Women making a difference

Published: Tuesday 29th March 2016

Alumni, staff and students shared experiences of inspiration, adversity and spirit at ACU’s first International Women’s Day celebrations. ACU celebrated International Women’s Day 2016 in style on Tuesday 8 March, with alumni, staff and students coming together to recognise the contributions ACU women are making in the community.

Celebrating the theme Women who make a difference, hundreds gathered across five locations in what was a first for ACU: inviting alumni and the wider community to hear from some of our most respected graduates and to participate in conversations around the changing roles and expectations of women in the world of business and education.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching) Professor Anne Cummins spoke of the energy and thought-proving discussion driven by the stories of the guest speakers and the people in attendance.

“It was a valuable opportunity to bring together so many people from a broad spectrum of the community to have a frank and honest discussion about the challenges facing women, such as balancing career advancement and family commitments, Professor Cummins said.

“The stories from the guest speakers proved inspirational and were drivers of healthy conversation within the audience about how women continue to challenge the norms and become leaders in business and the community.”

Breakfasts in Melbourne and Sydney sparked the conversation in the morning, while receptions in Brisbane, Canberra and Ballarat ensured these discussions would continue into the evening.

A high-calibre list of guest speakers told their inspirational and unique stories of success in the worlds of business, the arts, health services, and community engagement and welfare. Guests around the country heard from the likes of health and beauty industry leader Pippa Hallas, CEO of Ella Bache; Jean Madden, founder of Street Swags, which provides bedding to thousands of homeless Australians; award-winning author of iconic novel Looking for Alibrandi, Melina Marchetta; and Australia’s only clinical psychologist endorsed by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Dr Sarah Miller.

Professor Cummins praised the quality of the guest speakers and their generosity in giving up time to attend the first ACU Alumni International Women’s Day event

“These women are leaders in their respective fields, providing powerful insight into the challenges they have faced and how they have worked to overcome them,” Professor Cummins said.

“It speaks volumes of the type of person ACU attracts and the opportunities we as a university can provide them with in the classroom and out in the community.”

To see more from the ACU Alumni International Women’s Day events check out the ACU Facebook page.