Meet Christine Holgate And Other Fearless Female Leaders

By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 2 March 2022

Christine Holgate has been recognised today for her outstanding leadership. A champion of other women, Christine was named national winner for Excellence in Women’s Leadership at the annual Women & Leadership Australia Awards.

On winning the award, Christine Holgate, CEO, Toll Global Express, talked about the significant challenges women face and called for more work to be carried out, saying there was a critical need for Kate Jenkin’s Respect@Work recommendations to be implemented.

“The last 12 months have been a very challenging period for many women,” said Christine. “Amongst the hardships, we witnessed women come together, stand up and speak out, exposing the harassment, discrimination, and intimidation of women, of all ages, occupations, and beliefs in our country.  

“After years of reviews, committees and promises, we are still not progressing and in many instances the statistics have deteriorated. The number of women feeling harassed, the number of women assaulted and the number of women made economically vulnerable have all increased through COVID, and it’s not just the numbers, too often the severity has also increased.  

“Much more work needs to be done if we are to secure a safe, respectful and equitable society. To start with, it is critical we implement all 55 of the recommendations from Kate Jenkin’s Respect@Work report to ensure women can go to work and feel safe. I am passionate about advocating for more respectful workplaces and I will stand behind the women who are calling out inequality, harassment and bullying when they see it. I owe this to the many thousands of people who stood behind me when I needed the support, and I owe it to the next generation to ensure that what I experienced, doesn’t happen to others.” 

Christine was among other strong fearless leaders. Other women being honoured include The Remarkable Women CEO and Founder Shivani Gopal, Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward, Disability Advocate Lisa Cox, IPS Management Consultants Executive Director Jahna Cedar OAM, SA Health Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier PSM, Djirra CEO and National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Co-Chair, Antoinette Braybrook; Chief Plant Officer, Dr Anne Walters; and 28th Governor of Tasmania, Professor Kate Warner AC. 

Australian Awards for Excellence in Women’s Leadership – 2022 Winners

Christine Holgate
Christine Holgate

NATIONAL – Christine Holgate – CEO, Toll Global Express

Christine Holgate has 35 years of diverse international leadership experience in highly regulated industries, at both Board and Executive level. Christine is currently the new Group CEO at Toll Global Express – a $3bn leading logistics organisation in Australia & New Zealand. Previously, Christine was the Group CEO at Australia Post and prior, she led Blackmores, expanding the Natural Health company through Asia. Christine is also presently the Co-Chair for the (Federal) Ministerial Advisory Council for Trade and is a Director of the Collingwood Football Club. 

Shivani Gopal
Shivani Gopal

NSW Shivani Gopal – CEO & Co-Founder, The Remarkable Woman
Shivani Gopal is a passionate feminist, entrepreneur and finance expert. Her dedication to equality has seen her create businesses that accelerate the path towards equality ‘for women and for the world’ as driven by her sense of purpose, and resulting in the mentoring and career growth of thousands of women across Australia, and now around the world. Through her efforts and via her purpose-led social enterprise, The Remarkable Woman, Shivani has helped her community of women add collectively over $1 million to their pay packets as Shivani’s practical response to closing the gender pay gap. Her work has also enabled the promotion of thousands of women within her community and over 10,000 women in Australia and around the world, all committed to breaking the glass ceiling and closing the gender pay gap.

Jahna Cedar
Jahna Cedar

WA – Jahna Cedar OAM – Executive Director, IPS Management Consultants

Jahna Cedar is a Nyiyaparli woman from the Pilbara and is currently an Executive Director at IPS Management Consultants. A strong Indigenous community leader, she has worked for over 20 years advocating for equal rights and reconciliation of Indigenous people, as well as representing Indigenous Australia at the United Nations in New York on three occasions. In 2012, Jahna was the youngest person to be elected into the West Australian International Women’s Day Hall of Fame and, in 2017, proudly won Business News’ 40 under 40, First amongst equals. Jahna was also awarded Telstra Business Women Awards WA – For Purpose and Social Enterprise Winner in 2017, and was a finalist in the Western Australian of The Year Awards in 2021. Jahna also sits on numerous boards and is passionate about social justice and equity.

Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann
Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann

NT Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM – Aboriginal Elder; Renowned Artist; Activist; Writer; Public Speaker
Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM is an Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu and a renowned artist, activist, writer and public speaker. In 1975, Miriam-Rose became the Territory’s first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher. As an art consultant for the Department of Education, she visited schools throughout the Top End, advocating for the inclusion of visual art as part of every child’s education. Miriam-Rose later became the principal of the Catholic school in her home community before being appointed to the Federal Government’s advisory body, the National Indigenous Council. In 2013, she established the Miriam Rose Foundation, to bridge the divide between Aboriginal culture and mainstream society – driving reconciliation at a grassroots level. Through her professional and creative life, Miriam-Rose has remained dedicated to maintaining the cultural independence of her people and being a spokesperson for the Aboriginal worldview. In recognition of her leadership, she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia medal and an Honorary PhD in Education from Charles Darwin University.

