Issue 3, Spring 2016
Today I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with a truly inspiring, yet amazingly humble, woman leader who, as a direct result of your membership, has personally helped to change the world. Without exaggeration.
I had a long call with Amanda McClelland, Australian Red Cross international aid worker, who is the Strategic Planning Lead for the International Federation of the Red Cross, a senior health adviser and the recipient of the revered Red Cross Florence Nightingale medal.
Honoured for her strategic leadership during the Ebola crisis, Amanda has gone on to lead on behalf of Red Cross in the field of global public health and security, including the prevention of global epidemics. Her Red Cross position was in danger of being cut due to reductions in the foreign aid budget, but our pooled funds helped keep Amanda in Geneva and in the field, leading for Red Cross. Before our funding, she was on a month-to-month contract. Now secure in her role thanks to your direct assistance, she has gone on to contribute her learnings from containing Ebola to global health security preventing global epidemics and pandemics, including providing her technical leadership to the Global Strategy on the Zika outbreak. She has supported the operations that have successfully vaccinated over 20 million people for Yellow Fever in Africa, worked with the Nepal earthquake disaster response team on measles vaccinations, cholera prevention and maternal child health, oh…and she's embarked upon an MBA. Woman leader, indeed!
Your committed funding has allowed Amanda to reposition Red Cross at a global level, bringing her experience in the field and the 'voice of the community' to forums traditionally filled with global scientists and politicians. She is a woman leader, a disruptor, who has brought her field experience, her voice and a 'reality check' as to what will actually work in communities, not in theory, but in practice. She provided a local and practical lens, new ways to manage, to these otherwise technical forums that don't always respond to logic. As a result, $25 million has just been committed by a global aid organisation to take these new approaches her working group has developed to a global scale.
Amanda McClelland: Red Cross woman leader, a disruptor, advocate for communities, lending her voice to achieve change in the world.
Sounds like all you…
Chair and Founding Patron
Anita recently interviewed Melbourne-based, Kathleen Bailey-Lord who finds herself in Sydney on a regular basis with all of her business endeavours. Kathleen is a Founding Patron and Steering Committee Member of the Society of Women Leaders and in this interview, shares why she is also a philanthropist.
Anita: How did you first hear about the Society of Women Leaders?
KBL: I first heard about SWL when Kimberly spoke at an SWL pre-launch event in Melbourne in December 2013 sponsored by ANZ. Member Kate O'Callaghan saw these Red Cross "giving circles" on a trip to Canada where they are known as Tiffany Circle and she suspected this was something that would interest me and so invited me. Kimberly, our first Member, spoke of her vision and I found the concept very compelling. It was early days in Australia and she had started to work on the concept with Miranda Jackson at the Red Cross. I felt the idea of combining collegiality and philanthropy, in a way that was both fresh and yet accountable, was something that would resonate with my own network - both professional and personal.
A: What was it in particular about the Society of Women Leaders that interested you?
KBL: I liked the passion, the fresh approach, the can-do spirit - it spoke to me as a mother, a business woman and a friend. The connection to the Red Cross, as the only independent humanitarian organisation, was very important to me. Free of religious, ethnic and political persuasion - it reflected an important value to me as a person. Further, this spirit of independence is strongly embedded in the Society itself! This drives our thinking around what programs we will support and the accountability of reporting from Red Cross on impact of our investing is crucial. In summary, this is a place where like-minded women come together to make a substantial difference in the world in a way that is measurable through targeted giving with impact reporting. A big bonus is the women you meet, the support we give one another and all whilst enjoying each other's company and having some fun along the way.
A: How are you now involved?
KBL: One way or another, I have been involved since early 2014, and I have introduced many women to the group. I am a Steering Committee member, although much of my involvement has been "behind the scenes" working with Kimberly - firstly in building plans to establish the group in Sydney and now on growing our membership in Melbourne. Next step - the world! I am delighted with our development to date and excited as to what the future may hold.
A: Apart from your involvement with the Society of Women Leaders, tell me about what your life looks like day-to-day.
