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social entrepreneur and researcher.

Communities need leaders as diverse as they are

Elise is a creator, characterised by her love of hands-on projects and atypical projects. She has a passion for empowering women and driving change through social enterprise and has been at the forefront of many ‘first of their kind’ initiatives across Australia – from gender-based violence prevention work, to social enterprise and youth collaborations.

Working from the heart of the Western Desert in the Northern Territory, to the Sydney foreshore and all across the Asia Pacific, she continues to bring her strength in communication, leadership, practical foresight, and the ability to be empathetic and connect with others to help wildly varying projects that are making the most social impact across Australia and Asia.



BAsIntSt (Asian Studies),

BComn (Intercultural Communication), BGovIntRelHons(I)

PhD Candidate

Researching women’s leadership in Australian international affairs.

Based at Griffith University, Australia, this research is focused on women’s pathways to and experiences of leadership within the context of international deployment and representation across foreign and defence affairs.

Project Duration: 2017 -2020

More on this research and research profile can be found here.


Recent Publications include:

Domestic Challenges and International Leadership: A Case Study of Women Leaders in Australian International Affairs, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 2019 



Co-Founder & Director of Social Impact

Using her experience in the community sector, Elise brings social impact to design.

The Social Good Outpost is a national graphic and web design agency. Using a feminist approach to design, the Social Good Outpost works with startups, non-profits, social enterprises and change-makers across Australia. For every 10 hours of full-cost design services provided, the Social Good Outpost supports 1 hour of pro bono and low cost design for women’s-led and community organisations.

– Websites and digital experiences

– Graphic design: branding, promotional materials, business cards

– Service and communication design

– Extra-ordinary festivals and events

More on this work and design profile can be found here.

Emerging Leader

Capturing her research and practical experience across community, business and government in Australia and the Asia Pacific.

Elise is a recognised as a Young Woman to Watch in International Affairs, and is an emerging voice on women’s leadership, gender equality, intersectionality and inclusion, and social enterprise. Elise has worked across Australia, from the heart of the Western Desert in the Northern Territory to the Sydney foreshore and into the Indo-Pacific: Japan; China; Hong Kong; Taiwan; Cambodia; Laos; Vietnam and Malaysia.

Her expertise is sought for:

Bringing a young | women’s | LGBTIQ | disability perspective to consultative projects.

Her experience across women’s leadership, gender equality, domestic violence prevention, social enterprise, design and creativity.

Awards & Recognition

Elevate+ Social Entrepreneur 2018

Community Award 2016

University Medal 2016

New Colombo Plan Scholar 2014

Young Achiever of the Year Finalist 2015

Australian Representative 2018/2019

Politics, Asian Studies & International Relations Medal 2014

Associate Fellow 2015

Role Model of the Year Finalist 2015

Young Woman to Watch in International Affairs

Shanghai Regional Finalist 2015

Publications & Appearances


Australian Journal of International Affairs: Domestic Challenges and International Leadership: A Case Study of Women in Australian International Affairs, 2019

Australian Strategic Policy Institute: Women in Security and Defence Network Profile of Elise Stephenson, 2019

Lowy Interpreter: As Julie Bishop Exits, How Far Have Women Come in World Affairs? 2019

Lowy Interpreter: A Slap in the Face for Diverse Diplomacy, 2018

BroadAgenda: Breaking the Barriers: Women in Diplomatic Leadership, 2018

BroadAgendaWomen of the World: The Power of Stories, 2018

Machinery of Government Blog: Foreign Policy in an Uncertain World, 2018

Machinery of Government Blog: What’s Missing From Australia’s Foreign Policy? 2018

Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity: Climbing the ‘Staircase’: Do EEO Policies Contribute to Women Achieving Senior Leadership Positions in Universities in Australia and Hong Kong? Elise Stephenson, Kaye Broadbent, Glenda Strachan, 2017

National Council of Women of QLD: Young Women’s Thoughts on Gender Equality and Increasing Participation Rates, 2015

Griffith News: Women’s Leadership in Universities in the Australia and Hong Kong, SAR, 2015

How far has Australia actually come in addressing the pervasive and insidious gendered power imbalances in politics? Following comments from Julie Bishop and Julia Gillard on the issue, @KateLeeKoo explores #gendered political leadership culture #auspol

Inspiring work @SocialGoodAus, supporting local start-ups and social enterprises @SHEinvestments and @impacthub in Cambodia with workshops & dialogue on #branding for #SocialEnterprise. Looking forward to future @Australianow programs across #ASEAN #DFAT.

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Young Australians in International Affairs: Young Women to Watch in International Affairs, 2019

Impact Boom: Brisbane’s Top Emerging Social Entrepreneurs Join Impact Boom’s Elevate+ Program to Grow & Scale Impact, 2018

The Legal Forecast: Interview with Elise Stephenson (Social Good Outpost), 2017

Australian Ally Conference: LGBTIQ Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Prevention and Education (Presenter), 2016

Griffith News: Griffith team into $1m Hult Prize regional final, 2015

Griffith News: Students striving for socially inclusive change in the Asia-Pacific, 2015

The Pie News: International internships: how is this sector evolving?, 2014

The Australian: New Colombo Scholars Favour Hong Kong for Study and Internship, 2014

Griffith News: A Course of Action to Prevent Violence, 2013


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