History

The Brisbane Women’s Club was founded in 1908 by Margaret Ogg, an extraordinary women with a passion to improve the lives of Queensland women. Operating continuously for more than 107 years, from its inception BWC has had a strong social justice purpose. BWC was a key fundraiser and driver of the establishment of Women’s College at UQ, actively campaigned for the pension and support for single mothers and today, and financially supports a range of organisations, projects and activities that empower, educate and enable women to achieve their potential.

Board Members

BWC serves a diverse community of members and supporters taking positions on the issues of public importance for women. Whether they are fighting to improve the lives of women or to mentor and guide younger women to achieve equal participation in the social, cultural, political and economic arenas of Australian life, the BWC board of directors work to break through barriers so that all women have a fair chance in Brisbane and Queensland. With strong leadership skills and a wide range of experience in various industries and sectors of society, our board members are committed to the pursuit of equality, speaking out for women, at every opportunity.

Robin Francis – Chairperson, Non-Executive Director, Finance Committee Member

Robin has had a long career in leadership and management development in Australian public and not-for-profit sectors and currently runs her own consultancy business in leadership development. She has made a significant contribution in the areas of cross-sectoral leadership development as Qld State Manager for Social Leadership Australia and previously as Head of Executive Development for the Queensland Public Service.  She played a major role in introducing new approaches to leadership development and capability building across the Queensland Public Sector, including experiential development methods, scenario planning, international forums, coaching, and cross-departmental leadership networks that fostered innovation and collaboration in policy thinking and service delivery.  Her national and  international experience in Asia focussed on building leadership and management capability in health care sectors.

Robin has extensive senior executive experience in leading the planning and delivery of major organisational change in a range of Qld public sector organisations, in coaching and developing executives to improve their leadership performance, and in building high-performance teams. Robin is an accredited executive coach with the Institute of Executive Coaching Australia and now works as a leadership consultant with IthacaGroup.

Robin is passionate about gender equality for women in Australia and for the Brisbane Women’s Club to become an active voice and support for women in Greater Brisbane.

Elise Williams – Non-Executive Director, Finance Director and Chair of the Finance Committee

Elise brings 25 years Corporate Finance, Treasury Management and Investment Management experience to BWC Board. As an accomplished finance professional her particular expertise is in Corporate Finance and Financial Risk Management. She has held senior executive roles with Suncorp Investment Management and Queensland Treasury Corporation. Her broader finance experience includes structured finance, fixed income, equities, insolvency and venture capital.

She has considerable corporate advisory experience; specifically advising Queensland Government entities (including Queensland Treasury, Transport infrastructure entities (Road, Rail and Ports) Infrastructure and Local Government). She has also managed has the State’s treasury facilities on behalf of Queensland Treasury and has a detailed understanding of corporate governance principals, processes and practices.

She is territory qualified with a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance) and post graduate qualifications in Applied Finance and Investment and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Women on Boards.

Elise is passionate about improving women’s financial literacy and community outcomes. She mentors young professionals and volunteers at the Wesley Mission for the Wesley Hospital, Wesley Breast Clinic and Sinnamon Park Aged Care.

Georgia Henry – Non-Executive Director

Georgia has more than 20 years corporate HR experience and has delivered business results for diverse and complex national and multinational organisations. Georgia is the founder of HENRY REED Pty Ltd, and is passionate about working with organisations to achieve their objectives through the creation of high-performance organisation cultures, the execution of aligned strategies and the improved engagement and performance of employees.

Throughout her career, she has strongly supported the advancement of women particularly regarding gender equality for pay, development and progression opportunities. As a graduate of AICD, Georgia is delighted to join the board of BWC to contribute to the enhancement of opportunities for women in Queensland particularly through education, mentoring and professional development.

Ainsley Barahona – Non-Executive Director

Ainsley joined the BWC Board in January 2019. She is an experienced Non-Executive Director and HR Executive with over 17 years experience across corporate, government and non-profit sectors.

Ainsley’s interests in social justice include the economic empowerment of women and advancing women in leadership, ending modern slavery, supporting social enterprise and micro businesses, inclusion of people with differing abilities, peace building and atrocity prevention, and developing future leaders.

Ainsley holds a BA Communication, MA in International Relations and a MScience in Coaching Psychology. She has worked and studied in the Asia Pacific region, Mexico & the US, England and the United Arab Emirates.

Leah Stangle – Non-Executive Director, Company Secretary and Finance Committee Member

Leah is an inhouse lawyer providing general legal and governance advice to an ASX200 infrastructure and resources company and practicing predominantly in the commercial and contracts areas of law.   She has been admitted as a lawyer to practice law in the Queensland Supreme Court and High Court of Australia for over 10 years.

Leah is a member of UN Women Australia and recently was appointed to the Brisbane committee for International Women’s Day fundraising breakfast 2019.  Previously Leah held positions on the Gender Diversity subcommittee for the Minerals Council of Australia and chaired the diversity committee in her workplace.  Leah is passionate about gender diversity, professional development and making practical change to improve all our business and personal conversations.

Leah holds a Bachelor of Commerce (UQ), Bachelor of Laws Honours (QUT) and Masters of Commercial Law (UofMelb) as well as a Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance (GIA).  She is recognised as a “fellow” of the Governance Institute of Australia and the international Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.  Leah is a keen supporter of Women on Boards, UN Women and a friend of Queensland Ballet.

Charitable Grants Program

The Brisbane Women’s Club runs a Charitable Grants Program through which our funds are distributed amongst charities operating in the women’s arena in Brisbane and Queensland.

The BWC Charitable Grants Program is designed to support and advance the role of women in our community and the wider world, supporting women’s initiatives surrounding education, social issues and health. The Charitable Grants Program was set up in 2008.

Today, the Charitable Grants Program remains central to our fundraising program and our ability to distribute proceeds from our events and other activities.