Please enable javascript to access the full functionality of this site

WDSN Speed Mentoring 2023

Women in Defence and Security Network Speed Mentoring - SOLD OUT

Speakers Dr Alex Caples, Michelle Chan, Sarah Chidgey, Commander Katey D'Costa, CSM, RAN, H.E. Kersti Eesmaa , Rachael Falk, H.E. Pernille Kardel, Raelene Lockhorst, Kendra Morony, Jennifer Parker, H.E. Vicki Treadell, Commodore Letitia van Stralen AM, CSC, RAN, Air Commodore Ruth Elsley CSC, Lieutenant Colonel Krystal Wright, Krissy Barrett , Danielle Ireland-Piper, Sara Goldsworthy , Commander Penny Spies, Anna Oldmeadow, H.E. Betty B. Pavelich, Teresa Blair, Celia Perkins and Jo Tarnawsky

ASPI’s Women in Defence and Security Network (WDSN) is delighted to invite you to attend our next speed mentoring event. 

At this event, participants will have the opportunity to speak with a number of senior women working in foreign affairs, defence, national security and the intelligence community. These women, who have kindly agreed to give career and personal advice and talk about their own experiences, work across a broad range of topics in Parliament, the public service, industry and civil society. 

The event includes a structured mentoring session, where participants rotate in small groups speaking with a range of mentors. We provide guidelines to participants prior to the event on mentors and timings. 

Following the structured mentoring session, participants are invited to network during the event reception, where light refreshments will be provided.

Mentors include: 

  • Michelle Chan, Deputy Secretary, Southeast Asia and Global Partners Group, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • Celia Perkins, Deputy Secretary, Security and Estate, Department of Defence 
  • Sarah Chidgey, Deputy Secretary for the National Security and Criminal Justice Group, Attorney-General’s Department 
  • Jo Tarnawsky, Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Defence 
  • Rachael Falk, Chief Executive Officer, Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre
  • Commodore Letitia ('Tish') van Stralen, AM, CSC, RAN, Chief of Staff, Navy Headquarters
  • Air Commodore Ruth Elsley, CSC, Acting Commander of the Australian Defence College.
  • Teresa Blair, First Assistant Secretary Contestability, Department of Defence
  • Kendra Morony, First Assistant Secretary National Resilience Taskforce, Department of Home Affairs 
  • Dr Anna Oldmeadow, Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy), Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Penny Spies, Commander, Special Investigations, Australian Border Force
  • Her Excellency Ms Pernille Dahler Kardel, Ambassador of Denmark
  • Her Excellency Ms Kersti Eesmaa, Ambassador of Estonia
  • Her Excellency Ms Betty B. Pavelich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of The Republic of Croatia to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji
  • Her Excellency Ms Vicki Treadell CMG, MVO, British High Commissioner to Australia
  • Lieutenant Colonel Kristal Wright, Director Land Engagement and Communication, Defence  
  • Krissy Barrett, APM, Assistant Commissioner, Counter Terrorism & Special Investigations, AFP
  • Dr Danielle Ireland-Piper, Associate Professor,  ANU National Security College
  • Sara Goldsworthy, Head of National Security and Defence Public Policy, Australia & New Zealand, AWS
  • Penny Spies, Commander, Special Investigations Branch, Australian Border Force
  • Commander Katey D'Costa, Deputy Director, Information Warfare Workforce Development, Future Navy Workforce, Defence
  • Shelby Higgs, Key Account Manager to Home Affairs & Intelligence, Thales
  • Dr Alex Caples, Director, Cyber, Technology Security, ASPI 
  • Raelene Lockhorst, Deputy Director - Professional Development Centre, ASPI 
  • Jennifer Parker, Deputy Director Defence, ASPI


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]

This event is now sold out. 


Dr Alex Caples

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

Michelle Chan

Michelle Chan is the Deputy Secretary, Southeast Asia and Global Partners Group, in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Sarah Chidgey

Sarah Chidgey is Deputy Secretary for the National Security and Criminal Justice Group in the Attorney-General's Department.

Commander Katey D'Costa, CSM, RAN

Commander Katey D’Costa is Deputy Director Information Warfare Workforce Development within Future Navy Workforce.

H.E. Kersti Eesmaa

Her Excellency Ms Kersti Eesmaa is the Ambassador for the Republic of Estonia in Canberra.

Rachael Falk

Rachael Falk is one of Australia’s leading cyber security experts.

H.E. Pernille Kardel

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

Raelene Lockhorst

Raelene Lockhorst is the Deputy Director of the Professional Development Centre.

Kendra Morony

Kendra Morony is currently Head of Secretariat for the 2024 Independent Intelligence Review, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Jennifer Parker

Jennifer Parker was the Deputy Director Defence of ASPI’s Defence, Strategy and National Security program.

H.E. Vicki Treadell

Her Excellency Vicki Treadell CMG, MVO took up her appointment as British High Commissioner to Australia on 13 March 2019.

Commodore Letitia van Stralen AM, CSC, RAN

CDRE Letitia (‘Tish’) van Stralen, CSC, RAN is Chief of Staff, Navy Headquarters. 

Air Commodore Ruth Elsley CSC

Air Commodore Elsley joined the Air Force in July 1994 as a direct entry officer after having completed a Bachelor of Science at the University of Adelaide.

Lieutenant Colonel Krystal Wright

Lieutenant Colonel Wright currently serves as the Director of Land Engagements and Communications within Army Headquarters.

Krissy Barrett

Krissy Barrett, APM is the Assistant Commissioner (AC) of Counter Terrorism & Special Investigations (CTSI) for the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Danielle Ireland-Piper

Dr. Danielle Ireland-Piper is Associate Professor at the ANU National Security College.

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.

Commander Penny Spies

Penny Spies is the Commander of Special Investigations Branch in the Australian Border Force (ABF).  

Anna Oldmeadow

Dr Anna Oldmeadow is Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy) to Senator the Honourable Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs. 

H.E. Betty B. Pavelich

Her Excellency Ms Betty Pavelich assumed her duties as Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to Australia and New Zealand in November 2018.

Teresa Blair

Teresa Blair is First Assistant Secretary Contestability Division at the Department of Defence, a role she was appointed to in 2022.

Celia Perkins

Ms. Celia Perkins is Deputy Secretary, Estate and Infrastructure Group, Department of Defence.

Jo Tarnawsky

Ms Jo Tarnawsky is the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence.