Event highlights: EEAA International Women’s Day breakfast

The event explored the need for diversity among the industry, while EEAA called for more women to join its board.

The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) hosted its annual International Women’s Day Breakfast last week, celebrating the diverse pathways women take to succeed.

The 2019 event was hosted at Doltone House Hyde Park on 8 March, with a focus on the theme #BalanceForBetter, which explored the need for diversity in all areas of business, politics and community.

This year’s line-up of speakers included Dr Clara Chow from Sydney Medical School, Westmead; Bruce Baird AM, chairman at Business Events Sydney; Supriya Shakya, head of digital at Reed Exhibitions Australia; Lynell Peck director of culinary at ICC Sydney; and Georgie Chapman-Burgess, operations manager at Exhibitions & Trade Fairs.

L-R: Bruce Baird. Clara Chow, Joyce DiMascio, Supriya Shakya, Georgie Chapman-Burgess and Lynell Peck

Facilitated by EEAA chief executive Joyce DiMascio, the panel explore three key issues: women in leadership, women defying stereotypes and women’s heart health and wellbeing.

Commenting on her non-traditional career path, Supriya Shakya said it is up to women to seize opportunity.

“We are so conditioned to stay in our comfort zone,” she said.

“You don’t get to pick your own battles all the time. You must have the discipline to put your hand up and grab that opportunity.”

Georgie Chapman-Burgess, winner of the inaugural Tourism Australia scholarship and Richard Geddes Young Achiever award, said her mother was a role model to her while she was growing up.

Chapman-Burgess, a quintuplet from Glen Innes, recalled her mother studying and working full-time during her formative years.

“Mum was always studying – we didn’t question it,” she said. “This is what she did and it showed us the importance of an education.”

This year the EEAA supported three charities at the event, including UN Women, Fitted for Work and the Heart Foundation.

Speaking on the importance of heart health, Professor Clara Chow said more awareness needs to raised among women.

“Often wives get their husbands to come in for heart checks,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen the other way around.”

During the event, EEAA president Spiro Anemogiannis took the opportunity to call for more women to join the EEAA board.

“Diversity brings better decision-making and better outcomes for all,” he said.

“I am proud that we have three women on our board of directors – and a woman CEO – but I urge more women to consider standing for the EEAA board.

“Three out of 13 is not enough. There are many capable women ready to step up and I encourage you to do so at our annual general meeting in June.”

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