KBL: My life day-to-day is a bit random depending on the demands of the day! After many years in senior executive life across Financial Services, Professional Services and Technology, I now enjoy a portfolio career. My days might consist of board meetings, briefings, research, mentoring or consulting. I'm very passionate about the opportunities presented by the Digital Age and our proximity to Asia - something we Australians must embrace. Between the boards of QBE Insurance (ANZ) and Melbourne Water, I travel a lot between Melbourne and Sydney - which I love. Having spent lots of time in Asia, both cities are "home" to me! I embrace the diversity of my work and the opportunity to contribute to Australian business. My fabulous children, a daughter aged 21 and a son aged 15, keep me firmly anchored as a mum! I am actively mentored by them on matters social media, fashion and music.
A: What are you looking forward to as a Member, when it comes to what the Society of Women Leaders can achieve in 2016?
KBL: I'm looking forward to continued growth in membership, because with growth, we can have an even greater impact both here in Australia and around the world. I know I shall continue to enjoy collegiality and friendship from this amazing group of amazing women who inspire me, always.
Photo: A. Fitrianto
The province Nusa Tengarra Timur (NTT) in Eastern Indonesia is a collection of 1,192 islands, only 43 of which are inhabited. It is ranked the second lowest province out of 33 in the country on the Human Development Index and 23% of its population (4.6 million people) is considered poor.
Nutritional stunting in children under five has reached more than 37% - that's a shocking 1 in three children. It is largely a result of poor nutrition and deficiencies in the first 1,000 days of a child's life.
In NTT, 56% of households do not have access to drinking water within one kilometre from their homes, and sanitation facilities are largely unhygienic. These factors, as well as limited access to nutritious food, health education and training, mean that mother and child mortality rates are high, as is exposure to disease and other social problems such as human trafficking.
Our Society of women Leaders is sponsoring a new Red Cross program to tackle these shocking conditions and bring life-saving change. Together with the Indonesian Red Cross Society (PMI), Australian Red Cross will work to address the health, nutrition, water and sanitation needs of nine vulnerable communities in NTT. The team will build on existing work around disaster preparedness, working to save lives and establish healthier, stronger communities.
Key to the project will be establishing strong local partnerships and conducting significant research into local health systems, practices, people (their skills and expertise) and facilities. Our team of staff and volunteers will work closely with the village committee, supporting them to set their own priorities for change and take ownership of the project.
Photo: Albert Gonzalez Farran/ICRC
Jess first met baby Nyanene when she was just a few weeks old.
Nyanene was brought into an ICRC hospital in Maiwut, a town which sits near South Sudan's border with Ethiopia. She was severely underweight and part of her scalp was missing - an infection hadn't been treated properly and Nyanene's skin had burnt away.
But the little baby was a fighter and under Jess' care, she pulled through
Then, within months, Nyanane's mother had brought her back to the hospital. Nyanene was now five months old and she had pneumonia.
Jess and the team put Nyanane on oxygen and after a while the baby's condition seemed to stabilise. For a time, her oxygen levels were acceptable: "not great," Jess told the ABC in an interview recently, "but acceptable."
Then the generators stopped. The oxygen failed.
"Within 20 or 30 seconds, she stopped breathing," Jess said. Nyanene couldn't be saved.
Jess is a Red Cross aid worker and paediatric nurse working in South Sudan. Before that, she was stationed in Afghanistan.
Like many of the aid workers the Society of Women Leaders support, Jess' reason for doing what she does comes from a very humble and inspirational place.
When asked how many missions she's been on, Jess told our 'How Aid Works' podcast audience: "I'm only a baby. I've only done four.
"For me, I don't think I've ever felt so human as when I'm on mission. When I'm seeing how other people are helping their communities, I find it really grounding.
"I think it's really powerful to watch people in their rawest form, how they survive, and… their kindness.
"Kindness in conflict. It's like an oxymoron but you see it, and it's moving."
You can find out more about life on the frontlines of humanitarian aid by subscribing to Red Cross' "How Aid Works" podcast. This is just another way for you to feel connected to the people our Society of Women Leaders is helping - find the series on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn, or listen to individual episodes via the Red Cross website
There are so many wonderful events coming up for our Society of Women Leaders Members to enjoy. We hope you're able to join us for one or a few of these opportunities. As always, please contact Anita Pahor on firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries or to RSVP.
