Men encouraged to get behind Women in Leadership event

Two prominent local leaders are this year encouraging more men to attend La Trobe University’s Women in Leadership forum.

La Trobe University’s annual Women in Leadership forum is being held on Tuesday 17 March.  The panel is chaired by Professor of Finance, Amalia Di Iorio and features a panel of diverse female leaders, who are all working in the space of financial literacy.  At the event, they’ll share their leadership journeys and discuss ways to create better outcomes for women and their money.

Dr John Cooke and Marcus Guthrie, both members of La Trobe University’s Regional Advisory Board, say they’ve gained so much from attending previous events.

Dr Cooke says exposing more men to the leadership styles of women is important.

“For too long we (men) have followed a narrow path.  Modern society is demanding wider and more flexible pathways and in my opinion, female leaders are responding better than men in creating these pathways.

“I encourage more men to attend, as they’ll be exposed to leadership styles that they would have otherwise not experienced.  As the Chair of the Regional Advisory Board, I see great value in La Trobe presenting these types of events to the Mildura community and this year’s panel will discuss a topic that is of great importance to us all,” Dr Cooke says.

Marcus Guthrie, CEO of Mildura Health Private Hospital, says it’s extremely important that these events help inspire the next generation of female leaders.

“I personally have always gotten so much out of attending these events.  It’s a great chance to network with other leaders and share ideas across multiple sectors.  But more importantly to hear barriers experienced in the workplace for women, that I can bring back to my own organisation,” says Mr Guthrie.

Dr Deb Neal, Head of Campus, says there’s been a great response to the event.

“I think this year’s event will spark interest from people across many sectors, as our panel features leaders from such diverse backgrounds.  Julie Kun is a Social Work alum of La Trobe and is the CEO of an organisation that is a leader in the gendered financial wellbeing space, taking action on financial abuse and family violence.  Then Michelle Commandeur, Head of Financial Inclusion at ANZ, has led major surveys on financial wellbeing in Australia and New Zealand and is committed to many cross-sector partnerships the bank has in place to improve financial health.  Lastly, Robyn Erskine is a Board Director of the CPA and advocates the importance of financial literacy with various regulators and the accounting profession.

“Having all these leaders together, chaired by Professor Amalia Di Iorio, who too has a passion for the area, having been the joint Chief Investigator of a project in women’s financial decision-making, will make for a thought provoking discussion,” says Dr Neal.

2020 represents five years that La Trobe has been presenting these events across regional Victoria and raised close to $60,000 in that time.  Ticket sales raise funds for the Regional Women in Leadership bursary, which is awarded to female students displaying leadership skills.

Tickets are $30 each and they can be purchased online by visiting

The event concludes with an opportunity to network over drinks and canapes.


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