Co-Founder and Chair of Her Place Mary has high level experience in Media, Government and the NFP sectors. A Gold Walkley award winner journalist Mary was an international reporter for the ABC and Channel 10, Presenter of Four Corners, News and Current Affairs anchor and interviewer, the first woman to present solo prime-time News in Australia.

In Government Mary was the first female Victorian Planning Minister and the longest serving Arts Minister. Mary also served in Cabinet as Education and Women’s Minister. Mary and her brother Hugh were the first siblings to serve in the same Parliament on the other side of the dispatch box. In 2002 she received the Centenary Medal for Services to Government.

Her third career is in the Not for Profit sector. Mary chairs Her Place and is a former chair of McClelland Sculpture Park&Gallery and Orchestra Victoria, former Director of the National Library of Australia and Emeritus advisor to the Harold Mitchell Foundation. Currently she serves on the boards of the Melbourne Recital Centre Ltd, Central Highlands Rural Health and the Centre for Advancing Journalism at Melbourne University. Mary is a graduate and currently mentors in governance at the Australian Institute of Company Directors

Mary is a published author and has a red rose bred for, and named after her. A critic of the gender gaps in Australia’s history Mary is a leader in ensuing that women’s voices are heard in the great debates of our time.


Sophie is a Chartered Accountant who has worked in Financial Business Partnering, Financial Management as well as a number of roles required due to start-up nature at Judo Bank. Prior to this Sophie worked at Pitcher Partners and Deloitte in Consulting, Audit and Business Assurance roles. Working both in Melbourne, across Victoria and in New York. Currently Sophie is busy being first time mum to premature baby Henry who featured in the recent nursing and midwifery exhibition, Unmasked.
Sophie has a passion for charity work and volunteered for the Corporate Social Responsibility group at Pitcher Partners. Her proudest achievement there was organising an event to raise funds significant funds for the Leukemia Foundation.


Barb started life as a science teacher after student activism. She then worked as Associate to Commissioner Graham Walker on the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (as it was known then). Following this, Barb was selected to establish the Girls’ Apprenticeship Programme, the first Victoria - wide programme to increase the number of young women going into the traditionally -male trades. During her working life, Barb remained an activist; being involved in many battles including the Council of Action for Equal Pay, the fight to establish the Queen Vic Women’s Centre, the fight to save the Women’s Hospital and the establishment of EMILY’s List. She was the proud Women’s Officer for the Australian Education Union Victoria for nearly 20 years. Barb was inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll in 2007. Barb has served on the Boards of VWT, QVWC and Her Place Women’s Museum.


Nina is an HR executive that has experience across diverse industries in Australia. Nina currently holds a senior HR position at Coles Group and has held senior leadership roles at NAB and BP, commencing her HR career at Telstra. Nina completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies in Political Science and Commerce at The University of Melbourne.


Urgé is a highly accomplished leader with over 12+ years of experience in the Victorian Public Sector and the non-government sector. Urgé is a small business owner and founder of a not-for-profit organisation. Urgé has a strong track record in innovative program design, implementation, evaluation and cultural transformation: an enthusiastic change agent and reformer with an exceptional ability to influence and communicate to solve complex problems. Urgé has extensive experience in international development and social justice activism. She has demonstrated the highest commitment to improving outcomes for vulnerable people and communities throughout her career, including refugees, migrants, and people seeking asylum.

Urgé is passionate about creating more opportunities to honour the achievements of women from diverse backgrounds. Through her role at Her Place, Urgé hopes to amplify the voices of First Nations people and other culturally diverse groups to promote visibility and celebrate the continued contribution of all Australians.


Vanessa Shambrook

Vanessa is passionate about advocating for women’s legal and human rights. Through her role at Her Place, she aims to help support women experiencing disadvantage achieve their version of success by both celebrating their achievements and creating more equal opportunities.

Vanessa is a lawyer at Women’s Legal Service Victoria and currently works with women experiencing disadvantage to assist them in relation to issues arising from relationship breakdown, including protection and prevention of family violence.

She is the 2021 President of Victorian Women’s Lawyers, a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to achieve equality for women lawyers. Prior to this, Vanessa chaired the VWL Law Reform Committee for 3 years, producing several State and Federal submissions and has appeared in parliamentary hearings to promote women’s human and legal rights. She was also the VWL Communications Officer for 2 years, responsible for facilitating and managing VWL’s public communications. In 2018, she founded the ‘Wellbeing Series: The Road to Resilience in Law’, to encourage initiatives focused on self-care for lawyers, including helping women lawyers find their passion and purpose.

