International Women’s Day 2023 Speakers

Vivienne Porritt OBE

Vivienne Porritt supports school and trust leaders with vision, strategy, professional learning and development, and impact evaluation.

Vivienne is a Co-founder and Global Strategic Leader of WomenEd, a global charity which empowers aspiring and existing women leaders in education. Vivienne is also a Vice President of the Chartered College of Teaching and holds several governance roles.

Vivienne is a former secondary headteacher and Director for School Partnerships at University College London. Institute of Education. She writes for practitioner and academic journals and is co-editor of 10%braver: Inspiring Women to Lead Education (Sage, 2019) and Being 10%braver (Corwin, 2021).

Laura Bain

Laura Bain is the Head of Emerging Technologies and Innovation at Matthew Flinders Anglican College. She is a 2021 TeachX Finalist and has made The Educator Hot List two years in a row. Her work with technology in education has seen her recognised as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow and Apple Learning Leader. Laura is one of the Australian representatives of the WomenEd network and a member of the Association of Women Educators. She is passionate about technology and driving innovation in schools.

Beth O’Brien

Beth O'Brien is a disability advocate and speaker and also works as the Director, Student Wellbeing at the Queensland Department of Education. Born with a rare form of dwarfism, Beth is a full-time electric wheelchair user. With a PhD in Social Psychology, Beth has always been interested in human behaviour and understanding the impact of biases and representation on authentic inclusion.

Since commencing her advocacy work in 2019, Beth has been involved in discussions with key business leaders about creating inclusive spaces; highlighted through media appearances the importance of normalising disability; and spoken about the importance of inclusive work and education environments at conferences with other high-profile advocates. Beth regularly appears on ABC News Breakfast to provide her perspective and insights on current political and social events. At her appearance at the Disability Royal Commission in 2020, Beth advocated for a systemic shift in the way workplaces plan for and respond to supporting employees with a disability. Beth is also the co-founder of consultable, which works with businesses to grow their capability and confidence to create and maintain accessible services, experiences and physical and digital spaces that cater to the diverse needs of people with disability.

Marnee Shay

Associate Professor Marnee Shay is an Aboriginal researcher whose maternal family is from Wagiman Country (Daly River Region in the Northern Territory). Marnee was born in Brisbane and has strong connections to Indigenous communities in South East Queensland. Marnee is currently a Principal Research Fellow at the University of Queensland. She has a large externally funded research program and has many publications across the fields of Indigenous education, Indigenous education policy and flexi schooling. Marnee is an advocate of strengths approaches in Indigenous education and Indigenous based evidence to inform policy futures.

Zeina Chalich

Zeina Chalich is an experienced educational leader, learning designer and international speaker. She is the co-founder of AussieED and the Network Lead for WomenED Australia. Zeina was recently awarded finalist Principal of the Year (Non-Government) and was named on the Educator Hot List for leading innovative pedagogies, transforming learning experiences, and creating global communities of learners. As founder of Learning Creatives Consultancy, Zeina supports schools and organisations with strategy, learning design, leadership development and all things digital. She is currently exploring the potential of AI in Education, join the conversation @ZeinaChalich

Barbara Watterston

Barbara has extensive experience in education and has held a number of executive leadership positions across Australia within the education and not-for-profit community sectors.

An author, Barbara’s most recent co-authored book Step In, Step Up: Empowering women for the school leadership journey, received a silver medal in the international 2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards.

Recognised for her contribution to educational leadership and professional learning, her national research report, Insights: Environmental Scan Principal Preparation Programs contributed to five major national recommendations for preparing future school leaders.

Barbara has a special interest in the links between leadership sustainability, wellbeing, and impact on performance to ensure learning, for all, can thrive.