM sector and is involved in forums that promote gender and First Nations inclusivity.
Dharmica Mistry – Director – Diagnostics Industry Engagement – MTPConnect
Dharmica is the Director- Diagnostics Industry Engagement leading MTPConnect’s Australian Diagnostics Action Plan for sovereign capability. Dharmica is an impact driven scientist and entrepreneur. She’s co-founder and ex-Chief Scientist of BCAL Diagnostics where she spent over a decade taking research discovery through to commercialisation, developing a blood test for breast cancer detection.
She was also Head of Medtech and Biotech at Cicada Innovations, a deep tech incubator where she supported researchers and entrepreneurs through programs and coaching to commercialise their innovations. Dharmica holds a B.Sc. (Honours) from University of Sydney and a PhD in Medicine from Macquarie University.
Ewa Douroux – Asia Pacific Marketing Director – Leica Biosystems
Ewa holds a PhD in molecular biology, INSEAD MBA and currently is the Asia Pacific Marketing Director at Leica Biosystems, with expertise in strategy, product life cycle, organizational transformation, operations, manufacturing, and medical affairs.
Ewa is passionate about how business can be a force for good, especially in the areas of healthcare, sustainability, diversity and inclusion. Her standout drive and passion led Ewa to receive Victorian, Federal and Industry Group institutional recognition. Ewa is an active member of the Victorian Advisory Group for the Australian MedTech Manufacturing Centre. In her spare time, Ewa mentors students and professionals and is an active contributor to the biotech sector.
Helen Williams – Executive General Manager Transport ANZ – SYSTRA
Helen is the Executive General Manager for Transport in ANZ. Her career spans over 30 years of engineering management and leadership. She leads a broad range of interrelated technical, systems and human-centred disciplines blending local expertise with extensive global reach back.
Helen is passionate about building integrated, engaged teams to deliver optimal, safe and resilient solutions to complex challenges for the communities in which we all live and work. She is an advocate for creating safe and inclusive workplaces where everyone has a sense of purpose and belonging.
Janet Fox – Digital Health Business Development Lead – CSIRO
Janet looks after Digital Health Business Development and Commercialisation for CSIRO. A seasoned professional with over 20 years of business development and commercialisation experience, she excels in building strong relationships with key customers and developing and implementing new business models for digital health technologies. She especially enjoys working at the interface of discovery, implementation, and business strategy to translate digital health research technologies into sustainable commercial products.
Prior to joining CSIRO Janet held senior positions at QUT, QIMR, and PanBio Ltd, a medical diagnostics company. Janet holds a PhD from University College Dublin and an MBA from QUT.
Jenny Loveday – National Industry Lead – Maritime / Principal Maritime Engineer – Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)
Jenny has over 20 years’ experience as a Ports and Maritime Engineer, working predominantly on Defence and Navy infrastructure, bulk material, containerised cargo and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.
In her current role as National Industry Lead – Maritime, she is the Client Relationship Manger for KBR’s key port and local government Clients, Principal Ports and Maritime Engineer and Maritime Lead across the Navy Capability Infrastructure Sub-program.
Jodie Smith – Branch Head – Geoscience Australia
Jodie is a senior executive in the Australian Public Service with a strong record leading strategic science programs in support of Australia’s national interests. Jodie has a strong scientific background with qualifications from UNSW and over 15 years experience leading coastal and blue-water marine research projects with multi-disciplinary teams across Australia’s tropical, temperate and Antarctic regions.
Jodie is passionate about delivering scientific information as the evidence-base for good decision-making and building partnerships to tackle knowledge gaps. Jodie is a champion for women in leadership and STEM-based careers.
Joy Francisco – Chief Commercial Officer – Sydney Local Health District
Joy is the inaugural Chief Commercial Officer at Sydney Local Health District. She is a champion for catalysing the translation of STEM research and clinical insights to improve health outcomes and value-based care.
Joy has extensive technology transfer expertise (MIT, NIH, NCI, UNSW, UOM). Her interests encompasses the spectrum of health innovation and includes experience in venture capital (Uniseed, Brandon Capital), medical product development (Ventracor’s award-winning VentrAssist device), and health precinct and ecosystem development (Aikenhead Centre for Medical Discovery at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Randwick Health and Innovation Precinct).
Her qualifications include RTTP, PhD(Medicine), MBA, MBiomedE, BE(Materials), GradCert(Research Management and Commercialisation).
Louise Moore – Co-Founder and Director – Beyond Drug Development Pty Ltd
Louise has over 25 years experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry working in all aspects of Product Development, most recently providing consultancy advice on clinical, non-clinical, CMC, and Regulatory aspects to Biotechnology Companies throughout the drug development process, from pre-clinical to product licencing.
Louise has extensive experience in US, European and Australian Regulatory Affairs accompanied by excellence in Medical Writing, and has worked across global Pharmaceuticals Companies, local Biotechnology Companies and Clinical Research Organisations. Louise has extensive management experience, and in October 2020 founded of Beyond Drug Development an Australian based product development consultancy and CRO.
Madhavi Maddugoda – Strategic advisor – Research training – Institute for Molecular Bioscience – the University of Queensland
Madhavi is the strategic advisor for research training at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, the University of Queensland. She is re-designing how we train life science researchers in Australia to impact the next generation of our STEM workforce. She trained as a scientist in the fight against antibiotic resistance and continues to influence this space through PhD programs.
Madhavi cares about enabling mid-career women in STEM to overcome barriers to leadership. She knows the powerful importance of having diversity in decision-making and is a champion for giving younger women a voice at the table.
Michelle Bradney – Chief Operating Officer – OccuRx
Michelle completed a PhD with the Department of Medicine, Melbourne University before moving into the pharmaceutical industry. She has over 25 years of progressive global clinical development, clinical operations and medical affairs experience working across Australia, Asia Pacific, Europe and USA.
Michelle has worked in start-up biotechnology (ASX listed), global pharmaceutical and device companies where she has led successful IND and IDE approvals across multiple jurisdictions as well as leading their clinical programs and medical affairs operations.
As the Chief Operating Officer at OccuRx, Michelle is responsible to lead and manage OccuRx’s drug development, clinical trial execution and business operations.
Natalie Rickers – Business Development Manager, APAC – Invitae
Natalie is currently leading Business Development for the Asia Pacific region for global clinical genetic testing company, Invitae. With 17+ years in the genomics industry, Natalie has had the opportunity to commercialise products onto the market, bringing quality and scale, in research, clinical and consumer markets and lead global marketing efforts for Invitae.
Natalie has had the privilege to work with global companies with incredible missions and strategy, creating business and marketing plans leading to strong success. Natalie holds a PhD (Molecular Biology) from Manchester University and a BSc in Biochemistry from Liverpool University.
Natalie Thorne – Lead, Genomic Information Management – Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance
Natalie works on systems that enable complex data to inform clinical practice.
Her career began in research bioinformatics, before she joined the Melbourne Genomics team to develop GenoVic, a clinical-grade system for genomic testing. She has worked on bioinformatics pipelines and multiple software applications, as well as the conceptual design for the entire system.
She currently leads a team to mature and expand GenoVic as a sustained shared genomic information management system for Victoria, one that can enable better care for thousands of Victorians and open the door to precision medicine.
Pearl Ng – Lead Consultant – Aurecon
Pearl is a Lead Consultant at Aurecon, an engineering design and advisory company. Her solid knowledge base in STEM has enhanced her ability to think critically, connect the dots and drive innovation. Adopting those skills allow her to help her clients in their technology transformation journey.
Pearl was awarded the IBM Manager’s Choice Award and was also the recipient of the IBM Global Service Excellence Award. She is also named as the STA Superstar of STEM and ARN Women in Tech Finalist. Pearl hopes to inspire the next generation of female STEM leaders, especially those in underprivileged communities.
