Women will continue to play a pivotal role in shaping politics, media, science, business and the arts in 2013. These are our picks of the 10 women to watch …

Julie Phillips, chief executive, BioDiem:

Julie Phillips is the chief executive of BioDiem, an ASX listed company that develops medication and vaccines for infectious diseases. Throughout 2012, she received plenty of attention for her work exploring new scientific and commercial opportunities in flu vaccine development.

See how power works in this country.

News done fearlessly. Join us for just $99.


Phillips’s 2013 will see her work to advance this research and technology. She will continue to manage teams of scientists who are working towards life-saving medications and the need to work out effective ways to commercialise these remedies so BioDiem can keep growing. With a background in start-ups and the technology to change the world, Phillips will definitely be one to watch in 2013.

Lee Lewis, artistic director, Griffin Theatre Company:

In 2013, Lee Lewis is stepping up from associate director to artistic director of the Sydney-based Griffin Theatre Company. She brings years of directing experience and a hands-on development focus to Griffin’s 30-year record promoting Australian writing and emerging talent.

She is also a passionate voice for increasing diversity in Australian theatre. Trained in acting at Columbia University and directing at NIDA, Lewis’s experience working with a range of theatre companies, from independents to the Sydney Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare, bodes well for the enterprising Griffin and lovers of Australian theatre.

Annastacia Palaszczuk, leader of the opposition, Queensland:

Queensland Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk looks set to shine in 2013, with her party’s campaign against the increasingly unpopular Premier Campbell Newman gaining traction. The state member for Inala since 2006 was one of few Labor members to retain their seats in the 2012 election, leaving her to assume the leadership of the party uncontested following former premier Anna Bligh’s resignation.

As Newman faces a popularity slump following his landslide election win, 2013 will see Palaszczuk gather every asset her team of just seven MPs has to take on the 75-MP-strong Liberal government.

Launa Inman, CEO, Billabong:

Launa Inman, CEO of struggling surf retail company Billabong since May 2012, is about to negotiate the third takeover offer for the company this year.

The former managing director of Target took over at Billabong from Derek O’Neill, who had been with the company for more than 20 years. Since stepping into the role, she’s launched a four-year recovery plan and a significant capital raising initiative. Despite the difficult turnaround situation, Inman is steering a slightly stronger company into 2013 with a vision for recovery and big goals.

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, CEO, Mirvac:

Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz’s performance as the new CEO of Mirvac will be watched closely in 2013. The 45-year-old started at the property giant in November after moving to Australia from London where she was the Europe managing director of LaSalle Investment Management.

While she’s held senior executive roles in a range of companies and countries, she was relatively unknown to many of the Mirvac shareholders upon assuming the top job, and will be scrutinised accordingly. Not only is she leading the executive team of a major company in a male dominated industry, she’s also stepping into the role after the controversial departure of previous CEO Nick Collishaw.

Peta Searle, VFL coach:

Peta Searle joined the frontline of women’s leadership in sport when she accepted the role of assistant coach for the Victorian Football League (VFL) team Port Melbourne. Originally a PE teacher in Melbourne and with two young kids, the 37-year-old is used to managing teams, and tantrums.

Searle’s been playing AFL for 15 years and previously coached the Darebin Falcons to five premiership final wins in the Victorian Women’s Football league. Coaching a top sports team is never easy, and with the pressure of being the first female coach in the VFL, Searle’s work is sure to be followed closely.

Yumi Stynes, entertainment host:

It’s been a chaotic year for entertainment personality Yumi Stynes — a year which saw Channel Ten cancelling The Circle and Melbourne’s Mix FM replacing her on popular radio show the 3pm Pick-Up. Not to mention the storm of abuse she copped when she made an unwise comment about a Victorian Cross winning serviceman.

But 2013 hasn’t even started yet and she’s already set to make entertainment history as she joins Sami Lukas to be the first all-female breakfast team on Sydney radio at Mix106.5. Stynes and Lukas are hoping to replicate the success of Melbourne breakfast team Chrissie Swan and Jane Hall.

Julie Bishop, deputy leader of the opposition:

With the final Nielsen poll for 2012 showing the Coalition four points ahead of Labor at 52-48, next year could see Julie Bishop become Deputy Prime Minister. Bishop has served as the Liberal Party’s deputy opposition leader since November 2009. Her recent leading role in the AWU slush fund campaign against Prime Minister Julia Gillard shows Bishop is ready and willing to play the political game, no matter how messy it gets.

Alison Page, artist, teacher and designer:

Alison Page is an aboriginal artist, teacher and award-winning designer well known for her commitment to cultural expression in interior design work. Currently Director of the Saltwater Freshwater Festival, an inaugural festival of Aboriginal culture, she was also a non-parliamentary member on the expert panel for Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

As the possible referendum on constitutionally acknowledging Australia’s first people has been postponed until there is stronger and more widespread understanding and support, the work Page is doing has never been more important.

Anna Krien, journalist, author and poet:

Anna Krien is a journalist, poet, essayist and author. Her first book Into the Woods was a multi award-winning tome delving into the battle for Tasmania’s forests.

In 2012, she was the author of the Quarterly Essay 45: Us and Them, an exploration into our complicated emotional and practical relationship with animals. With her work being published in The AgeThe MonthlyFrankieThe Griffith ReviewThe Best Australian EssaysThe Big Issue and many others, she’s a young, literary voice to watch. And with an increasingly busy public schedule at writing festivals and an appearance on the ABC’s Q&A program this year, she’ll be hard to miss in 2013.

*This article was first published at Women’s Agenda

See how power works in this country.

Independence, to us, means everyone’s right to tell the truth beyond just ourselves. If you value independent journalism now is the time to join us. Save $100 when you join us now.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
SAVE 50%