Brisbane, Australia

Jennifer Witheriff


International WaterCentre


Jennifer is Director/Co-owner of GJR Consulting, an Australian company specialising in organisational and leadership development, executive coaching, training and facilitation. She held various leadership roles in government before starting her private business. Her decades of experience in leadership development and coaching have equipped her with the knowledge and confidence to work with leaders at all levels. She offers deep insights about complex dynamics and is genuinely involved in supporting leaders to transform. Her areas of interest include adaptive leadership, influencing styles and change.

Jennifer had the opportunity of working with a great team on the largest leadership development and cultural change program in the health care sector in Australia. This successful award winning program has made a significant difference to the business performance and clinical outcomes at Queensland Health.

Jennifer has worked with CEOs, executives, senior managers, and emerging leaders in government and in entrepreneurial firms to grow their leadership. She is particularly interested in women’s leadership development. She was awarded the the UQ Vice Chancellor Award for Excellence for the delivery of the highly successful The University of Queensland Career Progression for Women program. She is certified in the administration and interpretation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, R2 Strengths and a range of feedback tools. She is a highly regarded executive and career coach. She has recently returned from JF Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University where she undertook an intensive program for leadership Development facilitators entitled “The Art and Practice of Leadership Development”

Recent clients include UQ International Development ,UQ Executive Education, UQ Business School, Princess Alexander Hospital Intensive Care Unit, Ontex, Australia, Big 4 Holiday Parks, Bond University, Women In Leadership Australia.

Jennifer’s areas of interest include:

  • adaptive leadership
  • influencing styles
  • change.
  • MBA, University of Southern Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma, Occupational Health and Safety, QUT
  • The Art and Practice of Leadership Development, Harvard University
  • Co-lead on the Australia Awards Short Course, ‘Women in Executive Leadership Development Program’. This is the first time the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) delivered the course for Bhutanese civil service executives. The course was aimed at strengthening and promoting leadership capabilities of executives to enable them to initiate changes to working environments, which would in turn support women to undertake executive leadership roles at local and central government levels.
  • Co-lead on the Australia Awards South and West Asia Women in Executive Leadership Development Program – Sri Lanka and Pakistan 2019. Component 1 and 2 completed in Australia and Component 3 was undertaken in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The course was aimed at building the capacity of emerging Sri Lankan female leaders to make informed choices about leadership styles and approaches appropriate to their individual contexts. The outcome of the program has been to increase the participant’s confidence in their leadership abilities. The The short course also focused on several other leadership themes, such as women leading in adaptive environments, developing personal leadership capabilities, peer coaching and mentoring, development of team and organisational leadership capabilities, promoting inclusion and diversity, and strategic leadership and innovation.
  • Designed and facilitated “Women in Research Leadership Program” for UQ Executive Education (2014). Participants were senior national and international academic research leaders. The program involved learning partnerships, helping participants develop clear leadership goals, executive coaching and a four-day intensive workshop. The program evaluation indicated high levels of effectiveness in the development of applied and demonstrated leadership skills.
  • Designed and facilitated the “Career Progression for Women Program (CPW) and the Career Advancement for Senior Academic Women Program (CASAW ) The programs are designed to retain and assist talented high value academic women at Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor level pursue their career development within UQ. The programs address the unique leadership and career advancement challenges faced by women as they progress as academic leaders to professorial level. Each program is conducted over 8 months and includes interactive workshops (residential workshop for CASAW), expert panels, and sponsorship by senor leaders, peer coaching and the development of an individual career strategy. Evaluations of CPW have shown that 40% of participants have been promoted to Associate Professor and CASAW evaluations have demonstrated that 46% of participants have been promoted to Professor. Promotion rates are an important KPI however the real organisational impact is the successful retention of high value employees.
  • Co designed and facilitated an evidence based a “Compassion Café” for ICU Nurses from PAH. Compassion fatigue poses risks to patient safety, the organisation (sick leave and attrition) and to staff mental health. The workshops were attended by over 150 ICU nurses and focused on issues within the workplace – culture of the team and connections with patients and families and outside the workplace – life experiences and factors in home and social life. After attending the session 93% of staff reported the Compassion Café session was Helpful or Very Helpful. The research was published in the journal of advanced Nursing- “Compassion Café for Princess Alexander Hospital ICU (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jan.13064/abstract) and the initiative received a Health Round Table 2016 Innovation Award.
  • Coaching and 360 debriefing for UQ Business School MBA students. Mentor for under and post graduate students at UQ Faculty of Business, Economic and Law
  • Conducted Innovation Workshops using the Stanford University Design School methodology for the Institute of Social Science Research. The outputs of the workshop were 3 innovations, AirBNB for the short term homeless, School lounge café for parents and cares of children to improve school attendance rates, Research Portal for Early Career Academics in social science research.
  • Undertaken organisational review, strategy and structure enhancement for the Division of Health Safety and Wellness resulting new in a new strategic direction and organisational structure.
  • Senior Leadership Development Program, Faculty of Health Science and Medicine, Bond University. This is a 4 mths program designed to improve the leadership capabilities of existing and potential senior leaders in the Faculty of Health Sciences & Medicine. The program elements include Workshops, Executive Coaching, and leadership assessments

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