Author Archives: T D

Announcement: next Principal

Appointment of Dr Tiffany Donnelly BA (Hons) MA PhD as next Principal of The Women’s College

On behalf of the Council of The Women’s College within the University of Sydney, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Tiffany Donnelly as the fourteenth Principal of our College. Following a thorough selection process Dr Donnelly was chosen as the outstanding candidate to lead The Women’s College through its next phase of growth and development. The College Council has affirmed its unanimous confidence in Dr Donnelly.

Dr Donnelly will succeed Dr Amanda Bell AM, who retires at the end of 2019. Dr Bell has led the College with visionary leadership for the past seven years, and will leave our College in a very strong position for Dr Donnelly to advance her ideas. Dr Donnelly has worked alongside Dr Bell on key projects such as developing new academic, leadership and professional development programs for the students; the completion of the new landmark Sibyl Centre; increased alumnae engagement, and fundraising for new scholarships and campus improvements. Dr Donnelly will continue to build on these, and further enhance the College’s great strengths and reputation.

With a strong academic background and an empathetic approach to the students’ academic care, Dr Donnelly is well placed to respond to changing contemporary needs of young women within a dynamic university sector. She has been the Vice Principal of the College for eighteen years and as such, knows many of our alumnae personally and is held in high regard by both our College community and our wider stakeholders, including the intercollegiate community and the University of Sydney. She is ready to lead the College across all key areas that the role of Principal demands and will be supported by an experienced and loyal staff.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be appointed as the next Principal of the College”, Dr Donnelly said. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to lead a prestigious institution which has a long history of providing transformative experiences for young women.”

Dr Donnelly and her husband Paul have lived on site at College for almost two decades. Their two sons, Myles and Piers, have grown up at College during that time. Dr Paul Donnelly is an Honorary Fellow in Residence of the College and Deputy Director of Museums at the University of Sydney. The family looks forward to continuing their lives as part of The Women’s College community.

Please join with me in congratulating Dr Donnelly on her appointment as Principal of The Women’s College. I look forward to this historic next step in the advancement of our College in preparing young women for their future.

Samantha Gavel

New Council Members announced

Five positions on the Women’s College Council have been confirmed from the recent election. In addition to the re-election of Sally Auld [1990-93] and Jennifer Davidson [1990-92], three new members have been confirmed for 2019:

Jane Oakeshott
[Women’s College 1979-83; Senior Student 1983]
Deputy Director – Relationship Management, Campus Infrastructure Services, The University of Sydney

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney, and a Diploma of Education from Macquarie University, Jane’s career has spanned the practice of law (both criminal and civil), teaching at University, University administration and executive search. As a solicitor, Jane worked as a prosecutor for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and as a commercial litigation solicitor for the former State Authorities Superannuation and Investment Management Corporation. These roles followed experience in investigative roles with the former National Crime Authority and the NSW Ombudsman’s Office.

Jane commenced working at the University of Sydney as a tutor in Business law in the Business School while raising a young family. She then moved into more senior professional roles and became the Director of Government Relations and then Chief of Staff to the Vice-Chancellor. Jane moved from the Chief of Staff role to establish the industry engagement unit for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) and more recently moved to Campus Infrastructure and Services (CIS) as the Deputy Director Relationship Management. CIS is responsible for the large property and infrastructure portfolio of the University, security and other campus services.

Jane is on the Advisory Council for Science and Gender Equity (SAGE) and the Law Extension Committee, the governing committee for the University’s role in teaching the Legal Practitioner’s Admission Board course.  She has recently completed her role as the University’s Project Officer working with Elizabeth Broderick and the six residential colleges.

Alexandra Shehadie
Director of Projects, Elizabeth Broderick & Co.

