About G+T

The Women’s Circle

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.

G+T has brought 50 emerging female leaders together 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 personally 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
  • Deborah Cheetham AO, Yorta Yorta Woman, Soprano, composer and educator
  • Paula Dwyer, Chairman, Tabcorp Holdings Limited and Healthscope Limited and Director, ANZ Bank and Lion Pty Ltd
  • Professor Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE, Research Scientist, author and broadcaster based in Oxford, UK
  • Janette Kendall, NED, Nine Entertainment Co, Costa, Wellcom Worldwide and formerly Senior Vice President, Galaxy Entertainment in Macau, GM of Crown Melbourne and Managing Director of Clemenger BBDO
  • 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
  • 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, Executive Chairman, Carnival Australia and formerly CEO, Bank of Melbourne and Westpac New Zealand and Pacific
  • 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.

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. Our industry speakers have included:

  • Michael Williams, Director, The Wheeler Centre
  • Martine Letts, CEO, Committee for Melbourne
  • Kate Torney, CEO, State Library Victoria
  • Richard Bolt, Secretary, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • The Hon John Brumby AO, in his capacity as President of the Australia China Business Council
  • Sally Capp, Executive Director Victoria, Property Council of Australia
  • Wayne Harper, Head of Asia Pacific, Zebra Technologies
  • Anthea Hancocks, CEO, The Scanlon Foundation
  • Susan Pascoe AM, Commissioner, Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission
  • Prof Emeritus Andrea Hull AO, Chair, Melbourne Forum
  • Tony Ellwood, Director, National Gallery of Victoria
  • Mark Hawthorne, Senior Editor, The Age
  • The Hon Robert Doyle AO, Lord Mayor, City of Melbourne
  • David Elia, CEO, HostPlus
  • Eddie McGuire AM, President, Collingwood Football Club
  • Natalie O’Brien, CEO, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

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.”