The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) celebrated International Women’s Day with its annual breakfast at Doltone House Hyde Park in Sydney last week.
EEAA members and supporters gathered for a panel discussion about the shared ownership of driving change and the role equality plays in creating social and economic wealth.
The discussion was led by EEAA chief executive Claudia Sagripanti and centred around this year’s global theme, Each for Equal.
“A carefully selected panel of women were invited to share their inspirational stories as we explored the #eachforequal global theme, with a focus on ageism, bias against the young and the old and employability of people of all ages,” said Sagripanti.
The panel included Daz Chandler, creative director of Origami Flight and interdisciplinary storyteller; Natalie Yan-Chatonsky, founder and CEO of Full Time Lives; Erica Blythe, director of finance and administration at ICC Sydney and Christine Kotsis, senior business development manager at Harry the Hirer.
Chandler also gave a keynote address that encouraged the use of imagination as a tool to enable thinking about how things could be better in a different world.
She stressed the need to break down reductive systems that are in place and to “stop thinking there is a link between gender and ability”.
“International Women’s Day encourages everyone to engage with human rights and humanitarianism,” she said.
“We live in a world that is deeply entrenched in hierarchies with discriminatory principles in place. We must do better.”
Yan-Chatonsky spoke about her recent experience on the diversity council for Finisia and highlighted the disparity between attitudes of people in financial services.
She said “women need to speak up if you see something wrong” and emphasised the need to “make sure men are part of the diversity conversation in all workplaces and that they understand what needs to be done”.
Christine Kotsis gave her advice on building networks and shared her experience with the EEAA Young Stars program, while Blythe spoke about the importance of loving your job and being present.
“It is important for women to bring their whole self to work – it’s what clients and teammates want,” said Blythe.
“If you love your job and really immerse yourself in the role, you will get noticed.”
Now in its sixth year, the EEAA International Women’s Day breakfast supported two organisations, donating to UN Women and by inviting attendees to donate clothing to Fitted for Work, an organisation that helps disadvantaged women get into the workforce.
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