Women in Leadership Awards Honour Roll

Megan Baldwin

2015 Emerging Women in Leadership Award

Megan Baldwin has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and a PhD in Medicine.

Commencing at Genentech as a researcher, Megan then joined the company’s commercial division. Throughout her career, she has strengthened her commercial experience and scientific knowledge, particularly in the field of anti-angiogenic and oncology drug development.

As the CEO/Managing Director of Opthea Limited, Megan has shown great leadership and persistence in the restructure of Circadian Technologies from its oncology program to its current ophthalmology program (Opthea). Her determination has resulted in attracting several sophisticated institutional investors located in Australia, Europe, and the US. She has contributed to industry advancement, through raising capital for clinical studies and leading the development of OPT-302 for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration. Megan’s professional integrity, determination, and ability to interact with investors has contributed to this significant advancement of innovative patient therapies.

Megan is a major role model to both her colleagues and the students her mentors through her industry projects.


Amanda Caples

Amanda Caples

2018 Most Valuable Women in Leadership Award

Amanda Caples has a Bachelor of Science (Honours), a PhD in pharmacology and a Graduate Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Over the course of her career she has gained a multitude of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and in the public sector and has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of industry.

She began in the pharmaceutical industry running a clinical trial leading to the development of both the business and the pharmaceutical product. Moving forward, she joined the Victorian public service and has been directly involved in driving Victoria’s science agenda through the development of industry sector strategy plans, research-led health initiatives, legislative scientific reforms, and the development of international alliances.

Today, as the Lead Scientist of Victoria, she is making outstanding contributions to support both industry and the people that work in it. Her commitment to building connections and partnerships across the Victorian public and private research sectors has led to numerous business-research collaborations.

Her support of many academic boards, National Science Week, the Australian Synchrotron and the Department of Education and Training’s STEM initiatives will help progress Victoria’s biotechnology industry into the future.


Kathy Connell

Kathy Connell

2018 Women in Leadership Award

Kathy Connell has an extensive and varied background in the life sciences industry. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology), a Post Graduate Diploma in Medical and International Law, and a Bachelor and Post Graduate Diploma of Psychology. Kathy’s early career saw her work as a speech pathologist, a registered psychologist and as a clinical educator. Following her clinical experience, she has become a key leader in the translation of academic research into industry and currently works as Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s Senior Director of New Ventures.

Over the course of her career, she has co-developed a mentoring program for allied health students with La Trobe University, helped build an ASX-listed biotech, established the first Australian Pharmaceutical Industry Business Development Network, helped established the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office at Monash University, and most recently, secured funding to launch the inaugural Johnson & Johnson WiSTEM2D University program.

With over 25 years of experience facilitating global collaborations, Kathy has demonstrated a strong commitment to global engagement, promotion, and innovation of patient care.


Jackie Fairley

2016 Women in Leadership Award

Jackie Fairley has first class Honours in a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Veterinary Science and a Master of Business Administration.

Jackie is recognised as a key leader in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Working at major companies including CSL, Faulding (Pfizer) and Starpharma, she has been instrumental in advancing the industry.

As the CEO of Starpharma, Jackie been an outstanding leader resulting in the growth and development of the company’s business model. During her tenure, the company advanced to the ASX300, and significantly strengthened its institutional shareholder base, attracting large investments from international institutions and is now valued at more than $500 million. Jackie has significantly advanced Australia’s pharmaceutical and biotechnological prowess through securing key partnerships with leading companies like AstraZeneca, Mundipharma, Ansell and Aspen Pharmacare leading to the development and commercialisation of Australian innovations globally. Under her leadership Starpharma has successfully taken a novel women’s health product, VivaGel BV all the way from lab bench to market. Starpharma has now licensed the product in more than 150 counties and is one of only a handful of Australian companies to file a New Drug Application with the FDA.

Jackie is a key role model in industry, driving for a diverse, gender-balanced, workforce and commercialisation of Australian innovations. She has also made contributions to advance education by providing guidance to women within and outside her organization, presenting at industry events, and providing her expertise to several industry and government advisory groups including the Prime Minister’s Commonwealth Science Council and serving on the board of the Melbourne Business School.


