Ask about Dr Kirstin Ferguson
Key Points
  • Dr Kirstin Ferguson is the only Australian named one of the world’s 30 “Thinkers to Watch” by UK-based Thinkers50.
  • 30-year executive career as company director, CEO, senior executive and Air Force officer.
  • Award-winning PhD in leadership and culture.
  • Appointed by the Prime Minister to be Acting Chair and Deputy Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • Writes the weekly column Got A Minute? for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on leadership and work.
  • Created the viral, Walkley Award nominated social media campaign #CelebratingWomen and co-authored the award-winning book, Women Kind.
Topics
  • Head and heart: The art of modern leadership
    In this keynote address, Kirstin utilises personal stories, the latest research and highly practical advice to provide audiences with an inspiring and entertaining call to action for audiences to think about their own personal leadership and to becoming modern leaders – regardless of their formal position – who lead from both the head and the heart.

    Kirstin believes that while curiosity, analysis, strategy and technical expertise will always be important; humility, insight, courage and empathy is just as vital.

    Leading with the head and the heart is the art of modern leadership and is an ethos Kirstin embodies, and inspires others to live by, every day.

    Key takeaways from this session include practical advice to help audiences:
    • Understand what applying emotional intelligence, or leading with the heart, looks like as for modern leader;
    • Inspire leaders to consider the legacy they leave as a leader and to understand the impact their actions are already having on others;
    • Explain how to develop a leadership style which encourages people to feel able to speak up in the workplace;
    • Reflect on the choices made during their own career to understand how those choices have shaped the leader they are today; and
    • Be entertained, inspired and moved by stories that will resonate with a wide range of audience members.

Kirstin’s second book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership will be published by Penguin Random House.

A typical session will see Kirstin speak for 30 mins followed by a 25 min ‘fireside chat’ including Q&A. These timings can be varied as required.

  • Trust and purpose for modern leaders
    In this keynote address, Kirstin inspires audiences to think about the role they play as leaders - regardless of their level in an organisation - in leading a purpose led organisation through ethical leadership.

    Focusing on the skills of emotional intelligence, Kirstin uses case studies, current research and personal examples to provide audiences with ways that leaders can lead with purpose, build and maintain trust and lead in a way that ensures all members of their team are motivated to speak up.

    Key takeaways from this session include practical advice to help audiences:
    • Understand what emotional intelligence looks like for leaders in the workplace;
    • Consider the lessons of recent corporate failures and the loss of trust by leaders to understand how to recognise those signs and prevent it in your own corporate culture;
    • Understand how to lead a purpose led organisation through the traits of ethical leadership;
    • Understand the benefits for corporate culture when leaders are able to build trust and encourage an environment where people feel able to speak up; and
    • Consider ways in which leading purpose is especially important when leading multi-generational teams.

A typical session will see Kirstin speak for 30 mins followed by a 25 min ‘fireside chat’ including Q&A. These timings can be varied as required.

  • Diversity and inclusion for modern leaders
    Kirstin is has been formally recognised for her excellence in women’s leadership, is the author of Women Kind and she is a self-described ‘Accidental Activist’ after she created the widely acclaimed #CelebratingWomen campaign. Kirstin is a senior leader who can bring an incredibly unique, personal experience to any discussion of diversity and inclusion.

    Drawing on her own personal experiences as a leader in gender equality as well what she learnt as the creator of the widely acclaimed #CelebratingWomen campaign, Kirstin will inspire audiences to think about the practical ways they can help drive diversity and inclusion through amplifying role models.

    Through using personal stories, case studies and the latest research, Kirstin engages and encourages audience members of men and women to consider the role they can play in creating an inclusive workforce and why this is so important for modern leaders of purpose led organisations.

    Key takeaways from this session include practical advice to help audiences:
    • Understand why inclusion must be the strategy for diversity initiatives to work;
      Inspire audiences to consider the variety of diverse role models we have around us and why amplifying their stories enhances our workplaces;
    • Consider why diverse workplaces are so important for organisations and why all leaders have a role to play;
    • Understand what emotional intelligence looks like for leaders in the workplace and why this is relevant for helping drive diversity and inclusion; and
    • Consider the ways in which developing a diverse workplace can also help enhance trust.

A typical session will see Kirstin speak for 30 mins followed by a 25 min ‘fireside chat’ including Q&A. These timings can be varied as required.

  • Lessons of leadership: From the parade ground to the boardroom
    Dr Ferguson was one of only a small percentage of women who went through the Australian Defence Force Academy in the early 1990s, a period which has come under broad criticism for its treatment of female cadets at the time. Yet Dr Ferguson was able to succeed in that challenging environment and went on to be awarded the highest prize on graduation of her Air Force class before serving as an Officer in the Air Force at an F-111 Squadron.

