As at June 2018, approximately 49% of all public sector executives were women despite women comprising 69% of the sector.  Further to this, only 23.5% of Senior Management Council (Chief Executives of core SA Government agencies) are women. While often perceived as being only an issue for women; gender inequality in the workplace impacts everyone. Men also benefit from increased gender equality and more equal gender roles.

The Women in Leadership Summit invited men and women in the public sector to work together to achieve improved gender equality.  The summit discussed what would be required to achieve 50% of the Senior Management Council being women and overall increases in gender equality across leadership roles. Delegates heard from our industry leaders and experts on the barriers to gender equality, and gained practical tips, tools, and advice on making the most of their opportunities to help make a change.

Delegates who attended this event;

  • Gained a better understanding of the SA public sector’s current performance on women in leadership
  • Gained an increased understanding of the barriers and opportunities and why this issue matters
  • Heard about case studies of what is working – putting policy and strategy into the workplace in practical ways
  • Developed an understanding of why gender equality is important to both women and men
  • Found out what they can do to take control of their career and help make changes


  • Alison Llyodd-Wright, Executive Director, Population Strategy, Department of the Premier and Cabinet
  • Grant Stevens APM, Commissioner, South Australia Police
  • Pamela Melroy, Director, Space Technology and Policy, Nova Systems
  • David Reynolds FIPAA, Chief Executive, Department of Treasury and Finance
  • Nerida Saunders PSM, Executive Director, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Department of the Premier and Cabinet
  • Lois Boswell, Deputy Chief Executive, Department of Human Services

Event MC:

  • Ruth Ambler, Executive Director, Cabinet Office, Department of the Premier and Cabinet


Learn about our speakers

April Lawrie

Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People
Office of the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People

In December 2018, April Lawrie was appointed the inaugural Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People in South Australia by the South Australian Government.
Commissioner Lawrie’s role is to develop policies and practices to improve the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children and young people, particularly in the areas of health, education, youth justice and child protection.

Commissioner Lawrie is a proud Aboriginal woman and heralds from the Mirning and Kokatha people from the Far West Coast of South Australia.

Commissioner Lawrie holds a Social Work Degree which led her to a range of Executive Leadership roles in South Australian Government Agencies including four years as the Aboriginal Justice Director in the Attorney General’s Department, ten years as SA Health Aboriginal Health Branch Director and two and a half years as Director of Aboriginal Education.

Over the last 30 years, Commissioner Lawrie has contributed to the formation of policy at the State and National level, and excellence in service innovation and community development with regard to Aboriginal health, education, child and family services, foster care services, justice services, across the metropolitan and regional areas, including rural/remote.

Commissioner Lawrie strongly believes that we need to bring the voices of Aboriginal children and young people and their communities into how we are designing and delivering health, education, justice and child protection culturally appropriate services so that Aboriginal children and young people can flourish. The Commissioner believes that to improve services and outcomes, we need to recognise the solutions coming from our Aboriginal communities and families and act upon them in a meaningful way.

April lives and works in Adelaide, is married and has three children.

Pamela Melroy

Director, Space Technology and Policy
Nova Systems

Pamela Melroy is a retired Air Force test pilot and former NASA astronaut and Space Shuttle commander.

She was commissioned in the United States Air Force and served as a KC-10 copilot, aircraft commander, and instructor pilot. Melroy is a veteran of Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, with over 200 combat and combat support hours. She went on to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Upon her graduation, she was assigned to the C-17 Combined Test Force, where she served as a test pilot until her selection for the Astronaut Program. She has logged more than 6,000 hours flight time in more than 50 different aircraft.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994, Melroy reported to the Johnson Space Center, Texas, in March 1995. She flew three missions in space: as Space Shuttle pilot during STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002, and as Space Shuttle Commander during STS-120 in 2007. All three missions were assembly missions to build the International Space Station. She is one of only two women to command the Space Shuttle. While an astronaut, she held a variety of positions to include performing astronaut support duties for launch and landing and Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) duties in mission control. Melroy served on the Columbia Reconstruction Team as the lead for the crew module and served as Deputy Project Manager for the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Team. In her final position, she served as Branch Chief for the Orion branch of the Astronaut Office. She has logged more than 924 hours (more than 38 days) in space.

Colonel Melroy retired from the Air Force in 2007, and left NASA in August 2009. After NASA, she served as Deputy Program manager for the Lockheed Martin Orion Space Exploration Initiatives program and as Director of Field Operations and acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration. She went on to serve as Deputy Director, Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Pam Melroy now is Director, Space Technology and Policy at Nova Systems. Colonel Melroy was interviewed for the WDSN in June, 2018.

