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Two Australian Female CEOs Making a Global Cultural Impact

September 4, 2020 Business News No Comments Email Email

Two Australian businesswomen are partnering to export live conversations with internationally recognised speakers to a global audience. Claire Lehmann, CEO of the digital magazine Quillette, and Suzi Jamil, CEO of touring company Think Inc., have entitled their pilot event series Free Thought Live and have locked in speakers from September 2020 to the end of the year.

International markets can bring attractive opportunities to businesses that are able to innovate and adapt to changing environments. Two such businesses include Think Inc. and Quillette—two companies which have responded to the challenges posed by COVID-19 by partnering and thinking creatively about new opportunities.

Think Inc.

Founded in 2014, Think Inc. is Australia’s leading touring company, specialising

in conceiving and staging live public events that present and promote ideas. It has toured the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Cornel West, and more recently Jane Goodall and Jonathan Haidt.

Think Inc. has successfully organised over 86 events across 10 capital cities with world-class speakers and reached audiences of approximately 150,000 across Australia and New Zealand. Jamil describes Think Inc.’s mission as “a contribution to the cultural fabric of Australia, promoting the discussion of big ideas that can have substantial influence and impact.” 

In response to COVID-19, CEO Suzi Jamil pivoted to hosting online events featuring authors such as David Frum and scientists such as Harvard’s David Sinclair. Using an innovative model where audience members are able to interact with speakers in Q&A sessions, Jamil was able to continue to engage with the audience base she had built up over six years while providing them with much-needed respite and a sense of community during the coronavirus lockdown period.


Quillette is an influential online magazine with over 2.5 million page views monthly. The Quillette podcast, similarly, also has a wide reach averaging 30,000 downloads per episode.

Founded in 2015 by Claire Lehmann, Quillette has become known for being a platform for rigorous ideas and long-form commentary that sit outside of the mainstream. Using a reader donation model, Quillette has a team of five editors and four support staff, with a network of hundreds of writers globally. Lehmann describes Quillette as, “A hybrid between an academic journal and a magazine for a general audience.”

Fifty percent of Quillette’s readers are based in the US, followed by Canada (10 percent), the UK (10 percent), Australia (four percent), and the rest from Europe and the world. Contributors to Quillette have included such figures as the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker and behavioural economist Cass Sunstein, European authors such as Pascal Bruckner, and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

Free Thought Live

Jamil and Lehmann hope that Free Thought Live will be a refreshing change from the partisan shouting matches that have become all too familiar in our online environments.

While both founders share something important in common—their gender—they also share a similar mission in wanting to bring fair-minded conversations about challenging topics to the world.

Think Inc. has been at the forefront of the deep and meaningful development of idea generation in Australia and New Zealand over the past seven years. Similarly, Quillette has exported nuanced longform commentary from Australia’s shores since 2015.

A clear vision based on values provide the basis not only for each company’s success, but for their new event series Free Thought Live.

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