Women in A/AA Melbourne Summit 2022

Wed 12 Oct 2022 (9:00am - 5:00pm)
RACV City Club
501 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD VIC 3000
Member $525.00
Table 8 Member (8 tickets) $3,850.00
Non-member $625.00
Table 8 non-member (8 tickets) $4,750.00
Student $250.00

Women in A/AA Melbourne Summit 2022

Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia Melbourne Summit

This year’s Women in Aviation/Aerospace Summits will reflect on the International Women’s Day theme #BreaktheBias.

#BreaktheBias raises valuable discussions across Australia and around the world. ‘Breaking the bias’ represents a huge spectrum of issues and challenges faced by individuals and organisations in the Australian Aviation, Aerospace, and Space sectors

This Summit, Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia will bring together leaders and change-makers across the sectors to discuss the topics raised across the country. 

Join us for a full day of invaluable insight and engaging discussions from some of Australia’s pioneering speakers and leaders at the RACV City Club.



/ Lorie Argus | Chief Executive Officer at Melbourne Airport


/ Stuart Aggs | Chief Operations Officer at Virgin Australia


/ Davida Forshaw | Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia National Committee Member


/ Michael Edwards | Director Boeing Research & Technology - Asia Pacific

/ Professor Karen Hapgood | Deputy Vice Chancellor Research at Swinburne University of Technology

/ Mark Hilton | Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Thales Australia


/ Ruth Kim | Director of Manufacturing and Supply Chain at Boeing Aerostructures Australia


/ Sanne van Dooren | President at Swinburne Aviation Society at Swinburne University of Technology

/ Karina Finlayson | President of Monash Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Club at Monash University

/ Dr Katherine Grigoriou | Aerospace Engineering and Aviation, School of Engineering at RMIT Unviersity


/ Tammi Graham | Human Factors Specialist at PlanSafe

/ Anthea Mills | Head of Engineering - People Development at BAE Systems Australia

/ Eleni Sarris | Director Operations Aerodrome Services at Airservices Australia

/ Isabelle Yao-Leclerc | Senior Project Manager at Thales Australia


/ Elisabeth Mitchell | Registered Architect and Associate at Architectus


/ Sarah McSwiney | Chair at Aviation/Aerospace Australia, and Strategy and Operations Manager, Office of the Chief Engineer at Boeing Defence Australia


/ Renee Wootton | Group Manager, First Nations Engagement at Qantas



/ Stuart Aggs | Chief Operations Officer at Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia Group, Chief Operations Officer, Stuart Aggs oversees the Operational Divisions including, Flight Operations, Customer Service Delivery, Engineering and Aircraft Servicing, Technical Operations, Safety Systems and Operations Support, Security, Workforce Planning and the Integrated Operations Centre.  

Stuart joined the airline in May 2004 and has held several senior management positions within the Group including General Manager Safety Systems. After a move to Director Group Flight Operations in June 2016, Stuart was appointed to his current role in June 2019.  

Stuart is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and holds a Master of Science (UNSW) in Aviation and a Bachelor of Arts (UNE).

/ Lorie Argus | Chief Executive Officer at Melbourne Airport

Lorie Argus was appointed CEO of Melbourne Airport on July 1, 2022 after seven years as Chief of Aviation and Chief of Landslide Access, Utilities and Facilities. With more than 30 years' experience in aviation, she brings a "passenger first" focus to her role.

Lorie started her career in Canada before relocating to Australia and joining Virgin Australia. In her ten years at the airline, she was appointed Manager of International Airport Operations and General Manager of Ground Operations. In 2017 Lorie graduated with an Executive MBA from Bond University including a Dean's award and high distinction. Lorie is an active member of the Australian Institute of Directors and became a Graduate of AICD (GAICD) in 2019. Lorie is also a Non-Executive Director of the Australian Airports Association.

/ Sanne van Dooren | President at Swinburne Aviation Society at Swinburne University of Technology

Sanne is an Aviation Management and Business student who is currently in their final year of their undergraduate studies at Swinburne University of Technology.

She is also the president of Swinburne Aviation Society, a student run club dedicated to running aviation events such as site tours and networking nights. Since commencing her studies and gaining part time employment in passenger services with Jetstar she has become even more fascinated with the industry and more eager to graduate.

Upon graduating she hopes to work in airport operations and airport management however eventually progress to an executive role for an airline.