Roop Judge – Business Development and Commercialisation Manager – West – Grains Research and Development Corporation
Roop has over 15 years’ experience in identifying innovative solutions to problems in the medical and agricultural/agrifood industries, commercialising research outputs for market deployment.
Whilst Roop’s previous roles have focused on medical technology commercialisation, Roop is currently the Business Development and Commercialisation Manager – West for the Grains Research and Development Corporation, with commercial leadership of research investment portfolios of >$300m in the areas of agronomy, crop protection and biosecurity. She was also Co-founder and Director of a few startups and consultancies, and is passionate about supporting Australian companies developing novel technologies.
Roop holds a PhD in Biochemistry and an MBA.
Surya Bala – Engineering Project Manager – Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)
Surya is an Engineering Project Manager and during her career stint of 11+ years, she has managed and transformed a portfolio of infrastructure projects worth $ 16+ Billion across India, Africa, the Middle East and Australia from concept to commissioning.
She brings her international engineering experience in Energy, Water, social and mining Infrastructure projects to transform the lives of Australian communities.
Her work in the international engineering and infrastructure sector has been recognised through multiple accolades including Prime Minister (Indian) Scholarship, Build India Scholarship, outstanding employee award in the leading infrastructure organisations and holds a Guinness world record.
Tolu Okitika – Senior Program Manager – Telethon Kids Institute
Tolu is a senior program manager providing program management and operational oversight of the Malaria Atlas Project – a global, multidisciplinary group at the forefront of utilizing innovative geospatial modelling tools to support the global malaria eradication efforts.
She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington Seattle and is a certified Project Management Professional. Her career experience spans 13 years of consistently demonstrated success in leading the delivery of medium to large-scale public health initiatives in academic and not-for-profit organizations.
She is passionate about people development and strongly advocates for diversity and inclusion in leadership positions.
Tracey Wilkinson – Director Stakeholder Engagement WA – MTPConnect
Tracey has over 14 years’ experience in the Medtech, Biotech, Pharma and Digital Health (MTP) sector across research, start-up and tech transfer roles.
Currently Director Stakeholder Engagement WA at the MTPConnect WA Life Sciences Innovation Hub, she works to accelerate growth of the MTP sector in WA and Australia. Operating as an interface between government, industry and the research sector, Tracey loves to build connected communities and support innovators to translate their innovations into real-world outcomes.
A scientific entrepreneur, Tracey co-founded an award-winning bioinformatics analysis start-up prior to completing a PhD in bioinformatics at the University of Melbourne.
Udani Reets – Director, Partnerships and Enterprise – Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Udani is a leader in Australia’s health and medical sector, with unique expertise and success in supporting companies to deliver innovative, large-scale partnerships, services and ventures that improve healthcare policies, practice and outcomes.
As the Director of Partnerships and Enterprise, she heads up the partnership and commercial strategy function at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Australia’s leading cancer centre. She is passionate about the translation of evidence-based discoveries and innovations into equitable, accessible and affordable clinical practices, treatment options and business models.
Udani trained initially as a neuroscientist and worked as a medical researcher at leading research organisations.
Zoe Keon-Cohen – Deputy Director of Department of Anaesthesia – Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Melbourne
Zoe is the Deputy Director, Anaesthesia at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, and is a passionate researcher and innovator in the MedTech space. She has over 12 years of experience across a broad range of experience across academia, medicine, and emergency management.
Zoe completed her PhD in the Public Health and General Preventive Medicine Residency Program from Monash University, and also holds a MBBS and Master of Public Health.
2022 WILD cohort
Alison Thistlethwaite – Operations Manager, MecRx Pty Ltd
Alison is the Operations Manager at MycRx, where she has worked since 2020. Prior to joining MycRx Alison held both project and scientific management roles at the Centre for Drug Candidate Optimisation (CDCO, Monash University), where she developed project management expertise and over 15 years of experience in lead optimisation of small molecule therapeutics to treat cancer and neglected diseases.
