Women in Leadership Awards Honour Roll


Professor Sharon Lewin AO 

2023 Distinguished Leadership Award

Sharon is an internationally renowned leader in infectious diseases, specifically in the field of HIV, and is President of the International AIDS Society.

Her deep expertise in virology and public health was applied during the COVID-19 Pandemic when she led Doherty Institute’s response and appeared almost daily in the media. Sharon was instrumental in securing $400 million for the new Australian Institute for Infectious Disease, a major investment in Victoria’s biomedical future.

Sharon’s vision and leadership was critical to the decision by Canadian philanthropist Geoff Cumming to donate $250 million over 20 years to the Doherty Institute to establish the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics. The Centre will invest in new technologies to develop novel therapeutics for pandemics and will provide long-term research support to the next generation of scientists.

Sharon is an optimist and innovator. She is tenacious with a good idea and lives by a mantra to say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’. Sharon is generous with her time and a terrific communicator. She is committed to mentorship, inspiring others and providing clear science messaging to the public.


Professor Susie Nilsson

2023 Inspiring Leadership Award

Professor Susie Nilsson is a highly motivated leader who has made monumental shifts in the strategy and structure of CSIRO’s Biomedical Manufacturing program. Recognising a unique opportunity to contribute to the growth of biomedical manufacturing nationally, Susie implemented strategic changes that ensure CSIRO can provide the most value to the local industry.

These changes included the construction of a cGMP and QC facilities to generate biologics for Phase I, II and III clinical trials; and growing a healthy and sustainable pipeline of industry and academic engagement by integrating research capabilities and expanding into new areas. As a result, CSIRO’s biomedical manufacturing program is now a multidisciplinary one-stop-shop for research translation.

Susie inspires and empowers everyone around her. She collaborates broadly at CSIRO and externally to ensure that Australia’s national science agency meets the needs of the local biomedical industry.

Susie prides herself on seeing her team achieve and enables and supports them to reach excellent outcomes for industry and academic partners, and accolades for CSIRO research and development.


Rima Darwiche

2023 Emerging Leadership Award

As a clinical research manager, Rima Darwiche saw first-hand how difficult it was to enrol and retain participants if they lived far away from trial sites and hospitals.

To improve access, she founded Central Pharmacy Logistics (CPL) Australia in 2019, transforming the traditional centralised model of clinical trials to a Direct-To-Patient investigational product delivery service, the first of its kind in Australia. Rima has quietly and tenaciously established CPL, setting her business up for success and securing notable pharmaceutical companies and biotechs as clients. Trial participants in metropolitan, regional or remote communities in Australia and New Zealand can now conveniently receive their trial drugs at home, saving time and effort.

Rima engages in an authentic way, with a unique leadership style. Her determination and sense of equity are unparalleled. Rima has a generous personality – influenced by her experiences living through a civil war and her immigrant parents’ challenges here – who is driven to transform society for the better and to care for all. Without a doubt, Rima is a relentless “Mover and Shaker” in the life sciences sector.


Dr Emma Ball

2022 Distinguished Leadership Award

Dr Emma Ball is Head of Illumina for Startups Australia, a local expansion of the global company creation and growth engine of US genomics company, Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN). Emma is responsible for supporting founders and building the ecosystem of entrepreneurs and investors to create, launch and grow genomics and omics start-ups in Australia.

As part of the role, Emma is Entrepreneur in Residence for The Advanced Genomics Collaboration (TAGC), a partnership between Illumina and the University of Melbourne. The TAGC aims to improve patient outcomes by increasing genomics innovation and its translation and adoption into the health system.

Prior to joining Illumina, Emma was at biotherapeutics and vaccines company, CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) for 15 years, most recently as Global Head of Search & Evaluation and Director Strategy & Business Development. Previous roles at CSL include corporate strategy, commercial development, R&D program management and alliance management. Before CSL, Emma worked in project management in small biotech businesses, both ASX-listed (Prima Biomed, now Immutep) and private (Prostate Diagnostics).

Beyond her role at Illumina, Emma is Non-Executive Director at Startup Shakeup Ltd. She is a mentor for Industry Mentoring Network in STEM (IMNIS) and a member of Springboard Enterprises (SBE) Australia’s Life Sciences Council, the AusBiotech Victorian state committee, and several angel investor groups.

