Lesley Gillespie OAM

Lesley Gillespie OAM is Director and Co-Founder of Bakers Delight, the largest national chain of bakeries in Australia.

Ms Gillespie took a full-time job teaching at Footscray High School after completing her Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Diploma of Education at Monash in 1977. Whilst studying at the University, she gained extensive bakery experience working in the Old Style Bread Centre chain. In 1980, she launched Bakers Delight with her husband, Roger Gillespie and another partner, Gary Stephenson.

In 1983, the Gillespies bought Stephenson and began to develop Bakers Delight, which today boasts more than 700 bakeries operating throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. In 2004, the company teamed up with the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and became a finalist in the Prime Minister’s Award for Community Partnerships. The Gillespies shared 2002’s Boroondara Citizen of the Year award. The couple has also been inducted into Swinburne University’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame.

Ms Gillespie was awarded the Order of Australia in 2006 in recognition of her work in business and philanthropy. She received a Fellowship from Monash in 2013 and in 2015 was appointed Chair of Swinburne’s Business School Advisory Board.

The Gillespies have recently stepped back from the active running of Bakers Delight, sitting only on its Board. Their son, Aaron, oversees the company’s North American operations while their daughter, Elise, and son-in-law, David Christie, oversee operations in Australia and New Zealand.