Women in Economics Virtual Retreat 2020

The Women in Economics Network, part of the Economic Society of Australia, hosted the 2020 Women in Economics Retreat as a series of virtual webinars from 16-20 November 2020.

The ‘Virtual Retreat’ provided an opportunity for around 30-40 junior and mid career women economists to develop their networks, receive mentoring and strengthen their leadership and career decision making. Participants were drawn from academia, government and the private sector.

The 2020 virtual Retreat was held over 5 sessions, from 3:30-5pm AEDT daily in the week of 16-20 November 2020. Zoom was used for the sessions.

The retreat focused on dealing with career challenges against the backdrop of the covid pandemic. Participants discussed and received advice on:

  • Building and maintaining career momentum
  • Developing networks
  • Making career decisions under uncertainty
  • Resilience and confidence.

The virtual Retreat involved group discussions, small group mentoring sessions with senior women economists and external speakers. The program is outlined below.

Participants were asked to come to the virtual Retreat with a career objective or challenge that they could work through during the mentoring sessions. Opportunities were provided for networking over the course of the virtual Retreat.

The senior mentors, external presenters and Retreat facilitators are listed below.


Monday, 16 November 2020, 3:30-5:00 pmAEDT: Welcome and introductions, and a panel Q&A session with the Retreat mentors.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020, 3:30-5:00 pm AEDT: Small group mentoring session: Career and leadership.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020, 3:30-5:00 pm AEDT: Influence with Impact, presented by Sophie Hampel.

Thursday, 19 November 2020, 3:30-5:00 pm AEDT: Small group mentoring session: Participants’ career objective or challenges.

Friday, 20 November 2020, 3:30-5:00 pm AEDT: I Was From Mars, Now I'm From Venus! A Women’s Guide To Personal Development, presented by JJ Ferrari, and Retreat Close.

Applicants were junior and mid career women (2-15 years’ experience) looking to advance their career in the economics profession.

With thanks to our sponsors


Natasha Cassidy, RBA

Natasha Cassidy is currently acting as Deputy Head of the Economic Analysis Department of the Reserve Bank of Australia. Between 2016-2020 she was head of the team responsible for the forecasting and analysis of prices, wages and the labour market. 


Lata Gangadharan, Monash University

Lata Gangadharan is a Professor of Economics and Joe Isaac Chair of Business and Economics at Monash University. She is an experimental and behavioural economist. A key focus of her research has been on developing novel experimental methods to study economic and social institutions. 


Luise McCulloch, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Luise McCulloch is a Deputy Secretary with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources where her responsibilities include strategic policy for the portfolio, business analysis and insights and corporate and digital functions.


Cherelle Murphy, ANZ

Cherelle Murphy is a member of ANZ’s Research team. She analyses and forecasts the Australian economy and provides regular updates and insights on topics that are front of mind for ANZ’s clients.


Su-Lin Ong, RBC Capital Markets

Su-Lin Ong is a Managing Director of RBC Capital Markets, Chief Economist & Senior Relationship Manager. She has led the Economics & Fixed Income Strategy team for AU/NZ since 2010 and was Head of AU Research, including oversight for equity research, from 2015 to 2019. In August 2019, she began a newly created role to help foster senior relationships with RBC’s key clients.


Stefanie Schurer, University of Sydney

Stefanie Schurer is a Professor of Economics in the School of Economics at the University of Sydney. She also leads the Economics of Human Development research node at the Charles Perkins Centre. She is an internationally recognised expert in the field of the Economics of Human Development.


Sophie Hampel (external presenter)

Presenting: Influence with Impact

Sophie Hampel is the CEO and Co-Founder of Inking, an organisation that creates brave leaders and courageous cultures. Sophie and her team partner with leaders and organisations in the UK, Australia and Asia, like Vodafone, Atlassian and the NHS to drive 21st century leadership, with a focus on courage, connection, purpose and empowerment.


JJ Ferrari (external presenter)

Presenting: I Was From Mars, Now I'm From Venus! A Women’s Guide To Personal Development

JJ Ferrari is a confident, fun loving and genuine human spirit. She is known to many as “The Transition Specialist”. Why you might ask? Well, 19.7 percent of it has to do with the fact that she has in fact transitioned her gender from male to female only a few short years ago. The remaining 80.3 percent has everything to do with her professional achievements. On both sides of her transition JJ has coached executives of major corporations to higher levels of performance. She has consulted and trained more than 1800 businesses in over 150 industries to solve seemingly impossible challenges and create new growth. She has treated audiences to her humour, stories and strategies that over the years have changed countless number of minds, lives and outcomes.


Catie Bradbear, Productivity Commission (Facilitator)

Catie Bradbear is an inquiry manager at the Productivity Commission, the Australian Government’s independent economic research and advice agency.


Sarah Close, PwC (Facilitator)

Sarah Close is a Partner in PwC's Infrastructure Strategy Team. She has spent 15 years specialising in the feasibility studies and economic analysis of major city shaping infrastructure across Australia. As a Committee Member for the Economics Society of Australia's NSW Women in Economics Network, Sarah is also passionate about encouraging gender diversity in economics.


Maneka Jayasinghe, Charles Darwin University (Facilitator)

Dr. Maneka Jayasinghe is a lecturer in Economics at Charles Darwin University and has previously worked in the field of international development with UNICEF and GIZ.


Duygu Yengin, University of Adelaide (Facilitator)

Associate Professor Duygu Yengin is an economist and the Director of Gender Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Faculty of Professions at the University of Adelaide. Working in a field which lacks gender diversity, (with only about 5-10% women in economic theory), she is specialized in applying mathematics and game theory to solve economic questions with a focus on fairness and equity issues. Duygu is a co-founder and Research, Resources and Data Manager of WEN.