Emma trained as a molecular biologist and gained her PhD in medicine (research) from the University of Melbourne, followed by postdoctoral studies in oncology and endocrinology at Monash University. She holds an MBA from RMIT University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and the Wade Institute’s Venture Capital Catalyst program.


George Kenley

2022 Inspiring Leadership Award

George Kenley studied at the University of Melbourne and completed degrees in Geomatic Engineering, Planning and Design, and Property and Construction. She then joined top tier construction company, Lend Lease, and spent 10 years working across iconic projects including the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville, the new Bendigo Hospital, and the new Monash Children’s Hospital.

Shifting her focus from the construction of hospitals and large-scale healthcare infrastructure, George co-founded Seer in 2017. Seer is reimagining how and where people undergo long-term brain, heart, and respiratory monitoring for faster paths to diagnoses and better patient outcomes.

Seer’s solutions include an at-home epilepsy monitoring system and wearable medical devices, mobile apps for tracking and forecasting seizures, and cloud technology that translates big data into useful medical insights.

George has a deep understanding of the constraints in the health sector and was eager to influence transformative change. Her organisational and project management expertise contributed to Seer’s successful launch and rapid growth.

As Chief Operations Officer, George is responsible for maintaining Seer’s execution and alignment with its overall business strategy. She has played a key role in expanding the number of Seer Medical clinics around Australia and contributed to Seer gaining regulatory approval for its award-winning, patented technology.


Associate Professor Lauren Ayton

2022 Emerging Leadership Award

Associate Professor Lauren Ayton has been passionate about vision loss since her older brother lost his sight due to a brain injury when she was a child. Lauren trained as an optometrist and has worked in a range of clinical environments, including Africa and Sri Lanka. She completed her PhD in 2009 in paediatric optometry, followed by postdoctoral research on traumatic brain injury.

In 2010, Lauren joined the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), where she became Clinical Team Leader of the Bionic Vision Australia program, a large consortium developing a vision prosthesis, or ‘bionic eye’, to help restore useful vision in people living with blindness.

A research collaboration with Harvard University led to a 2017 offer to become Director of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Bionic Eye Technologies, a New York-based start-up. This experience increased Lauren’s interest in research translation, innovation, and commercialisation. She forged strong relationships with US partners

In 2019, a Driving Research Momentum Fellowship saw Lauren return to the University of Melbourne. She now holds a joint position between the Departments of Surgery (Ophthalmology) and Optometry and Vision Sciences, and CERA, which is based at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

Lauren’s research focuses on the progression of inherited retinal diseases (IRDs), the most common cause of legal blindness in working-aged Australians. She runs projects across a wide spectrum, including imaging and functional studies of people with IRDs, clinical trials of emerging treatments and low vision devices, and qualitative studies investigating the quality of life of people with IRDs.

Lauren also leads the SPARK Melbourne research accelerator and is active in Victoria’s innovation ecosystem. She is a passionate science communicator, and can be heard on 3RRR’s Sunday science show, Einstein A Go-Go.


Associate Professor Margie Danchin

2021 Board of Directors Award
(Recognition for Leadership and Impact During the Pandemic)

Margie Danchin is an immunisation expert, and is passionate about effective vaccine communication and building vaccine confidence, locally and internationally.

She has more than 10 years’ experience in vaccine research and clinical work, focussing on policy, safety, evaluation, confidence, acceptance, and uptake, particularly among high risk-groups and in low and middle-income countries. As a Churchill Fellow, she will travel to access leading international experts to inform COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake, develop interventions to improve uptake and respond to misinformation in Australia and the region.

Margie is a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital, University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics Associate Professor, and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s (MCRI) Vaccine Uptake Group leader. She is on a number of advisory boards and working groups.

Within MCRI, Margie leads the national COVID Vaccine Preparedness Study, that trains leaders in cultural and linguistically diverse communities, recent migrants, refugees, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. She works closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Global Vaccine Demand Hub, including the Sabin’s Vaccine and Acceptance Research Network (VARN) steering group and IPA-Vaccine Trust Project.

Highly respected for her warmth and integrity, decision-making skills and ability to inspire, Margie is a brilliant communicator and regularly writes for scientific and lay publications, including The Conversation. Her direct engagement with the community and government is always respectful, particularly when addressing misinformation and vaccine hesitancy.


Dr Jenny Petering

2021 Distinguished Leadership Award

Dr Jenny Petering has played a major role in growing a leading Australian biotechnology IP practice over 25 years.