Throughout her career she has overseen numerous projects and campaigns promoting the equality of women within and outside of the law, including the prevention of sexual harassment and family violence, modern slavery, the gender pay-gap and homelessness and women. Vanessa is also a passionate mentor and is a mentor at the College of Law and for the Victorian Women Lawyers Law Student and Professional Mentoring Program.

During her spare time, she runs a photography business, as an aerial & ocean and lifestyle & brand photographer. She graduated with degrees in both Law and Commerce (Marketing major) from Deakin University.


Former Secretary, Australian Nurses and Midwives Federation (Vic). Belinda Philp is a former board director of ESTA and First State Super. and Health Super and inaugural Chair Victorian Nurses Health Program


Diane Gardiner was General Manager Old Treasury Building 2010-2015. Former Public Record Office Victoria Manager Community Access, Online Access and Koorie Records Unit; National Trust of  Australia Victoria Old Melbourne Gaol Manager Exhibitions & Public Programs. Former Chair History Council Victoria. Executive member, Museums Australia Victoria. President La Trobe Society ongoing. 2004 Churchill Fellow. 2013 Museums Australia (Victoria) Award for Excellence (Paid Staff). Member, Order of Australia 2015.


Adnan is a digital technology leader, author and consultant. Adnan believes in the digital revolution and the power it possesses to change the way people and businesses interact with technology. He is passionate about enabling digital change. Adnan leads the digital technology practice at PwC Digital.


Joanne is an international marketing and communications leader, she currently leads Client Experience for PwC’s Consulting business.

Joanne has held senior management roles in global organisations, working across the Asia Pacific region. She has extensive experience working with teams, committees, in partnership business structures, listed companies, and member based organisations. Joanne has experience and expertise in leading and delivering corporate and marketing communications in areas ranging from brand strategy, integrated marketing, marketing communications, stakeholder engagement, and leadership communication. For twelve years Joanne was a resident in Hong Kong where her career enabled her to participate directly in Asia’s extraordinary growth through roles that required strategy and execution across multiple geographic markets.

Joanne is passionate about children's literacy and the arts, she has written four children's books, produced a book of children's artwork and has a new book coming in 2022. Through her role at Her Place, Joanne hopes to amplify women’s stories and voices in creative ways using art, story telling, installation, and digital technology.


Penelope is a museum professional, cultural producer, arts manager and artist who has worked across Melbourne’s cultural sector for over 25 years with a focus on developing and managing community-engaged, interdisciplinary and inclusive arts, education and cultural programming.

Penelope has previously been the General Manager of Her Place Women’s Museum Australia, Education and Outreach Manager at the ARC, Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, and Education and Public Programs Manager, Development Manager and researcher at The Dax Centre. In these roles, Penelope has led interdisciplinary teams and external partnerships, project-managed and co-curated local and touring exhibitions, and strategic development.

Over her career, Penelope has been recipient to numerous state and national grants and awards, public art commissions and oversea residencies, and a Churchill Fellowship.



Catherine is passionate about working in the not-for-profit space in her role as Senior Advisor at Wendy Brooks & Partners. Catherine helps organisations amplify their impact through strategic fundraising and via her volunteer role as Council Member for Institute for Community Directors Australia.

Catherine spent the first 12 years of her professional life as a practicing lawyer with a range of top tier and boutique law firms, specialising in employment law and working with not-for-profits in the areas of governance and strategic workforce planning. Catherine is also the author of a book, “Let’s make it work, baby!”, a guide to help parents work flexibly and achieve their personal and professional goals.

Catherine has been facilitating and training boards and senior executive staff for over a decade and loves helping organisations maximise impact in the best interests of those they serve.

As a woman living with a disability, she is a proud advocate for equal rights and along with her husband Brendan is proudly raising two feminist boys.


Dianne Hall is a senior lecturer in History at Victoria University, Melbourne. She has published extensively on histories of women, religion and memory in Australia and Europe.

Patricia Grimshaw is Emeritus Professor, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, The University of Melbourne. President, International Federation for Research in Women's History. Fostered the Australian Women's Archive Project and lead the online Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth Century Australia. Fellow, Academy of the Humanities in Australia, the Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia. Officer, Order of Australia 2017.

Executive Officer, Australian Women's Archives Project established in 2000 to promote the protection of women's archival heritage. Nikki Henningham has a PhD in Australian women’s history and is an experienced oral history practitioner. She is co-editor of the Australian Women's Register, for which she has contributed over 1000 entries.

Judith Smart is an Adjunct Professor, RMIT University; Deputy Chair, History Council of Victoria; Councillor, Royal Historical Society of Victoria 2007–2017; Vice-president Federation of Australian Historical Societies 2011–2016. Published extensively on Australian women’s organisations in the first half of the 20th century, as well as on women and political protest, women and religion, and the social history of the home front in Victoria during World War I. Co-editor with Shurlee Swain of The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, an online reference tool at