Queensland Voices

Announcing the 20 Queensland Voices Female Leaders


Queensland is built by amazing Queenslanders. Every day women in Queensland are taking action to make Queensland safer for women, to help women’s health and wellbeing, to build women’s economic security and to increase women’s participation in the workforce and female leadership.


These women are the unsung female heroes in our community. The carers. The game changers. Those challenging stereotypes. Women who have kept communities going through hardship. Those who work tirelessly without recognition or reward because it is just what they do. We want to thank them and celebrate their tenacity, endurance, thought leadership and consistency.

Economic security

Cathy Hunt – is Co-Director of the WOW (Women of the World) Festivals in Australia, where hundreds of Queensland women have had their voices heard, been inspired by others, developed new networks, created connections and celebrated success.

Vonda Malone – is the first female Torres Shire Council Mayor has been actively role modelling the opportunities and possibilities for Queensland women, locally, nationally and internationally for over 20 years.

Kate Bushell and the She’s on Q Team – She’s on Q free events influence Queensland women’s attitudes and motivate them to take meaningful actions in managing their careers, finances and wellbeing, regardless of their financial situation or life stage.

Jane Anderson – helps female consultants to realise their potential, become world class and put Queensland on the map by showcasing the talent they have and elevating their businesses and names so they can inspire others to do the same.

Belinda-Jane Dolan – is on a mission to positively impact the lives of one million and one people globally and has taken a lead to showcase women leaders and reduce the under representation of women in senior leadership and on Boards.


Shaan Ross Smith – is Director of the MATE program, focused on the role of the bystander in preventing violence against women, and has been instrumental in walking alongside thousands of women as they attempt to rebuild their lives.

Edwina Rowan – is a solicitor who works tirelessly towards addressing domestic and family abuse in the Bundaberg community, volunteering her time as President of the EDON Place Domestic and Family Violence Centre Inc.

Taylor Birtchnell – is an exceptional 21-year-old who volunteers across many community organisations, including The Sanctuary Women and Children’s Refuge, and Women’s Legal Service, as an advocate for women and girls.

Isabella Bevan – and her sister with their husbands set up Zephyr Education, supporting 83 Women’s refuges across Queensland, to ensure that children fleeing domestic and family abuse have the uniforms and school supplies they need.

Stephanie “Stevie” Russell-Farnham – volunteers supporting survivors of domestic and family violence and sexual assault, including helping women escape, and facilitating free empowerment workshops for Cairns women.

Participation and leadership

Florence Drummond – is connecting and advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the Mining and Resources sector, as Co-Founder of Indigenous Women in Mining & Resources Australia (IWIMRA).

Dr Susan Harris Rimmer – is a noted gender equality researcher, currently continuing her research into women’s rights under international law, and has been an active part of the Human Rights Act for Queensland campaign.

Linda Ryle – is Managing Director of CALM (Cultural Advocacy and Legal Mediation), an intersectional cultural change agency owned and operated by First Women, assisting with every level of First Nations Diversity and Inclusion engagement.

Shay Chalmers – is a globally experienced engineering management professional and business owner, who is on a mission to educate others on the misconceptions around women in STEM and to promote and advocate for women in her field.

Kate Osborne – poached by the world’s #1 Business Coaching Franchise, was only one of 3 women in over 620 Franchises across the world, and trebled the numbers of women year on year in her Queensland business.

Health and wellbeing

Ronnie Benbow – is Founder of The Carers Foundation, a Queensland-based non-profit providing wellness retreats, advocacy and support for people in caring roles, assisting women and young people exhausted by caring responsibilities.

Madison Birtchnell – is the youngest member of YWCA’s Sub-Committee advising Board members to develop National programs and support initiatives for girls and women, to enhance their health and wellbeing.

Yvonne Shepherd –  founded Women’s Fitness Adventures to help Queensland women aged 40-75 years to connect and get and stay active, in a safe and supportive environment, encouraging women to remain active in outdoor fitness activities.

Jacinda Cottee – was the first woman of colour to wear the Qantas Pilot Uniform, and is a vocal role model for women in aviation, who after encountering an catastrophic engine failure and ending up with PTSD, studied to become a mental health advocate.

Tanya Meessmann – founded Girl Shaped Flames to develop confidence, courage, soft skills and entrepreneurship awareness in teenage girls (Grades 7-12) by facilitating opportunities for Queensland girls to connect with strong female role models.


Femeconomy will profile each of the 20 selected Queensland Voices Finalists over the coming months, via imagery and mini blogs, to share the extraordinary work they do, and the impact it has for women and girls across Queensland communities. You can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to see the profiles as they are published.


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Posted by Jade Collins - Femeconomy Director

Jade Collins has 20 years’ global experience in corporate executive Human Resources and management consulting roles in the Mining, Energy and Aerospace industries, leading large scale, complex multi-million-dollar change management programs. Jade finds the combination of her HR, Psychology and MBA qualifications and her leadership experience is invaluable for increasing gender equality in leadership across industries. Jade was a member of the Queensland Government's Strategic Advisory Group for the Toward Gender Parity: Women on Boards Initiative and the 2019 CQU Alumni of the Year for Social Impact for her work with Femeconomy.