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Dr Kirstin
Ferguson AM

Australia’s Award-winning Leadership Expert, Author, Columnist & Company Director

Leadership is simply a series of moments and every moment gives you the opportunity to leave a positive legacy for those you lead.

Dr Kirstin Ferguson AM is one of Australia's most prominent leadership experts.

An award-winning author, columnist and company director, Kirstin was recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2023 for her significant contributions to business, and gender equality.

Kirstin is also making a global impact, with UK­ based Thinkers50 naming her one of the world's top 30 'Thinkers to Watch," and she was shortlisted for the Distinguished Award in Leadership in 2023 and 2021.

Kirstin's career includes three decades of leadership experience including a previous appointment by the Australian Prime Minister as Acting Chair and Deputy Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Kirstin has previously been the CEO of a global consulting firm, was a senior executive at a leading corporate law firm and spent nearly 10 years as an Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Kirstin holds a PhD in leadership and culture as well as Honours degrees in Law, and also History. She is an Adjunct Professor at the QUT Business School and a Sir Winston Churchill Fellow.

Her first book, Women Kind: Unlocking the power of women supporting women (Murdoch Books), was co-authored with Catherine Fox and received the Australian Business Book Award of Management and HR book of the year.

Kirstin's second book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership (Penguin Random House) debuted in the top 10 non-fiction bestseller list on release and has been described by #1 NYT bestselling author, Adam Grant, as "A timely, actionable book on the virtues that every great leader needs to learn." It was named by Thinkers50 as one of the top 10 best new management books in the world in 2023.

Kirstin writes a popular weekly column for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age called Got a Minute? answering the nation's work, leadership, and culture questions. She also contributes to the Financial Review.

A passionate advocate for women, diversity, and inclusion, Kirstin was responsible for sparking a viral social media campaign called #CelebratingWomen which saw her celebrate 757 women from 37 countries around the world.

Talking Points

Leading with Impact: Mastering the Art of Modern Leadership

Depending on the length of the session, Kirstin offers this content in two forms - a keynote (up to an hour) and a workshop (up to 2 hours).

In both formats, Kirstin engages her audiences through storytelling, videos, and practical examples to bring her own leadership experiences and her research to life.

Attendees have the opportunity in both formats to complete the hugely popular Head & Heart Leader ScaleTM and receive a personalised report to help them understand areas for individual focus. More than 15,000 people from 89 countries have taken the survey since January 2023.

Key takeaways for the KEYNOTE format:
- Overview of a selection of head and heart leadership attributes,
- Understanding the most effective ways to lead with impact and the power that leadership moments have at work, in our communities and in our families,
- Individual, personalised head and heart leadership report for each attendee,
- Inspiration for attendees to apply the leadership lessons learnt across all aspects of their lives.

Key takeaways for the WORKSHOP format includes everything from the keynote, plus:

- Overview of all eight head and heart leadership attributes,
- Ability for a live analysis of the collective scores from the Head & Heart Leader Scale™ where attendees can compare their results to the group,
- Table discussions and shared learning opportunities.

Kirstin always adapts her keynote and workshop content to the audience, industry or organisation so it is relevant for all attendees regardless of seniority.

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.
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

Out of all the presenters she was by far the best in regard to 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

Thank you for taking the time to speak at the 2017 Campbell Institute Symposium. It was a 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.

National Safety Council USA

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

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


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.


It was my great honour to host Dr Kirstin Ferguson on behalf of the EML Group today and learn, cheer and lean in to 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 of EMLife

Your manner and style as our MC simply exuded positive inspiration and professionalism. Your involvement with Ozwater so helped set the tone for the conference’s Evolution, Revolution theme and perfectly reflected the professionalism of the overall delivery of the event. Having an MC with your communication skills and direct experience in the water sector gave the conference a special polish not often seen at such events. Thank you so much for your work - it was truly appreciated by all of us at the Association and importantly by our delegates

Australian Water Association

Your capture of what is needed to build trust today and the traits of strong leaders powerfully set the tone for the Congress program. I received an amazing amount of positive feedback on your presentation and you were rated in our top five speakers in our post delegate survey! Many thanks again for the insights and experiences shared. It was a very memorable and moving address.

Property Council of Australia

Thank you so much for facilitating this in such a natural, authentic and inspiring manner. The combination of your knowledge and experience in the world of work and Adam Grant’s insights made for an amazing experience. We had thousands of people from 24 countries logged in and the feedback we have already received has been amazing. Thanks for representing us and welcome to the Growth Faculty team.

The Growth Faculty

Thank you for presenting at the navy leadership conference in Cairns the other day. I found it very interesting, and your keynote address was incredibly motivating.

Navy Emerging Leaders
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