Kerry Hegarty

2017 Most Valuable Women in Leadership Award

Kerry Hegarty has a Bachelor of Science (Geological Sciences), a Master of Science, and a PhD in marine geophysics from Columbia University, NYC.

Kerry’s entire career has focused on translation of scientific concepts into products for global consumption. Initially in the energy business, Kerry co-founded Geotrack International, then joined the biotechnological industry as Managing Director of Sienna Cancer Diagnostics.  At Sienna, she tenaciously transformed and ultimately led the company to its first product sales, introducing a novel bladder cancer diagnostic to the US market.

Today, as a Director of Incisive Technologies, Kerry has started the cycle again, identifying early-stage technology (this time in oral healthcare) and is currently building the Incisive team to manufacture and partner a novel product designed to detect early-stage cavities.

Past and present roles include serving as a member of the Victorian government’s SMaRT panel (Science, Medical Research, and Technology), NHMRC’s Principal Committee; IMNIS, Board positions and various other activities for the Department of Health and Human Services.


Grace Lethlean

Grace Lethlean

2018 Emerging Women in Leadership Award

Grace Lethlean graduated from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Science (Immunology) and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours - Chemical Engineering).

Grace’s passion for the industry has seen her recognised as both a strong leader and role model. Starting at CSL Biotherapies and then as the Business Development Manager at Grey Innovation, she has led diverse teams, launched new biotechnology companies, and helped to foster collaboration between industry and research. Grace is also a co-inventor of an ASX-listed digital health technology developed with Monash University for children with attention difficulties.

In her current position as Chief Operations Officer of ANDHealth, she lends her drive and enthusiasm to emerging digital companies, going well beyond her job role, and has led to the expansion of Australian companies to deliver patient impact nationwide and internationally, further advancing the industry.

She has made impressive contributions to industry through her work and by generously giving her time to students, graduates, young developers, academic programs and by speaking at events and on panels.


Sue MacLeman

2017 Women in Leadership Award

Sue MacLeman has a Bachelor of Pharmacy, a Master of Marketing and a Master of Law degree and is a Fellow of ATSE and Fellow and Graduate of AICD.

Sue MacLeman has more than 30 years’ experience as a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology executive having held senior roles in corporate, medical, commercial and business development. Sue has also served as CEO and Board member of several ASX and NASDAQ listed companies in the pharmaceutical sector and is currently Chair of MTPConnect (MTPII-GC Ltd), Chair of Anatara Lifesciences Ltd (ASX:ANR), Chair of  Novita Healthcare Ltd (ASX:NHL), Non-Executive Director of TPI Enterprises Ltd (ASX:TPE), Non-Executive Director of Oventus Medical Ltd (ASX:OVN) and Non-Executive Director of veski. Sue is also appointed to several academic and government advisory committees.

Her depth of knowledge of this sector is immense and highly respected. This is highlighted at MTPConnect, in their extensive roadmap outlining how to enhance Australia’s successes in commercialising research, streamlining the regulatory system, increasing sector skills and capability, and accessing the global value chain.

Sue’s extensive experience, her tenacity in advancing industry, and her generosity as a role model is of immeasurable value to this industry.


Sally McArthur

2016 Most Valuable Women in Leadership Award

Sally McArthur has a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Materials Engineering, a Master of Engineering Science in Biomedical Engineering and a PhD (Optometry).

Originally starting as a research assistant at the CISRO, Sally has worked tirelessly at a variety of universities, and is currently a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Swinburne University. Throughout her career, Sally has gained great acclaim as a positive educator, mentor, and role model to many.

Sally’s initiative and commitment to advancing the biomedical industry is shown through her establishment of the Biointerface Engineering group within the Industrial Research Institute Swinburne, her development of the Biomedical Engineering course at Swinburne University and her securement of funding for the $1.8M ARC Training Centre for Biodevices. These contributions have led to the development of innovative and entrepreneurial students and PhD graduates for the MedTech sector. In particular, her role in establishing the ANFF-Vic, an open access facility, has supported a diverse range of industry and academic projects. Further, her Innovation Breakfast program has driven industry engagement and awareness of research capabilities.