    In this presentation, Dr Ferguson draws on her experience in those early years in the military to discuss how it can be applied in a corporate context. Dr Ferguson is uniquely positioned as one of only a handful of senior Australian business leaders who started their careers in the military and have gone on to have highly successful careers in the corporate world.

    In this presentation, Dr Ferguson shows how she has spent her career leading with the head and the heart and the leadership lessons she has learnt along the way. Dr Ferguson inspires those in the audience to consider how they might look back on the advice they would have given themselves at the start of their careers and prompts them to think about the advice they hope to have listened to from themselves in the future.

    Through using personal stories, case studies and the latest research, Kirstin engages and encourages audience members of men and women to consider the role they can play in creating an inclusive workforce and why this is so important for modern leaders of purpose led organisations.

    Key takeaways from this session include practical advice to help audiences:
    • Understand what applying emotional intelligence, or leading with the heart, looks like as for modern leader;Inspire leaders to think about their own leadership legacy;
    • Reflect on the choices made during their own career to understand how those choices have shaped the leader they are today; and
    • Be entertained, inspired, and moved by stories that will resonate with a wide range of audience members.

A typical session will see Kirstin speak for 30 mins followed by a 25 min ‘fireside chat’ including Q&A. These timings can be varied as required.

  • Master of Ceremonies
    Kirstin has established herself as a respected and engaging MC of multi-day industry conferences, gala dinners and other corporate events. Kirstin hosts her events with warmth, humour and professionalism and is able to keep audiences highly engaged whether they comprise more than 1000 people or are much smaller gatherings.

    As an avid user of social media, Kirstin works hard to ensure event hashtags are effectively used by audiences where this is to the client. Kirstin finds she is generally able to encourage even usually reserved crowds to start tweeting, taking selfies and posting about the event. On more than a few occasions Kirstin's enthusiasm for audiences to use social media has seen the event trending (and fortunately for all the right reasons!).

    As an engaging keynote speaker herself, Kirstin is often invited by clients to provide a brief keynote during proceedings she MCs or to provide commentary between speakers to help audience members link back to the themes of the event. Kirstin also always ensures the event follows closely to time.

    Kirstin has been engaged by clients to MC events over multiple days at international industry conferences as well as facilitate and MC much smaller, more intimate corporate events such as a corporate lunch.
Testimonials

So inspiring, fantastic session and amazing speaker, the imagery of the ladder v's the fishing net, will stay with me forever!
So prepared, so professional, so eloquent, so grounding!
AMAZING session!! Dr Kristen Ferguson was impressive speaker as an ambassador for gender equality.
what a great event - so on point.
What a great speaker – I have my new action list inspired by the guest speaker.
Kirstin was fantastic and her story was truly inspiring.
Wow what an uplifting discussion really enjoyed hearing Kirstin Fergusons story. Thank you.
Bristol Myers Squibb event

Thank you Kirstin - your authenticity and powerful storytelling made the perfect case for cultivating a feedback culture. Loved the reactions to “can I give you some feedback?” Spot on and very funny! I’d highly recommend you to any Australian organisation
BDO Australia

Dr Kirstin Ferguson has emerged into the speaking circuit as one of our nation’s most engaging and inspiring speakers. When Dr Ferguson addresses a room, her energy and passionate commitment to the cause of diversity and inclusiveness is infectious. People really listen and believe every word she says. Her approach is endearing, her connection to people is truly authentic and her leadership is undeniable. Like the most inspiring speakers and leaders, you will hang on every word she says and never forget how great she makes you feel.
DibbsBaker

Last night, I attended the ceremony where you delivered the key note address. I wanted to reach out and say how much I enjoyed your speech – in particular your sense of humour and humility when talking about the "sliding doors" moments that led you to where you are today. Thank you for generously sharing your story.
QUT Law Faculty

Excellent – loved her! So interesting and engaging. Very influential, loved her attitude and drive.
Women in Leadership Summit

Great speaker, very motivating. Little treasures throughout! Inspiring speaker, down to earth and approachable. Really enjoyed Kirstin’s presentation, lots of valuable tips.
Women in Leadership Summit

Good talk last night at WLAQ. The woman right next to me was quite affected by it, and from chatting with her later, she clearly took a great deal of heart from your message. For me, nice to hear a bit less of the 'pledge for parity', and a bit more of the ' I just went and did it' stuff.
Women Lawyers Association of Queensland

