On 4th March, 2015 Frankston North Rotary held its inaugural International Women’s Day Breakfast at the Mornington Racecourse. Weather-wise we had a lovely sunny morning and the outlook over the race track added to the festive atmosphere.
We had a mixed audience of men and women in varying age groups totalling approximately 340 attendees.
The caterers provided a lovely breakfast of cereal followed by Eggs Benedict and tea or coffee. Gift bags full of donations from local businesses were given to all the attendees and provided an opportunity for local businesses to promote their products.
Also, it wouldn’t be right to run a Rotary function without fundraising of some sort, so there was a lucky draw prize for a gold coin donation. This was also another promotional opportunity for local businesses. The event was very well supported by businesses in our area and we certainly appreciated it.
Our two speakers were both women from the Health Profession who had powerful stories to tell.
The first speaker was Sue Williams CEO of Peninsula Health. Sue spoke on “Women In Business: Challenges & Solutions“. Sue was very inspirational and showed how solutions to problems in one industry can be adapted to bring solutions to other industries. By taking a different approach, problems can be resolved. Sue also spoke about the imbalance of female representation on corporate boards across all industries in Australia.
The second speaker was just as inspirational but for different reasons. Dr Kavi Haji’s talk was titled “My Journey: Iraq to Australia“. What a journey it was!
Soon after graduating as a Doctor with her husband, their country was invaded and they found themselves in a situation where they were performing medical procedures in refugee camps, in horrific conditions, way beyond their training, with very little medical equipment and drugs. Finally they made it to Australia with their son but her story certainly brought home the emotional and physical price they paid to get to Australia where she is now practicing medicine at the Frankston Hospital.
The International Women’s Day Breakfast project was very well received by the community and there is a level of expectation that we will be doing it again. Apart from raising funds this was also a great opportunity to showcase Rotary to a varied group of people, mainly women with a mix of ages and professions. Some of the women were no longer in the workforce while others were just starting out, trying to manage the demands of family life and professional lives as well.
The International Women’s Day Breakfast project was a collaborative effort initially from women Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs of Frankston North, Peninsula 2.0, Frankston and Mt. Eliza.
The Committee was chaired very competently by Past President of Frankston North Rotary, Judi McKee. The Committee spent many hours getting everything in place and on the day extra help was provided by other Rotarians. When people work together for a common goal great things can be achieved and Rotary is a fine example of how powerful this philosophy is.