Sally’s leadership and proactive contributions continue to advance research and industry and inspire both her colleagues and the next generation of STEM leaders.


Elaine Saunders

2015 Women in Leadership Award

Elaine Saunders has a Bachelor of Science (Honours; Chemical Physics), a Master of Science (Clinical Audiology), and a PhD (Biomedical Engineering).

Elaine began her career as a research assistant, lecturer, and senior audiological scientist in the UK. After emigrating to Australia she led the team which developed Cochlear’s Australian Design Award winning implantable electrode at CRC HEAR. Elaine then co-led spin-off company Dynamic Hearing, commercialising the ADRO® amplifier used in the Cochlear implant, which has been used worldwide in Bluetooth headsets, hearing implants and hearing aids.

Today, Elaine is the Executive Chairman of Blamey Saunders hears, a telehealth and hearing aid development company with the industry’s first ‘self-fit’ hearing aid system, which can be fully customised on a PC or smartphone.

Elaine is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health, Arts & Design at Swinburne University, and Chair of its Innovation Precinct Advisory Board. She is also Non-Executive Director of both the Australian National Fabrication Facility and the National Foundation for Medical Research and Innovation.

She is well-known for her approachability and willingness to share her experiences and advice. As a key role model, she actively encourages her staff and the students she mentors. Her outstanding leadership in advancing current and future healthcare is tremendous.


Jacqueline Savage

2016 Emerging Women in Leadership Award

Jacqueline Savage graduated with first class Honours in a Bachelor of Product Design (Biomedical Engineering). She began her career as a product design engineer for companies like Johnson & Johnson, Outerspace Design, and Ronstan International.

In 2013, Jacqueline founded MedCrop Technologies where she is widely recognised as a highly respected natural leader by her peers. Her confidence and ability to engage with people in both business and academics, whilst being extremely respectful, has led to the securement of support from a range of external parties. This combined with her can-do attitude has led to great successes transitioning ideas to reality, advancing this industry. One of the key technologies developed has been a wearable core body temperature sensor which detects the early signs of infection remotely in at-risk patients. By shadowing over 100 doctors and nurses, Jacqueline developed a product in line with market and patient needs.

Jacqueline maintains an active role in innovation, healthcare, and education issues. In addition to her duties as CEO, Jacqueline advises nationally and internationally in both the private and government sectors, including; board member for the Committee for Melbourne and advisory board member of Swinburne University of Technology’s Innovation Precinct.

A multi-award winning and widely celebrated businesswoman, Jacqueline has won numerous awards including 2016 Telstra Victorian Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was voted Top 100 Global Engineering Innovations of 2014 (NASA Tech Briefs). Jacqueline’s success has been celebrated through her multiple achievements and her continuing desire to create lifesaving technologies.

Jacqueline is also an engineering support lecturer at Swinburne University, a public speaker, and overall a fantastic role model for future female leaders within the STEM area. Her passion, creativity and commitment to user-centred design will continue to advance innovation and remote patient care.


Elizabeth Williams

2017 Emerging Women in Leadership Award

Elizabeth Williams has a Master of Science (Chemistry) and a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry.

Initially working as a Research Scientist at CSIRO, Elizabeth has contributed to the commercialisation and translation of CSIRO research in the biomedical industry. She has also demonstrated leadership driving CSIRO’s research internationally, with a business development secondment in the US supporting the commercialisation of products using CSIRO’s RAFT technology. As Team Leader, Elizabeth uses her unique global perspective of the industry to support and encourage a team of 15 scientists to commercialise research across a broad range of industry sectors.

In 2017, Elizabeth co-founded the start-up Hemideina, leading a team to revolutionize hearing treatment with a wireless miniature cochlear implant. As CEO, Elizabeth leads the commercial strategy and execution of Hemideina. Her respectful leadership style has supported the company’s lean operational model, which focuses on collaborations and partnerships to develop a highly disruptive solution for patients with moderate-to-profound hearing loss.

Elizabeth has a strong aptitude in the translation of research into commercial outcomes, having mentored teams through customer validation and product-market fit to identify the commercial pathway for the product.



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