Business Sydney | NIDA Corporate


With the Hon. Jodie Harrison MP, NSW Minister for Women

Monday, 16 October 2023

4:30 pm to 7:30 pm



MinterEllison offices



Business Sydney Members & Guests

Women in leadership roles mentor and pave the way for the next generation of female leaders. Strengthening a strong community of women in leadership is still critical to improve gender equity, remove barriers for career progression and build a more inclusive and diverse workforce.

At this reception, Kristy Edser, Sydney Managing Partner, MinterEllison introduced the NSW Minister for Women, The Hon. Jodie Harrison MP, who addressed the guests on the work being undertaken in her portfolio to promote and support women in leadership and in the community. The Minister then sat down to a thought-provoking panel discussion with Liz Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Denise Ora, Chief Executive of the Botanic Gardens of Sydney, Evelyn Foong, Head of Audit for Zurich Financial Services Australia, and facilitator Aimee Foster, Head of NIDA Corporate Training.

Our guests then enjoyed a dynamic and interactive workshop of practical skills for positive connection and rapport, including how to hold your own in networking situations and how to get the most from every conversation, presented by NIDA Corporate Tutor, Anna Houston and Aimee Foster.

The vote of thanks was moved by Anita Mitchell,  Chief Executive of Placemaking NSW. 

NIDA Corporate’s flagship course Influential Women is a practical course for women in leadership that sells out in Sydney and Melbourne every month. Follow the link to find out more about the course. 

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Special GuestS


NSW Minister for Women, Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence, and Minister for Seniors 

The Honourable Jodie Harrison MP is the Member for Charlestown, currently serving in her third term since she was first elected in 2014.

Jodie was appointed Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence, Seniors and Women on April 5 following the election of the Labor Government at the 2023 NSW State Election. In the first 100 days as Minister, Jodie has presided over several achievements across her portfolios.

These include:

·      Establishing a new taskforce to investigate better housing outcomes for Domestic and Family Violence Victim Survivors.

·      Delivering $500,000 to empower women in small business through the Women in Business Networks grant program.

·      Energy bill relief for eligible low-income pensioners and self-funded retirees.

Looking ahead, Jodie is pursuing an ambitious agenda to remove barriers for victim-survivors from leaving abusive relationships. One example is to expand access to women’s refuges statewide, through the Core and Cluster Program. From 2026, these additional refuges will have capacity to support more than 2900 women and children experiencing family and domestic violence annually.

Prior to her election to Parliament, Jodie served her community with distinction in Local Government. She was first elected as a Councillor for Lake Macquarie Council in 2008 and went on to become the first popularly elected female Mayor of the City. During her tenure, the Council avoided amalgamation and cemented its financially strong position.

Jodie’s experience as a member of the Salvation Army in her formative years and later experience as United Services Union delegate and United Workers Union official solidified her passion for social justice.

Jodie is a proud Charlestown local and mother to two young adults – India and Phillip.



Chief Executive Officer, National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)

As NIDA’s CEO since December 2019, Liz has led NIDA’s operations, strategic positioning and ensured NIDA continues to build on its world-renowned creative education while embracing opportunities of disruption.

Liz is a positive transformational leader and change-maker, specialising in collaboration and partnerships. She is committed to harnessing the unique qualities of NIDA’s education, making it accessible and inclusive for talented individuals, and extending the possibilities of the performing arts in all its guises across stages, screens and beyond.

Liz has held numerous other arts leadership roles including positions in the higher education sector, as part of public programs, in remote Indigenous communities and as a board director. She is also an award-winning filmmaker.



Chief Executive, Botanic Gardens of Sydney & Australian Institute of Botanical Science 

Chief Executive Botanic Gardens of Sydney & Australian Institute of Botanical Science. Chair Council of Heads of Australian Botanic Gardens, Chair University NSW Science Advisory Council.

Highly experienced, innovative, and solution-driven senior executive with proven track record working in both complex scientific, environmental, commercial, and regulated government cultural institutions of national significance. Successfully leading diverse and challenging projects in high visitation sites to deliver positive transformation and strategic change.

Currently, Denise has the responsibility of leading the incredible Botanic Gardens of Sydney into the future by advocating for the science, conservation, horticulture, education, recreation, and visitor programs that enrich the lives of our local communities and global audiences.



Head of Audit, Group Audit, Zurich Financial Services Australia 

Evelyn is an experienced senior governance executive.  Her current role is the Head of Audit for Zurich for Australia and New Zealand. In her career span, she led the APAC region on people leadership and competency development.  She is a Board member of the Australian Institute of Internal Auditors.  Throughout Evelyn’s career, she delivered successful strategic transformation within the governance profession.  Experienced in mergers & acquisitions, board advisory, and serving on global committees.   

As a first-generation immigrant, she is passionate on diversity, equity and understands the importance of inclusion.  She is the Executive Sponsor for Zurich LGTBQI+ employee resource group.  She was also the founding co-member for the Zurich Women Innovation Network.

Evelyn is known as an energetic and collaborative leader who embodies empowerment and giving a voice to ALL to contribute purposefully.



Head of NIDA Corporate Training

Aimee has a passion for connecting with people of all walks of life and using creative processes and performance skills to help them communicate and drive positive change.

Beginning her career as a performer, then as a teacher, Aimee has transitioned into corporate training, where she has been able to combine professional development with creative pedagogy. Between 2015 and 2020 Aimee travelled the world with training consultancies specialising in Women in Leadership programs.

Aimee now leads NIDA Corporate Training and a team of teaching artists across Australia. 




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