Look who’s coming to lunch | Meet WOB’s Xmas guests


Time is running out to book your spot at one of our Members’ Christmas Luncheons taking place around the country. We have six guest speakers - from current and former MPs to experienced leaders and directors - lined up to meet WOB members and share their stories. 


“Our Christmas lunches are always fun and insightful events and give us all the opportunity to reconnect at the end of the year,” said WOB Executive Director Claire Braund.

“And we are as always extremely grateful to these women taking time out of their busy calendars in the lead up to Christmas to share their experiences and learnings with our members.”

So who are the women, and when and where can you meet them?

Brisbane - Liz Savage | 6 Dec

  • Chair, Tourism Industry Reference Panel, Queensland Government
  • Non-Executive Director, Intrepid Travel
  • Non-Executive Director, Funlab Pty Ltd
  • Non-Executive Director, Auckland Airport
  • Non-Executive Director, North Queensland Airports
  • Non-Executive Director, People Infrastructure

Liz has extensive experience in the travel, tourism & hospitality sectors, having held senior leadership roles in high growth, disruptive consumer businesses in the UK, Europe & Australia: including as Business Development Director of easyJet & Chief Commercial Officer of Virgin Australia.

Now a full time company director, Liz’s portfolio includes Auckland International Airport, North Queensland Airports, Intrepid Travel, FunLab and People Infrastructure. Previous Board roles include at Mantra Group, Brisbane Marketing & Triathlon Australia.

Liz holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from University of Bristol, a Master’s degree in Air Transport Management from Cranfield University and studied at Harvard Business School.


Perth - Rowena Ironside | 7 Dec

After emigrating to Perth with her family as a teenager, Rowena graduated from St Hilda’s in 1973 and subsequently did a Bachelor of Business in Information Processing at WAIT (now Curtin). Her first programming job was with the Swan Brewery (Canning Vale) after which she headed to London in 1981.

After 20 years on the leading edge of the IT industry and then a year at London Business School doing a Masters (post the dot.com boom and bust) Rowena built a second career around purpose-led business and in 2012 was one of the founders of Women on Boards in the UK, where she was Executive Chair for eight years before stepping back into an NED role. In 2020, Rowena developed WOB’s “Becoming an Effective Chair” programme, which she still delivers for WOB UK.

Rowena started her non-exec career in 2006 and has experience as a trustee, Chair and NED across private, public and not-for-profit sectors. As well as Women on Boards UK, she is currently an NED at the Digital Catapult, a publicly funded digital technology innovation centre in London and Chair of the healthcare charity PSPA. She also sits on the Steering Committee of The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute in Cambridge.


Melbourne - Mary Wooldridge | 8 Dec

  • Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency
  • Chair of Global Citizen (Australia)
  • Director of Carey Baptist Grammar School

Former Victorian MP and Minister now Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Mary Wooldridge will be our guest at the Melbourne lunch. Mary started as Director of (WGEA) in May 2021 and leads the Agency in driving gender equality in workplaces ensuring that women and men are equally represented, valued and rewarded.

Mary brings to the role a wealth of experience from a distinguished career in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She served from 2006 to 2020 in the Victorian Parliament, including a term as Minister for Mental Health, Community Services and Women’s Affairs, working to implement the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022 and instrumental in establishing Our Watch, the national family violence prevention agency.

Mary was also the Minister responsible for signing Victoria up to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She established the Victorian Commission for Children and Young People, including the nation’s first Aboriginal Commissioner, Parkville College – an award-winning Public School in Youth Justice Centres and Australia’s first Mental Health Complaints Commissioner and the Family Drug Treatment Court.

Prior to being elected to Parliament, Mary was the CEO of The Foundation for Young Australians and worked with McKinsey & Company and Consolidated Press Holdings.

Mary also serves as Chair of Global Citizen (Australia) and a Director of Carey Baptist Grammar School.


Central Coast - Margie Haseltine | 9 Dec

  • Chair, Bapcor Limited
  • Non-Executive Director, Metcash Ltd
  • Non-Executive Director, Newcastle Permanent

Margie Haseltine is a great example of someone who was able to take the road less travelled (through procurement and supply chain management) to becoming a CEO, in this case five years as CEO of Masterfoods Australia, with a turnover of $380M per annum. Margie has subsequently built an excellent reputation as a Non Executive Director, and is an active mentor for aspiring senior executives, NEDs and even New Zealand companies wanting to do business in Australia.

Margie graduated from Auckland University and Secondary Teachers College. She moved to Australia in 1988 with her husband and started working with Master foods based in Sydney in the logistics department. She was one of the few managers who moved with the business to the Central Coast when they built a green field food plant in 1991.

She brings more than 30 years business experience in a broad range of senior positions and 10 years Board Directorship. A proven executive leader, Margie has delivered significant achievements in areas of change management, governance, organisational culture and profitability. Margie worked at Mars Incorporated for 20 years, and in the last 5 of those years she was CEO of Mars Food (formerly Masterfoods). She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Adelaide - Katrine Hildyard MP | 13 Dec

  • SA Minister for Child Protection
  • SA Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
  • SA Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing
  • Member for Reynell
  • Branch Secretary, Australian Services Union

Growing up in a single parent family in the south western suburbs of Adelaide, Katrine understands the value of being part of a community that is connected and inclusive, one where everyone is supported and empowered.

Katrine is driven by a visceral sense of fairness and deeply believes in equality of opportunity and strives to amplify the voices of community members, especially those who most need to be heard.

For most of her working life, Katrine has fought to improve the lives of South Australians. As Secretary of the Australian Services Union SA/NT branch, Katrine worked collectively to help secure equal pay for 200,000 community workers. These efforts saw her awarded an Australia Day ‘Women Hold Up Half the Sky’/Inspiring South Australian Women Award in 2012. She is also listed on the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll.

Immediately prior to entering Parliament Katrine was Chief Executive Officer of Together SA and is a graduate of Flinders University, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Governor’s Leadership Foundation. Past jobs include clerical work and being a cleaner.

Since 2014, Katrine has been the Member for Reynell representing people in the southern community.

She previously served as Minister for Disabilities, Minister Assisting the Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Assistant Minister to the Premier in the Weatherill Labor Government. During this period, she worked with others to establish the South Australian Women in Sport Taskforce which she chaired.


Sydney - Allegra Spender MP | 14 Dec

  • Federal Independent MP for Wentworth

Allegra Spender is a mum, business leader, and renewable energy advocate, and was elected in 2022 on a platform of climate action, integrity, inclusivity, and a future-focused economy.

Allegra has diverse leadership experience in the corporate, non-profit, private, and public sectors. She started her career at McKinsey & Company, before working at the UK Treasury and in a leading UK public teaching hospital.

From 2008 to 2016, Allegra was the Managing Director of Carla Zampatti, a leading Australian designer fashion business. She was also Chair of Sydney Renewable Power Company, a renewable impact investment company that financed over 500kw of solar on the International Convention Centre.

Prior to standing for Wentworth, Allegra was the CEO of Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) a social mobility not-for-profit. The network is made up of a group of forty leading corporations, including Macquarie, Microsoft, Lendlease, Optus and Bain, whose team members mentor over 5,000 students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

Allegra has a degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and has completed courses from Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business, the University of London's Birkbeck, and Harvard Business School.

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