veski inspiring women networking & professional development event

The professional development & networking event series run by veski provides the opportunity to hear from inspiring panelists, engage with peers in interactive workshops, and network with Victorian women and men across science, research, innovation and industry.

veski is supporting career progression of Victorian women through the provision of resources, information and opportunities; partnerships with government, industry, community and academia; and professional development and networking opportunities.

At the fourth event in the veski inspiring women professional development and networking series, attendees heard from specialists in online and off-line media and communications, and personal branding, as well as industry-based peers sharing tips on storytelling and putting your best foot forward...

master of ceremonies:

  • Ms Madeleine McManus - FIE Aust, CP Eng, Eng Exec. Director Industry Engagement Monash University, Past National Director & Chairman (Vic), Engineers Australia & Director Centre for Engineering Leadership and Management (CELM).


  • Ms Natalie CollardCorporate Affairs Manager, Victoria/Tasmania, Telstra.
  • Dr David FarmerPostdoctoral Research Officer, Neurophysiology Division, Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health.
  • Ms Michelle GallaherCo Founder / Creative Director, The Social Science.
  • Dr Suzanne Miller - ARC Future Fellow, Senior Scientist, The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash University.
  • Ms Dina PozzoFounder & Director, insium.
  • Mr Jack WaldenCEO, the c word.


Ms Madeleine McManus - FIE Aust, CP Eng, Eng Exec. Director Industry Engagement Monash University, Past National Director & Chairman (Vic), Engineers Australia & Director Centre for Engineering Leadership and Management (CELM)

As first female Chairman of Engineers Australia (EA) Victoria, Madeleine led the Division to become the largest in Australia with the most women, and was actively involved in the rebuild of the bushfire affected areas in 2009.

In 2011 she was appointed as a National Director of EA and more recently, she awarded Engineering Executive by her peers, becoming the highest-qualified female Engineer in Victoria.

Qualified in engineering & commerce, has worked extensively in management, consulting & delivering large-scale, global, multi-discipline projects in Australia and abroad. She has a portfolio career, holding multiple Board and Advisory roles including an appointment to the Victorian Minister of Innovation Panel to award Victorian Postdoctoral Research Fellowships.

She is passionate about making a difference, promoting STEM and encouraging a greater diversity within her profession.

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Ms Natalie Collard - Corporate Affairs Manager, Victoria/Tasmania, Telstra 

Prior to joining Telstra in April, as CEO of Australian Dairy Farmers Natalie delivered industry transformation around financial viability, governance reform, trade and sustainability. Previously, as a Director of Agsafe Ltd, Natalie drove environmental stewardship and training for the agriculture sector. 

Career highlights include receiving the Telstra Business Woman of the Year - Victoria 2013 (Community & Govt) award; managing an emergency post-9/11 arms control meeting of 32 countries; managing two $600 million corporate contracts; and delivering Australia’s first treaty with an organisation, NATO. 

She is an AICD Graduate, and holds a BA (Social Sciences) for which she was awarded membership of the Golden Key Honour Society.

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Dr David Farmer - Postdoctoral Research Officer, Neurophysiology Division, Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health 

David studied Pharmacology as an undergraduate and then a PhD student at the University of Glasgow and has research ties with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

He is a passionate public speaker and advocate for science, recently winning the Victorian heat and people’s choice award in ‘FameLab’, and he has been interviewed on ABC 774 and ABC 720. 

David is most knowledgeable about the brainstem, the area of the brain regulating things like heart rate and blood pressure and generating the rhythm of breathing. Scientists that study fancy things like consciousness would call this ‘housekeeping’ but David calls it ‘why you are not dead just now’.

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Ms Michelle Gallaher - Co Founder / Creative Director, The Social Science

Until recently, Michelle knew a little about everything and a lot about nothing, but always knew the right person in the life sciences sector to go to for an answer.  

She now works exclusively with the science and technology sector, promoting understanding of social media for collaboration, influence, information, leading opinion and simply getting ahead.  

Formerly CEO of BioMelbourne Network, she has held and continues to hold numerous leadership roles in Victoria’s science and medical research industry in universities, companies, and on government advisory committees. As co-founder of Women in Science Australia, Michelle champions gender equity and diversity. 

Her appearances include TEDx Melbourne, and she has a BASc (Orthoptics).

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Dr Suzanne Miller - ARC Future Fellow, Senior Scientist, The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash University

A fetal physiologist, Suzie has developed a comprehensive program of perinatal brain research, using established models of the principal causes of newborn brain injury.

Her group combines interrogation of basic cellular pathways activated within the immature brain in response to common pregnancy or birth complications, and clinical application of therapies. This approach has led to a world-first human clinical trial to examine antioxidant therapy to protect the developing brain in pregnancies compromised by fetal growth restriction and a trial to examine markers and protective strategies for birth asphyxia in a low-resource (rural India) birth setting.

Suzie has secured >$6 million in NMHRC grants and philanthropic or foundation grants.

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Ms Dina Pozzo - Founder & Director, insium

Dina is accustomed to responding to changing business environments demanding very swift and positive responses. 

Whether through workshops or coaching, Dina’s ultimate aim is to broaden minds and build skills, capability and confidence - empowering the individual to implement successful plans of action for sustainability and to have positive impact on organisational goals.

Dina is a keen advocate of appreciative inquiry and has a passion for positive, strengths-based approaches which result in transformational shifts for individuals, teams and organisations.

Dina has a BASc (Haematology), a Grad. Dip. of Business (Human Resource Development), and is studying for Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at Melbourne University.

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Mr Jack Walden - CEO, the c word

Jack is highly respected for his dedication and enthusiasm for client communications, turning ‘big pictures’ into simple steps delivering big results.

Taking a whole-of-business approach, he works closely with clients, including Obesity Australia, BirdLife Australia, and the Shared Value Project, to develop short- and long-term approaches.

Jack has held numerous marketing and public relations management roles with private, government and not-for-profit organisations, including the Victorian Department of Justice, Brisbane Grammar School, RMIT University and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

He has B.Bus (Marketing & Public Relations), is a former Victorian President of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), and was made a PRIA Fellow in 2014.

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