Meet the 2017 Conference Organisers

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Madeleine Albright

We’d like to introduce ourselves. We are the Women in Media Queensland committee – a group of women drawn from across the media sector.

We are all volunteers who believe passionately in equity, the importance of mentoring, and the power of networking for women in the media. We are not for profit.

More than 12 months ago, we had an ambitious idea to organise the first national conference and we’re close to realising that dream.

We are all aware of the challenges in the industry so we have designed this conference to help you survive and thrive in the environment.

Our first national conference at Bond University and The Star Gold Coast on October 27 and 28, 2017.

The theme is: Media is changing … you can too!

We hope to meet you there.

Meet the Conference Organisers

Kathy McLeish

Kathy McLeish is a senior journalist with the ABC. She’s reported widely across network programs including 7.30, Landline, Australian Story and ABC news and current affairs. Other roles include executive producer of Stateline and 7.30 Qld and producer of several documentaries and specials for the ABC.

Kathy McLeish

As a reporter, she’s covered assignments ranging from the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, the Nauru detention centre riots, the last Mentoring Taskforce handover in Afghanistan, Queensland’s major natural disasters, has trekked in the Simpson desert after floods and been lucky to be one of the few people to have seen a night parrot in the wild.

She was named Queensland Journalist of the Year and Investigative journalist of the year for a series of stories which exposed serious political and bureaucratic failures that led to the closure of the state’s youth mental health facility and the death of three teenagers. The coverage triggered a $15 million inquiry and a massive restructuring of youth mental health services in Queensland.

Kathy is the convenor and a founding member of Women in Media, Queensland.

Laura Chalmers

Laura Chalmers is Deputy Chief of Staff at The Courier-Mail newspaper. She has worked as a journalist for more than a decade, reporting for News Corp in Adelaide, the Canberra press gallery and now Brisbane.

Laura Chalmers

Laura extensively covered state and federal politics before moving to the news desk at The Courier-Mail.

Laura has also worked for the Federal Government in Canberra, working as press secretary to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Penny Wong.

She holds a BEc/LLB (honours) degree from the University of Adelaide and has been a committee member of Women in Media Queensland since its inception in 2014.

Tanya Chilcott

Thirteen years after working around the clock as a journalist, and loving almost every minute of it, Tanya Chilcott switched to “the other side” to work for the public service.

Tanya Chilcott

Tanya started at the Bundaberg News-Mail, where she won the Queensland MEAA Cadet/J1 reporter of the year and failed her first Courier-Mail interview because, when she was asked where she wanted to be in five years’ time, she said the Bangkok Post.

At The Courier-Mail she covered police and civil courts, consumer and Indigenous affairs, worked on the chief-of-staff desk and was once named the paper’s Reporter of the Year.

Tanya was a finalist in, and was highly commended for, numerous state media awards and spent her last six years as a journalist covering the education round, before moving in 2014 to the Queensland College of Teachers, where she is currently a Media and Communications Manager.

Tanya is also a mum and has been honoured to serve on the Women in Media Committee since its inception.

Danielle Cronin

Danielle Cronin – the first female editor of Fairfax’s metropolitan masthead the Brisbane Times – is a founding member of the Women in Media Queensland committee.

Danielle Cronin

The award-winning journalist has worked in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Africa, and Canberra where she covered 10 federal budgets and three federal elections.

As a reporter for The Canberra Times, she spent seven years in the federal press gallery reporting on stories ranging from the coup that ended Kevin Rudd’s prime ministership to the Canberra firestorm. She was part of the team that won a Walkey Award for coverage of the disaster that claimed four lives and destroyed about 500 homes.

She has also travelled to South Africa as the inaugural winner of the Independent Newspapers Fellowship for Australia and to Germany as the winner of the German Prize for journalism. After a long career in newspapers, Danielle joined the digital revolution.

Kay McGrath OAM MAICD

Kay McGrath is an award-winning journalist and Seven Network presenter with 40 years’ experience in the media. She has reported for and presented prime-time news bulletins in Queensland for 37 years.

Kay McGrath

Kay is Patron of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, former patron and co-founder of Protect all Children Today, an Ambassador for Act for Kids and Vice Patron of the Queensland Breast and Prostate Cancer Association. She is also a founding member of Women in Media Queensland and sits on the committee.

Kay currently Chairs the Queensland State Government Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council established following the landmark Not Now Not Ever report headed by Dame Quentin Bryce.

Sharon Marshall

Sharon Marshall is a Senior Journalist working at Together, a branch of the Australian Services Union.

Sharon Marshall

She has worked in television news and current affairs and newspapers around the country for more than 20 years including experience at the television news production desk. Her employers have included Network Ten, Seven Network, Capital Television Canberra, Herald and Weekly Times and The West Australian newspaper.

