International Women’s Forum Convenes Global Leaders in Melbourne for 2018 Cornerstone Conference

Leaders from Around the World Assemble to Discuss Critical Global Issues Including Shifting Geopolitical Alliances, Fake News, Human Origins, and #MeToo Movement

MELBOURNE, Australia--()--On May 2nd, the 16th Annual International Women’s Forum (IWF) Cornerstone Conference will convene in Melbourne. This year’s theme, Evolution/Revolution, will explore our rapidly changing and adapting world. Experts and innovators from 33 nations will examine today’s most pressing global issues from genetics frontiers to human origins and the Evolution of Work. The two-day conference provides an important platform for women thought-leaders to exchange ideas, develop strategies, and leave positioned to push for meaningful change.

“IWF conferences connect issues to action. They give local change-agents a platform alongside global thinkers, creating an enormous potential for progress,” said Teresa Weintraub, President, IWF and Managing Director, Merrill Lynch. “There is no other organization that consistently brings together this caliber of global women leaders both on the stage and in the audience.”

The Cornerstone Conference is held each year in a country outside of North America that is playing a critical role in shaping the future. With its unique past, unparalleled biodiversity, and increasing importance on the global stage, Australia represents a mixture of modernity and history: an ideal setting for discussions of change and growth.

“This year’s conference will bring together experts across five continents to discuss evolution and adaptation, hallmarks of Australia’s past and present,” added Michelle Loader, Vice President, IWF Australia and Conference Co-Chair.

In addition to the mainstage sessions, an interactive townhall will create an opportunity for these uniquely diverse and accomplished women to discuss sexual harassment around the globe. Academics, artists, activists, and business leaders will participate in a conversation to determine what’s next and how to sustain this #MeToo moment.

The conference will close with a conversation between Australian journalist Zoe Daniel and the Honourable Marise Payne, Australian Minister of Defence about shifting geopolitical alliances from increased Chinese influence in the South China seas to recent developments on the Korean Peninsula.

Select speakers include:

  • The Honourable Kelly O’Dwyer, MP, Australian Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Minister for Women, and IWF Australia member
  • The Honourable Linda Dessau, Governor, Victoria, Australia
  • Harriet Green, Chief Executive Officer, IBM Asia Pacific
  • Donna de Varona, Olympic Gold medalist, sportscaster, IWF Leadership Foundation Board Director, 2015 IWF Hall of Fame Honoree, and IWF Connecticut member
  • Maria Ressa, Chief Executive Officer and Editor in Chief, Rappler
  • Janet Carding, Director, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and IWF Australia member
  • Rick Potts, PhD, Director of Human Origins Program, U.S. National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian Institution

“IWF Australia and the city of Melbourne are ready to welcome women leaders from around the world,” said Karen Hayes, CEO, Guide Dogs Victoria and Conference Co-Chair. “The program that has been assembled is impressive in its depth and relevance.”

The Melbourne Conference takes place May 2–4. The full agenda and complete speaker lineup can be viewed here. To stay up to date and join the conversation, follow @IWFGlobal on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

About the International Women’s Forum & Leadership Foundation:

IWF is an invitation-only, membership organization comprised of more than 6,800 diverse and accomplished women from 33 nations on six continents. IWF is dedicated to building better leadership locally and globally. IWF’s Leadership Foundation supports high-potential women through leadership development programs – the Fellows Program and the EY Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) Mentoring Program. For more information on IWF and LF visit and follow @IWFGlobal on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.


International Women’s Forum
Davis Thompson, +1 202-387-1010

Release Summary

On May 2, the 16th Annual Int'l Women’s Forum Cornerstone Conference will convene in Melbourne and explore our rapidly changing and adapting world.


International Women’s Forum
Davis Thompson, +1 202-387-1010