Thought Leaders

The Leaders in Heels Thought Leaders are women or men who’ve been recognised as authorities in a specialised field and whose expertise is highly sought after. They provide personal interpretations of media messages relevant to their industries and insightful commentary on current topics. Thought-Leaders are senior executives, political leaders and other successful business people who have been hand-picked and personally invited by Leaders in Heels to contribute to the Thought-Leadership section.

Leaders in Heels Thought Leaders

Margie Warrell

Margie Warrell

Margie Warrell is a columnist for Forbes magazine, bestselling author, regular media commentator, leadership coach, and international keynote speaker.  Founder and CEO of Global Courage, a women’s leadership organization, Margie is passionate about helping other women engage in bigger conversations, and grow their leadership ability to become powerful catalysts for change in their community, organisation and the world. She draws on her background in business and psychology to run women’s leadership programs with leading organisations around the globe including the UN Foundation, NASA, Accenture, Oracle, ExxonMobil, Bechtel and Hitachi.

A busy mother of four noisy children who juggles (and drops) balls on a daily basis, Margie does her best to walk her talk when it comes to living boldly. Since her childhood growing up on a diary farm in rural Australia, Margie has stepped outside her comfort zone many times. She has worked and travelled around the world extensively, often venturing far off the beaten track in countries from Algeria to Bolivia, Papua New Guinea to Nepal.

Read Margie Warrells’ articles.

Karen Gately

Karen Gately

Karen Gately is a highly-regarded author, speaker, advisor and educator in the field of human performance and leadership. She brings a fresh and down to earth approach, advocating a methodology focused on leveraging both talent and energy to drive great results. Karen is passionate about guiding women to reach their full potential and to step up to the challenges of the business world.

Karen founded HR consultancy Ryan Gately in 2006, after 8 years as Human Resources Director – Asia Pacific with The Vanguard Group. She is the author of two leadership titles, The Corporate Dojo and The People Manager’s Toolkit (Wiley, 2013). Her approach is deeply rooted in the 25 years spent training and teaching karate. She was the youngest person in Shukokai karate awarded a 1st Dan black belt at age 14 and won multiple state, national and international titles.

Read Karen Gately’s articles.

Chutisa Bowman

Chutisa Bowman Leaders in Heels Thought Leader

Pragmatic Futurist, author, speaker columnist and globally recognized thought leader in human potential with a focus on assisting businesswomen to link business strategy to future possibilities, trends, innovation and creativity.

Chutisa is best-known for her work in Strategic Awareness, Prosperity Consciousness, Conscious Leadership and Leading from the Edge of Possibility. She has devoted her career to inspiring businesswomen to challenge today’s certainties and consciously create the future by cultivating awareness of coming changes, and developing strategies to adapt quickly.

Chutisa draws from her background in Psychotherapy and Ergonomics as well as  25 years of previous executive roles include senior executive at a number of Australia’s largest publicly listed retail corporations (David Jones, Coles Myers – Target and K Mart), and a senior consultant with one of Australia’s most prominent usability and human factors specialist consulting firms. She is trained both as a psychotherapist and conventional behavioral scientist as well as industrial designer and ergonomist.

Connect with Chutisa on Twitter, Linked In, or join her on No More Business As Usual and Pragmatic Futurist Blog.


Read Chutisa Bowman’s articles.


Vanessa Jane

Vanessa Jane Leaders in Heels Thought Leader

As an Entrepreneurial Muse and Creative Strategist, Vanessa’s own talent has been identified as the gift of vision – the almost unnerving ability to recognize potential in almost anyone, to create ideas and opportunities out of any situation, and to navigate clients toward empowerment and fulfillment, and making money out of ideas. She is a Creative Strategist in the truest sense.

Vanessa works with the visionaries, thought leaders, rule breakers and adventurers and game changers, the dreamers and future shapers on how to become known for something, how to stand out! Her background in marketing, the corporate and financial worlds and a carefully honed creativity which allow her to understand the needs of a growing business, and she has the tenacity and energy to make it succeed. From the rich tapestry of her own employment history, she has the flexibility to assist her clients in a broad range of commercially profitable, creative ventures and business enterprises.

