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Cathy Burke is a speaker, thought leader, and author of Unlikely Leaders: Lessons in Leadership from the Village Classroom.

Cathy was the CEO for The Hunger Project Australia, and then Global Vice President for 20 years, working to end hunger through developing leaders at scale across villages in South Asia and Africa. She used this experience to develop leadership programs for executives in large banks, firms and Silicon Valley tech.

Cathy believes leadership is crucial for any endeavour that matters. As a former CEO, she understands first-hand the challenges businesses and teams face. She helps people break through limiting beliefs and unhelpful mindsets, and inspires new thinking and possibilities.

Cathy Burke is no ordinary presenter. She gives her audience a dazzling, empowering and compassionate new way to view themselves and the world. Cathy’s keynotes share unique insights from her global work, allowing her audience to learn and engage more authentically with their own leadership journey. As people listen, transfixed by the stories, big shifts creep in under the radar and embed themselves in hearts and minds. People leave her sessions uplifted, moved and inspired.

Through her keynotes, presentations, and workshops, Cathy Burke helps you find and unlock the leadership potential hidden within yourself and your organisation. Her clients include eBay, Business Chicks, Qantas, PwC, Ernst & Young, McKinsey & Co, Mecca Cosmetica, Decjuba, and Commonwealth Bank.

Cathy is the 2014 winner of AFI Women of Influence award.


Unlikely Leaders

  • Unlikely Leaders is a new paradigm of leadership that challenges beliefs about what is leadership and who is a leader.
  • Learn how to encourage and empower leadership in others – irrespective of job title, and step into your own potential as a leader.
  • Build unlikely leaders in your organisation through learning from the experiences of some of the world’s poorest people who have gone from resignation and powerlessness, to effective leadership, as well as case studies of global organisations.

Women Don’t Need to Be Fixed To Lead!

  • Women have what they need to be able to lead – now. They don’t need to be fixed!
  • Learn from role models who have overcome enormous barriers to achieve lasting change for themselves and their communities.
  • Celebrate and unleash the power of women’s leadership!

9 Steps of Transformative Leadership

  • How do you create sustainable change? How can culture change? How can people be empowered to be authors of their own life? Cathy has developed a roadmap that answers these questions and provides a foundation for social, organizational and personal change.
  • 9 Steps reframes your current obstacles in a way that fresh thinking can be applied.

Mindset Transformation – From “I can’t” to “I can” to “We can”

  • Understand how the right mindset is crucial to creating meaningful and sustainable change.
  • Explore your own or your organization’s mindset and how to reset it.
  • Learn how to uncover hidden mindsets, and understand the 6 key mindset shifts that will enable you to engage powerfully in your life and your organisation.


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

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