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NSW Council for Women's Economic Opportunity

The NSW Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity (CWEO) was established in February 2012 to provide the NSW Government with specialist advice on enhancing women’s economic opportunities and financial security.

The Council is made up of experts from business, industry, non-government organisations, and government to facilitate discussion on strategies aimed at providing women with greater economic opportunities.

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The Council is chaired by the Minister for Women and is made up of experts from business, industry and non-government organisations, and government.

Melanie Brown

Melanie is an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company where she focuses on bringing global best practice and insights to the Australian public sector, including in health, justice and education. She previously provided strategic policy and media advice to Ministers in the Australian Government, including on domestic violence policy, women’s workforce participation and women’s economic empowerment.

Melanie is a lawyer admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW and formerly worked at King & Wood Mallesons. She has Bachelor degrees in International Studies and Law from the University of Sydney and is currently completing a Master of Laws at the University of Melbourne.

Sarah Coull

Sarah Coull is the Women in Engineering Manager at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), where she leads the implementation of marketing, communication and outreach strategies to recruit female students into engineering disciplines, as well as develop initiatives to retain and support current female engineering students at the university.

Prior to working at UNSW Sarah was the Head of Strategic Partnerships and Global Community Leader for a Sydney-based start-up that provided mentoring and education to female entrepreneurs. Here she developed commercial partnerships, implemented global ambassador and mentoring programs, and worked with the Office for Women to launch a national scholarship program supporting disadvantaged female entrepreneurs.

Sarah has also worked in educational and trade publishing, and runs her own freelance publishing consultancy. She has a Master of Publishing and Communications and a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications), both from the University of Melbourne.

Margaret Faux

Margaret Faux is a lawyer, research scholar (University of Technology Sydney), registered nurse and the founder and CEO of global medical administration company, Synapse Medical Services, which has offices in Sydney, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Prior to founding Synapse, Margaret grew up in a rural setting and left school at the age of 16, after which she trained and worked as a nurse. She later qualified as a lawyer and practiced in Sydney in family law and commercial litigation. She also provided free legal advice at the Kingsford Legal Centre (University of New South Wales) in family law, domestic violence, debt and social housing matters.

Margaret is considered Australia's leading expert in the legal and administrative operation of Medicare, and contributes widely to Australia's health reform debate. As an employer she is passionate about strengthening women's financial security and wellbeing. More than half of Synapse's 130+ employees are women including most of the executive team.

Leanne Heywood

Leanne is an experienced ASX non-executive director, Audit and Risk committee and Nominations and Remuneration committee chair with broad general management experience gained through an international career in the mining, rural, government and not-for-profit sectors. She has extensive international and domestic marketing experience and brings international customer relationship management, stakeholder management (including governments and investment partners) and team leadership experience in China, Japan, Mongolia, Singapore, South America, Europe and India.

Leanne is an experienced leader of transformational change having led organisational restructuring, disposals and acquisitions, including integration.  She has strong skills across Marketing, Business Analysis, Contracts, Procurement, Logistics, Accounting and Business Improvement along with an advanced ability to facilitate complex negotiations.

Having worked extensively in high-corruption jurisdictions such as Mongolia and China, Leanne has developed a strong risk and compliance focus.

She is a Non-Executive Director, Chair of the Audit Committee and member of the Nominations and Remuneration and Related Party committees of Orocobre Ltd, Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Quickstep Holdings Limited, a Non-Executive Director of Midway Limited and Non-Executive Director, Chair of the Nominations and Remuneration Committee and member of Audit Committee of the Australian Meat Processor Corporation.

She was named NSW Business Woman of the Year for 2019.

Tracy McLeod-Howe

Tracy is a legally trained senior executive leader, consultant and executive mentor with a background across social services, social justice policy, gender equality and working towards the elimination of violence against women and the safety of children. Tracy has a significant background in government and non-government settings and has led change in complex and sensitive settings and projects, run national campaigns and works across government, civil society and business. She completed a post graduate Certificate in Business at Cambridge University at the Cambridge Judge Business School in 2017.

