The Pathways to Politics Program for Women Joint Steering Committee is the principal management and governance committee of the program. The Committee comprises representatives from program partners as well as a program alum and a political advisor. The Committee provides advice on the long-term direction of the program and oversees all matters related to the strategy, management and administration of the program.
Carol Schwartz AO
Carol Schwartz is a strong advocate for women in leadership, with a passion for the arts, entrepreneurial businesses and social enterprises. Carol Schwartz AO is the Founding Chair of the Women's Leadership Institute Australia, Founding Chair of Our Community and Chair of the Trawalla Foundation. Other Board roles include Non-Executive Director Reserve Bank of Australia, Non-Executive Director Qualitas Property Partners, Non-Executive Director Equity Trustees and Director Skalata Ventures. She is also a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Women’s Leadership Board and the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership Advisory Board, Kings College.
Carol was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours for her distinguished service to the community as a supporter of women in leadership roles, to social justice advocacy and to business. She received the Centenary Medal in 2001 in recognition of her outstanding service as a leading business executive and committee participant.
Vice-President, Strategy and Culture
University of Melbourne
Dr Julie Wells
Julie is a member of University Executive and leads six broad Chancellery teams: Policy and Government Relations; University Governance; Strategy, Planning and Performance; Community and Cultural Partnerships; Marketing and Communications; and HR & OHS. Staff within Julie’s Strategy and Culture portfolio provide support to the program.
Julie works closely with the deans and other members of the University’s senior leadership team to develop and implement University strategy and associated initiatives.
Julie has extensive experience in the tertiary education sector as a senior administrator, lobbyist, adviser and policy expert. She has worked as a teacher and an academic, led policy, research and government relations in the National Office of the NTEU, and has enjoyed brief stints working in government as a policy analyst and ministerial adviser.
Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne and Director, Enterprise and Projects
University of Melbourne
Dr Nicholas Reece
Nicholas Reece is Principal Fellow with the Melbourne School of Government, and Director of Strategy, Enterprise and Projects in Chancellery at the University of Melbourne. Nick has considerable experience in policy making and politics in government having worked for Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Premiers Steve Bracks and John Brumby. Key roles during this period include Deputy Chief of Staff, Head of Policy, and Director of Strategy. He has also served as Secretary and Campaign Director of the ALP in Victoria.
Nick currently serves as a Deputy Lord Mayor for the City of Melbourne. Previously, Nick served as Councillor in 2016, where he was the Chair of the Planning portfolio and Deputy Chair of Major Projects. In his current role, he sits as representative on the the Committee for Melbourne, Inner Melbourne Action Plan Implementation (IMAP) Committee, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Advisory Board and Melbourne Art Trust.
Nick is a host and commentator on Sky News and is also a regular columnist with The Age, The Guardian and Herald Sun.
Nick is an original Mo Bro and director of the global men's health movement Movember which has raised over $1 billion for prostate cancer and men's suicide prevention. For over a decade Nick served as a director of the street newspaper The Big Issue, Australia's most successful social enterprise.
Member for Evelyn
Ms Bridget Vallence MP
Bridget Vallence was elected as a Member of the Victorian Parliament on 24 November 2018 to represent the Evelyn District, and upon being sworn in to Parliament was appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary and Shadow Assistant Minister for Industry.
In March 2020 Ms Vallence was promoted to the role of Shadow Minister for Environment & Climate Change and Shadow Minister for Youth on the Victorian Liberal Nationals front bench, portfolios that Ms Vallence believes are critical to our community and future prosperity.
Prior to entering Parliament, Ms Vallence worked for 16 years in the automotive industry as a procurement executive in both the manufacturing and retail sectors in Australian, Asian and global markets, and is also experienced with organisational change and business transformation projects.
Ms Vallence holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Melbourne. In 2016, Ms Vallence was an inaugural fellow of the Melbourne School of Government Pathway to Politics Program for Women.
