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WDSN Speed Mentoring Nov 2023

Women in Defence and Security Network Speed Mentoring

Speakers Dr Alex Caples, Justin Bassi, Bec Shrimpton, Natasha Kassam, Ms Gai Brodtmann, Julie Inman Grant, Jessica Hunter, H.E. Pernille Kardel, Sara Goldsworthy , Maree Roughton, Dr Lauren Bain, Fergus Hanson, Mikaela James and Michael Kovrig

ASPI’s Women in Defence and Security Network (WDSN) is delighted to invite you to join us on 30 November for our final speed mentoring event of the year.  

As one of WDSN’s flagship events, speed mentoring brings together a group of senior mentors with experience across defence, cyber, intelligence, foreign affairs and national security. Mentors have experience working in Parliament, the public service, industry and civil society, and they discuss their career experiences and lessons learned, as well as addressing specific questions from mentees.  

The event will begin with a brief panel session, followed by a structured mentoring session, where mentees rotate in small groups while meeting 5-6 mentors for discussions on career advice, including both experiences that have acted as catalysts for new opportunities and obstacles that have had to be overcome. Following the formal mentoring session, mentors and mentees are invited to continue networking informally at a reception where light refreshments will be provided.  

This event provides a unique opportunity for early to mid-career professionals working, or interested, in national security, defence and foreign affairs to meet senior women and men in leading roles in these fields and ask them career-focused questions, including different career pathways and choices they have made.  

Mentors include:  

  • Catherine Burn, Deputy-Director General Capability & Corporate Management, Australian Secret Intelligence Service 

  • Lynette Wood, First Assistant Secretary, QUAD, AUKUS and Naval Shipbuilding, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet 

  • Gai Brodtmann, Chair, ASPI Council  

  • Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner 

  • Fergus Hanson, Office of National Intelligence

  • Natasha Kassam, Senior Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong 

  • Jessica Hunter, First Assistant Director-General, Access and Effects Operations, Australian Signals Directorate  

  • Dr Lauren Bain, First Assistant Secretary, Office of Southeast Asia, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade  

  • Mikaela James, Assistant Director General, Australian Submarine Agency

  • Her Excellency Ms Pernille Dahler Kardel, Ambassador of Denmark 

  • Sara Goldsworthy, Head of National Security and Defence Public Policy, Australia & New Zealand, AWS 

  • Maree Roughton, Senior Client Executive- Defence, Microsoft  

  • Michael Kovrig, Senior Adviser, Asia, International Crisis Group

  • Justin Bassi, Executive Director, Australian Strategic Policy Institute  

  • Dr Alex Caples, Director, Cyber, Technology and Security, Australian Strategic Policy Institute 

  • Bec Shrimpton, Director, Defence Strategy and National Security, Australian Strategic Policy Institute  

Please note: Attendance at this event is in-person only, there is no virtual component. This is a ticketed event, and each ticket purchase includes the mentoring session, as well as refreshments during the event reception. Purchase your tickets now.  

ASPI is happy to provide a discount for students, please reach out to [email protected] with a copy of your student card to secure your ticket.  

<< Purchase tickets now >>


ASPI proudly supports and promotes the professional growth and advancement of women's careers and the WDSN seeks to build and enhance professional networks, and provide mentor opportunities and platforms to share lessons learned. 
Our goal is to help create and maintain a pipeline of diverse talent of people who work in, or have an interest in, sectors that are vital to Australia's national interests. 
At ASPI, we believe that the national security and foreign affairs policy community will be stronger if it is more diverse, and that the presence and seniority of women can be supported by dialogue and the sharing of experience through events such as this. 

Please note: While the WDSN is focused on supporting and promoting women in the defence, foreign policy and security communities, we welcome any individuals interested in participating in this event. 

If you have any enquiries, please contact [email protected] 


Dr Alex Caples

Dr Alex Caples is Director of The Sydney Dialogue, ASPI's annual summit for critical, emerging and cyber technologies.

Justin Bassi

Justin Bassi is the Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Bec Shrimpton

Bec is Director Defence Strategy and National Security at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, having previously been responsible for convening The Sydney Dialogue, Australia’s premier policy

Natasha Kassam

Natasha Kassam is Senior Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong.

Ms Gai Brodtmann

Gai Brodtmann was appointed Chair of ASPI Council in June 2023, after serving a term as a member from 2020.

Julie Inman Grant

Julie Inman Grant is Australia’s eSafety Commissioner.

Jessica Hunter

Jessica is currently the Head of the Access & Effects Division at the Australian Signals Directorate.

H.E. Pernille Kardel

Her Excellency Ms. Pernille Dahler Kardel has been the Danish ambassador to Australia and New Zealand since September 2020.

Sara Goldsworthy

Sara Goldsworthy is a senior public policy leader with a passion for tackling the big issues at the intersection of national security, technology, economics and international relations.

Maree Roughton

Maree Roughton is Defence Senior Strategic Client Executive at Microsoft.

Dr Lauren Bain

Dr Lauren Bain was appointed to the role of First Assistant Secretary, Southeast Asia Maritime Division, in March 2023.

Fergus Hanson

Fergus is the First Assistant Director General running the Cyber and Critical Technology Intelligence Centre at the Office of National Intelligence.

Mikaela James

Mikaela is an Assistant Director General in the Policy, Strategy and Engagement Division of the Australian Submarine Agency.

Michael Kovrig

Michael is a Senior Adivsor at the International Crisis Group.