This year’s showcasing of Rotary at the International Women’s Day Breakfast at Crown Palladium saw 1,000 plus guests including Year 12 school students from 20 public and private Melbourne and rural schools, excited to hear the personal debate and discussion from Panellists Andy Penn, Husna Pasha, Deborah Glass, Adam Fennessy and Emma Welsh. They provided a diverse and lively discussion from industry, Government, media and finance perspectives.
Stephen Quartermain generously provided his time to MC the Breakfast. Ali Moore and the Panellists also kindly provided their knowledge and personal thoughts to ensure a lively debate. The discussion included some examples of how we (both men and women) need to have courage and feel empowered to have public conversations about what is not appropriate “blokiness” and this included the importance for men to have the courage to reflect and share appropriateness with other men.
Andy Penn, CEO of Telstra provided a very interesting insight into Telstra’s own support and respect for violence free families. He said that Telstra gives time off and support for an employee affected by family violence but this also included an employee who might have been the perpetrator of family violence. By providing time off, the perpetrator was able to use this time to receive mandatory psychological help and time for Court proceedings, in the hope that the perpetrator could turn his/her life around to never violate again.
It was wonderful to see the short video of thanks from Zerina Lormic who was awarded at the 2014 Women in Rotary Breakfast, the first Women in Science Fellowship Award. Zerina, who has dual qualifications in nursing and basic science, thanked Women in Rotary for enabling her to forge a career as a ‘nurse scientist’. That award was supported by the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Baker Foundation as a three year fellowship valued at over $300,000.
District Governor Peter Frueh presented Past President Susie Cole of the Rotary Club of Prahran with a Royce Abbey Champion of Change award for her work with her club, and for organising the first every Rotary March with Pride for Midsumma this year. Kerry Kornhauser OAM summed up the event with the acknowledgement that this event had encouraged numerous other International Women’s Day events and had raised over $200,000 for the charities supported each year. This year’s proceeds are directed towards Violence Free Families, Interplast and St Kilda Mums.
Kerry thanked the members from the Rotary Clubs of Melbourne and Brighton North who had assisted with organising and running the event.
She is to be congratulated once more for leading the Women in Rotary Breakfast for the 7th year. Kerry was the motivator for a team of Rotarians, some from Rotary Club of Melbourne and Brighton North but many from other District 9800 Clubs aided by Volunteers, to create another successful, thought-provoking, inspirational morning.