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Congratulations to Kira McGrath, Woman Leader in STEM scholarship winner - 16 August 2023


Chemistry Australia is pleased to announce Kira McGrath, Manager – Manufacturing Technology at Orica Australia, as the recipient of the 2023 Chemistry Australia Chief Executive Women (CEW) Woman Leader in STEM Scholarship.

As the most senior woman in continuous manufacturing within her organisation, Kira is an inspiring woman leader who actively supports other women in her workplace.  Kira has extensive experience with ammonia, nitric acid and ammonium nitrate manufacturing processes specific to Orica’s Kooragang Island manufacturing facility.

Kira has worked for Orica since graduating from The University of Newcastle as a Chemical Engineer in 2008 and has a breadth of knowledge in the manufacturing sector in process engineering, process safety, continuous improvement/lean manufacturing, and management roles.

Kira is a mother of four young children and is passionate about transforming manufacturing to a more sustainable future.

As the winner of the Woman Leader in STEM Scholarship, Kira will travel to the United Kingdom to attend the Women Transforming Leadership Program at Oxford University.

The scholarship will give Kira the opportunity to further her passion for building a more equitable future for women in STEM at all levels of an organisation through avocation, mentoring and sponsorship.

Kira McGrath said she is extremely excited and humbled to be awarded the opportunity to participate in the scholarship program.

“I’m still pinching myself!” said Ms McGrath.

“Taking part in the Women Transforming Leadership programme at Oxford’s Saïd Business School will help me develop and strengthen my leadership skills while broadening my network internationally across sectors with successful and driven women.”

“Once I return, I plan to build on the experience and forge a stronger presence of female leaders in Manufacturing.”

The Woman Leader in STEM Scholarship is an initiative of the Chemistry Australia Board, and funded by its Board member companies, to promote the development of female leaders in the chemistry industry.

Partnering with Chief Executive Women on the Woman Leader in STEM Scholarship is a recent measure of the Chemistry Australia Board to advance the careers of women, foster diversity, and sponsor rising talent in the industry.

The scholarship program complements its Emerging Leaders Advisory Council, which was established in late 2021 to advise the Board on future strategic opportunities, risks, and initiatives to support the growth and future sustainability of the industry.

Chemistry Australia CEO Samantha Read said the scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for Kira to develop her leadership skills and build important networks with other women leaders.

“With her commitment to driving diversity and creating opportunities for other young women, Kira is a commendable recipient of the Chemistry Australia CEW Woman Leader in STEM scholarship,” said Ms Read.

“Kira really impressed with her energy and resolve to create a path for other women to follow into manufacturing.”

“Kira is well-placed to take the learnings from her participation in the Women Transforming Leadership programme at Oxford back into the workplace, and we hope her achievements inspire other women to seek new opportunities in STEM and the Australian chemistry industry.

“We very much look forward to hearing from Kira about her experiences once she returns from Oxford University.”


Media contacts:

Shayna Welsh – [email protected] or 0448 660 443 

Chemistry Australia is the pre-eminent national body representing the Australian chemistry industry, one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the country. The industry supports more than 212,000 full time jobs and contributes more than $38 billion to Australia’s GDP. Members of Chemistry Australia are positioned across the entire value chain including manufacturers, importers and distributors, logistics and supply chain partners, raw material suppliers, fabricators, compounders, research, academia and service providers to the industry. These businesses range from small family-owned companies to leading national and multinational enterprises.


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