Read Vanessa Jane’s articles.

Cassandra Kelly

Cassandra Kelly

Cassandra Kelly is an experienced international director, corporate advisor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She has lived in Africa, Asia, North America, Europe and Asia. Her industry experience spans agriculture, consumer products, energy and resources, financial services, infrastructure, technology, digital media, and tourism. She brings expertise in finance, risk, sustainability and proven success in building successful global businesses.

Cassandra’s track record in helping leaders to feel more confident to embrace new opportunities and to challenge the status quo, whist at the same time focusing significantly on philanthropic and social justice issues, has placed her on the list of 100 Women of Influence in Australia by the Financial Review/Westpac as one of the most influential women on boards and in management. In 2014, was awarded the In Style magazine Business Woman of Style.

She is also Executive Chair for Pottinger and Pottinger Analytics, a multiple award winning company she co-founded in 2003. She has clients in most of the world’s major economies. Pottinger has been recognised by the Australian Government as a benchmark for productivity and staff development.

Internationally regarded, she continues as an expert advisor to the G20/B20 on matters of infrastructure. By invitation, Cassandra has spoken in the UAE, Malaysia and Japan on the importance of Gender Equality. A passionate advocate for helping women connect across industries, from public and private sector, she co-founded the Glass Elevator.

She is a Director of Flight Centre Travel Group, Allpress International, the University of New South Wales Foundation and an Ambassador for One Million Women. Previous directorships include Starlight Children’s Foundation and Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. She served as Vice President of Women in Banking and Finance and a member of the Advisory Board of the CEO Sleepout.

Read Cassandra Kelly’s articles.

Sharon Warburton


Sharon has been smashing glass ceilings in the two sectors with the lowest female participation rates (construction & mining) for more than 20 years. She is currently a CFO, a strategist, a Non-Executive Director and an NFP Director. She contributes her successes to hard work, cross cultural experience, great mentors and a powerful sponsor.

Today, she is the Executive Director – Strategy & Finance for Brookfield Multiplex Australasia; Non-Executive Director for Fortescue Metals Group (FMG); Chair of the FMG Remuneration & Nominations Committee; Member of the FMG Audit & Risk Committee; a part time member of the Federal Government’s Takeovers Panel; a Director of Perth’s Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation; Board Member for the Curtin University Business School Asia Business Centre and Committee member and Treasurer for arcs, a counselling service specialising in adoption and the reunification of families.

She mentors many and is the founder of the online mentoring site (@Steel__Heels). The vision of Steel Heels is to increase the self-confidence of working women. Sharon believes we should not underestimate today the power of supporting our emerging leaders of tomorrow.

She is the 2014 WA Telstra Business Woman of the Year and the 2015 NAB Women’s Agenda Mentor of the Year. And most importantly she is Mum to 5 year old Miss Chloe.

When not working Sharon enjoys the coastal lifestyle, teaching her daughter to swim and relaxing in the sunshine with a good book! She regularly escapes her daily life to explore other countries and cultures with her daughter.

Read Sharon Warburton’s articles.

Diana Ryall

Di Ryall (HEAD SHOT)

Diana Ryall is a leading voice and advocate for Gender Equality in Australia. She promotes women achieving their career aspirations, and challenges men to examine their assumptions about women and their careers.

In 2002, Diana founded Xplore for Success, a consultancy that specialises in educating and supporting professionals to achieve career and personal success. Over the past 13 years, more than 11,000 women and men have benefited from Xplore’s career development programs, including participants from organisations like American Express, CBA, Deloitte, Department of Commerce, GHD, Lend Lease, Luxottica, KPMG, NAB and QBE.

Diana is committed to a number of charitable and philanthropic causes. She is an Ambassador for Good Return and Dress for Success Sydney. As a breast cancer survivor, she supports the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and is a key spokesperson for International Women’s Day. Diana also mentors a number of businesswomen and entrepreneurs from around Australia.

From 1997 to 2001, Diana was Managing Director of Apple Australia and, while at the helm, won the Hewitt Associates annual ‘Employer of the Year’ Award. Diana began her career as a high school teacher after studying Mathematics and Science.

Read Diana Ryall’s articles.

All articles by our Thought Leaders.

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