Female Founder Festival


University of Newcastle, Q Building
31 August, 2023

Turn your passion into your profession!

The Accelerator for Enterprising Women x lady-brains are here to help you take your business idea to the next level.

The Newcastle Female Founder Festival is the best place to start with that great idea you’ve got → Crush your doubts and transform your business idea into a thriving venture with our expert guidance and support.

  • Networking opportunities with experts and peers
  • Exclusive workshops with the founder and host of top-rated podcast, lady-brains
  • Insider tips for Kickstarter Challenge and a chance to meet scouts on the lookout for winning ideas
  • Valued at $250 per ticket, this event is FREE – book your ticket today!


Hosted by Caitlin Judd

Caitlin is the co-founder of lady-brains, a platform dedicated to helping early-stage founders and their businesses grow, so they can live more fulfilling, meaningful and sustainable lives.

She also hosts the lady-brains podcast: one of the Australia’s top-rated entrepreneurial podcasts. Known for getting the story behind the story, Caitlin helps to bridge the gap between entrepreneurial listeners and incredible global founders (founders like MECCA’s Jo Horgan and author extraordinaire Cleo Wade).

As a brand coach and strategist, Caitlin has over 10+ years experience in the leadership, community, wellbeing and positive psychology space. She’s helped to build multimillion-dollar businesses across Australia, US, Canada, Singapore and Europe.

Sandy Chong

Sandy Chong
CEO of the Australian Hairdressing Council

Sandy Chong is a key influence in the hairdressing industry. Currently she is the CEO/Director of the Australian Hairdressing Council (AHC) and Member of the Council Of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA).

She speaks to Government on behalf of the industry, creating relationships to support an industry that is often overlooked.

Her role at the AHC has established better business practices, training and education and building sustainable careers for the future of the industry.

Sandy’s vision is to create an industry that has the highest possible standards in ethics, technical ability and workplace practices.

Abby Herrick
Founder and Creator of Pleasure & Peach

Abby is a qualified sex educator, mum of two, and the owner of Pleasure & Peach.

In 2016, Abby graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology with a focus in Sexology.

Ever since, she’s been working to provide women and non-binary vulva owners with valuable resources, body-safe pleasure products, and evidence-based education to live a more confident and fulfilling sex life.

No shame. No stigma.

Pleasure & Peach offers a carefully curated online store, educational workshops and clinical partnerships.

Jo Thomas headshot

Jo Thomas
Co-Founder and Managing Director of Buds & Beads 

With a strong background in business management, marketing and communications, Jo Thomas has over 25 years of experience in the growth and development of some of Australia’s key brands including Destination Hunter Valley, Reflections Holiday Parks, Golden Door and Thomas Wines.

Now, as Co-Founder and Managing Director of her own business, Buds & Beads Sparkling & Leaf Tea, Jo thrives in environments that are innovative, challenging and supports an enthusiastic and energetic culture. She is also a Director on the Board of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association and Chairs the Wine Marketing Forum sub-committee.

Wordpress FFF Headshots

Kim Burbridge
Co-Founder and Designer at Burbridge and Burke

Kim turned her passion for all things design and interiors into a colourful lifestyle store, opening the doors to Burbridge and Burke in early 2019.

Burbridge and Burke is about offering an alternative to fast fashion homewares trends and instead building a thoughtful and unique home, filled with pieces you love that will stand the test of time. Alongside her own work, Kim has sourced the work of over 100 independent Australian brands, artists and designers to stock in the store.

Along with her wife/business partner Claire, Kim runs a second business, Major Laser, a bespoke laser cutting service business.

Believing strongly in the power of collaboration and sharing knowledge, Kim is also a Board Director of Business Port Stephens.

Event Program

Arrival and registration

Arrive nice and early, check in and get your free professional headshot and refuel before the event kicks off.


Welcome and opening

Caitlin Judd, co-founder of  lady-brains, will welcome you to the Female Founder Festival. Hear about her path to becoming the host of one of Australia’s top-rated podcasts and what being an entrepreneur means to her.


Workshop #1

Caitlin Judd shares her coaching experience to help you discover your strengths and how to play to them as you start your own business.


Short Break

Take a break, network some more and grab a drink to freshen up before our next session begins. 


Panel Discussion

Caitlin will facilitate a panel discussion with leading female-founders. Listen to each of them speak about the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur. Get your questions ready for the panel as we move into the Q&A section of the Festival.


Networking and supper

Enjoy a light supper and warm drink while you connect with like-minded women and industry leaders.


Workshop #2

Betsy Westcott, Founder of the Inner Money Journey, Personal Finance Commentator, and Consultant, will share her insights into how to improve your financial wellbeing.



After a group photo, we will highlight further opportunities for involvement in the Accelerator for Enterprising Women program including how you can get the upper hand with your Kickstarter Challenge submission.


Event Videos

Couldn’t make it to one of the Accelerator for Enterprising Women Female Founder Festivals? Fear not…we’ve got you covered! Catch up on all the amazing advice, tips and entrepreneurial expertise from our guest panel by watching the event videos On Demand.