Jenny is recognised as one of the world’s leading patent prosecutors, for her exceptional technical ability and commitment to clients; consistently singled out by industry reviews. She has led, educated, and inspired several generations of patent attorneys, including teaching at the University of Melbourne, and Monash University.

Beyond excelling as a service provider at FB Rice, Jenny supports the local entrepreneurial and biotechnology community through her enthusiasm for innovation and mentoring. The inspiring role model has made a palpable difference to advancing women in the biotechnology industry through creating networks, mentoring forums, and investing in female entrepreneurs.

Jenny is committed to commercialisation entities that provide financial, technical and industry support to start-ups, research institutes and PhD students. She harnesses relationships with local and international industry partners to create impactful networking forums promoting emerging companies and those seeking an international footprint.

As a Scale Investors member Jenny has mentored early-stage companies and introduced entrepreneurs to strategic partners and funding. She champions Life Sciences industry excellence and advocates for advancing women in the sector.

Jenny sits on the Industry Mentoring Network in STEM Executive Committee, connecting industry leaders with PhD students. She also helps community initiatives including research institute translation and commercialisation committees and previously the Victorian Government – Science, Medical Research and Technology (SMaRT) Panel.


Jennifer Herz

2021 Inspiring Leadership Award

A solutions-driven leader and strategic thinker, Jennifer Herz founded Biointelect in 2012 to provide commercialisation services to the biopharmaceutical sector. Most recently, through Biointelect’s sister company Biocelect, she helped lead efforts that saw the Australian Government sign up the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine.

Jennifer has an extensive local and international network of industry, policy, scientific and clinical experts across many therapeutic areas and healthcare sectors, plus global experience in new products and start-ups. Her Board experience includes strategy, risk, and governance in the public, private and the not-for-profit sectors.

With more than 20 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, Jennifer’s experience includes numerous roles overseeing the Australian, New Zealand, and European markets. She was the first Managing Director of Sanofi Pasteur in Australia, a start-up that grew over her six-year tenure to be a major regional vaccine provider.

A former Medicines Australia Board member, Jennifer has led industry discussions with government, and worked with international groups linked to European institutions and the WHO. Among other things, she is on the NHMRC’s Health Innovation Advisory Committee and the NHMRC funded Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE) Expert Reference Group.

Jennifer, who also mentors interns, is a Director of Biocelect, the Australian and New Zealand sponsor for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. She supported Novavax to set up their phase I/II trial in Australia, as well as helping navigate the TGA and interactions with government.

Jennifer also worked on strategy for the first FDA/TGA approved novel molecule against malaria in over 2 decades. Since 2012 she has helped the US company 60P Pharma to commercialise and now distribute it in Australia and soon New Zealand. Her leadership, perseverance, energy, passion, and ability to find solutions is inspiring.


Dr Hannah Kirk

2021 Emerging Leadership Award

Dr Hannah Kirk is changing the face of technology for children with developmental disorders through her research and leadership in digital health and medical technology. After being awarded her Monash University PhD in cognitive neuroscience in 2016, Hannah led research and development at Novita Healthcare Ltd and TALi Health before taking a post-doctoral position in 2018 at Monash University’s Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health with an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship.

Hannah’s award-winning research program examines how digital technology can support cognitive, academic, behavioural and health outcomes in children and adolescents. An emerging global leader in her field, she co-invented the world’s first game-based digital attention intervention for children with developmental disorders, TALi Train, and co-founded MedTech start-up, TALi Health Pty Ltd, to provide evidence-based digital therapeutics for children needing vital early interventions.

Hannah has led two clinical trials demonstrating the benefits of the intervention for attention and numeracy skills. The patented intervention is reimbursable through the NDIS and used by children globally. She has published 13 peer-reviewed papers, supervised 13 research students, and spoken at more than 20 national/ international conferences.

Her current projects have created the first virtual reality intervention to improve impulsivity in ADHD and a touchscreen tool to support childhood cognitive development. Hannah regularly engages with the media and was named an ABC Top 5 Science Scholar in 2019.

She is passionate about research translation and uniting academia and industry to produce innovative evidence-based tools, and a strong advocate for gender equity in academia and industry. Hannah is an emerging leader whose strong research foundation, industry experience, innovative mind and active community engagement ensure she will make a significant and valuable contribution to the sector.