A graduate of Macquarie and Sydney Universities, and a former solicitor, Alexandra (Alex) Shehadie has held a number of senior positions across government – both State and Commonwealth –  and currently oversees major projects at the consulting firm, Elizabeth Broderick & Co. With Elizabeth Broderick, Alex has led projects of national significance including, The Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force and Cultural Reform in the Australian Federal Police.  Alex was an adviser to NATO on a key project relating to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325: Women, Peace and Security. Working with Elizabeth Broderick, Alex reviewed the culture at the University of Sydney Residential Colleges, including The Women’s College. Alex also undertook cultural reviews of James Cook and Canberra Universities, focusing on respect, inclusion and safety. Alex is currently advising the NSW Police Force on its promotion system.

Alex has a deep connection with The Women’s College. Her mother, Marie Bashir, was the Senior Student and later Chair of the College Council from 1982 to 1990.  Her sister, Susan, was a resident of the College in the 1970s. Alex is committed to the empowerment of women. Her work with The Women’s College reinforced her belief of the critical role of the College in empowering young women through education, community engagement and independent thinking. In 2014, Alex was one of the Australian Financial Review’s, 100 Women of Influence. Alex is an advisor to the Victorian Police Corporate Advisory Group. She also mentors a number of young women.

Sue Weston PSM
[Women’s College 1980-82]
Deputy Secretary Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Sue Weston is currently a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in the Commonwealth Government. Most recently Sue has been working on the implementation of the astronomy program with the European Southern Observatory. Sue headed the Government’s Office of Small Business for six years from the end of 2001, and prior to that held a number of roles working with the Australian Taxation Office including providing education and training for business on major tax reforms. She has also overseen the development of her Department’s budget and Portfolio Budget Statements since she was appointed to the Deputy Secretary role in 2009.

In the 2018 Australia Day Honours, Sue was awarded a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in advancing the National Innovation and Science Agenda. Sue has a Bachelor of Science from University of Sydney. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting, is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of CPA Australia, a Chartered Accountant, and has a Professional Certificate in Mediation and Arbitration.


The Council would like to thank outgoing members Jenny Allum, Julie McKay (Chair) and David Wakeley for their commitment and service to the College over the past years.


Enhancing Opportunities for College Cooperation

St Paul’s College and The Women’s College within the University of Sydney are working closely on increased practical cooperation between the colleges to further improve the all-round educational experience of students in both colleges.

For over 125 years, the two colleges have been partners in collegiate education for all their students.

This partnership is evident in many ways, including in academic, co-curricular, and social interaction and cooperation between the colleges, their students and staff. For example, some students of each college informally share tutorials, perform in each other’s dramatic and choral performances, take part together in community service initiatives, and share various social activities.

We are convinced that the experience of our students will benefit from further practical cooperation. Amongst other things, this will take advantage of the new world-class facilities in both colleges – especially The Sibyl Centre at The Women’s College, and the Ivan Head and Graduate House buildings at St Paul’s College.

To deepen this partnership and practical cooperation, the two colleges:

  • are working on more targeted cooperation in their academic programs, including more actively promoting tutorials in each college to students in both colleges (including with up-to-date tutorial programs accessible online), working towards a fully shared tutorial program;
  • will share various student and staff leadership training activities (for example, workshops on ethical leadership, and on sexual ethics and respectful relationships) and other personal and professional development activities;
  • at the initiative of their student community service leaders, will jointly host a concert and BBQ in aid of drought relief on Sunday 28 October, to which all students and staff of both colleges will be invited;
  • will plan towards such an event in aid of charity being an annual event;
  • will build on that initiative with future joint community service and social activities along similar lines, and with more systematic cooperation between community service representatives in the two colleges;
  • will host several dinners each year with guest speakers, to which students from both colleges will be invited, and
  • will initiate joint musical performances and other cultural activities alternating between the two.

The Women’s College and St. Paul’s College already share a long history and a strong focus on academic challenge. These enhanced opportunities will further benefit the intellectual and professional development of our young men and women.

This heightened cooperation between the two colleges will be in the context of working cooperatively with the other colleges within the University of Sydney, and with the University of Sydney.

