2017 Women Leaders Mission to Israel

June 2017


The Hon. Helen Coonan
Diane Smith-Gander


Led jointly by Diane Smith-Gander, non-Executive Director of AGL Energy & Westfarmers Limited and The Hon. Helen Coonan, company director and former Senator, the mission was designed for high level engagement between Israel and Australian based female leaders. The mission focused on key sectors of Innovation, Big Data, predictive analytics, IoT, Retail Tech and Cyber Security.

Israel is recognised as a world leader in innovation, being ranked 3rd out of 144 countries in the WEF Innovation Rating (2015-2016). Through engaging with Israeli start-ups, venture capitalists and local leaders, the participants received valuable insight into how to promote innovation at home as well as networking with 40 of the top Australian female executives.

The objective of the mission was to explore business and investment opportunities in Israel as well as understanding its unique entrepreneurial culture and innovative ecosystem.


It was incredible to visit Israel on a mission with Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce. This epicentre of culture and innovation delivered a lot of learning moments and sparked many new ideas as we experienced how Israel start-ups, government and education institutions create a wonderful ecosystem of growth and development. The opportunity to network with 40 fellow female participants, representing a broad range of backgrounds in Australian business, was also a highlight. What a unique experience to be a part of! I can’t thank Michelle and Jillian enough for their leadership and insight, both on the mission and throughout the year.

Rachel Bondi

CMO & COO, Microsoft Australia