Ewa Douroux

2020 Emerging Women in Leadership Award

PhD in ageing Biology, Dr Ewa Douroux started her corporate career in scientific communication and medical affairs in Paris, primarily managing international advisory boards and experts.  In 2008, Ewa moved to Sydney and to clinical research, where she led international trials for the pharmaceutical industry. After graduating from the INSEAD MBA, Ewa joined Leica Biosystems in early 2013 as Global Marketing Manager. In this role, Ewa was at the inception of a new smart and connected product line, allowing Leica to bridge a vitality gap between existing instruments and the forthcoming next generation platforms serving pathology laboratories around the world. In 2016 Ewa took the helm of the Contract Manufacturing Division, achieving a substantial transformation of the division through pragmatism, empathy, resilience and drive.

In early 2018 Ewa was asked to set up a new reagents production facility whilst also taking charge of Leica Melbourne Compliance and Environment, Health & Safety. In only a few months, Ewa was able to create a new dynamic and inspire others – including the launch of coordinated initiatives aimed at reducing the site’s carbon footprint by 15%. In late 2019 Ewa was appointed Asia Pacific Marketing Director, with the ambitious agenda to overhaul the marketing strategy, deliver revenue growth and contribute to the ongoing success of Leica Biosystems.

Ewa is passionate about how business can be a force for good and contribute to reducing our overall environmental footprint. She makes time to participate in the life of the biotech sector and is a generous contributor who is always happy to help and give her time to students, young entrepreneurs or professionals. She is invested in advancing diversity via cultural awareness and encouraging women in business. Ewa is a budding future industry leader, and a delightful person with a fabulous set of personal goals, ideals and values.


Bronwyn Le Grice

2020 Most Valuable Women in Leadership Award

Bronwyn Le Grice has over 18 years executive experience in the health technology sector spanning venture capital, transaction management, capital raising, corporate development, investor relations and industry advocacy. She commenced her health technology career with Neurosciences Victoria, and has worked across the life sciences and health technology sector in Australia and New Zealand since, including serving as Chief Executive Officer of NZBIO from 2008-2011. In 2012, Bronwyn joined BioScience Managers as an Investment Director, where she managed over $65M of private and public equity capital raisings, and in 2015 managed the largest digital health technology IPO on the ASX with the $35M listing of Adherium.

In 2016 Bronwyn developed the concept for a novel, digital health scale-up support program, alongside James Dromey of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, which she went on to found and lead as Managing Director. Now Australia’s leading health technology scale up accelerator, ANDHealth’s unique industry-led model has led to significant growth within Australia’s nascent digital health sector. Companies which have engaged in the flagship accelerator program developed by Bronwyn and delivered by the ANDHealth team have raised in excess of $28.7M in capital, created >165 jobs, undertaken 28 clinical trials and have served >70,000 patients, since 2017.

In 2019 Bronwyn completed her Masters of Commercial Law at Melbourne Law School, focusing on corporate governance and capital markets law. Bronwyn serves on a number of Advisory Committees for RMIT, Swinburne and La Trobe Universities and is a member of the Australia and New Zealand Leadership Forum Health Technologies Sector Group. Bronwyn brings an investment perspective into the innovation space, atypical to a sector dominated by technical thinking styles. She consistently backs herself and tenaciously pursues excellence in her work, inspiring others to do the same.


Andrea Douglas

2020 Women in Leadership Award 

Dr Andrea Douglas leads CSL’s Organisation Transformation Office, which integrates and drives major organisational design changes that have broad implications to the business across areas of strategy, structure, governance, process and people.  She also leads government relations strategy in Australia.

Since 2005, Andrea has played key leadership roles in CSL’s progression to becoming Australia’s largest biotech, including leading global Research and Development (R&D) strategy, product portfolio, R&D investment and prioritisation processes as Vice President, R&D Strategy and External Affairs. She has also held roles as Vice President, Licensing, Head of Global R&D Project Management and Program Director, Influenza. Before joining CSL Andrea was the CEO of the Gene CRC, and also held a senior research role at WEHI. Andrea has a PhD in Forensic Medicine from Monash University, holds a Masters in Health Administration and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is a Director of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and BioCurate, was a Director of AusBiotech from 2013-2019 and is currently a member of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions Innovation Taskforce.

