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Boardroom Series Lunch 20 September, Melbourne

It came as a bit of a shock to everyone, that Thursday 20 September’s Melbourne Boardroom lunch was the last of the year. The year is flying by.

It came as a bit of a shock to everyone, that Thursday 20 September’s Melbourne Boardroom lunch was the last of the year. The year is flying by.  Our SWL calendar fills up so fast we seem to have a queue of eager “friends” to help support and host our events.  Thursday was supported by friend of SWL Larry Kestelman, who gave us use of his  LK Group Boardroom, offering spectacular views over Melbourne and of course a delicious lunch.  Larry deserves a bit of a shout out for the many ways he has given this year and of his unwavering support of his partner SWL Chair Anita Pahor.  Not taking away from his own humanitarian principles, Larry did wisely and quickly accept that Anita  came with a few hundred sisters.  And ladies, I mean hundreds.  When I think back to the first boardroom lunch I attended only last year in Melbourne, we have grown.  (Welcome to Cate White our new member who joined on the day with a few other hopeful enquiries.) The numbers around Thursday’s table were significant.  We are growing and it is quite forceful to see us in one room. 


On Thursday we listened with intrigue to two incredible speakers Stella and Caitlin from Australian Red Cross. They spoke of the Australian justice system and of the essential changes needed in all our communities. They educated us on saddening statistics and around the muddy waters that blur the lines between words like offender, survivor, victim.  They also spoke of hope and outlined a fascinating project and certainly one to consider for next years funds.  However what became apparent through discussion, is that we are so much more than funds.  The power of a collective of women is without limitation.  


So, when is philanthropy not philanthropy ? Simple - When it’s in our hands. Then it becomes so much more.


Our ability to curate a space, where through our connections we can bring people to the table to discuss projects like this - to effect change beyond funds, is truly exciting.  Sitting among some of the sharpest minds and impressive women of Australia, my SWL meetings always make me feel excited, enriched and humbled by the great courageous hearts of the women that surround me.  It is fascinating while we grow, to unite with more women and embrace the energy of love and friendship. To connect with others and share in our united fearless desire to make a difference.  We embrace those that wish simply to donate, let us show you it was money well spent.  We embrace those that can contribute less but bring a skill to the table and we applaud those women who give all of their time and all of their funds to making SWL what it is today.  As we grow, as the song says … in numbers too high to ignore… our web of connections expands.  


We wear our red cross emblem to remind us of our priorities; humanitarian support for vulnerable people, especially women and children. As we grow throughout the regions and states of Australia, decision makers will have to listen to us.  Our strength is in our hearts, it is our love that takes us forward but our numbers give us voice.  Now take those numbers and imagine them global. 


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin



Words Monica Brown Photos Samantha Butler