About G+T

The Women’s Circle - Melbourne

The Women’s Circle is an initiative Gilbert + Tobin launched in October 2016, aimed at enriching and supporting the career development of enterprising Australian women.

Following the enormous success of the 2016-2017 Women’s Circle program, G+T will launch its 2018-2019 program on 20 August 2018 in Melbourne.  The 2018-2019 program will again bring together 50 emerging female leaders for a 12 month curated career enrichment program, aimed at the best and brightest women across Melbourne’s vibrant business landscape.

These women represent key organisations from a range of public, private, government and industry sectors. They were personal selected by their organisations to become part of ‘the circle’ and gain access to a stimulated professional development and networking program focused on four key areas: talent, opportunity, inspiration and networking.

Each month, Gilbert + Tobin hosts a three-hour forum providing participants with access to high profile and influential female leaders associated with the program.

The sessions are structured around three key components:

Keynote addresses – the focal point of the monthly forums is the chance to hear from one of 12 inspirational and successful women, from Australia and overseas, who are committed to furthering the professional advancement of other women.  Our keynote speakers for this program are:

  • Stephanie Alexander AO, Chef, Author and Food Educator and founder of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation
  • Paula Dwyer, Chairman, Tabcorp Holdings Limited and Healthscope Limited and Director, ANZ Bank and Lion Pty Ltd
  • Michelle Guthrie, Managing Director of the ABC
  • Janette Kendall, Non Executive of Director Vicinity Centres, Nine Entertainment Co, Costa Group, Wellcom Group, The Melbourne Theatre Company and MTC Foundation
  • Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, CEO and Managing Director, Mirvac Group
  • Joanna Murray-Smith, Australia’s leading playwright and author
  • Elizabeth Proust AO, Chairman, Nestle Australia, Bank of Melbourne, Australian Institute of Company Directors, Director of Lendlease Corporation
  • Clare O’Brien, Digital media senior executive, based in New York and formerly held executive leadership roles at Google, YouTube, CNN.com and Viacom & Adobe
  • Ann Sherry AO, Chairman, Carnival Australia, UNICEF, Non Executive Director of Sydney Airport, National Australia Bank, The Palladium Group, Australian Ruby Union, Cape York Partnership and Council member of Philanthropy Australia.
  • Helen Silver AO, Chief General Manager, Workers Compensation, Allianz Australia and formerly Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victorian Government
  • Alison Watkins, Group Managing Director, Coca-Cola Amatil and NED of The Centre for Independent Studies and the Business Council of Australia
  • Maureen Wheeler AO, publishing entrepreneur, philanthropist and co-founder of the Lonely Planet.

Sector insight bites – information sessions on key innovations, strategies and policy initiatives being developed and delivered in Melbourne that are shaping current business priorities and future directions. Participants will gain valuable information and learn about important developments regarding Melbourne’s social and business communities that they might otherwise not be aware of.

Peer engagement presentations – each month different members of the Women’s Circle provide short presentations about themselves that deepen collective understanding of their skills and current roles to initiate and foster professional alliances within the group.

Gilbert + Tobin has produced a premium booklet profiling each member, along with the accomplished guest speakers associated with The Circle. Members of the exclusive network also have access to an online portal to keep up to date with event and other relevant information.

The Women’s Circle was founded by Janet Whiting, head of the firm’s litigation practice in Melbourne, and will be offered as an ongoing program.

 “I am pleased to be part of a firm that is committed to recognising and rewarding talent and understanding the importance of supporting women to achieve their potential. The elevation of more women to positions of leadership across business is one part of addressing the gender imbalance. A rich and extensive network of professional contacts throughout business, especially among women, is equally important.

“It is my hope that regardless of the sector, talented, educated professional women will increasingly be selected to guide key decision-making in all sphere of business - run more companies, sit on more boards, help determine government and industry policy, and influence the sustainable economic development of more organisations.”

“I’m proud to lead The Women’s Circle that will provide each member with opportunities, inspiration and connections that have the potential to sustain and nurture them through their entire careers.”

Some comments from participants of The Women’s Circle 2016-2017

  • “This program has provided valuable insights into how women have successfully managed family responsibilities and gender discrimination in their careers, made me more civic-minded and introduced me to an array of interesting, inspiring women.”
  • “Block the time out in your diary and move mountains to be there.”
  • “I’ve become aware of my skills as well as areas I’d like to move into in future, and things I would like to develop …  in my role/profession.”
  • “The Women’s Circle has been stimulating, inspiring and enjoyable.”
  • “I can’t believe how much I have learnt from hearing of others’ journeys.”

The Women’s Circle was founded by Janet Whiting, head of the firm’s litigation practice in Melbourne, and will be offered as an ongoing program.

“I am pleased to be part of a firm that is committed to recognising and rewarding talent and understanding the importance of supporting women to achieve their potential. The elevation of more women to positions of leadership across business is one part of addressing the gender imbalance. A rich and extensive network of professional contacts throughout business, especially among women, is equally important.

“It is my hope that regardless of the sector, talented, educated professional women will increasingly be selected to guide key decision-making in all sphere of business - run more companies, sit on more boards, help determine government and industry policy, and influence the sustainable economic development of more organisations.”

“I’m proud to lead The Women’s Circle that will provide each member with opportunities, inspiration and connections that have the potential to sustain and nurture them through their entire careers.”