Early in her career Alison worked as an industrial chemist for Caltex Australia and also for a start-up biotech working on synthetic scale-up of small molecule APIs. Alison holds a PhD (organic chemistry) from QUT and also a Masters of Medical Science (Drug Development) from UNSW.
Allira Hudson-Gofers – Practice Group Leader – Engineering and ICT Patents – Spruson & Ferguson
Allira Hudson-Gofers is a Principal of Spruson &Ferguson and heads up the Engineering and ICT Patents Practice. She has extensive experience and a keen interest in medical devices, providing intellectual property and regulatory advice to her clients in this space. Her qualifications and expertise also span robotics and control systems, engineering, sport and health technologies, transportation, consumer products, building construction, mining, agriculture, and manufacturing.
Allira supports her clients to achieve sustainable competitive advantage by aligning intellectual property strategy to commercial objectives. Allira also has substantial experience in sport through state and national representation and involvement in club and state committees.
Amanda Buttery – National Manager Clinical Evidence, National Heart Foundation of Australia
Amanda leads the National Heart Foundation’s strategic clinical evidence agenda. She manages the development of evidenced-based clinical guidelines, position statements, policies and their implementation to improve heart health for all Australians. She has 25 years of international health care experience and has a PhD in Gerontology from King’s College London. She has held previous roles as an Innovation Fellow in the Academic Health Science Network in London and Cambridge.
She has served as a panel reviewer on the Innovate UK led Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) to select the most promising ideas in healthcare for acceleration and implementation at scale.
Dr Angela Montgomery – Director, Cortext
Dr Angie Montgomery is a health psychologist and workplace psychological safety and mental health and wellbeing specialist. Angie’s work and research has focused on system-level and individual factors that contribute to mentally healthy workplaces. She has contributed to the development and evaluation of health promotion initiatives and projects for both broad and targeted populations and developed national-level organisational Psychological Safety strategy for government organisations.
A special interest of Angie’s is data analytics and interpretation. She is passionate about the role of data in formulating best practice approaches, evaluation and using data to inform continuous development of strategic initiatives.
Anne Conlon – Senior Development Manager, Sita Aerospace
Anne Conlon – Senior Development Manager at Sita Aerospace, holds a BSc in Computer Applications (Hons). A seasoned software engineering leader with many years experience in building award-winning teams and delivering successful solutions in border management, banking, publishing and telecommunications.
As a lifelong learner, she is committed to a culture of continuous improvement and as part of the Sita Sydney graduate programme which she developed, now in its third year, she focused on inclusion, diversity and developing new talent. She promotes women in software engineering, and has tutored with girls programming network (GPN) and is a mentor with Project F.
Branwen Morgan – Mission lead, CSIRO
Associate Professor Branwen Morgan is currently leading the Antimicrobial Resistance Mission for CSIRO. Previously, she was based at the University of Technology Sydney where she was the managing director and co-founder of the OUTBREAK project. Branwen is best known as a science strategy and corporate affairs consultant and has worked for a wide variety of not-for-profit and industry organisations in the UK and Australia– including the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and AstraZeneca.
Her strong interest in research translation saw her being employed as a journalist and communications professional by Springer Nature, the ABC, and Innovation Science Australia.
Claire Rosenberg – Senior Manager, Global Supply Chain & Digital Transformation, The LEGO Group
Claire Rosenberg has over ten years of experience in Supply Chain and Technology in Australia, Asia, and Europe. She holds a Master’s degree in engineering from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelors’ degree in commerce from the University of Melbourne. Based in Melbourne, she is the Global Senior Manager of Supply Chain and Digital Transformation at The LEGO Group, leading a team of information technology engineers to build digital products to enable future business growth, across manufacturing and supply chain.
In parallel to this, Claire is a member of The LEGO Group’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee for Global Operations.
