Rising Women

Many organisations have a commitment to empowering gender diversity and

Maybe yours does too?

We’re ready to rise

Yet the experience for many women is often one of being overlooked,
not being heard, and not stepping into leadership roles.

Women in large numbers feel frustrated and resigned that this will not change. At the same time, organisations are missing out on the huge contribution women make when their voices and leadership are elevated, amplified and invested in.

"Today there are fewer women in the pipeline to fill executive roles than in 2019. Without effective, immediate interventions, the loss of future leadership talent poses a long-term risk for organisations and for the economy as a whole.”
IBM Women in Leadership Study, 2021

Having more women in leadership roles is good for women – and good for business. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency study commissioned by the Australian Government in 2020, found that companies who increase the number of women in key leadership positions by 10 per cent or more, increase a company's market value by 6.6 per cent or an average $105 million.’

Yet organisations are not as successful as they’d like to be in keeping and empowering the leadership of women. This is costly for business and frustrating for women.

For business to remain relevant, attractive, and profitable, it is essential for women to be empowered to lead.

This is why Rising Women was developed.

Ready To Rise? We're Ready

Women don’t need to be fixed to be able to lead.
They do need to lead and express their power,
and do so in a new way.

Old expectations of leadership still prevail, even though they are based on outdated 20th century ideas. Head of Diversity at Netflix Michelle King calls this type of leader the ‘success prototype” - leaders looking, sounding and working the same way. This paradigm severely limits who gets to lead – and how. Organisations that carry this tired leadership mindset into today risks longevity, relevance and regard.

In today’s world, with the challenges and vast change upon us, we need a more adaptive, inclusive and aware leadership approach.

Rising Women is an online learning experience to achieve this.

Created and delivered by Cathy Burke, the Rising Women program gives women: Tools to increase their impact, Guidance to design their leadership vision, Community to help them succeed, and a Framework that recognises structural inequality whilst unleashing powerful and profound leadership.

Rising Women supports organisations to move

Women disempowered and resigned
Empowered and seeing possibility
Women leaving (or seriously thinking about it)
Women staying with increased engagement
You want more women to lead, but they are hesitant to take on expanded roles
New vitality and confidence to step into more senior roles
Know the old structures aren’t working
Collaboration to design and implement new ways of working
Limiting paradigm of who gets to lead
Trailblazing inclusive and dynamic 21st Century leadership
Exhausted and burned-out workforce
Women replenished with increased space to think, open to more possibilities
Reactive and defensive team
Women equipped with tools to respond ‘above the line’
Old school leadership styles rewarded, reinforcing dominant hierarchical patterns that encourage complicity, silos, rigidity, stagnation, irrelevancy.
Elevated leadership with empowered women bringing their innate leadership skills forward is essential to every organisation’s continued relevance and success.

Rising Women supports women to move

Hiding and hesitancy
Being seen
Second guessing
Courage of their convictions
Running low
Filled up
No bandwidth and frazzled
Inner space and calm
Unclear on the way forward
Clarity of purpose and a pathway
A clear vision and plan of action
Isolated and defensive
In a community who gets you and supports you
Wondering if this is it
Create deeper meaning that answers the call of your own heart

“Rising champions talent, challenges assumptions and expands potential in organisations. In today's war on talent, particularly in mid-senior management - nothing retains women more than opportunities like Rising. Speaking from personal experience, Rising guides you through challenges and encourages meaningful growth.”

Angela Walsh, Talent and Inclusion, Beam Australia

Ready To Rise? We're Ready

Why Rising Women?

