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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-facing agencies.

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 affairs, defence, immigration and policing.

Project Duration: 2017 -2020

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

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 which creates good designs for good causes. Using a feminist approach to design, the Social Good Outpost works with 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

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 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, and minority community inclusion.

Awards & Recognition

Elevate+ Social Entrepreneur 2018

Community Award 2016

University Medal 2016

Young Achiever of the Year Finalist 2015

Australian Representative 2018

Politics, Asian Studies & International Relations Medal 2014

Shanghai Regional Finalist 2015

New Colombo Plan Scholar 2014

Associate Fellow 2015

Role Model of the Year Finalist 2015

Publications & Appearances

Written by Elise

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

We are very proud to be a part of Give OUT Day Australia.

Our fundraising page is to support the second-stage development of an LGBTIQ+ medical education resource for Australian medical students.

Why give this #giveOUTday? Almost 50% of #LGBTIQ+ groups registered with ACNC have an annual budget of less than $10,000. We need to push more funding to these groups so they can continue their work on improving the lives of LGBTIQ+ people »

Congratulating Major General Cheryl Pearce on her appointment as Force Commander of UN Forces in Cyprus UNFICYP - only the second woman to ever head a UN PKO. Great to see another Australian making a major contribution in a key senior UN position.

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Written about Elise

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

Using creativity to make the world a safer place for women

How design can help domestic violence service providers. You might know a lot about Lara Stephenson & my work with the Social Good Outpost and how most of our clients recently have been in the domestic violence service provision space. It's no coincidence - my...

School workshops on the future of work

Ground Chai is a social enterprise that lets cafe consumers contribute to Australian youth's work and life readiness, in the age of globalisation, automation, and work transformation. Think: commercial sales of amazing chai funding workshops for rural and regional...

New research publication on women and leadership

Research from my time in Hong Kong on the New Colombo Plan has just been published in the Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity, in their Special Issue on Gender, Culture & Narrative. Often at the vanguard of equal employment opportunity (‘EEO’)...