21 September, Sydney Dance Company Tour
A behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Dance Company in Sydney. Members and Student/Youth Members and daughters of Members welcome.
20 October, Sydney Boardroom Luncheon Series
With thanks to Josh Penn, SWL supporter, NAB Private Bank will host us for one of our Boardroom Series Luncheons to hear first-hand the details of our new maternal and child health program in Eastern Indonesia.
18 November, our special Society of Women Leaders cruise, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Sydney!
With thanks to Member Ali McEvoy, this very unique Society of Women Leaders luncheon will take place on board Holland America Line's MS Maasdam. (You will need your passport!).
tbd November, Melbourne Boardroom Series Luncheon
With thanks to Member Kate O'Callaghan, JB Were will host our final 2016 Boardroom Series Luncheon in Melbourne.
3 December, Member and partner holiday drinks
Save the date for this very special thank you to all Members hosted by Larry Kestelman and Anita Pahor onboard the Vegas.
15 December, Young Parents Program Recognition Ceremony, Sydney
Limited seats are available to join previous and current participants of this life-changing program as they mark their achievements for the year. Contact Kimberly or Anita to secure a set. The event will be held at Randwick from around 11am until 2pm.
16 December, Migration Support Programs Christmas Party, Sydney
Save this date as we join with staff, volunteers and clients to celebrate the end of the year. There will be opportunities to volunteer on the day. Contact Row for more information email@example.com
9 September, Melbourne Boardroom Series Luncheon
Member Kate O'Callaghan hosted our lunchtime series event at her new JB Were office where we gathered with Members and their guests. Peter Walton and Emma Brathwaite from the Red Cross International Program spoke about the 3-year child health and nutrition project that Society of Women Leaders has just embarked upon to address unacceptable health issues in East Indonesia including child malnutrition and stunting.
27-30 August, Members Retreat at the Spectacular Southern Ocean Lodge
Founding Patron, Hayley Baillie graciously welcomed 27 of our SWL Members to her and husband James' breathtaking luxury lodge on Kangaroo Island for our inaugural Society of Women Leaders Retreat. It was a real treat to spend quality down time together as a group of women leaders and philanthropists in such a world class venue and location. Everything about Southern Ocean Lodge is warm, welcoming and of the highest quality. We thank Hayley and her fabulous staff for taking such wonderful care of us during our stay. We highly recommend a visit to Southern Ocean Lodge!
4-19 August, Australian Women's Weekly High Tea Tour
This month, one of Australia's most iconic magazines, Women's Weekly hosted high tea functions in six locations around the country, and all proceeds from ticket raffle sales were donated to Red Cross. Kimberly attended the Melbourne and Sydney functions, speaking with the magazine's Editor In Chief Kim Doherty and editor Amanda Blair and shared about our work, and particularly, how we help vulnerable women and children. The events were a wonderful success reaching more than 600 women across Australia and raised more than $10,000. Thank you to the Members, Staff and Volunteers who attended and assisted at the events.
11 August, Steering Committee Meeting and Sydney Boardroom Series Luncheon
More than 40 guests joined us at Herbert Smith Freehills offices to hear from Anti Slavery Australia's Professor Jennifer Burn, and Vicki Mau, National Manager of Australian Red Cross Migration Support Programs. They challenged our thinking on the issue of trafficking which affects more than 20 million people around the world.
27 July, Fireside Chat at Anne Pike's home
Our very first Sydney Fireside Chat was held at the home of Founding Patron Anne Pike, and gave us the chance to gather in an informal setting for a relaxing weeknight catch-up. We saw an advance copy of the inaugural Society of Women Leaders Year in Review for 2015-2016, which showed us just how busy we've been this past year, and we welcomed new member, Julie Spatt, and student/youth members Tania Harris and Isobel Pike to our circle.
