Women in Medical Leadership

Female leader in the medical sector with colleagues.

The number of female doctors is increasing at a rate greater than that of male doctors. However, in the medical sector, women continue to be precluded or under-represented in senior leadership positions, or as part of the senior decision-making group.

Our Women in Medical Leadership course explores the unique challenges and often hidden structural barriers faced by women in leadership positions in the medical sector. The course examines methods of navigating adversity and assists in developing the skills needed for senior leadership positions.

A rare opportunity for women leaders

This course focuses on deepening self-awareness and self-knowledge, identifying and developing individual skills and strengths, and highlighting the capabilities needed to address and successfully meet the challenges unique to women leaders in the medical sector. Each participant will leave with the insights, tools, and plans needed to become an effective senior leader, or to augment existing leadership skills.
Women in Medical Leadership is the only medically-focussed women’s leadership course offered in the Southern Hemisphere, and provides a rare opportunity for female leaders in the medical sector to slow down, reflect, and examine their current and future leadership roles.

The course is fully contextualised to the medical sector and is delivered by three of The University of Queensland’s most senior female advocates in the fields of medicine and leadership.

Key course content

  • Models of leadership, and the impacts of gender on leadership
  • Leading change in medicine
  • Personal vision and values, and recognising and building personal strengths
  • Power, authority, and adaptive leadership
  • Strategic thinking and political savvy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Effective and strategic influencing and networking
  • Confident and effective communication techniques
  • Leading high-performance teams
  • Building resilience, and balancing wellness and work
  • Navigating a career in gendered professions

Why women only?

“Women-only courses encourage women to embrace their career experiences and challenges with a new perspective, allowing them to establish female role models and networks, and forge their own unique pathways to leadership success,” - Dr Jennifer Schafer, UQ School of Medicine.

Women-only programs help to create the context and dialogue necessary to stimulate new thinking around the shared gendered experiences of participants. You will have the opportunity to reflect on your own personal and workplace experiences, and hear the experiences of other participants. This allows for a holistic view of the medical sector from a gendered leadership context.

Read our interview with one of the course facilitators, Dr Jennifer Schafer, about why women-only training can create great leaders.

Price: $5073 (exc. GST)

Building your capability through

  • better understanding your personal leadership style and leadership preferences
  • leveraging your natural strengths to effectively engage and inspire others
  • challenging assumptions and navigating barriers to your progression or to effective leadership
  • being politically savvy, and lead change in clinical settings
  • thinking strategically and positively communicating with and influence others
  • understanding how to build your personal resilience and improving your personal wellbeing
  • identifying gender specific career de-railers
  • navigating gender dynamics and biases.

Our expert facilitators

Professor Polly Parker
PhD MPhil (Auckland), DipPhysEd (Otago), Dip.Teaching Christchurch

Polly is a Professor in leadership and human resource management at UQ Business School. She has a background and life-long interest in teaching and learning, which she has applied in both academic and corporate settings. Polly is active in the area of women’s leadership and leadership development. She was a member of the steering committee and a presenter at CEDA’s inaugural Women in Leadership Program and delivers the Leadership for Executive Women and Leadership for Senior Executive Women's courses at UQ Business School Executive Education.


Jennifer Witheriff
MBA (USQ), Grad Dip OH&S (QUT), RN Cert (PAH)

Jennifer is the Director of GJR, a boutique consulting group based in Brisbane, which specialises in business development, HR consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, training and facilitation. Her decades of experience in leadership development and coaching have equipped her with the knowledge and confidence to work with leaders at all levels. She offers deep insights into the complex dynamics of leadership and is keenly interested in transforming leaders. Her areas of interest include: adaptive leadership, influencing styles, and change.


Dr Jennifer Schafer

Jennifer is the Director of Student Affairs at the UQ School of Medicine. Jennifer is a general practitioner with more than 30 years of clinical experience, and spent 15 years working within the media as a medical reporter. She has a special interest in leadership training for health professionals, and, as Director of Student Affairs at the UQ School of Medicine, provides leadership to UQ medical students, ensuring that they have a supportive learning environment.

Networking opportunities

Attendees will need to be senior Medical Officers, with an appropriate level of knowledge and experience to contribute to discussions and case studies. Participants are selected from a range of specialisations and organisations to ensure diversity.

Past participants include, but are not limited to, women in such roles as Senior Medical Officer, Director of Medical Services, Academic Medical Leader, Medical Consultant, Junior Consultant, Medical Specialist, and General Practitioner, from both the public and private sectors.

This program is not clinical specialty specific.