Alison Lloydd-Wright

Executive Director, Cabinet Office
Department of the Premier and Cabinet

Alison Lloydd-Wright is the Executive Director of Cabinet Office in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet. In this role, she supports the delivery of core executive government functions, and provides policy advice and leadership across whole of government, as well as delivering key policy priorities for the Government of South Australia. She also leads the Population Strategy, and is passionate about ensuring South Australia continues to lead the world in liveability. She brings experience across a range of portfolios to the role, including senior roles in Regions, Social Policy, Skills and Water Reform.

Erma Ranieri PSM FIPAA

IPAA SA President, Commissioner for Public Sector Employment
Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment

Appointed on 1 July 2014, Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Erma Ranieri works passionately towards creating a world-leading public sector that serves South Australians well, does what it says it will do, and to which every public servant is proud to belong.

With the role of the public sector being to serve and support South Australia to thrive, Erma leads sector-wide reform to modernise the public sector and continue to build on its value and service to the South Australian community.

Erma has worked for more than 30 years to help organisations optimise productivity and employee wellbeing. She was named a 2014 Telstra Business Woman of the Year as SA Winner of the Telstra Community and Government Award for her role in leading transformational change throughout the public sector.

With a key focus on flexibility, diversity and leadership development to ensure the public sector is positioned as an Employer of Choice, Erma continues to challenge cultural and structural barriers to drive innovative, collaborative and connected services for the community.

David Reynolds FIPAA

Chief Executive
Department for Trade and Investment

My executive and management career includes more than twenty years’ experience in policy advice, financial management, and organisation and executive leadership.

In 2015, I was appointed Chief Executive of the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), South Australia.

At DTF, we’re working together to support the future prosperity and wellbeing of all South Australians. As Chief Executive I provide leadership and governance to the State budget, and oversee the strategic performance of government agencies across industrial relations, budget, taxation, superannuation, commercial and economics and accounting issues.

Prior to this current appointment, I held roles including Executive Director of the Budget Branch and Director of Gambling Policy.

I am passionate about improving the public sector through organisational development and a ‘staff first’ approach. I place a strong focus on gender equality and staff leadership and collaboration.

I have completed a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from the University of Adelaide, I am a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and also a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia.

Grant Stevens APM

South Australia Police

Grant Stevens APM has been Commissioner of South Australia Police since July 2015. With 36 years of general and specialist policing experience and over a decade as a member of SAPOL’s senior executive, Grant has personally led and delivered some of SAPOL’s most significant programs including, outlaw motorcycle gang enforcement, specialist sexual crimes investigation, and service reform initiatives around frontline service delivery and demand management. He is also committed to improving employee wellbeing, gender equity and the elimination of discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

As Commissioner, Grant leads an organisation with state wide responsibility, employing over 6,000 staff and a budget of about $1 Billion. He is a member on a range of Boards and Committees at state and national government levels. These oversee the critical issues involved in law enforcement, security and counter-terrorism, emergency management, justice reform, road safety and community safety generally.

As Commissioner, Grant has continued to actively support police-driven collaboration across government for an enhanced response to family and domestic violence and repeat offenders in South Australia. Grant has a clear vision for SAPOL as a visible, responsive police service for all South Australians which is defined in the SAPOL 2020 strategy. SAPOL 2020 guides South Australia Police organisational reform activity, through three core drivers, Our People, Operations and Technology. The strategic vision is underpinned by core values of service, integrity, courage, leadership, collaboration and respect.

Grant has also driven significant cultural reform regarding gender equity and the elimination of discrimination and sexual harassment, ensuring SAPOL is an employer of choice for men and women and all staff are respected, valued and safe at work.

Married with five children, Grant is a keen amateur cyclist actively involved in his family’s sporting activities as a parent and organiser.

Cathy Taylor FIPAA

Co-Chair Economic Participation Working Group, Chief Executive
Department for Child Protection

Cathy commenced as Chief Executive to lead the new Department for Child Protection (DCP) in South Australia in October 2016.

Cathy joined the department from Queensland, where she was Deputy DirectorGeneral, Child Family and Community Services, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services from 2013 to 2016.

Cathy brings more than 15 years of experience as a senior public servant in Queensland, working in and across strategic policy, legislative reform, planning and service delivery roles in the areas of child protection, youth justice, disability services and domestic violence.

Cathy has undergraduate qualifications in law and postgraduate qualifications in law and public administration, including an Executive Masters of Public Administration (EMPA), ANZSOG.

She has previously been a Director of ANROWS - Australia’s National Research Organisation on Women’s Safety and is currently Chair of, National Forum for Protecting Australia’s Children.

In 2018 Cathy was appointed to the ANZSOG Alumni Advisory Council.

View Event Resources

16 September 2019

(9:15am registration)
10:00am - 1:00pm

Adelaide Oval,
William Magarey Room
War Memorial Drive
North Adelaide SA 5006

Free for State Government Members and Corporate Members
$50 for Non Members