Report to The Women’s College on Cultural Renewal

Wednesday 29 November 2017

The Chair of Council, Julie McKay, announces the release of the Report to the Women’s College on Cultural Renewal following the release of the Cultural Renewal at The University of Sydney Residential Colleges report, by Elizabeth Broderick & Co.

Ms McKay’s announcement is here

The Report to the Women’s College on Cultural Renewal is here


Media contact: Ann Armstrong

P: 02 9517 5018 or M: 0419 608 637

New Members of Council announced

Five positions on the Women’s College Council have been confirmed from the recent election. In addition to the re-election of Samantha Gavel [HOLDEN; Women’s College 1982-84] and Judy Mills [FITZSIMMONS; Women’s College 1984], three new members have been confirmed for 2017:

Justine Beaumont
[Women’s College 1986-88]
Barrister, Nigel Bowen Chambers, Sydney

As a barrister specialising in intellectual property (including copyright, trade marks and patents), trade practices, consumer law, equity and commercial law, Justine Beaumont has recently represented organisations such as the Australian Olympic Committee, Foxtel, Apotex and the Commercial Radio Association. Justine spent the first 16 years of her career as a solicitor with legal firm Allens.

Justine holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in addition to an honours degree in Law from the University of Sydney. Over the course of her career she has engaged in pro bono legal work, especially in the field of the Arts, including as director of a dance company. She has recently participated in a mentoring program for female law students organised by Herbert Smith Freehills and the University of NSW, and is a tutor to a new female barrister.

Hugh Donaldson
, Donaldson Burston Pty Limited

Hugh Donaldson has spent his career in the finance industry, including fifteen years working abroad in Tokyo, London and New York for JBWere, subsequently Goldman Sachs JBWere. His roles included Manager Fixed Income in Sydney; he was the Chief Representative in Tokyo for JBWere, Vice President of the New York office, and Managing Director of the UK office and the Frankfurt branch office. He was made a Partner in 1997. In 2006 Hugh returned to Sydney where he co-founded boutique investment management business Donaldson Burston, specialising in capital placement and white label funds management.

Hugh holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney and additional financial market qualifications. His wife Penelope Donaldson [LEHMANN: 1982] and daughter Alice Donaldson [2013-15] are Women’s College alumnae and his daughter Grace Donaldson [2015-] is a current student of Women’s College.

Honor McFadyen
[GOLSBY; Women’s College 1983]
Managing Director, Institutional Client Group, Deutsche Bank Australia

Honor McFadyen has had a long corporate career in financial services, for the past two decades at Deutsche Bank, and previously at Bain & Company and JP Morgan. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She was recently a Non-Executive Director of Women in Banking and Finance, an industry group dedicated to promoting diversity within finance. As Managing Director at Deutsche Bank, she is responsible for managing the Domestic Sales team to service Deutsche Banks institutional clients.

Over the course of her career Honor has had responsibility for business development, governance, sales, policy, strategy, product design and structures of financial products and organisations. This has included general management positions in the sales and marketing of services, the management of teams, compliance and risk reviews, and financial management of businesses. As a member of the Graduate Recruitment Committee of Deutsche Bank Australia, Honor has an ongoing interest in the skill sets, both academic and non-academic, of tertiary students.

The Council would like to thank outgoing members Richard Alcock, Lucinda Warren and Alison Watts-Lawless for their commitment and service to the College over the past years.

Apply for a scholarship

scholarsApplications for scholarships to Women’s College close at 5pm on Tuesday 4 October 2022 and prospective students to the College are encouraged to apply.

The College offers a range of scholarships to students from rural and regional areas and government schools, in addition to students from Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, post graduate medical students and students aiming to study at the Conservatorium of Music.

Scholarship applications are assessed on a number of criteria, principally merit (academic, leadership, community or school contribution) and financial need.