Most recently, she has held positions as CEO of the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS), Commissioner at the NSW Law Reform Commission and CEO of Domestic Violence NSW. Tracy was also the NSW government’s appointed representative on the COAG Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children in 2017.

Hannah Higgins

Hannah graduated with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and is currently undertaking a Masters of Commercial Law at Melbourne University. After working in a range of manufacturing roles in Australia and overseas, Hannah moved into a role in corporate strategy and is currently a senior analyst in the investor relations team.

In 2016, Hannah was nominated for the Maria Skyllas-Kazacos Young Professional Award for Outstanding Achievement. Hannah was Vice President of the UNSW Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Society and has been a mentor to female engineering students. Hannah has also spoken at several Women in Engineering events at UNSW since graduating in 2011. Hannah has outstanding commitment to supporting women enter male-dominated professions, such as engineering.

Taleen Shamlian

Taleen Shamlian is Principal Consultant at Advisory Street Pty Ltd, an economics and public affairs firm established in 2016. She has advised senior executives in the government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors on a range of public policy issues.

She is currently a member of the NSW Women in Economics Board – a not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender diversity in the economics profession.

Prior to this, Taleen was Head of Government Affairs for Visa and a senior government relations adviser at the Commonwealth Bank. In these roles, she championed programs around financial security, financial literacy, and sustainable financial products to support the well-being of women and other members of the community. She has provided strategic advice to Commonwealth and State governments and assessed the effectiveness of government programs as a senior manager at The Allen Consulting Group. Taleen began her career as an economist at the Commonwealth Treasury working on personal tax, superannuation and economic strategies.

Taleen has a Bachelor of Economics (First Class Honours) where her thesis topic was reviewing Labor Supply and Participation of Women in Long-term Unemployment. She has a Master of Public Policy and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

Pallavi Sinha

Pallavi Sinha is a lawyer, lecturer and speaker. In 2016, she was selected in the prestigious Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence winner list.

Pallavi works as a Lawyer, Notary Public & Academic. She currently lectures at the University of Sydney Law School & is the Principal of Lawyers with Solutions. She is also an Appointed Supporter of the Joint Federal & State Government campaign to stop DV and is on the Multicultural Consultation Council of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.

She is a former People of Australia Ambassador and was the only person from NSW elected to the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils Australia (FECCA) as Women’s Committee Advisory Chair in 2014. She presented submissions before a Senate Committee on Domestic Violence on behalf of FECCA and some of her recommendations were adopted. She was also involved in meetings with the former Minister for Immigration which led to changes to migration policy aimed to increase domestic violence survivors’ access to justice.

Pallavi is regularly interviewed by the media and is a popular and well-known speaker and writer, especially on topics such as domestic or family violence. Her opinion pieces have been widely published, including by the Sydney Morning Herald, ABC and SBS.

Nicola Street

Nicola Street is Ai Group’s National Manager – Workplace Relations Policy and shapes workplace public policy and solutions for Australian industry and the community. Nicola drives industry engagement with public policy issues and leads Ai Group’s Diversity and Inclusion network to support greater gender equality and diversity for industry.

Johanna Turner

Johanna has over 25 years experience as a senior executive in the financial services industry, working in domestic and international banks, exchanges and regulatory bodies. She has expertise in risk management, compliance, regulation, policy and corporate governance.  During her career, she has held executive positions within international and domestic banks, exchanges and regulatory bodies, including the Stock Exchange, Citi Bank, Macquarie Bank and ASIC.

Johanna is a non-executive director of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and an independent compliance committee member for Blackrock Investment Management (Australia) Limited and Fundhost Limited. She also Chairs the Australian Financial Markets Association Professionalism Committee and is a Member of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Financial Services and Credit Panel.

During her career, Johanna has been an advocate for gender diversity in the financial services sector.  Johanna was previously a non-executive director of Women in Banking and Finance Limited (2012-2015), a not for profit organisation that promotes professional development of women in the financial services sector. She has also been a member of the Citibank Diversity Committee and throughout her career mentored many women within the financial services sector.

Johanna holds a Bachelor of Arts and Law from Macquarie University, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australia.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019