Elise Needham – Associate Director, Biopharmaceuticals, Product Management Operations, Boehringer Ingelheim
Elise is Associate Director of Biopharmaceuticals Product Management for Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany and is building her own health-related start-up company. Previously, Elise was Scientific Advisor, Immunology with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Australia and Commercial Manager at Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Elise has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from Monash University, a PhD in neuroscience research and a Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law, both from the University of Melbourne.
The WILD for STEM program is a highly valued opportunity for Elise to reach a long-held goal of serving on boards in the Australian health sector to contribute her experience.
Emily Harris – Senior Civil Engineer, Aurecon
Emily Harris is a highly motivated chartered senior civil engineer with engineering company Aurecon. Emily’s strong interpersonal and communication skills have enabled her to successfully deliver some of Victoria’s key infrastructure projects. She is also passionate about sustainability and is involved in initiatives to embed this within the transport sector. Emily is a strong advocate for her industry evidence by her involvement in mentoring programs and volunteering on the Civil College Board at Engineers Australia.
Outside of engineering, Emily is captain of her local footy club where she helps grow the skills and nurture a diverse group of women.
Emma Lucia – Deputy Director Development (STEM), Monash University
Emma is a passionate climate advocate working at the nexus between technology and people. She leads the development of partnerships with academia enabling the creation of novel solutions to the challenges of the age. An Arts(Italian)/Mechanical Engineering graduate with a Master in Sustainability, Emma forged a career in sustainability focusing on the built environment and renewable energy. Trilingual with an entrepreneurial spirit, Emma is mission-driven and impact oriented.
Emma is keen to demonstrate that non-traditional career pathways result in well rounded leaders able to tackle the ambiguity of our changing world with confidence.
Hannah Crowther – Deputy Transport Manager, Kellogg Brown and Root
Chartered Engineer and Manager, former Army officer, and National Sporting Organisation committee member; experienced operations leader within engineering, construction, resources, management consultancy and learning and development sectors. Experienced in program, project and risk management to deliver and implement large scale capital projects. Excellent communication, organisational and analytical skills combined with a desire to build deep relationships and drive improvements; tested under exacting complex operational conditions which required adaptability and flexibility in all dimensions.
Strong natural leadership and key team player working with local, national and international teams. Thrives on using coaching and mentoring skills to develop others and manage performance.
Kate Porter – Chief Operating Officer, Crux Biolabs
Kate Porter is Chief Operating Officer at Crux Biolabs, an immunology contract research provider supporting medical research. Trained in virology and molecular biology, Kate has over 14 years’ experience drug discovery, as well as environmental biology expertise. With a PhD from the University of Melbourne, Kate moved into drug discovery in the Regulatory and Quality group at Amrad. She conducted drug target discovery research at Biota, studying pathogenic viruses and bacteria, before joining Noxopharm as a pre-clinical director for oncology drug discovery.
Kate brings passion for life sciences home through explorations into sourdough baking, cheese making and permaculture.
Kathryn Jowett – Senior Business Performance Manager, AusNet Services – Mondo
Currently working for AusNet Mondo, Kathryn is part of the Infrastructure team that builds new high-voltage electricity transmission connections for renewable generation sources and grid-scale energy storage. Part of the management team, she is responsible for improvement, governance, reporting and supporting the team in the development of growth strategies. Kathryn has had roles in medical research before moving into client facing roles in R&D Advisory at KPMG and independent consulting, within industries ranging from biotechnology to engineering to IT.
Kathryn is passionate about education and mentoring, and contributes as a career mentor with the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM Program.
Krystel Boland – Practice Lead, Senior Experience Designer, and Managing Consultant, Pragma Partners
Krystel Boland is a Human-Centered Designer with strong analytical, communication, and stakeholder management skills. Her design solutions to date have included digital platforms, services, physical spaces, virtual reality tools, strategic models, and learning frameworks. With 13 years of professional experience, Krystel is an experienced Design Leader and lifelong learner, committed to mentoring early-career designers and contributing to the broader design community.