Professor Nicola Spurrier
Professor Nicola Spurrier

SA Professor Nicola Spurrier PSM – Chief Public Health Officer, SA Health
Professor Nicola Spurrier is the Chief Public Health Officer for the Department for Health and Wellbeing, being appointed in 2019. Professor Spurrier’s role also includes advising the Minister and the Chief Executive of SA Health about proposed legislative or administrative changes in relation to public health. Nicola is a dual qualified Medical Specialist, Public Health Physician and Paediatrician, with 31 years’ experience within SA Health including 13 years in the Department for Health and Wellbeing. Nicola has specialised in developing and implementing policies and programs across child health, obesity prevention and Aboriginal health. She also has extensive experience in health protection and promotion, public health partnership and health diplomacy activities. During COVID-19, Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, has been instrumental in SA’s effective virus response and continues to take a personal focus on the health and wellbeing of every South Australian.

Kate Warner
Kate Warner AC

TAS – Kate Warner AC – 28th Governor of Tasmania

Kate Warner was sworn into office as Tasmania’s 28th Governor in 2014 and her term ended in June 2021. Shortly after, she was appointed by the Premier to lead the Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty project, consulting with the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The report was tabled in Parliament in November 2021. As Governor, she was Chair of the Advisory Committee to the Peter Underwood Centre of Educational Attainment and took a keen interest in educational attainment and literacy. Reflecting her background in Criminology, she supported parenting programs at the women’s prison by attending many of the final sessions of these courses. In her speeches, she spoke frequently of the need to promote gender equality and tackle the problem of gender violence. Engagement with the Aboriginal people of Tasmania and their organisations was also a focus of her term as Governor and led to her appointment to the Pathway project. Before her term as Governor, Kate Warner was a Professor, Faculty of Law, at the University of Tasmania and Director of the Tasmania Law Reform Institute. During her career at the University, she held the positions of Dean, Faculty of Law, and Head of School. Following her appointment as Governor, she was made a professor emeritus.

Kylie Ward
Kylie Ward

ACT Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward – CEO, Australian College of Nursing
Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward Kylie holds honorary academic appointments with five leading Australian Universities and was ministerially appointed as a Director to the Australian Digital Health Agency and the National Health & Medical Research Council Health Translation Advisory Committee whilst holding numerous other board positions. In 2020, Kylie was named one of the Top 100 Health Voices by LinkedIn worldwide and, in 2021, was recognised as a National Influencer by AuSAE, the leading body for Association Executives. Kylie secured government funding to deliver refresher courses to non-clinical Registered Nurses (RNs) as well as funding to deliver the online COVID-19 vaccine training course, which all clinicians must undertake before administering. It is Kylie’s mission to create a platform for nurses to use their voice that can change the way policies and health decisions are made, and to challenge nurses to see their own power and potential. Kylie is leading the charge against the institutional sexism in the health system and the silencing of nurses’ role in health care

Anne Walters
Dr Anne Walters

NT Dr Anne Walters – Chief Plant Officer
Dr Anne Walters is the Chief Plant Health Officer for the Northern Territory. In this role, Dr Walters oversees a team of 45 staff who administer the Plant Health Act 1998 and support industry to comply with the movement conditions for plants and plant products into and out of the Northern Territory. The plant biosecurity team, which is part of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade in the Northern Territory, plays an active role in preventing the incursion of agricultural pests and diseases, responding quickly in the event of a pest detection, and assisting the Northern Territory community and industry to build resilience to pest incursions. Dr Walters is currently the Deputy Chair of the National Plant Health Committee and will commence her tenure as Chair in December 2022. Dr Walters has a passion for empowering others, and for the past four years, has led a Northern Territory Government Women’s Leadership Network to help other women to realise their goals and aspirations. The intent of the Network is to bring women together to inspire and be inspired, to encourage cultural change through positive leadership, to promote female role models, and to provide women with opportunities to develop, network and share. The key to this program is building confidence among existing and emerging leaders.

Lisa Cox
Lisa Cox

QLD Lisa Cox – Media Professional and Disability Advocate
Lisa Cox is an author, business consultant and media professional committed to improving the representation of disability in mainstream popular culture, be it through advertising, marketing, media or other influential industries that create stereotypes and shape social attitudes. The history of Lisa’s work is a combination of circumstances over nearly two decades, having graduated with two university degrees and working as a writer in advertising agencies when she acquired multiple disabilities. Since then, Lisa has been leading a solutions-focused approach by collaborating with mainstream brands, business and individuals to help them navigate the nuances of disability representation.

Antoinette Braybook
Antoinette Braybook

VIC Antoinette Braybrook – CEO, Djirra; Co-Chair, National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services
Antoinette Braybrook is an Aboriginal woman who was born on Wurundjeri country. She is the CEO of Djirra, a position she has held since the service was established in 2002. Additionally, Antoinette is Co-Chair of the Change the Record Campaign with Cheryl Axleby, CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, South Australia, and leads the National FVPLS Forum with Phynea Clarke, CEO of CAAFLU Aboriginal Corporation and Wynetta Dewis, CEO of Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service (QIFVLS). The National FVPLS Forum is the peak body for 14 Family Violence Prevention Legal services throughout Australia. Antoinette seeks to give voice and visibility to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience family violence. She is a strong advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community control, and self-determination.

About Women & Leadership Australia

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) is dedicated to developing female leaders and supporting the increased presence of women in business and community leadership roles. Established more than 15 years ago, and operating across all Australian States and Territories, WLA delivers development programs, industry scholarships and events that support women on their leadership journey. Underpinned by extensive research in leadership and gender equity, WLA responds to the learning and development needs of current and aspiring female leaders. WLA leadership programs provide tangible support and growth opportunities for women at all levels.

Find out more about the Respect@Work report:


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