Women's Keynote Speakers

About the forum

Our Women’s Professional Development Forum addresses the issues, opportunities and challenges faced by women working in Local Government. Women working at all levels are encouraged to attend for leadership development and personal growth.

The aim of the forum is to highlight the issues facing women working in the sector, to develop leadership skills, enhance personal growth, and provide insights into how the sector can collectively go forward in addressing women’s issues in the workplace.

Clare Bowditch

Clare Bowditch is one of Australia’s most successful ARIA Award-winning songwriters, a Logie-nominated actor (Channel 10’s Offspring), and the founder of Big Hearted Business, where she teaches creative people about business, and business people about creativity. 

Clare has had Top Ten albums, been named Rolling Stone Woman of the Year (Contribution to Culture), Yen Young Woman of the Year (Music), toured the world with Gotye and nationally with Leonard Cohen, written for Harpers Bazaar and the Drum, and currently hosts an Australian Music Show on Qantas.

On TV, she has been a featured guest on programs "Q&A", "Talkin’ Bout Your Generation" and "Spicks and Specks", was a regular guest host on “The Circle” and has presented (and won) at the ARIA Awards.

Clare’s talents also extend to public speaking, presenting key note speeches, hosting and MC-ing, including the “Women of Letters” book launches and an inspiring TEDx talk at the Wheeler Centre in December 2012. Clare narrated Music Max's "My First Gig", Series One and Two. Clare also hosted the nightly Evenings radio show on ABC 774 in a national broadcast during the summer of 2011, and has hosted summer shows on Triple J and has also guest-edited a special edition of Australian Musician magazine.

Clare is regularly invited to sit on both Ministerial and Award Assessment panels (Australia Council, AMP, ARIA, APRA), and was Secretary of the Music Victoria Board until 2012. She is also a proud ambassador for Life’s Little Treasures, PPCA and APRA.

Mariam Issa

Mariam Issa’s refugee experience is a powerful and positive story. 

It’s a journey of inspiring resilience and strength. When she arrived in Melbourne from her Somali homeland in 1998, she had a husband, four children and a fifth on the way, with little knowledge of Australian life, other than the motivation to provide a secure, safe future with her family.

In her book Mariam talks of her experiences of integration, refugee issues, new beginnings and the power of community. In 2012 Mariam launched RAW (Resilient Aspiring Women) – a not-for-profit organisation to create better social environments for all women. RAW is a platform, a community garden and a meeting place for all women in her backyard Brighton home.

Through Community, Culture and Cuisine one of RAW’s popular workshops Mariam uses her love for food and shares the flavours of her East African heritage.

Previously Mariam owned a successful catering and cooking class business, aimed at showcasing and educating the main stream community about the wealth of other nations.

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We are currently working on the program for the next Women's Professional Development Forum, stay tuned!