She is incredibly passionate about hackathons, and has organised, facilitated, and participated in several over the last decade as one means of delivering on the promises of technology for a more sustainable future.
Liz Dallimore – CEO, Argenica Therapeutics Limited
Liz has over 20 years’ experience in medical research, innovation, and technology commercialisation, with a strong track record working with technology companies to commercialise novel products. Liz is currently the CEO of Argenica Therapeutics Ltd, a listed biotechnology developing novel neuroprotective therapeutics. She is also Co-Founder and Director of medical device startup Inspiring Holdings Pty Ltd. Prior to this, Liz was the National Director of KPMG Australia’s Research Engagement and Commercialisation Team.
Liz generously gives her time to advise not-for-profits and government on advancing the life sciences industry in WA. She holds a PhD in Neuroscience and an MBA.
Liz Williams – CEO, Hemideina Pty Ltd
Dr. Liz Williams is passionate about translating science into products that transform lives. Her entrepreneurship began during her PhD at Cambridge University, when she became President of the Technology and Enterprise Club. There she learnt about term sheets, fundraising, and the elevator pitch. After moving to Australia to pursue science commercialisation, Liz co-founded and became CEO of Hemideina, a medical device company, creating a paradigm shift in cochlear implant performance to positively impact the lives of people suffering from disabling hearing loss.
Her leadership potential was recognised with a BioMelbourne Network Emerging Women in Leadership award in 2017.
Dr. Marguerite Evans-Galea – IMNIS Executive Director, Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering
Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea AM is IMNIS Executive Director at the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering, co-founder and co-chair of Women in STEMM Australia, and Australian Sickle Cell Advocacy chair. Evans-Galea led gene therapy research in the US and Australia, and her leadership has been internationally recognised. She is Australasia editor with Springer-Nature’s Gene Therapy. Evans-Galea represented Australia through APEC, served on SAGE’s Expert Advisory and Victoria’s Ministerial Council for Women, and now serves on the Policy Committee with Science & Technology Australia.
Dr Evans-Galea is a member of the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and the Order of Australia.
Megan Astle – Associate Director, MRFF & Major Initiatives, University of Melbourne
Megan is an experienced higher education and research professional with a background in biomedical research and a demonstrated history of developing and delivering major impact-focused research ventures at the interface of industry, research and education.
She is currently employed at the University of Melbourne in Research and Enterprise Development, supporting new major interdisciplinary research initiatives and Medical Research Future Fund applicants.
Pandora Patterson – General Manager, Research, Policy, & Patient Programs, CanTeen
Pandora is General Manager of Research, Policy & Patient Programs, and part of the executive team at Canteen a national not-for-profit for young people impacted by cancer. Pandora leads Canteen’s Research and Policy teams, having built a globally recognised program of research and translational work in youth cancer.
She also leads the national implementation of Canteen’s clinical trials initiative for young cancer patients and the hospital-based Youth Cancer Service which has transformed the response of Australia’s health care system to adolescent and young adult cancer patients with the provision of nationally coordinated, age-appropriate medical and psychosocial care.
Anita Govender – Engineering Manager, UGL Limited
Anita Govender is an influential technical and operational leader with significant experience across South Africa and Australia’s transport sector. Best known for leading multi-disciplinary technical teams to deliver flagship projects such as the iconic Moses Mabhida Railway Station in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, to design delivery for Sydney Metro’s City and Southwest extension, changing the transport infrastructure in Sydney for generations to come.
Her career portfolio is a platform for Anita’s core value, Ubuntu, ‘I am because we are’, which she has used to improve diversity, equity and inclusion for lasting and sustainable change.