Andrea’s enormous impact is a direct result of her outstanding leadership. She has a strong research background, a strategic and pragmatic business mind, natural emotional intelligence, and a brilliant ability to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. Andrea is particularly passionate about mentoring and supporting women in STEM, and has set herself apart as an outstanding role model for both work and life. As a leader, Andrea has an exceptional ability to advocate, persuade and support, enabling her to unite academia, industry and policy throughout the sector – a unique and valuable contribution with enormous impact


Evelyn Chan

2019 Emerging Women in Leadership Award

Evelyn Chan completed her Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery with Honours at Monash University, then trained and worked in paediatrics at The Royal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Women’s Hospital and Eastern Health in Melbourne.

Evelyn received a Rhodes Scholarship to study medical anthropology and public health at the University of Oxford. She focused her research on effective translation and delivery of healthcare across cultures and geographies.

Evelyn worked at the Boston Consulting Group, specialising in public sector and healthcare strategy. During this time, she led the Young Leaders Program for at-risk teens, and pro-bono work for Jawun Indigenous Initiative.

She’s now a ‘doctorprenuer’ as CEO and founder of Smileyscope, and paediatric fellow at Monash University. She works on translational research around transforming paediatric needle procedures through patient-centred VR. This decreases patient pain and anxiety, and keeps children calm and still for procedures, making it faster and safer for clinicians. This innovative technology grew out of Evelyn’s own clinical and research experience at Monash and has won national awards in healthcare, design and innovation.

She is innovative in her approach to partnering, bringing together VR technology experts from Google with producers who had worked with Disney and Sesame Street, and world-class clinicians and researchers.

Evelyn’s passion for her work and her ability to call on her professional background as well as her experiences from her extracurricular roles, demonstrates her leadership capabilities and her interest in sharing her knowledge and skill.


Clara Gaff

2019 Most Valuable Women in Leadership Award

Clara Gaff is Executive Director of Melbourne Genomics Health Alliance, a collaboration between 10 leading organisations dedicated to building a genomics-ready healthcare system in Victoria. This collaborative and clinically-driven initiative has become the gold standard for successful introduction of new health technology nationally and around the globe.

Clara is also a leader on the national initiative Australian Genomics Health Alliance, sitting on the National Steering Committee and co-leading the Education and Workforce Development Program.

Clara’s direct involvement in patient care and knowledge translation has enabled her to bring a unique perspective and skill set to tackle the many interlinked challenges of bringing genomics into healthcare. Her diverse experience includes roles in genetic counselling, management of genetic services, health professional education, and strategic development in Australia and the UK, in public health, government, academic and not-for-profit sectors.

Clara was named the inaugural recipient of the National Society of Genetic Counsellors’ (USA) International Leadership Award. She is an internationally acknowledged expert in genomic healthcare and a member of numerous expert advisory groups, including the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health’s Regulatory Ethics Working Group, the European Journal of Human Genetics’ Editorial Board and the NHMRC’s Australian Health Ethics Committee and Health Translation Advisory Committee.

An Honorary Principal Research Fellow at the Departments of Medicine and Paediatrics at The University of Melbourne, Clara holds a PhD in molecular genetics, as well as certification in genetic counselling and postgraduate qualifications in health service research and evaluation.


Anna Lavelle

2019 Women in Leadership Award

Anna Lavelle is an experienced non-executive director, serving for over 25 years on the boards of not-for-profit, government and for-profit entities. As executive director, or non-executive director, she has been continuously developing strong governance skills and in particular, has a lengthy track record in healthcare delivery, technology development and industry policy.

Anna has spent the better part of 25 years working actively within and campaigning for the growth and expansion of our life sciences and medical technologies sector. She has a PhD in genetics from The University of Melbourne and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Anna is also a Fellow of the Academy of Technology Science and Engineering, a Fellow of the Leadership Victoria Program and a member of the National Health and Medical Research Council Health Innovation Advisory Committee.

Her time at AusBiotech as CEO was extraordinary, with substantial pieces of policy change effectively championed throughout her tenure, including the R&D Tax Incentive. She is also the only Australian to be recognised by Nature Scientific America, World View, which in 2015 ranked Anna in the global top 100 World Visionaries in biotechnology.

Anna has shown an ability to add clear value to organisations, both large and small, and her ability to cross the executive and non-executive divide, appropriately, set her apart. She is unfailingly honest, ethical and demonstrates a level of integrity and authenticity which is often lacking in today’s corporate leaders.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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