22 July, YPP Respite Day
Our visits to Sydney's Young Parents Program to provide some respite for the young mums who live there are now happening on a quarterly basis. Row, Anne, Ali, Kimberly and two of her friends, along with YPP supporter Michelle Walsh, took it in shifts to look after the babies and toddlers, giving their young mums a chance to step away from their worries and responsibilities for just a little while, so they could relax.
27 June, An evening at Sydney Opera House
With thanks to Founding Patron Monika Tu, business leader and philanthropist Norman Li and his wife Lucy and daughter Kathryn, we gathered at the Opera House for a beautiful celebration of 'East Meets West' and were dazzled by the talent of China's Three Tenors. The concert opened with an official welcome to the 2600 guests by youth member Alex Touw. As one of the beneficiary charities of the concert, we were delighted to see our Society of Women Leaders logo flying high above the Sydney Opera House stage. $18,000 was raised in support of our Society of Women Leaders Red Cross programs.
16 June, 2016 Steering Committee and Supporters thank you dinner, Sydney
Christine Salter once again opened her heart and her Paspaley home to us at the beautiful Martin Place boutique at a dinner to thank our Steering Committee Members, supporters and sponsors and some of the gentlemen who have championed our philanthropic efforts this year. We heard from international Red Cross aid worker, Sarah Davies, who had recently returned from managing a water engineering project in Syria.
15 June, Steering Committee Meeting and Tour of Young Parents Program, Randwick
The wonderful people who work at Red Cross' Young Parents Program graciously hosted our Steering Committee meeting in their training room. After our meeting, the Steering Committee, Society of Women Leaders Members and guests were taken on a tour of the residence, together with some of the young women who currently live there with their children. It was the perfect way for us to focus on what we as a group of philanthropists are setting out to do - to change people's lives and give them opportunities they would otherwise never experience. We thanked our new friend Michelle Walsh for her fabulous donation of over 400 items of practical yet stylish baby clothing to the young parents and their children. Another new Member joined our giving circle on the day.
May / June: our Society of Women Leaders' Second Anniversary Celebrations!
In Sydney, Founding Patron Yang Yang opened her beautiful home to more than 150 guests - Members of our Society of Women Leaders, their partners, family members and friends - in an extraordinary celebration of our impact over the last two years. Yang worked with Creative Director, Adam Williams, to transform her home into a gorgeous purple vision, and garner the support of generous sponsors Paspaley, Serena Sanderson Catering, Founding Patron Monika Tu and her business Black Diamondz, Charles Heidsieck Champagne and Bang and Olufsen. There were very moving speeches, two very generous donations made by Blackmores and A/Prof Al Muderis in support of the funding for our upcoming 3-year Indonesia maternal and child health program and two women who attended as guests joined as new Members the following week.
A few weeks later, our Melbourne Members celebrated in style at Paspaley. They were warmly welcomed by boutique staff and Creative Director Christine Salter at Collins Street. Christine explained her connection to our Society of Women Leaders and how proud she is to be associated with a group of action-oriented philanthropists. Christine and her team then arranged for a beautiful dinner for the women at Cecconi's restaurant downtown which provided a stunning (and delicious) backdrop for our guest speakers for the evening: Vicki Mau, National Migration Support Manager and Penny Harrison, Executive Director for Victoria, both senior executives at Australian Red Cross. These inspirational women spoke about the unique role the organisation has with programs such as Immigration Detention Monitoring, working with people who seek asylum in Australia and women and minors who are trafficked and/or forcibly married. It was an important reminder of the impact our Society of Women Leaders has the potential to make leading up to our next anniversary, and beyond!
3 May, McCarroll's Maserati, Sydney
As guests of Red Cross Ambassador A/Prof Munjed Al Muderis, our Members and partners were treated to an evening of champagne, canapes, fast cars and a reminder of the conditions some asylum seekers face when they come to Australia as told honestly by A/Prof Al Muderis.
April, Volunteering at the Young Parents Program, Sydney
Five of our Members volunteered to give young mums at Red Cross' Young Parents Program some respite by looking after their babies for a day. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to personally experience the wonderful work our Society of Women Leaders makes possible.