Kirstin Ferguson

Champion of emotionally intelligent leadership.


Ranked in 2023. 


Recipient of the Thinkers50 2023 Leadership Award. 


Shortlisted for the 2021 Thinkers50 Leadership Award. 


Leadership, Kirstin asserts, is simply a series of moments, and every moment gives us the opportunity to leave a positive legacy for those we lead. The concept of modern leadership, she explains, is broader than simply thinking about our formal authority or positions of power: modern leaders can lead with their head and their heart, and integrate the leader they are at home or in their community with their leadership at work. The art of modern leadership is knowing what balance of head and heart attributes are needed, and when. In her 2023 book, Head & Heart, Kirstin outlines the eight key attributes of a head and heart leader and provides the tools for leaders to measure their approach.


An Australian company director, leadership expert, and executive coach, Kirstin began her career as an Air Force Officer. She went on to become a lawyer and CEO of a successful global business. In 2014, Kirstin was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence. In 2017, she created the #CelebratingWomen campaign, which led to spin-off campaigns around the world. In 2018, Kirstin was appointed acting chair and deputy chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). She is an adjunct professor at the QUT Business School and a Sir Winston Churchill Fellow. In 2023, Kirstin was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day honours list.


Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership (Berrett-Koehler, 2023) – as featured on the Thinkers50 2023 Best New Management Booklist; Women Kind: Unlocking the Power of Women Supporting Women (with Catherine Fox, Murdoch Books, 2018) – awarded best Management and HR Book of the Year in the 2019 Australian Book Awards. Regular columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age; contributor to the Australian Financial Review.


Media picks


“Head & Heart is the indispensable companion for every leader.”

Hubert Joly, former CEO Best Buy; author of The Heart of Business

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