Enhancing the quality of life for all Queensland communities


Leigh Cunningham

Chief Executive Officer


Leigh Cunningham is a lawyer with a career as a senior executive for a number of public companies in Australia and global companies headquartered in Singapore where she lived for 12 years. 

Prior to returning to Australia to take up her current position as CEO for IPWEAQ, Leigh was the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Association of Independent Authors and previously, Director Finance & Operations, Asia for Worldtrade Management Services (a business unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers). 

Leigh has 24 years’ experience in membership organisations including as the CEO for the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators, Australia and concurrently as the Secretary-General for the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, and as the Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Project Management.

Leigh has three master’s degrees in law, commerce and an MBA where she graduated ‘Top Student’. She is also the author of four multi award-winning books.

CEO's Report
March 2018

Our annual President’s Breakfast was held 9 March 2018 at the appropriately named, Captain’s Room at The Pavilion, Allan Border Field in Brisbane. The President’s Breakfast is an opportunity for us to thank our Partners and sponsors for their continued support and contribution to our many successes together with invited guests.

At last year’s President’s Breakfast, we enjoyed a presentation from the 2015 Engineer of the Year, Andrew Ryan and to establish a new IPWEAQ tradition, Mike Brady, General Manager, Infrastructure Services at Toowoomba Regional Council and our 2017 Engineer of the Year delivered a presentation, Rich Traditions Bold Ambitions on the many changes he has seen in his thirty plus years in the sector.

We also enjoyed a keynote presentation from Dr Rob Fearon, our Director, Innovation Partnerships at qldwater. Rob presented the results of research undertaken by qldwater on the state of our in-ground assets and whether or not we are now on the edge of an infrastructure cliff.

Both Rob and Mike’s presentations are available in the Knowledge Centre in the ‘Other Events & Occasions’ community. If you have not yet had an opportunity to visit the Knowledge Centre, please be sure to do so, and contact our Information Resources Manager, Mark Lamont if you have any queries.

If you attended the 2017 annual IPWEAQ conference in Townsville, you can access the podcasts of all 42 presentations including the Futures Challenge, Great Debate, keynotes and plenary sessions and 30 papers across 12 streams by visiting the ‘Conferences’ community. If you were unable to attend the conference, you can still access the audios and presentations by subscribing to the conference proceedings (podcasts).

As many of you are aware, each IPWEAQ President nominates a charity for us to support during their term. Seren has chosen MS Queensland. Natalie Walsh, the Community Engagement Manager from MS Queensland (MSQ) joined us at the President’s Breakfast to share her story about life with MS. Of surprise to most of us was the fact that many young people with MS are living in nursing homes as there are limited facilities available to assist them.

Over the next two years, it is our goal to raise at least $12,000 for MS Queensland. Aside from the usual raffles at our branch conferences, there will be an opportunity this year for members, their families and friends to participate in IPWEAQ-sponsored swimathons in Rockhampton and Cairns, and a bike ride and moonlight walk in Brisbane. If you are interested in participating, please fill in the form on our website.

I’d like to welcome two new members to the IPWEAQ team: Belinda Smith, Director, Marketing & Communications and Paula Paul, Director Events & Marketing. These are essentially two new roles with a marketing focus to respond to our changing needs and strategic direction for the next three years. Carlie Sargent takes on a role with our water directorate as Project Coordinator – Skills (replacing Michelle Hill).

I’d also like to thank our branch committee members who took a day out of their busy lives to travel to Brisbane to join the IPWEAQ Board and staff for a strategic planning day on 8 February. There was a high level of positivity, sharing of thoughts and ideas, and clear vision for the future. There are exciting times ahead for IPWEAQ and we look forward to having you with us for this journey.

Leigh Cunningham

Chief Executive Officer