Keynote speaker & workshop facilitator

Inclusive Leadership | Impact Entrepreneurship | Public Diplomacy and International Affairs


“The world needs good ideas and it needs a lot of them. We can’t assume they will all come from the same place.”


An inspirational leader and in-demand speaker, Elise is primed to help leaders and teams embrace uncertainty, advance seemingly impossible ideas and actions, and redefine future impact for limitless potential.

One of Google and Deloitte’s most Outstanding LGBTI+ Leaders, Elise is an irrepressable researcher, strategist and impact entrepreneur. From being Director of an international business solving some of our greatest design challenges, to being founder and curator of some of Australia’s most innovative public diplomacy programs, and Deputy Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at the ANU, founded and Chaired by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Elise has crafted a high-impact lifestyle and career rolled into one.

In the world of academia, Elise is dedicated to translating research into impact. In the community, Elise is committed to transforming business and organisational practices to those that are fundamentally inclusive, regenerative, just and purposeful – providing cutting edge thought leadership at the intersection of research and practice.

Current Work

Joining university just after acquiring bilateral hand injuries in 2010, Elise has always been forced to reimagine new futures and pioneer jobs, careers and definitions of living that she didn’t think were possible before. Elise remains committed to fueling an antifragility approach and risk-aptitude across industries by equipping current and emerging leaders from all backgrounds with the  mindset, skills and tools to transform their work and impact. Elise’s business, Social Good Outpost, and her longstanding partnership with the university sector power her drive to help more people embrace uncertainty and make powerful change and impact beyond their wildest dreams.

In the last decade, Elise has taken to the world stage to share her stories and insights with thousands of current and future leaders across the Asia Pacific region, the United States, Sweden and beyond. After travelling over 75,000kms (almost two times the circumference of the earth) across rural and remote Australia in a self-built tiny home, plus running over 70 events, workshops and festival programs across Asia with the Australian Government, Elise’s experience is as deep as it is wide.

Her insights feature in several books and she is a prolific writer, storyteller and doer. Together with the company she co-founded with her sister Lara, she’s donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to projects at the forefront of community action.

Elise regularly features in major press outlets including the The Conversation, ABC News, the ASPI Strategist, and the Lowy Institute.

Selection of Awards and Accolades:

  • 2022 Fulbright Scholar
  • UN Women 30 for 2030 Member
  • Australia’s Top 50 Outstanding LGBTI+ Leader 2020, Google, Deloitte and Energy Australia
  • Overall Outstanding Young Alumni 2020, Griffith University and Griffith Business School
  • Young Leader 2020, Women Deliver
  • Spotlight Award – Unleashed Awards 2019, Foundation for Young Australians
  • 30 Under 30 LGBTI+ Role Model Award, Boston Consulting Group and Out For Australia
  • Community Award 2016, United Nations Australia Association
  • Chancellors Medal, 2020 and University Medal 2016, Griffith University
  • Politics, Asian Studies and International Relations Medal 2014, Griffith University


Keynote speaker; academic presenter and lecturer; panelist; master of ceremonies (MC) or chair.

Tailored themes

  • Women’s leadership
  • Gender equality and gender justice
  • Entrepreneurship & Entrepreneurs
  • Creativity
  • Leadership and Intergenerational Leadership
  • Motivational Speaking
  • International Affairs
  • Diplomacy, Public Diplomacy and Soft Power
  • Australia’s Brand and Influence Internationally
  • Creativity
  • Antifragility
  • Scholar Entrepreneurship / Combining Research and Entrepreneurship
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • International Womens’ Day speaker
  • International Youth Day speaker
  • Gender Equality
  • LGBTI+ Inclusion and Rights
  • Asia Pacific Business and History


Google, Deloitte & Energy Australia, Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders.

Griffith University, Incredible Griffith Alumni Recognised at 2020 Outsanding Alumni Awards.

Australian Embassy in VietnamElise Stephenson.

Young Australians in International Affairs, Career Spotlight: Elise Stephenson, Social Entrepreneur and PhD Candidate.

Social Change Central, Social Change Champions: Lara and Elise Stephenson.

And more… check Twitter and LinkedIn!

Past work


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