/ Michael Edwards | Director Boeing Research & Technology - Asia Pacific

Michael Edwards is the Director of Boeing Research & Technology – Asia Pacific and carries executive responsibility for the delivery of Boeing’s research portfolio in the region.  He oversees a highly collaborative research program across the region focussed on the growth and prosperity of the Boeing enterprise globally.  BR&T – APAC is the largest combined research presence for Boeing outside of the US and works with the best aerospace research institutions around the region to deliver advanced technologies into new or enhanced Boeing products and services.

Prior to joining Boeing in 2011 Michael worked with the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation for 11 years, including an overseas posting as Senior Technical Advisor to Boeing based in Seattle from 2005 – 2008. Prior to CSIRO he worked for some 15 years in the plastics, chemicals and petrochemicals industries in Australia.  Michael is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology & Engineering (ATSE).

/ Davida Forshaw | Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia National Committee Member

As the Director of Education for the International Society of Women Airline Pilots and the National Committee Member for Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia Davida is a passionate advocate for the advancement of young women into STEM, where female membership is in ever-greater need of encouragement and development. Having embarked on her flying career in 1979, at a time before there were any female airline pilots in Australia, Davida finally achieved her dream of becoming an international airline pilot in 1999. Since then, Davida has flown the Boeing 747 Jumbo, Boeing 737, Airbus A330 and the state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This role has taken her across the globe to experience the rich cultural diversity that our world has to offer.

Davida is also a part of the leadership team at Piloting Mindset, a consulting firm specialising at the intersection of strategy, culture, and learning technology. Here, she leads the “JEDI” team, focusing on justice, diversity, equity and inclusion in the modern business context. She is a proud Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, also holding degrees in Commercial Design and Financial Planning, and in the spirit of lifelong learning, Davida is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Liberal Arts at Harvard University. In her leisure time Davida also enjoys being a cool grandmother, having travel adventures with her family and hanging out on the couch with her two cats, Alpha and Beta.

/ Karina Finlayson | President of Monash Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Club at Monash University

Karina Finlayson is a fourth year Aerospace Engineering and Science student, and the President of the Monash Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Club for 2021 and 2022.

Within this role, they have worked to develop strong connections with industry, running 3 industry nights with over 150 students in attendance at each. Karina is passionate about diversity in Aerospace Engineering, advocating for women and non-binary students in the field in addition to promoting the Aerospace degree to the next generation.

/ Tammi Graham | Human Factors Specialist at PlanSafe

Tammi is a Human Factors Specialist for Plan Safe, with over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry as a commercial Airline pilot and Captain for a European carrier. She has a Psychology background with a BSc in Psychology and recently completed an MSc in Organisational Psychology in the UK before moving to Australia with her family last year.

As part of her MSc, she researched the challenges of women entering and progressing in the airline industry. She interviewed female airline pilots to gain insight into their experiences and continued underrepresentation in the industry. The project studied issues surrounding role congruity theory, invisibility of women and inclusivity.

Tammi is passionate about creating inclusion within the Aviation and Aerospace industry.

/ Dr Katherine Grigoriou | Aerospace Engineering and Aviation, School of Engineering at RMIT Unviersity

Dr. Katherine Grigoriou us a Research Fellow at RMIT University with 9 years research experience in Composite Materials and Aircraft Structures. Currently, Katherine is a Lead Researcher in the collaborative research project between RMIT and Defence Science and Technology, investigating the damage tolerance of composites used in aircraft.

Katherine also lectures into the Aviation and Aerospace Engineering programs at RMIT University. Katheirne is devoted to advocating for young female students to pursue a career n Aviation and Aerospace Engineering, regularly attending secondary colleges and events to promote STEM careers. 

/ Professor Karen Hapgood | Deputy Vice Chancellor Research at Swinburne University of Technology

Professor Karen Hapgood is an experienced executive leader, with an engineering and STEM background as well as 15 years of leadership experience in the higher education sector.  

Prior to joining Swinburne, Karen was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science Engineering and Built Environment at Deakin University.

Karen is a renowned researcher in the fields of chemical engineering and pharmaceutical manufacturing, a Fellow of ATSE and passionate about diversity and inclusion, especially for women in STEM in Australia.

/ Ruth Kim | Director of Operations at Boeing Aerostructures Australia

Born and raised in the USA, Ruth moved to Australia in early 2022 for her most recent role at Boeing as Director of Manufacturing & Supply Chain at the Fishermans Bend advanced manufacturing site. Ruth has been with Boeing since 2009 in a variety of senior leadership roles covering supply chain, operations and strategic planning, across seven different cities in two different countries.

