Matina Jewell

A remarkable woman, a remarkable life

During her 15 years of military service, Major Matina Jewell (Retired) achieved a number of 'firsts', from being the first female in the Army to complete the physically demanding Navy Diver course to being the only Australian (and the only female) at the dangerous 'PB Khiam' UN patrol base at the border junction of Israel, Syria and Lebanon, to being the recipient of eight military service medals including two Republic of Lebanon war medals (she is the only Australian to receive these two awards).

A star graduate from the Australian Army's prestigious Royal Military College Duntroon, Matina Jewell's distinguished military career culminated with a coveted posting to serve as part the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in the Middle East. After full-scale war erupted between Israel and Lebanon, Matina was seriously injured (five fractured and crushed vertebrae plus nerve damage and other internal injuries) while commanding a UN convoy through war-torn Lebanon and had to be evacuated. Her injuries ended her military career. Most of Matina's colleagues - her 'brothers' - were tragically killed.

Matina's is a story of inspiration, of authentic leadership lessons learnt over a trail-blazing military career. It is also about seeing change as an opportunity and motivating others. Her story was featured in a two-part ABC Australian Story television special.

Matina has delivered her extraordinary case studies on leadership to many of Australia's premier organisations. Her audiences are always captivated by her fresh perspective on authentic leadership, teamwork and dealing with change.

Matina's relaxed-but-professional style is almost incongruent with her gruelling combat experience. Matina also uses the latest technology and multimedia - including her video footage shot 'on the ground' during the Lebanon War - to bring her audiences 'into the moment'

Matina has written about her experiences in her memoir Caught in the Crossfire, a frighteningly dramatic first-hand account of what really happens in modern warfare and the high price our soldiers pay for their country.

Today, on top of her speaking demands, Matina holds a number of distinguished Government and not for profit board roles. She is a member of the Federal Commission for the ANZAC Centenary and the Ambassador of the Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemakers Veterans Association.

Matina Jewell talks about:

  • Authentic Leadership: Demonstrate leadership - even when it's not in your job description. Finding a way forward in high-pressure situations.
  • Seeing Change as Opportunity: Leading through adversity. The benefits of facing fear and 'having a go' in changing circumstances.
  • Motivating Teams: Taking responsibility to motivate teams and inspire others. Being the catalyst for teamwork and cooperation.
  • After listening to this truly inspiring young woman and learning more about her amazing experiences, Matina's audiences come away incredibly moved with a new perspective on the concepts of leadership, teamwork, dealing with change, and managing in a crisis.

    Client testimonials

    Matina’s presentation style is impressive, but even more impressive are the core thoughts within her speech.

    Bunnings & Officeworks

    Matina is a speaker that will truly inspire any audience and take most on a journey of self-reflection as a result. I would recommend her to any organisation considering her for future events.


    You had our finance executives in a spell... a most fascinating and moving account of a very special life experience. You draw excellent parallels to relevant leadership competencies.

    Intercontinental Hotels

    The crowd loved your presentation and there were quite a few emotions flowing. Feedback on your section was superb, with participants rating it the most engaging presentation of the day.


    Matina is a powerful and engaging speaker with a story to match. Our audience was captivated ... were able to take away some valuable business lessons on leadership and change management in particular.