Rising Women is for organisations who:

  • Are committed to nurturing the talent and ability of women
  • Want women to step forward
  • Need to unlock the leadership potential they already have
  • Want to increase the pipeline for women leaders
  • Want to keep the amazing women they have
  • Know their team needs development opportunities both for new skills and growth
  • Understand the value that connecting and networking with other women offers

Rising Women will:

  • Provide tools to lead in a new way that is nourishing, practical and transformational
  • Build confidence and lessen fear
  • Give women clarity on their career
  • Provide an actionable roadmap
  • Support ideation and implementation for initiatives they choose
    Build resilience and capacity
  • Offer inspiration and tactical support
  • Connect women with other interesting, ambitious women, forging community and collaboration
  • Understand the value that connecting and networking with other women offers

“Rising has been an absolute game-changer for the way I lead and the challenges I take on. I now put myself forward for opportunities I would have waited another few years to even consider. In doing so, I have accomplished and excelled at the task at hand. I learned it wasn’t a lack of the technical skills, but rather it was leadership skills I was missing, which through working with Cathy in Rising I now have.”

Georgina Davies

Rising Women is for women who:

  • Want to make a bigger impact
  • Feel stuck sometimes, or get in their way
  • Have a mix of limiting beliefs and ambition
  • Know they have more to offer
  • Are already making headway, but want to go to new heights
  • Want to lead in a new way that doesn’t end up in frustration or burnout

Women can expect to:

  • Get in touch with their deeper vision and purpose, and bring it to life
  • Lead in a way that is calmer and easeful – and allows them to be more effective
  • Find and remove the barriers and mindsets that stop them from playing a bigger game
  • Take bold action
  • Kick goals, fail fast, be challenged, and experience the immense satisfaction of stepping into the world as its equal
  • Discover that they are enough – just as they are!

The Rising Women Program

Rising Women is an online learning program, delivered over 4-12 months.

Rising Women is grounded in real world experience. It breaks old ideas on what leadership looks like, and empowers women to design and step into their own leadership abilities. One of the most common results from the program that women share is a sense of spaciousness and calm. Women have a chance to think about what’s important. They work out how they can best lead. And they make their impact.

Rising Women is a proven and practical pathway for women to rise and fulfil their potential. It is based on the 9 Steps Cathy Burke observed in her work at The Hunger Project, and wrote about in her book Unlikely Leaders: Lessons in Leadership from the Village Classroom.

9 Steps Leadership Matrix

These 9 steps have been successfully adapted for women in organisations worldwide. Which makes sense. At the core of this approach is a fundamental belief in the leadership women do bring when empowered – despite the circumstances.


The Essentials for Leadership


Learn The Mindset Process™. Identify and change limiting mindsets. Uncover universal mindsets that hold people back, and what to do about them. Create a Leader’s Mindset™.


Be present when things are difficult and challenging. Develop skills for self awareness and self management. Remain open, responsive and at choice – no matter what is happening around you.


Create a compelling vision for your own leadership. Get clarity about what’s important to you and why. Create the roadmap.


From Ideation to Action


Responsibility as a source of power. Owning what it takes to make something happen. Redefine accountability.


Key to expanding your impact and making real change. Influence. Start a movement. Banish the lone wolf.


Audit your environment. Safeguard the space for people to show up as powerfully as possible. Identify systems/ways of doing that are invisible, but hold disabling structures in place.


Tangible and Transferable


Reframe setbacks and challenges so you are not derailed. Be empowered to keep going. Know the difference between resilience and coping.


Learn and apply the science and mindset of success.


Legacy – impact and influence that lives beyond you. This leadership principle isn’t for when you’ve ‘made it’. It is a mindset of reciprocity that has an effect far beyond your personal reach.

Rising Women is a combination of zoom classrooms, videos, coaching and workbooks.

Rising Women consists of:

  • Pre course questionnaire to benchmark where people are starting from
  • Ten two-hour online workshops and training, bespoke design and delivered by Cathy Burke
  • Additional support videos by Cathy
  • Reading materials
  • Signed copy of Cathy Burke’s books: Unlikely Leaders: Lessons In Leadership From The Village Classroom, and Lead In: Mindsets to Lead, Live and Work Differently

There is also an opportunity to include 3 x one on one coaching sessions with Cathy at a reduced rate from her normal coaching program.

“As a woman CEO in tech, Rising has been transformational for me. It’s about leadership and the way you do business and life – but it’s so much more. It’s changed the way I think, the way I view the world, and what I see is possible.”