Ruth was formally recognised in Boeing’s Inspiring Women National program in March 2016 and championed Boeing’s Women in Leadership program in Utah’s commercial aircraft manufacturing site. Ruth has a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri.

/ Sarah McSwiney | Chair at Aviation/Aerospace Australia, and Strategy and Operations Manager, Office of the Chief Engineer at Boeing Defence Australia

Sarah McSwiney is the Senior Manager of Strategy and Operations for the Office of the Chief Engineer at Boeing Defence Australia. Prior to this Sarah held various engineering and management roles for the past 16 years at Boeing, most recently as the Composites Technology Manager at Boeing Research and Technology Australia, leading a team in Resin Infusion material and process development and helping guide the Enterprise Resin Infusion Roadmap. Sarah previously led the liaison engineering team across all programs at Boeing Aerostructures Australia, and prior to that she worked as a design engineer and an liaison Engineer both in Melbourne and Seattle. 

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company directors, Sarah is also the Deputy Chair of Kilvington Grammar and is on the industry advisory boards for Aerospace Engineering at both Monash and RMIT Universities. Sarah holds an Executive MBA from Monash University and a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering (Hons) from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. 

Sarah is passionate about gender equality and encouraging more young women into the fabulous Australian Aviation and Aerospace industry.

/ Anthea Mills | Head of Engineering - People Development at BAE Systems Australia

As the Head of Engineering – People Development, Anthea Mills is a member of the BAE Systems Engineering Lead Team.  Her team supports the business to grow long term engineering capability through STEM outreach, strategic resourcing, talent management and technical training.

Anthea gained a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) from the University of Melbourne, and more recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from Swinburne University.  Anthea has worked in Defence Industry for more than 20 years, with a background in aircraft structural integrity and technical airworthiness.  Anthea’s passion is building diverse teams to maximise competitive advantage.

/ Elisabeth Mitchell | Registered Architect and Associate at Architectus

Elisabeth Mitchell is a Registered Architect and Associate at Architectus, a national award-winning architecture and design studio. She has worked with airports across Australia coordinating the design and delivery of technically challenging, large, and complex aviation architecture projects.

Elisabeth is currently leading the design and coordination of Melbourne Airport’s T2 North Infill Security Expansion. This large expansion project will deliver the required baggage infrastructure to meet new regulations and future passenger forecasts.

/ Eleni Sarris | Director Operations Aerodrome Services at Airservices Australia

As Director Operations Airservices Australia, Eleni is responsible for the leadership, management, administration and operational efficiency of 13 Aerodrome Tower locations supporting Air Traffic Management services - connecting people with their world safely.  She is currently acting Head of Procurement and Commercial Services. Eleni brings over 25 years of senior executive experience in the aviation industry with a focus on people leadership, service excellence and commercial acumen.

Before joining Airservices, Eleni held several senior leadership roles at Qantas Airways, Sydney Opera House, British Airways and Ansett Australia. Through her active involvement, along with a passion for mentoring and promoting women in aviation, Eleni initiated the [email protected] employee network and is the Committee Chair.

/ Renee Wootton | Group Manager, First Nations Engagement at Qantas

Renee Wootton, Group Manager First Nations Engagement, is responsible for leading the Qantas Group First Nations engagement strategy focused on attraction, engagement and development of First Nations employees, as well as partnering closely with our Reconciliation and Partnerships Team. 

Renee is a proud Indigenous woman from Tharawal Country and is well known to the Aviation Industry, with 10+ years experience across the aviation sector, most recently with Western Sydney Airport as their Strategy and Planning Manager. 

Renee holds a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, along with significant strategy, commercial and program management experience and is an advocate for improving female and First Nations representation across the Australian Aviation Industry and particularly STEM related disciplines in her role as a professional speaker. 

More speakers to be announced soon. 

COVIDSafe Events
Thank you for your consideration and understand of the points below, to ensure all guests comfort; 

  • If you feel unwell do not attend the event and advise A/AA as soon as possible 
  • Be aware of social distancing 
  • Sanitise regularly 
  • Check in with the venue QR code as required
  • Mask according to Government regulations and/or venue policy 
  • Full refunds will be made if you are unable to attend the event due to illness


Aviation/Aerospace Australia

1300 889 459
[email protected]