Patricia Vietheer – Director, R&D Strategy & Planning, Biointelect Pty Ltd
Dr-Patricia Vietheer has >18 years of experience in the Life Sciences industry. A specialist in infectious diseases, molecular biology and viral immunology, Patricia’s career began in the research laboratory working on the preclinical evaluation of vaccines collaborating with industry. She has since held a range of roles in business development, project/program management and consulting where she has helped translate scientific ideas into public health solutions.
She holds a Science degree from University of Queensland, PhD in Microbiology at Monash University, an MBA in Strategy & Planning at Deakin University and completed the Molecules to Medicine Internship on Commercialization.
Susan Lloyd – Design Coordinator, Kellogg, Brown and Root
Susan is Civil and Environmental Engineer, who leads level crossing removal design delivery. Commencing as a design engineer she has worked across various infrastructure sectors from securing environmental flows for the Coorong and Adelaide’s water supply to delivering innovative transport and health care solutions. Taking her 14-year design delivery experience, she now finds purpose in creating and managing diverse design teams, able to bring their authentic selves to deliver tangible change for the community.
Her vision is for her nonnegotiable, diversity to become standard practice. Susan holds a Bachelor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (Hons) from the University of Adelaide.
Tamsin Terry – Director, Commercialisation – Life Sciences, UniQuest Pty Ltd
Tamsin Terry is Director, Commercial Engagement – Life Sciences at UniQuest with a particular focus on oncology and infectious disease. Tamsin has an extensive background in Australian and UK research commercialisation and biotech encompassing small molecule drug and biologic development and medical devices with additional experience in vaccine development and gene expression-based diagnostic assays/biomarkers.
Prior to joining UniQuest in July 2018, Tamsin was R&D Director for the Wound Management Innovation CRC, responsible for directing research and development strategy across the CRC’s portfolio of innovative wound-focused research and had previous Research Director roles in small molecule and antibody therapeutics and expression-based diagnostics.
Tich-Lam Nguyen – Chief Operating Officer, ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies
With a PhD in Chemistry and a Master of Management, Tich-Lam has 15 years of experience in the higher education sector as a research centre manager and a researcher in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. As Chief Operating Officer of the FLEET Centre, she is responsible for the Centre’s financial and operational effectiveness. Her mantra is all about making a difference and what excites her is innovative collaborations and connecting expertise to create opportunities.
Tich-Lam also has the privilege to work with brilliant scientists and develop programs and initiatives through FLEET to develop future science leaders and contribute to building an equitable STEM future.
Vanessa Waddell – Head Commercial Operations and Business Development, PolyActiva Pty Ltd
Vanessa is an executive manager with 20 years’ experience in commercialization of pharmaceuticals, biological products, and medical devices. Vanessa is the Head of Commercial Operations and Business Development at PolyActiva, responsible for operational management, finance, HR, and business development. Vanessa has held senior management roles in private and publicly listed biotechnology companies across business competencies including general management, business development, IP management, project management (preclinical and clinical), and finance.
Prior to joining PolyActiva Vanessa held positions with Starpharma Pty. Ltd., PrimaBiomed Ltd., Velacor Therapeutics, & Pathway Therapeutics. Vanessa has a BSc. (Hons) University of Sydney and MBA (Brookes Scholar) Deakin University.
2019 WILD cohort
Alex Kingsbury – Additive Economics
Annabella Newton – Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick
Catherine Osborne – Crux Biolab
Celine Latouche – Baker IDI
Chelsea Cobb – University of Melbourne
Ellie Mohammadi – Exopharm
Fay Khong – OccuRx
Gabrielle Hirsch – Oliva Newton-John
Grace Lethlean – ANDHealth
Jane Schuller – Orthoptics Australia
Jane Polak-Scowcroft – CSIRO
Julie Francis – Melbourne Water
Krystal Evans – BioMelbourne Network
Marthe D’Ombrain – CSL
Milica Ng – CSL
Nadine Brew – Movember
Paula Burton – DiUS
Sara Prickett – Aravax
Silvia Alvarez-Diaz – Centre for Eye Research Australia
Tifelle Reisinger – Domainex