Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

CAMD supports women leaders

Newly elected CAMD Chair Professor Suzanne Miller (CEO Queensland Museum Network) and Rose Hiscock (Director, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) at the CAMD Executive Mentoring Program launch, ACMI Melbourne. Photo: Meredith Foley.

CAMD Media Release, National Museum initiative to support female leaders, 2 November 2015

A national initiative has been launched to address the low number of women in Directorships across Australian museums.

The inaugural Executive Mentoring Program is being driven by the Council of Australasian Museum Directors (CAMD) to support aspiring female museum and cultural leaders successfully transition into these roles.

Dr Patrick Greene OBE, CAMD President and Museum Victoria CEO, welcomed the initiative.

It is imperative that the museums sector retain and support talented women to become our next generation of leaders, said Dr Greene.

The program was conceived by two women Directors, Rose Hiscock, Director Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and Kim McKay, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Australian Museum and has received support from all Council of Australasian Museum Directors.

We invited museums from across Australia to nominate one of their stand-out emerging leaders to be offered a one-to-one confidential advisor, outside of the organisation, for 12 months. As a result, 21 of the country’s best and brightest have been selected to participate in this program, said Ms Hiscock.

We’re delighted to have such an elite group of women who will all benefit from this unique professional development opportunity. They are all keen to develop, gain further skills and take the next step in their career.

“Mentors have played an important role throughout my career, and they still do, said Kim McKay, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Australian Museum. You can’t underestimate the value of having a sounding board who has lived through the experience already and who can provide insights and advice in an independent and supportive way. It helps give you the confidence to succeed.

McCarthy Mentoring Executive Director, Sophie McCarthy said mentoring can be powerful in helping people to grow in confidence and ability as a leader.

Research shows us that mentoring can help to clarify professional goals, improve performance, refine leadership skills, build confidence and broaden networks, said Sophie McCarthy. Mentors provide support and advice to enable mentees to develop strategies and apply their learning in the workplace.

The mentors in this program are some of the most well respected and experienced leaders in the cultural sector. They will draw on their experience as CEOs, executives, trustees and company directors to offer guidance, support and a fresh perspective.

Please see full list of participating mentors and mentees below.

Currently six of 23 CAMD Directors are women.

A launch event bringing together the senior women from museums across Australia who represent the next generation of leaders in museums.


  • Ms Debbie Bailey, Director, Operations & Communities, Queensland Museum Network
  • Ms Stephanie Bull, Acting Chief Operating Officer, National Museum of Australia
  • Ms Caroline Butler Bowdon, Asst Director, Creative Services, Sydney Living Museums
  • Ms Donna Carstens, Manager, Indigenous Relations, Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Ms Rebecca Coronel, Manager, Exhibitions and Gallery Development, National Museum of Australia
  • Ms Snjez Cosic, Curator, Gold Museum, Sovereign Hill Museums
  • Ms Kate Driver, Deputy Director, Operations, Questacon – National Science and Technology Centre
  • Ms Christine Evely, Education Manager, Australian Centre for Moving Image
  • Ms Edwina Jans,  Head of Heritage, Exhibitions and Engagement, Museum of Australian Democracy
  • Ms Bliss Jensen, Creative Director – New Museum Project, Western Australian Museum
  • Dr Rebecca Johnson, Director, Australian Museum Research Institute
  • Ms Jillian Marsh, Director, Public Engagement, Queensland Museum Network
  • Ms Katrina Nitschke, Head of Public Programs, South Australian Museum
  • Ms Leanne Patterson, Chief Financial Officer, Australian War Memorial
  • Ms Allison Russell, Senior Curator, Community Engagement, History South Australia
  • Ms Jane Stewart,  Principal Curator Art, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
  • Dr Jacqui Strecker, Head of Curatorial, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences
  • Ms Kim Tao, Curator, Post-Federation Immigration, Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Ms Julie Turpie, Asst Director, Commercial & Marketing Services, Sydney Living Museums
  • Dr Nurin Veis, Manager, Scienceworks Museum, Museum Victoria
  • Ms Rachael Wilsher-Saa, Regional Manager, Western Australian Museum – Albany, Western Australian Museum


  • Professor Shirley Alexander, Dept Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President UTS; Trustee, Powerhouse Museum
  • Ms Karen Bryant, CEO, Adelaide Festival
  • Ms Jane Clark, Senior Research Curator, Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
  • Ms Jackie Feeney, Managing Director Aust & NZ, Fox International Channels
  • Dr Patrick Greene OBE, President, CAMD; CEO Museum Victoria
  • Dr Ruth Harley, Former CEO, Screen Australia
  • Ms Louise Herron AM, CEO, Sydney Opera House
  • Ms Rose Hiscock, Director, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences
  • Professor Steve Hopper AC, Foundation Professor of Plant Conservation Biology, University of Western Aust
  • Ms Kim McKay AO, Director & CEO, Australian Museum
  • Ms Virginia Lovett,  Executive Director, Melbourne Theatre Company
  • Adjunct Professor Carmel McGregor, Director, Australian National Committee for UN Women; Former Deputy Secretary People, Department of Defence
  • Professor Suzanne Miller, Director & CEO, Queensland Museum Network
  • Ms Robynne Quiggin, Trustee, Australian Museum
  • Ms Karen Quinlan, Director, Bendigo Art Gallery; Trustee State Library of Victoria
  • Ms Joy Savage, CEO, Aboriginal Hostels Limited; Former Assistant Secretary, Dept of Prime Minister & Cabinet
  • Ms Anne Skipper AM, Chair, Plan International Australia; Director, Qantas Foundation
  • Mr Tim Sullivan, Assistant Director, Australian War Memorial
  • Dr Mathew Trinca, Director, National Museum of Australia
  • Dr Peter Watts AM, Founding Director, Historic Houses Trust
  • Dr Wendy Were, Executive Director, Arts Development Australia Council for the Arts

Media contacts:
Tessa Sexton, McCarthy Mentoring, 0421 098 674
Meredith Foley, CAMD, 0438  890 902


Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2021
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