Women's Leadership Institute Australia
Ms Ruby Schwartz
Ruby Schwartz is an audio producer, researcher and storyteller. She is currently a producer at 7am, a daily news podcast that tells the news through in-depth interviews and sharp analysis. Recently, she has reported on the bushfires, and the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. Before 7am, Ruby worked at Pineapple Street Media in New York, producing podcasts including Lena Dunham's The C-Word. Prior to that, she was a research assistant for the vice-chancellor at the University of Melbourne, where she also produced podcasts including The Policy Shop and The Masterclass. Ruby is a graduate of the Transom Story Workshop.
Ms Sarah Buckley
Sarah has over fifteen years’ leadership experience in sustainability, responsible business and philanthropy. Sarah is currently CEO of the Trawalla Foundation, the private foundation for entrepreneurial businesspeople Carol and Alan Schwartz. Sarah has played an integral role in the evolution of Pathways to Politics for Women, and is particularly focused on the alumni community and growth of Pathways to other Australian states.
The Trawalla Foundation works with exceptional individuals and organisations that have a vision for the future of Australia, and gender equity sits at the heart of this. The Foundation adopts a range of levers including funding partnerships, impact investments, and incubating innovative equity initiatives through the Foundation’s not-for-profit arm, the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia. Alongside the Trawalla Foundation, Sarah runs a consulting business enabling major organisations to strengthen their responsible business approaches.
University of Melbourne
Dr Meredith Martin
Dr Meredith Martin is the Program Director for the University of Melbourne Pathways to Politics Program for Women and worked closely with Carol Schwartz to establish the Program in 2016 and has played a leadership role in its national expansion. She is Chair of the University of Melbourne Selection Committee and oversees the Program’s management, providing strategic advice on its development on behalf of Chancellery at the University.
Meredith has held a number of academic and professional roles at the university and led a range of strategic partnerships and initiatives, including the establishment of the highly successful Media and Communications Program. She has presented and published widely on equity and access in the creative industries, and is Chair of the feminist, artist-led organisation Aphids, as well as a member of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria
- Dr Lisa Carson
University of Melbourne
Dr Lisa Carson
Dr Lisa Carson is Lecturer in Public Leadership & Diversity in the Melbourne School of Government and Academic Coordinator of the Pathway to Politics for Women at The University of Melbourne. Prior to joining the Melbourne Law School, Lisa was Principal Research & Policy Advisor at the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) where she remains a Senior Research Fellow. Lisa is also a Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group (PSRG) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra.
Lisa’s work across research, teaching and advocacy revolves around inequity and how to bring about and inspire social change. Her research focuses on foregrounding marginalised perspectives and connecting theory and practice and crosses boundaries of political science, feminist and gender studies, international relations, public administration and management, policy analysis, institutionalist theory, and sociology, among others. Her teaching revolves around instilling intellectual curiosity and inspiring change by translating complex ideas and practices for different audiences, creating safe learning spaces, advancing critical thinking skills, focusing on questions of ‘why does this matter’, and embedding reflection and lifelong learning. Her advocacy and activism focus on connecting local, national, and international levels for change most notably as the co-ordinator of the Young Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (YWILPF Australia) nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, and as a member of the Australian Civil Society on Women, Peace & Security.
Lisa holds a PhD and Masters in International Relations from The University of Melbourne, First Class Honours from RMIT, and a Bachelor of Arts in politics and psychology from the University of Melbourne. Lisa grew up on the lands of the Yorta Yorta people in regional Victoria and works on the lands of the Wurundjeri and Yuin people.
Melbourne School of Government
Associate Professor Tom Daly
Tom is Deputy Director of the University of Melbourne School of Government, Director of the global online research platform Democratic Decay & Renewal (DEM-DEC: www.democratic-decay.org), Co-Convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network (Melbourne), and Associate Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law.
As well as extensive experience in the university sector (at Melbourne, Edinburgh and Copenhagen universities), Tom has worked in a variety of roles in government and international organisations, including running the Office of the Chief Justice of Ireland for over 6 years and working on judicial education at the Judicial Studies Institute.
Tom’s research focuses on democratic governance, with a strong cross-disciplinary approach drawing mainly on public law and political science scholarship, and analysing connections between law and policy at the domestic, transnational, and international levels.