Deborah Thomas

Iconic magazine executive, former editor of The Australian Women's Weekly

Deborah Thomas is one of Australia's most successful, most respected and most experienced magazine editors. She was at the helm of The Australian Women's Weekly, the iconic magazine that boasts the highest readership in Australian publishing and, per capita, in the world, for almost a decade before moving to a corporate role within ACP Magazines (the magazine arm of the Nine entertainment Company NEC), now Bauer Media.

In her initial role as Director of Media, Public Affairs and Brand Development, Deborah was responsible for media, corporate affairs, trade marketing, the events business and PR as well as advertising relationships, sponsored initiatives and the creation and development of new revenue streams for the company.

She has since been promoted to editorial and media director women's magazines and custom publishing. In this role Deborah liaises with the CEO and editors of all the women's titles to strive for editorial excellence. She also manages in-house titles for Myer, Qantas, Westfield, Cathay Pacific and others.

Deborah is the corporate face of the company, hosting many of the magazines' events for the industry and general public, and speaking on behalf of the company, as well as representing Bauer on a number of boards including the joint venture between Bauer Media and the Bangkok Post, PostACP, which publishes CLEO, the biggest selling magazine in Thailand.

A regular on radio and television, Deborah is an entertaining and informative media commentator and a sought-after speaker on many topics, including marketing to women, balancing work and family, and, of course, the Australian publishing and advertising industry.

More about Deborah Thomas:

Deborah moved into publishing in 1987 following a full-time modelling career in Europe and experience working in television production and advertising. She held successful appointments with Cleo, Mode and Elle prior to being appointed editor of The Australian Women's Weekly by Kerry Packer in 1999. In July 2001, the magazine announced its first circulation increase in four years. In 2002, it scooped the pool at the Magazine Publisher's of Australia Awards (the magazine equivalent of the Oscars). The awards included Magazine of the Year 2002, General Excellence (News and General Interest), as well as two advertising awards. Deborah received the highest accolade, Editor of the Year.

In March 2004, Deborah was appointed Editor-in-Chief of The Australian Women's Weekly magazine and the Australian Women's Weekly books division and one year later was promoted to Editorial Director responsible for all aspects of this iconic brand.

In 2012 Deborah was elected to local government as a councillor for Woollahra Municipal Council. She is also deputy chair of the National Library of Australia, a non-executive director of Ardent Leisure (ASX200), a member of the ANZAC Centenary Advisory Board and a founding patron of the Taronga Conservation Foundation. She is also a director of charity Youth Off The Streets.

For three years she was a member of the Walkley Foundation Advisory Board, the caretakers of the most prestigious awards in news journalism.

Deborah Thomas is one of the most highly respected magazine executives in Australia.

Deborah Thomas talks about:

  • Her extraordinary life
  • Women's issues
  • The media
  • Marketing to women
  • Older mothers
  • Juggling a career with motherhood

Client testimonials

Deborah Thomas is a compelling and inspirational speaker. Her life's story is a fascinating one - from modelling high fashion to climbing to the top of Australia's publishing world. Deborah speaks with insight into life's challenges and peppers her commanding presentation with plenty of good humour. I hear many speakers, but few as entertaining and interesting as Deborah.

Malcolm Turnbull, Federal Minister for Environment and Water Resources (now Shadow Treasurer).

Deborah’s talk “It Girls, from Kiki to Paris”, was most engaging, and reflected a great deal of thought and preparation. Your warm, chatty style really suited the format for Art After Hours.

Art Gallery of NSW

Deborah Thomas has that rare ability to engage her audience from the onset, enlightening, witty and charming, she held Di’s audience in the palm of her hand. As editor of Australia’s most popular women’s magazine, she could be seen as unapproachable but Deborah’s down-to earth- manner is irresistible and thoroughly entertaining.

Pan Macmillan Australia.

I’ve had many compliments about the session and I am enormously grateful for your thorough presentation and contribution to the high standard of debate at the conference.

Book Sellers and Book Publishers Association of Australia