Dr Jillian Kenny



As a keynote, corporate and graduand speaker Jillian has spoken on topics such as creativity in leadership, creativity in STEM fields, gender equality in STEM, youth entrepreneurship, and diversity. She has been invited to present her research outcomes and learn from international audiences in the UK, USA and South Korea.

Jillian can cater her talk to your audience, but in general, these are some of the topics she has spoken on before.



Future-readiness for Engineering Companies: From Follower to Trend Maker

In this rapidly changing world, engineering companies need to adapt. But in the face of so many changes across all aspects of the profession, it is challenging to know how our companies are tracking, whether they are moving at the right pace and how they compare to competitors. This talk will look at the future of engineering through the lenses of technology, people and ways of working. Based on interviews and observations with a variety of engineering companies, we will explore how advancements in technology are enabling new ways of working, as well as driving changes to the skills and people the profession needs to engage with, moving forward.

You’ll walk away

  • Understanding how your company is tracking compared to the rest of the field

  • With a framework for future-readiness

  • Clear about your company needs, and what to do in order to progress along the pathway from laggard, to follower, to leading-edge trend maker

Suited to

Audiences who want to walk away with a clear idea about how to progress on the future-readiness spectrum

Towards Diversity in Engineering: Progressing from Empowerment to Power

Empowering women is frequently touted as an elixir to solve the gender diversity problem in engineering. From leadership courses and assertiveness training to confidence coaching and dressing for success, women are heaped with so many tools it’s hard to believe there’s still an issue. But what if empowerment has become a distraction? In this talk, Jillian argues that power is a system and engineers are good at systems. And, that as a profession, engineers are well positioned to lead society in addressing what power is and where it lies.

You’ll walk away

  • Clear about the difference between empowerment and power

  • With key actions you can take to value different forms of power

  • With the tools to create a new, more inclusive power system

Suited to

Audiences who want to create a shift in diversity in engineering

creative leadership IN STEM: leading in uncertain times

The world is changing faster than it ever has before. The future is a blank canvas, and in creating this future we need leaders who can think beyond the traditional approaches and norms of the past. Leaders who can bring creativity. Through sharing some of the challenging and vulnerable moments in her own story, Jillian will reveal the elements for creative leadership and why it is critical for leading organisations into an uncertain future.

You’ll walk away

  • Seeing why creativity is important for leaders (especially in STEM)

  • Knowing what the five pillars for creativity in leadership are

  • Understanding how you can apply them into your own leadership practice

Suited to

Audiences who want to lead boldly in an uncertain future


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“We were recommended Dr Jillian Kenny for the graduation address at the Defence Science Technology Group’s Graduate Program in Scientific Leadership. It became clear to us why Jillian was named the inaugural ‘Superstar of STEM’ and one of 2014's '100 Most Influential Australian Women'; Jillian didn’t just deliver a passionate speech, she captivated her audiences with her expressive energy and compelling storytelling of her journey. Jillian artfully weaved her description of the “Five Pillars of Leadership” into her storytelling. Her story inspired the audience, and her openness in sharing her vulnerable and challenging moments in her journey spoke of authenticity. The impact of Jillian’s message continues to be felt amongst those of us who were lucky to hear her speech.”

Dr Janis Cocking
Chief, Science Strategy and Program Division
Defence Science & Technology Group
Department of Defence


"Dr Jillian Kenny presented to our agency during our International Women’s Day celebrations. Jillian’s presentation was a funny, thought-provoking, inspiring and empowering examination of her own career progression and gender equality in STEM more broadly. Her call to action to promote gender equality at the end of the presentation was particularly poignant, with many of our staff members coming away from her presentation having committed to actions that will improve gender equality within their workplace and industry."

Phillip Glyde
Chief Executive
Murray–Darling Basin Authority


"Ford Australia invited Jillian to speak at our recent International Women’s Day event. Her presentation about how she started her social enterprises in the STEAM space were inspiring and provided positive energy to a room of local high school girls and Ford employees. Alongside her personal story of success she gave the audience an informative, engaging and fresh perspective on what it means to be 'An Engineer' in the modern world. Thank you Jillian!"

Louise Nance
Asia Pacific STEAM Specialist
PD Innovation Team

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