Matching scholarships are offered to students who receive an E12 scholarship offer, or an Elite Athlete Scholarship from the University of Sydney.

The Grace Frazer Award is an academic entrance prize given to the student or students who enter Women’s College in their first year of tertiary study directly from school with the highest ATAR in their College fresher cohort.

All scholars have access to our unique scholars’ program.

To apply, please visit the scholarships page.

Message from the Chair and Principal

AB and Julie25 August 2016

This Saturday the Women’s College Open Day is an opportunity for our extensive community, friends and future students to visit and experience the ‘Women’s College Advantage’. Our hope is that all our visitors leave with a strong sense of our commitment to developing female leaders — young women who are confident, self-aware and optimistically engaged with their world.

Earlier this year there were widespread media reports of unacceptable behaviour at some university colleges and we wrote to assure our community that we would make every effort to ensure that our students have a positive experience at College. We continue to actively review and improve our processes for managing complaints and supporting any young woman who has experienced unacceptable behaviour on or off campus.

Ahead of Open Day, we want to provide an update for you on the initiatives being undertaken to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.

Firstly, the College Council unanimously supported a proposal for the colleges and University to work with former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO, to review our cultures and, in our case, identify areas where we can improve the experience of our young women. We are excited to be working with one of Australia’s leading experts on gender equality and cultural reform and are looking forward to supporting Ms Broderick’s team during the review and implementing any recommendations for improvement.

Secondly, the Human Rights Commission will be conducting a national survey into the experience of college students. We will work with our student leaders to encourage widespread participation from The Women’s College to ensure the data reflects the broadest possible student experience. The data collected by the Human Rights Commission will assist to enhance our own pastoral care programs.

Good leadership is especially important in times of scrutiny and change. Our current Senior Student and her team have shown maturity, thoughtfulness and a refreshing willingness to shift their thinking, try new approaches and support cultural reform. These traits, practised and tested at Women’s College, will position them well for success in their future careers and lives.

Finally, we have designed a special leadership conference for our future leaders, to ensure that we are engaging them early in professional conversations about leading a positive culture, ahead of their appointments in 2017. We know that confident student leaders with clear vision and purpose are crucial to establishing and maintaining positive, productive cultures and the College is looking forward to this pilot training program.

Alongside these three initiatives, we will continue to work with all our students to develop their leadership skills, support their academic proficiency and professional growth, alongside understanding their individual and collective roles in setting a positive culture for others.

For those who are unable to attend Open Day on Saturday, thank you for your ongoing support of Women’s College. To those who do intend to visit, we look forward to welcoming you.

Kind regards

Ms Julie McKay, Chair of Council

Dr Amanda Bell, Principal

Learned Leadership

Women’s College students attending our annual leaderships seminars spent the morning learning the secrets of the graduate recruitment panel last weekend when presenters Lucy Nowland (Executive Director, Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs) and Chris Franklin (Partner and Principal Consultant, Advalore Partners) held their Employability Workshop at College.

Presenter Lucy Nowland and students at the Employability Workshop

Presenter Lucy Nowland (left) and students at the Employability Workshop

More than sixty students signed up to the workshop, which focussed on a range of topics including what makes an attractive candidate in the current graduate market, cover letter and CV writing skills, and interview techniques.

The presenters brought to the table a wealth of experience in recruitment to assist the students with high-level advice in strategic research and preparation for interviews, assessing the cultural fit of an organisation, how to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive job market, and understanding assessment processes and competency-based interview questions.

Students had the opportunity to hear a mock interview and to practice some of the techniques they had learned in interviewing each other.

Chris Franklin

Presenter Chris Franklin briefing students

“It was such a good opportunity to hear from people who are actually doing the recruitment and what they look for in a candidate,” said one student. “It has definitely given me more insights into how I can prepare myself for future job applications.”

The Women’s College Leadership Seminar series is held every Saturday in August, with students utilising their newfound skills in the College’s Open Day on Saturday 27 August.