Department of Education

Institute for Professional Learning ‹ Women in Leadership

Women in Leadership

The Women in Leadership strategy aims to provide access for women in the Department to a range of learning opportunities that enhance, and contribute to, their personal and professional growth.

Women of Achievement Award 2017

The Women of Achievement Award recognises a woman who demonstrates outstanding leadership and contributing to education throughout their career with the Department. Find out how you can nominate someone who has made an significant contribution to public education. 

Applications close 8 December 2017.

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Women in Leadership - Rising Leaders

The signature program of the Women in Leadership strategy is Rising Leaders. This program, commencing in Term 2, 2017, is designed to enhance women’s knowledge of, and confidence in, their own leadership capabilities and foster collegiate relationships that support them in leadership roles.

The program includes:

  • four days of spaced learning
  • six topics:
    • Being an authentic leader
    • Closing the confidence gap
    • Building your personal brand
    • Mindfully maintaining wellbeing
    • Cultivating grit and grace
    • Mindfully maintaining wellbeing
  • small group projects
  • small group coaching.

Applications for a partially funded place are now closed.

The Department offered 24 partially funded places in the 2017 Rising Leaders program. Department employees at Level 3 and above (Education Act), Level 6 and above (Public Service Award) were invited to apply. 


The Women in Leadership strategy also offers participants the opportunity to interact with members of the Women in Leadership alumni and attend other Women in Leadership events.

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Women in Leadership alumni

The Women in Leadership alumni has been formed to maintain and enhance a highly engaged, vibrant community that works actively to promote and support women aspiring to leadership positions and to publicly acknowledge the significant achievements of its members.

Membership of the alumni is initially by invitation to those who have participated in Women in Leadership programs. Membership may then be extended to include those in senior leadership positions (Level 5 and above [Education Act] and Level 7 and above [Public Service Award]).

Alumni will have access to a Connect Community, events that support the Rising Leaders program, opportunities to mentor others and guest speaker events.    

Through the alumni, networks will be developed and strengthened, with positive professional relationships not based on work level and position. Skills and knowledge related to leadership will be enhanced and mentoring may occur within the group.

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Women in Leadership events


2017 International Women's Day Breakfast

The Department of Education's Women in Leadership strategy annually hosts an International Women's Day breakfast event for Department employees. International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Through meaningful celebration and targeted bold action, we can all be responsive and responsible leaders in creating a more gender inclusive world.

This year 140 people joined the Director General Sharyn O’Neill and guest speaker, paralympian Jessica Salamati, nee Smith, to celebrate International Women’s Day at Fremantle Sailing Club.

Jessica shared her inspirational story of how she grew up ‘looking and feeling different’. Born missing her left forearm, she suffered third degree burns in an accident as a toddler and battled anorexia, bulimia and depression as a teenager. After a long journey to self-acceptance, Jessica now works to promote positive body image.

She believes that this generation will break down the barriers for equality, but only if we lead by example. Jessica tells us to be bold enough to take risks and to embrace the empowerment of change.

Jessica is the founder of 'Join The Revolution', an award winning international social media campaign, encouraging people to practice positive self-awareness. The campaign is designed to unite people all over the world, to support each other and to stand together when it comes to body image. She was awarded Emerging Leader at The Australian Government Positive Body Image Awards in 2013, a category created especially to recognise Jessica’s work.

In 2015, Jessica was a State finalist for Young Australian of the Year, and was awarded the Pride of Australia Awards Courage medal for overcoming personal adversity to inspire young Australians to accept themselves and others.

Jessica has worked extensively within the mental health and health promotion fields as a program coordinator and health promotion officer. She is a renowned motivational speaker having taken the stage at hundreds of events around the world. She also visits high schools across the country to provide students with a personal and genuine perspective on eating issues. 

Thank you to everyone who joined us (people came from as far north as Alkimos!) and we look forward to seeing you at our next Women in Leadership event.

If you weren’t able to join us, you can now listen to Jessica’s story.

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Further information

For further information, please contact Carol Scott at the Institute for Professional Learning on 9413 3330 or email

Women in Leadership

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