Business Women and Fortis Partner to Champion Change

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Former Defence Minister Stephen Smith Keynotes Change Champion Forum

Fortis Consulting has announced a partnership with Business Women Australia with a series of roundtable forums to tackle key issues and bring together champions of change by sharing ideas and experiences. The first talk headlined Former Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

Business Women Australia is a dynamic community for women business owners, executives and professionals to build lasting friendships, connected networks and valuable knowledge.

The Change Champions concept was developed as a collaboration between Business Women Australia and Fortis Consulting to bring together invited business women and corporate and government leaders to engage in conversation and address areas that require innovative pathways to facilitate change. The agenda, which will be held over a series of nine roundtable forums, will cover topics including gender concerns, women on boards, cultural diversity, aged care and leadership.


Picture: Stephen Smith, former Minister for Defence; Mary Gurgone, National Director Fortis Consulting; Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi

This month’s roundtable topic “RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY: LESSONS FROM DEFENCE” addressed the issue of accountability and responsiveness of organisations to gender issues, particularly where violence or intimidation has been exposed.  Stephen Smith shared his insights gained as Minister for Defence discussing lessons learnt influencing a culture to embrace transparency and accountability.   He highlighted the importance of leadership, choosing key influencers at every level and putting in place processes and task forces that support the intended directional changes that need to be made.

Fortis Consulting National Director, Mary Gurgone said “Stephen’s address highlighted that central to the notion of responsibility and accountability when dealing with intimidation and abuse, is the human emotion factor. Listening, hearing and saying sorry are the most powerful and genuine ways to heal some of the hurt.  Forums like this that bring together diverse thinkers enable knowledge transfer that can impact positive change at all levels of business and government.  Our partnership with Business Women Australia creates the opportunity for women in business to take a seat with government, community and corporate leaders, and engage in conversations that influence the future. ”

The recent engagement of Business Women Australia as a corporate partner builds an important bridge connecting government and community leaders with business women focused on facilitating the changes needed to support diversity, inclusion and gender equality.


Picture: Maree Gooch, Business Women Australia; Mary Gurgone, Fortis Consulting;
Angela Bond, formerly Royal Australian Navy; Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi; Jennifer Rose Byrant, Business Women Australia 

Jennifer Rose Bryant, Managing Director of Business Women Australia said “Business Women Australia is delighted to be partnering with Fortis Consulting as they are leaders in the area of diversity and gender matters.  They share our values and desire to facilitate real change, so our aim is to grow understanding and wisdom while building a powerful collective of change champions to make a difference.”

Business Women Australia grew from the locally focused member-based organisation established in 2008 as Women in Business WA. Managing Director, Jennifer Rose Bryant’s desire to expand across Australia became real in November 2015 with the addition of business strategist Lyn Hawkins as an investor and Director, the establishment of a board of business women advisers, launch of a new national brand and strategic input (and funding) from sponsors.




Fortis Consulting

Mary Gurgone, National Director

P> +61 8 9467 2490         E>


Business Women Australia

Lyn Hawkins, Director

M> 0437 197 914               E>