Sharon trained as a journalist in Perth on The West Australian newspaper where she was introduced to court reporting by celebrated journalists Janet Fife-Yeomans, Margot Lang and Robyn Cash. During her travels around Perth, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane, Sharon has reported extensively about a diverse range of matters including law enforcement and the courts, politics and a myriad of public inquiries.

Her assignments have included a feature on NASA’s International Space Station Freedom as well as interviews with Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes, John Howard, Kevin Rudd and round the world balloonist Steve Fossett.

Sharon’s current volunteering includes the Women In Media Queensland committee, of which she is a founding member, MEAA Queensland and Griffith University’s industry mentoring program.

Leonie Mellor

Leonie Mellor is a Senior Reporter with ABC News Brisbane. She has worked extensively in print, television, online and radio for more than 20 years, covering local news, major international events as well as politics at every level.

Leonie Mellor

Her career began in Adelaide with News Corp, then moved to Network Ten, including nearly a decade in the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery. But the sun beckoned prompting her family, which now included two small children, to move to Queensland.

Her experiences have taken her across the country and overseas, for some of the most dramatic and newsworthy events of the past two decades. She has covered the Boxing Day tsunami from Aceh, the Snowtown serial killings, numerous court appearances of the Australians known as the Bali 9 and Peter Falconio’s disappearance at Barrow Creek. She’s also reported on several state and federal elections.

She is also deputy convenor of Women in Media Queensland and is a founding member of the committee.

Diane O’Reilly

Diane O’Reilly is a PR and Marketing Consultant. Her business, Collaborate Communications, describes how she likes to work with her clients, that is, in a truly collaborative way.

Diane O’Reilly

Diane’s client base is eclectic – she works in hospitality, entertainment, fashion, manufacture, property, medical, beauty, retirement living, arts, education, law and more. Nothing gives her more joy than helping a small to medium-sized business grow and prosper. She’s respected in media for being careful to only pitch truly newsworthy stories.

Trying hard to convince her bank manager that karma is a type of currency, Diane devotes much time and expertise to the Women in Media Queensland committee as well as to many other charitable endeavours including founder and board member of Mothers of Boys Australia. So far it’s not working with the bank manager.

Cathie Schnitzerling

Cathie Schnitzerling is the ABC’s Regional Editor for Queensland, managing 10 bureaux outside Brisbane and a staff of about 120, almost 60 per cent are women.

Cathie Schnitzerling

She was the first woman Director of News for the Ten Network in Brisbane and Sydney and has worked as a television and radio reporter, presenter and producer on both state and national news and public affairs programs for Ten, Nine and the ABC in three capital cities.

She was also the Senior Director of Integrated Communications for Queensland Health.

She has also produced independent documentaries and a short drama. She’s the proud single mother of a 24-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son.

Cath Webber

Cath Webber is a founding member of the Queensland committee and has worked in media for 23 years. She’s a regular commentator on Channel 7’s Sunrise and works part-time as a strategic communications adviser at Bond University.

Cath Webber

A year ago Cath left News Corp after being appointed first female Editor of the Gold Coast Bulletin in July 2013. Before returning to the paper where she started her journalism career, Cath was assistant editor across The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, deputy editor at the Townsville Bulletin and deputy features editor at the Irish Examiner, a national broadsheet in Ireland.

She is also passionate about digital, having worked as the website editor for www.thetelegraph.com.au. Cath grew up on the Gold Coast and went straight from school to the newsroom when she won the Bond University/Gold Coast Bulletin cadetship scholarship. She has a degree in journalism and film and television.

Peta Wolff

Throughout my working career, I have been very fortunate to have held every dream job a girl could wish for. I spent 12 years as Personal Assistant to Brett Godfrey, co-founder and CEO of Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia). I did everything from getting his coffee, to giving my opinion on concepts, working on his speeches and presentations, organising his travel (and for his family and friends) … everything to do with his working life, as well as home, financial and family life. An added bonus of this role was meeting and working closely with a plethora of VIP’s and leaders including Sir Richard Branson with whom I worked with regularly.

Peta Wolff

I then moved from the big smoke of Brisbane to the beautiful Gold Coast to take up a Marketing and Events position at Billabong. When this two-year contract ended, I decided to go out on my own which is when I’ve Got Time For That was created.

I now work with an amazing range of clients, using all my skills and contacts and enjoying life to the full. From being a ‘Remote Executive Assistant’ to Event and Conference Facilitator, Travel Designer to Social Media Manager – you name it, I can do it or if I can’t, I know someone who can.