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Cathy Burke

Cathy is an activator, inspirer, thinker, and leader. She gives people hope. 

What sets her apart is her unique story - and the intimate way she connects with audiences.  Whether 100 or 12,000 strong, everyone feels they are in a personal conversation just with  her. 

Cathy’s background is unforgettable and distinctive. For twenty years she was on the  frontline for mobilising the people, leadership, programs, and resources to end hunger across  Africa and South Asia. (She’s seen it all, baby!)  

As CEO for The Hunger Project Australia, she was part of a visionary team who developed  leadership at scale in villages all over the world. Through her work, millions of the world’s  poorest women stepped into their leadership and were able to feed themselves and their  families. 

She now helps organisations around the world develop the mindsets, capabilities and heart to  lead with courage, vision and impact. 

Cathy Burke is, without a doubt, a magnetic and powerful igniter of human potential. Whether it’s for a large conference, an offsite retreat, or a leadership summit, Cathy makes the impossible feel doable. She transforms resignation into hope and impact. 

As a global expert on leadership and mindsets, Cathy is the author of Lead In: Mindsets to  Lead, Live and Work Differently (2022), and Unlikely Leaders: Lessons in Leadership from  the Village Classroom (2015). She is a winner of the Australian Davos leadership award, and the Australian Financial Review’s Women of Influence award. 

Her global clients include Barings, Amazon, eBay, Business Chicks, ANZ, Commonwealth  Bank and many others.

Speaking topics

Lead In

Based on her influential book Lead In.

Audiences will discover:

  • How mindsets are key to your success
  • Practical ways to not be derailed by circumstances
  • What can be achieved without old beliefs holding back
  • Mindsets to avoid and ones to adopt
  • How to activate a Leaders Mindset and increase your energy, effectiveness, and hope

Scarcity Mindset

This mindset is so pervasive. It’s the belief we don’t have – or are – enough.

Audiences will discover:

  • What we to do – and should not do – when gripped by a scarcity mindset The three toxic beliefs of scarcity, and how to change them
  • How you can have scarcity - and not a scarcity mindset
  • Your biggest resources – and how to liberate them
  • The realisation that you are enough, as you are – to lead, to make a difference, and to achieve your goals.

Women Don’t Need to Be Fixed To Lead!

Cathy’s decades long experience shows that women have what they need to be able to lead – now.

Audiences will discover:

  • The 3 keys things needed to have more women leading in your organisation The surprising research as to why too few women hold leadership roles Unlikely role models who have overcome enormous barriers to achieve lasting
  • change for themselves and their communities.
  • Get real about what – and who – needs to change
  • Celebrate and unleash the power of women’s leadership! 

Resilience – a new framework for 21st century leadership

A new approach to developing the mindsets and practices for increased bandwidth, more thoughtfulness, less stress and churn.

Audiences will discover:

  • The difference between resilience and coping
  • The key mindsets to develop to deepen resilience
  • Relate to the world in a way that stops you getting swept under
  • Why self-awareness and compassion aren’t nice to have’s – they are critical for all leaders
  • A sense of peacefulness – there’s nothing wrong with you.


At Business Chicks we showcase some of the most influential global thinkers, and Cathy is undoubtedly one of these.
- Emma Isaacs, Founder and Global CEO, Business Chicks

Cathy Burke's unique voice and insights on leadership will influence the way we think about change and culture for years to come.
- Jon Williams, Global Leader, People and Organisation, PwC

You were one of the highest rated elements of our entire agenda. 'Deeply meaningful and relevant' would summarize the reaction that we heard most. Thank you.
- Steve Boehm, SVP Global Customer Experience, eBay

Cathy has the ability to have everyone feel uplifted, inspired and engaged. She has something unique and important to say, and she is able to communicate this with such lightness and grace.
- Belinda Hutchinson AM, Chancellor, University of Sydney

Cathy was instrumental in challenging the team to look at things differently, creating a unique leadership angle and reaching for every inch of potential from the team. Thanks Cathy for making us reach and challenge our thoughts on so many levels.
- Tania Austin, Owner/CEO, Decjuba

Cathy recently spoke to our Senior Leadership Group as part of our annual Leadership Weekend. The overwhelming feeling from our group was one of being touched and inspired. We have continued to use many of the stories and lessons from Cathy throughout our broader team and ongoing leadership training.
- Cassandra Lantry, Director, Leah Jay

Cathy’s grasp on leadership and her ability to translate that into action is incredibly impressive.
- Michael Rennie, Global Leader, Organisation Practice, McKinsey and Co.

What Cathy Burke has to say should be listened to.
- Speciosa Wandira-Kazibwe, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, Former Vice President of Uganda

Cathy Burke speaker

Speaker Video

Forge Speaker Showcase - Cathy Burke

Forge Speaker Showcase - Cathy Burke

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