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Australia’s Only Female Navy Helicopter Pilot to Fly in Afghanistan

Great leadership starts and ends with your team.


Imagine flying a helicopter in a war zone with 18 peoples’ lives in your hands. Suddenly, the enemy opens fire on you. How do you maintain both your and your team’s focus? How do you continue to make optimal decisions, minimise the disruption and effectively complete the mission? And how do you motivate your team to face this threat day after day?

Kate Munari has extensive experience leading both herself and her team through all sorts of challenges, often as the only female amongst her team and peers. From life-or-death moments being fired upon in Afghanistan while a helicopter pilot for 17 years, to the challenges of confined life on-board a Navy ship - Kate understands better than most the everyday pressures of a busy, reactive workplace.

Effective leadership combined with individual resilience and a positive mindset can overcome any moment of adversity, big or small and keep your team operating effectively though any challenge. Kate’s experience will enhance your team’s ability to remain focused and effective as you and your team tackle challenges big and small. The principles Kate used to overcome the personal and professional challenges of life in the military are principles she continues to use throughout her professional and personal life. These principles can be scaled for any situation and are an instant go-to when things don’t go to plan. And Kate shares them with you throughout her interesting, inspiring, sometimes humorous, sometimes frightening in-person, online and hybrid keynote.

Her speaking clients include Amazon Web Services, SAP, Spotify and more. From a small intimate audience to a crowd of hundreds, Kate will captivate and connect with each and every one, leaving them with a lasting memory of just what they are capable of achieving with the right mindset.

Talking Points

Resilience Under Fire: Beatings The Odds And Thriving In High-Pressure Environments

As the only female Australian Navy pilot to ever fly in Afghanistan, Kate knows all about adversity and overcoming the odds. She was responsible for the lives of 16 personnel when their Sea King helicopter was shot at mid-air in a warzone, she frequently made quick decisions under tough military circumstances, and when posted to Commando Helicopter Force, UK, she was the only female frontline pilot among 150 pilots and aircrewmen.

Through compelling storytelling that spans two decades in the Navy, Kate shares strategies she used to cope with stress under extreme military conditions, how her failures motivated her to enhance her performance, and imparts a unique and refreshing insight into gender stereotypes (and it's not what you would think).

In this emotive, gripping, upbeat keynote, Kate shares inspiring lessons about the power we all have to beat the odds with a winning mindset.

Themes: Resilience, mindset, goals, overcoming adversity

- Resilience: Dealing with adverse situations and putting your energy into the here, now and future
- Mindset: Beating the odds with the right mindset and focusing on what is within your control
- Goals: The importance of prioritisation and a sense of purpose
- Overcoming adversity: Relying on training and planning to minimise disruption and operate effectively
- Gender in the workforce: How to embrace gender differences and unlock the benefits of diversity

Powerful Leadership Starts and Ends With Your Team

Having spent most of her time in the Navy managing teams, former helicopter pilot Kate Munari knows what it means to lead effectively. In this inspiring and gripping keynote, Kate will explain why effective leadership comprises two essential and very simple components: strong communication and understanding your team.

Kate will inspire you with real and raw stories from her time in Afghanistan. She will share strategies and techniques for empowering your team, decision-making under pressure, positive mentoring, the power of accountability, and much more. Kate will uncover why great leadership truly starts and ends with your team.

Themes: Leadership, teamwork, communication, decision-making

- Leadership: Strategies and techniques for empowering your team so you become the best leader
- Teamwork: Why great leadership starts and ends with your team
- Decision making: Effective decision-making under pressure
- Communication: Why communication and connection with your team is imperative to achieve best results
- Gender in the workforce: How to embrace gender differences and unlock the benefits of diversity

Gender In The Workforce: Don’t Let Your Assumptions Hold You Back

As the only female Australian Navy pilot to ever fly in Afghanistan, Kate Munari truly knows what it means to work and live in male-dominated environments.

Through detailing her own experiences from alpha male military bases both in Australia and overseas, Kate will explore the important lessons she learnt about gender in the workplace.

Kate will share how her assumptions were challenged and broken, why we can’t allow gender to be a limiting factor, the great opportunity females have to create and set their own standards for leadership, and why we should never allow our own assumptions to hold us back.

Themes: Unconscious bias, leadership, resilience, mindset
Kate’s story is unique, fascinating, inspirational, and suited to any audience! Her journey of leadership and achievement in some of the toughest environments and most challenging situations ensures attendees full engagement. Kate was great to work with and extremely professional at the event and in the lead up, with thorough communication and preparation. Aviation Aerospace Australia

Thank you Kate for speaking at our breakfast. You spoke incredibly well with true conviction and passion for everything you shared with us. From the moment your talk began you captivated the audience and took us on an incredible journey. Your stories of teamwork, dedication, gender and the right to follow your dreams left an impactful message across the 250 people in the room. I look forward to another opportunity to work together.

University of Canberra

Kate completely nailed her brief last night and provided an outstanding presentation in a manner that ensured every attendee took something positive away from it.

Australian Gas and Pipelines Association

Keynote speakers at corporate events often share ‘war' stories of how they have risen to the top of their field and overcome challenges on their journey. So it was mind-blowing to have Kate share her REAL war stories at our Christmas event! Engaging right from the start, Kate’s journey is inspiring, and our guests were captivated from her first word to her last. Many commented that to hear from a female pilot who has served on the frontline was a privilege and proved that any challenge can be overcome.

CFO Xref

Kate’s lived experiences and her unpretentious and open reflections upon the impact of the choices we make in our work and personal work lives created an instant connection with our audience.


Organised, professional and an absolute delight to work with, Kate was the special guest speaker at our Women in Leadership Event. Her inspiring stories were not only highly engaging but the lessons she taught our guests were tangible and transferable to any industry. Looking forward to working with Kate again in the future.


Kate was the perfect speaker for our International Women’s Day event and was the ultimate professional from beginning to end. She really took time to understand our brief and the audience, and on the day delivered in an engaging way that was the perfect mix of inspirational and down to earth story telling, that was both memorable and sharable.

Pinnacle Investment

Kate effortlessly delivered an engaging virtual presentation, as part of our Special Counsel and Senior Associate Summit. It was interesting and inspiring (and sometimes frightening) to hear about her experiences as a Navy helicopter pilot. We learned strategies she used to cope with stress under extreme military conditions, how any failures motivated her to enhance her performance, the subtleties of leading teams in one of the most intense workplaces in the world and more. The presentation was highly rated by the audience and was a perfect opener for our summit, which this year was themed - breaking barriers.

Colin Biggers and Paisley Lawyers

Kate’s story is compelling and relevant for today’s workforce. I would have no hesitation recommending her to other companies.

Port Waratah Coal Services
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