Janelle King, CEO, Omnium Technology

“Cathy has an ability to role model and inspire diversity and inclusion, while also earning the trust of everyone she works with. The impact that Cathy has had to my team is significant, both on a personal and professional level.”

Joris Heeze, Director, Google

“What I learned from Cathy motivated me to create programs for women which this year were recognized as “diversity initiative of the year” by Women in IT. “

Trina Limpert, President, Women@eBay

Ready To Rise? We're Ready

What the Research Indicates:

More than one in four women are contemplating what many would have considered unthinkable just six months ago: downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely.

Women in the Workplace study, McKinsey & Co, 2020

Gender inclusive organisations that prioritise the advancement of women report revenue growth as much as 61% higher than other organisations.

IBM Women in Leadership Study, 2021

While the percentage of women tends to decrease as they climb the corporate ladder, the single largest drop-off occurs at the transition from individual contributor to manager. This vital choke point winnows young women from the leadership pipeline at just the time they should be poised to elevate their careers.

Research by The Conference Board and Korn Ferry, 2019

75% of organizations rated their leadership development programs as not very effective. This is because most overlook a specific attribute that is foundational to how leaders think, learn, and behave: their mindsets.

Prof Gottfredson and Asst. Prof Reina, Science Direct Journal, 2020

Companies in the top 25% for gender diversity are 15% more likely to perform better financially than their national industry medians.

McKinsey Insights, 2015

“Cathy was instrumental in challenging the team to look at things differently, create a unique leadership angle, and reach for every inch of potential.”

Tania Austin, Owner/CEO, Decjuba

What participants of Rising say:

Rising Women gave me the confidence to challenge my assumptions around why things are the way they are, and plot a meaningful path to improvement. Rising Women shows the pathway to foster meaningful collaboration and cooperation with others, which, in an organisational setting, is more important than ever.

Fiona Boyd, Co-Founder and CEO EdSmart

I now have a simple yet powerful frame to be in daily action at every level of my business and personal life. It has enabled me to push past resignation and cynicism and to stay inspired in difficult times.

Kaama Joy, Founder and CEO, The Social Producers

Rising Women has helped me move through my self imposed limitations, and clarified my thinking, direction and goals.

Scarlett Lewis, Founder and Chief Movement Officer, Choose Love Movement

Cathy’s leadership process, even though she was the CEO of the Hunger Project Australia for 20 years, was a stark contrast to what I was hearing in corporate and just what I needed.

Lee-Anne Carson

Rising Women has opened my way of thinking in completely new ways. I’ve unpacked mindsets that have held me back, I’ve gotten clear about the impact I will make in the next 10 years, and I feel more at ease.

Kylea Tink MP, Member to the House of Representatives for North Sydney

Rising Women teaches how to remove self-limiting beliefs and obstacles; clarify what could be achieved by thinking big, so as to move forward with purpose.

Kathy Johnson, Executive Director, Yarraport

Rising Women is not about an ego-driven leadership, but about leadership that allows each of us to openly see what is possible – and do it together, not alone.

Mandy Hogan, Director, Hogan Health Consulting

My imposter syndrome and old patterns of pleasing others have gone. The speed at which this change in me has come about is due to the tools Cathy gives us, and the way she transforms how we look at things.

Claire Robilliard

About Cathy

Cathy works fearlessly to unleash the courage and brilliance of women. She is passionate about women claiming their place and space to make their maximum impact in whatever arena they choose.

Cathy is a globally recognised facilitator of human development and women’s leadership.

For 20 years she was the CEO for The Hunger Project Australia, and then Global Vice President, working to end hunger across South Asia and Africa.

Cathy was an integral member of a visionary team who developed leadership at scale in villages all over the world. Through her work, millions of the worlds poorest women stepped into their leadership, and were able to feed themselves and their families.

Understanding the blockers to women rising, and learning the tools to transform them, is what gives Cathy Burke her edge. Rising Women is forged in her decades long global activism for women, and her own personal journey of rising.

Cathy now works with organisations and leaders around the world to support, empower and activate the leadership of women.

Some of the partners & clients
Cathy has worked with