Who better to uplift 450 female travel employees (some males too) than a woman who survived the biggest men’s club (the government) during her time as Australia’s first female Prime Minister?

Julia Gillard surprised an auditorium full Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) employees this week when she stepped out on stage for a powerful keynote speech at the company’s third annual Womenwise Conference.

FCTG staff were in awe as Ms Gillard shared details of her resilience in leadership and even offered a few tips on how they too can become great leaders by having a strong sense of purpose and self-nurture.

The former PM told attendees that she believes Australia is in the midst of a “deep, profound moment of change” triggered by the ‘me too’ movement, Hilary Clinton’s presidential candidacy and the profile of activist Malala Yousafzai.

Before Flight Centre employees could come down from Ms Gillard’s speech, outspoken gender quality advocate, Lisa Wilkinson, emerged with a keynote address focused on her unconventional career path from the early days in the Dolly office, to her first meeting and job offer from Kerry Packer. Her message was simple; “we are good enough”.

The audience also heard from world champion surfer, Layne Beachley AO, women’s health expert, Dr Ginni Mansberg and financial literacy consultant, Cathryn Gross.

The conference fostering gender diversity and tackling the issues associated with achieving equality in the workplace couldn’t have been complete without a talk by FCTG Founder and Managing Director, Graham ‘Skroo’ Turne, who shared his modern taken on gender equality thanks to the inspirational women in his life such as wife Jude and daughter Jo, both successful business people.

In addition to uplifting staff, the conference raised $20,000 for charity partner, the McGrath Foundation and official conference sponsor, Qantas, gave away return flights to Hong Kong.


Have you attended a Womenwise Conference?