Elise Stephenson is a creator, characterised by her love of hands-on projects and atypical specialisations. She has a passion for empowering women, driving change through social enterprise, and building crafted furniture and spaces.

Elise grew up in Brisbane, Australia, with a love of gumtrees and wattles, riding horses and making things from beautifully hewn wood for her past 25 years.

Now she applies this groundedness and care for the process to projects with meaning. She is proud of the research she does in women’s leadership within the Asia Pacific, and is driven to take this to empower women and girls across Australia through the completion of her PhD in 2017-2020.

Elise also weaves in design and strategy for communities who need it most into everyday life. From projects on domestic violence in LGBTIQ communities, to youth development of social enterprise, Elise has been at the forefront of ‘first of their kind’ initiatives across Australia. Her work led her to being awarded a United Nations Australia Association Community Award in December 2016, and she is currently the Co-Director of the Social Good Outpost, a business which specialises in design and strategic planning for non-profits, social enterprises, and change-makers.

Combining a specialisation in the Asia Pacific, women’s leadership, social enterprise, and hands-on building projects, this is the documentation of what can be accomplished through purposeful living, critical thought, and putting action to intention.

Elise’s profile at Griffith University: https://www.griffith.edu.au/business-government/griffith-business-school/departments/school-government-international-relations/hdr-students/elise-stephenson

Elise’s LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/elise-stephenson/39/4a4/ab2

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Research Specialisations

  • Women’s leadership and empowerment
  • Gender equality
  • International relations
  • Asia Pacific / Indo Pacific
  • Australian international-facing agencies
  • Women’s leadership in Australian international relations


  • Elise Stephenson, Kaye Broadbent and Glenda Strachan 2017, “Climbing the Staircase: The Effects of Equal Employment Opportunities Policies on Women Leaders in Australian University (Australia) and Sino University (Hong Kong)”, Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity Special Issue: Gender, Culture & Narrative (forthcoming).
  • “Preliminary Findings: Women in Leadership in Hong Kong”, paper presented at Absent Women: Women in Academia in Hong Kong, University of Hong Kong, sponsored by the Faculty of Education and HKU HeForShe, 30 October 2015.
  • “Women’s Leadership in Universities in Australia and Hong Kong, SAR”, Griffith News, published 27 May 2015, https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/news/2015/05/27/womens-leadership-in-universities-in-the-australia-and-hong-kong-sar/
  • “Students Striving for Socially-Inclusive Change in the Asia Pacific”, Griffith News, published April 9 2015, https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/news/2015/04/09/students-striving-for-socially-inclusive-change-in-the-asia-pacific/
  • “Australia-China Soft Power Potential”, paper presented by Elise Stephenson, Julien Rosendahl, Ethan Bowering, Yanjie Fu, Linqing Shi, and Han Shen at the 2013 Australia-China Futures Emerging Leaders Dialogue 19-20 October 2013.
  • “A Course of Action to Prevent Violence”, Red Couch Blog, 13 November 2013, https://app.secure.griffith.edu.au/news/2013/11/13/a-course-of-action-to-prevent-violence/
  • Research assistant, published in Halim Rane, Jacqueline Ewart and John Martinkus, Media Framing of the Muslim World: Conflicts, Crises and Contexts, Melbourne: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
  • Editor, Asian Girl Campaign Action Kit, Taipei: The Garden of Hope Foundation, 2013.
  • “Factsheet: Child Labour”, Asian Girl Campaign Action Kit, Taipei: The Garden of Hope Foundation, 2013.
  • “Factsheet: Early Childhood Marriage”, Asian Girl Campaign Action Kit, Taipei: The Garden of Hope Foundation, 2013.
  • “Factsheet: Education Rights”, Asian Girl Campaign Action Kit, Taipei: The Garden of Hope Foundation Taiwan, 2013.

Expert /advisor for

  • Queensland Women’s Strategy 2016-2019, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Office for Women.
  • Queensland Violence Against Women Prevention Plan 2016-2022, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Office for Women
  • Queensland Council of Social Service, Emerging Voice 2016-2017.
  • Royal Commonwealth Society, Associate Fellow.
  • LGBTIQ intimate partner violence and gender-based violence advisor, MATE, Griffith University.
  • “Women paid a third less than men on the Northern Rivers”, The Northern Star, 25th May 2015.
  • “Expert: society devalues women”, The Chronicle, 25th May 2015.
  • “Same job, but Tweed men paid $15,000 more”, Tweed Daily News, 25th May 2015.
  • River 94.9 Radio Station, Gender Pay Gap, 26th May 2015.