Embracing Diversity to Overcome 21st Century Challenges Panel Discussion

We’re in a war for talent, yet women are still underrepresented in technical fields and at leadership levels across the vast majority of industries. The solution seems clear: greater diversity and inclusion. But how exactly do businesses shift our practices to achieve true gender equity?

In this panel discussion run by Dream Big Australia, we’ll discuss how embracing diversity helps our organisations and society to overcome the complex challenges of the 21st Century.

The key takeaways include the following:

  1. A grounded understanding of diversity and inclusion is key to solving the challenges of the 21st Century.
  2. A snapshot of businesses’ challenges in attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse workforce.
  3. Practical solutions businesses can incorporate into their operations to increase diversity and inclusion in their organisations.
  4. The opportunities that exist for workforces that embrace diversity.


Jessica Kahl, Managing Director of Dream Big Australia and Project Manager at SunWater

Jessica is an award-winning engineer, entrepreneur, diversity advocate, and 2021 Young Australian of the Year Shortlisted Nominee. Her impact in the diversity space has made her recognised in the QBM’s Top 20 entrepreneurs under 40, Engineers Australia’s ‘100 engineers making a difference’ profile, and in “Engineers at the Pinnacle of the Profession”.

Sharon Sebastien, APAC Service Line Leader Engagement and Communication Technical Director of GHD

Sharon has more than 15 years of experience in stakeholder engagement and program communication. She has worked on large-scale Commonwealth, infrastructure, transport and environment programs and is a Technical Director and APAC Service Line Leader for Engagement and Communication at GHD. Her approach enables program teams to define key requirements and achieve key objectives. Sharon brings an authentic engagement style to projects she works on, building relationships and trust to enable on-point communication. She is also Public Affairs Officer in the Australia Air Force Reserves.

Sharyn Scriven, Director and Chair of Dream Big Australia 

Sharyn is a Director and Chair of Dream Big Australia and is the General Manager of Grid Investment at Energy Queensland, managing the optimisation of investments in Queensland’s electricity distribution network assets. For the past 25 years, Sharyn has worked in sizeable engineering-based utility businesses undergoing a significant evolutionary change. Sharyn is passionate about diversity and advocates for the ongoing improvement of workplace environments and opportunities for women.

Julian Dolby, Group Managing Principal for Aurecon’s Advisory business 

Julian is a Group Executive Leadership Team member focused on developing commercial and technically led advisory services to help asset-intensive clients make well-informed capital decisions. Julian has built his career around developing and maintaining strong client relationships across asset-intensive sectors, including mining, infrastructure, and power. He has designed and delivered transformation programs, leveraging data and digital, for clients in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the UK, the USA, Canada, Chile and the Czech Republic.

Emma Studerus, 2022 STEAM Ahead Program Participant

Emma is passionate about empowering women to improve their skills and reach their potential in STEAM careers. She is a Data Science student at the Queensland University of Technology, a 2022 STEAM Ahead Program Participant, Alumni Committee Member. She has gained employment with two of Dream Big’s Industry Partners, Energy Queensland and Ausenco.

5:00 pm • 120 minutes


Dream Big Australia



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