Thanks for the opportunity to share your leadership journey. Exceeded my expectations. Humble, engaging & honest. Impressive, frank & challenging. A gift of your time in a time of reflection.
QUT School of Management

Thanks so much for today. The women absolutely loved you!!
Australian Industry Group

I've just landed back in Sydney and still feel inspired by our lunch - thanks so much for your wonderful insights and refreshing candour, it set the scene for an open, engaged gathering where people shared and learnt from each other - that's a special kind of magic!
Australian Industry Group

Hi Kirstin, it was very helpful to hear you speak tonight - especially re your decision to move away from the law & pursue a different path. Thank you so much for sharing your honest & frank insights. They are very much appreciated.
QUT Faculty of Law

There are speakers who capture attention more than others. On the first day this speaker, for me, was Dr Kirstin Ferguson.
New Zealand Institute of Safety Management
Safeguard New Zealand Conference

I attended your presentation this morning at the Governance Institute. Just a quick note to say that I found your presentation very professional and informative.
Governance Institute of Australia

Kirstin did a great job. Good, simple tips that can be used with Boards or Executive Teams.
Campbell Institute Symposium, New Orleans

Just giving quick feedback on Kirstin’s presentation at the recent Safeguard Health and Safety Conference. I felt that out of all the presenters that she was by far the best in regard content, presentation and relevance to business. It is very pleasing to here that in her role as a Company Director that health and safety sits at the top of the agenda.
Safeguard New Zealand Conference

I attended the Institute of Directors conference in Auckland and particularly enjoyed your presentation. I would like to thank you for your presentation and the practical aspects you brought to it. Much of the discussion is about the need for better H & S laws and processes but not much practical advice seems to be forthcoming.
Institute of Directors, New Zealand

Thank you for taking the time to speak at the 2017 Campbell Institute Symposium. It was great opportunity to hear about engaging Board of Directors with environment, health and safety. I look forward to identifying opportunities to make our world safer with you in the future.
Campbell Institute Symposium, New Orleans
Office of the President, National Safety Council USA

Just wanted to say a personal thank you to you for your presentation. You have inspired me greatly to keep working on the challenges that I currently face in getting my Board and also the executive members actively involved in leading the way in health and safety and its journey. Keep up the amazing work you do spreading the word and the way in which you inspire leadership teams to take health and safety as seriously as they do other aspects of running successful & safe businesses.
Safeguard New Zealand Conference

Thank you for your presentation today. I found it interesting and thought provoking. The contrast of your examples got me thinking about the underlying premise of we believe we should invest heavily in seeking to have safer workplaces. I'm sure I'll ponder that all weekend and I wouldn't have started think about that issue, were it not for your presentation. You've had an impact. You've also given me a greater understanding of what an "integrated" (if I can use your word) business looks. All up well worth attending and you are an enjoyable presenter to listen to.
Women in Safety

Thanks for doing a spectacular job as MC for the lunch.
Founder
Aim for the Stars Foundation

I really enjoyed listening to your journey. I loved your “can do” attitude too. You spoke to each and very one of us at the luncheon and that was what made it so special. Keep up the wonderful work you are doing.
Women's Network Australia

Your story behind the celebrate women campaign was inspiring and your anecdotes highlighting the difference between inclusion and diversity really resonated with me. You are an absolute star!
DibbsBaker

Dr Ferguson was the keynote speaker for the annual Hunter Defence Conference Gala Dinner in 2017. Every piece of the experience was nothing short of exceptional! Dr Ferguson expertly customised her speech for the relatively diverse audience using humour and humility to inspire and entertain. The feedback received from the conference survey shows that all delegates thought equally as highly of Kirstin's keynote. I could not provide a higher recommendation for Kirstin.
HunterNet Defence

It was tremendous yesterday listening to Dr Kirstin Ferguson at the lexvoco legal ops masterclass. A very down to earth, authentic person with an extraordinary resume and story.
Lexvoco

Before more time passes, I wanted to thank you for squeezing into your today’s event. You are clearly a 'winner'. You come out first in whatever you decide to do, whether it's the Air Force, studying law or as a board director. I and the audience appreciated your candour, practical mind-set and simple 'smarts'. Your journey to successful leadership is clearly unique -- can't wait to see what you decide to do next. Thank you for the gift of your time and wisdom garnered over the years.
Legacies of Women

It was my great honour to host Dr Kirstin Ferguson on behalf of the EML Group today and learn, cheer and lean into her experience of authenticity, intellect, emotional intelligence and instinct in leadership. We have all benefited from her global movement of #CelebratingWomen and today from her generosity.
CEO
EMLife