WiSPP and Deloitte Leadership Program


“We lead all through our lives, at the start of our careers we are given responsibilities and expectations of leadership follow from that. You don’t have to run an institution or an organisation or head a major part of that organisation to be seen as a leader. We lead in our personal lives, we lead in our professional lives.”

-David Morrison, AO, Australian of the Year 2016

Program Overview

The heads of an organisation are not the only leaders with power to affect change. We believe a core element of excellent leadership is the willingness and capacity to develop the leadership capabilities of others: “You are not a leader until you’ve developed leaders”.

This partnership between Deloitte and WiSPP aims to develop the depth of female leaders in health and medical research. Through this partnership, our participants will strengthen their own leadership capabilities and learn to foster the next generation of leaders in medical research.

The 12-month program involves one-on-one mentoring program, matching five established female scientists (one from each WiSPP institute) to work with a senior Deloitte Partner.

One of the critical success factors for Deloitte’s growth has been its embrace of gender and cultural diversity to win the war for talent in this country. Deloitte is recognised as an equal opportunity leader for women by the Federal Government’s Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency for eleven successive years.

This unique partnership between WiSPP and Deloitte demonstrates a shared commitment to supporting and fostering the development of talented women.



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pROF Julie Bernhardt

Professor of Neuroscience | Deputy Director, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Julie Bernhardt leads by example inspiring the next generation of young scientists. Julie challenges the culture and practices of a male dominated workplace in order to create an inclusive environment that maximizes creativity in science.

DR Louise Cheng

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Group Leader, Head of stem cell growth regulation laboratory, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

Louise Cheng works to create a supportive, empowering environment, fostering growth and enabling a highly creative, collaborative group dynamic. Louise's leadership vision is to guide young scientists through their journey to become independent thinkers and leaders, help create an environment that provides equal opportunity and develop and test scientific ideas that could potentially change the field.

Photo: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Photo: Walter and Eliza Hall Institute


Dr Kelly Rogers

Laboratory Head, Dynamic Imaging and Centre Manager, Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

To Kelly Rogers, leadership in science requires knowledge, experience, creativity and foresight to anticipate what is going to be the next game changer in their fields of study. Kelly sees each individual in her team playing an important role and strives to maintain their motivation by ensuring each person has opportunities for professional development. 


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A/Prof Vera Ignjatovic

co-group leader of the Haematology Research Team, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Vera Ignjatovic uses leadership tools in order to influence change. Vera not only wants to inspire, but strives to be a driving force to motivate women and the younger generations to participate in STEM. She shows that a STEM career is an opportunity to create change and to make a difference in this world. 

Prof Jodie McVernon

Professor and Director of Doherty Epidemiology, The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity

Jodie Mcvernon's leadership vision puts people first. Jodie wants to see health benefits realised to the point that her work is not needed anymore. Jodie also works to equip a new generation of researchers by uncovering sustainable career pathways.



Program Structure and key dates

The program pairs five senior female scientists for a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a highly accomplished senior partner at Deloitte.

  • August 2018

Leadership Workshop including Deloitte Mentors and WiSPP Mentees with Australian of the year, David Morrison AO who has successfully driven cultural and institutional change in the Australian Armed Forces. (2- 3 hours)

  • Late August/ Early September 2018

Each mentee will participate in a 360 review followed by one-on-one consultation with Deloitte Executive Coach Jenny MacKay. (2- 3 hours)

  • August 2018 – August 2019

One-on-one mentoring program with monthly meetings between mentor and mentee. 

  • March/April 2019

Mid-way workshop to share individual insights gained through the program to date. (2- 3 hours)

  • August 2019

Concluding event to celebrate and share learnings.