Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

International Women’s Day Inaugural Fund-raising Event Queensland

Words Brooke Hansen Quinn Pics Branka Nedimovic



The 5th of March marked the inaugural fund-raising event for our fledgling chapter, Queensland. This beautiful lunch was the first event on Queensland’s 2019 calendar, what a way to set the tone!

We were hosted by Koda Capital at the exclusive ’19, The Star’ on a sparkling Gold Coast day. Covetable raffle prizes were generously donated by Bulgari Australia. Time to plan this important event was generously given by Danni Murray, Anita Pahor and myself, the gift or our members’ time an ever-present reminder of the gorgeous culture of our cohort. Five out of seven Queensland members attended, hosting a total of forty-eight guests. A special thank you to Anita Pahor our fearless leader who MC’d the lunch, Danni Murray- Frontier Renegade and Events Planner Extraordinaire, Rowena McGilvray and Hayley Baillie who all travelled from interstate to support us. I’m sure each of these ladies would humbly downplay the impact of their presence but having a strong show of support from interstate members gives prospective members an impression of the sense of community within SWL.

As we waited for hosts to arrive with their guests, we tweaked table settings and chatted excitedly of the event ahead. A huge moment for the Queensland ladies, to test the feeling in the room of mostly non-members. We set ourselves the ambitious fundraising target of $50,000 which we hoped would come from the raffle ticket sales on top of the table host donations and with some luck a new member or two. As hosts arrived with their guests, we were served delicious bubbles and yummy canapes. We were off to a brilliant start with a light and fun atmosphere.

Having been ushered in to the beautiful restaurant, where elegant tables awaited, we were welcomed by Will Douglas from Koda Capital. Will introduced our effervescent Anita, who not only hosted a table but gave of her time and energy to run our lunch with the precision and rhythm that we as members know so well. All the while Danni was elegantly sweeping the room dispensing raffle tickets as confetti at Mardi Gras! Brian Purkis, High Jewellery Manager for Bulgari Australia addressed us, speaking of his delight at being involved with us and helping to support The Australian Red Cross through our Society. I was honoured (and nervous) to be able to speak about my recent experience on the International Humanitarian Mission to Indonesia, a favourite topic so please ask me about it next time we meet! It was with a great deal of good luck and good management that Melanie Oppenheimer was visiting Australia for her daughter’s wedding at the time of our event and Danni was able to secure her as our guest speaker. For those of you who have heard Melanie speak before, you will know that she is fascinating to listen to, a fountain of passion and knowledge. Melanie spoke with a focus on important historical female figures that shaped the Red Cross organisation, including her own Grandmother. With not much time left, it was time to draw the raffle prizes! A lucky and ever-so-grateful friend hosted by Danni Murray won the beautiful snake skin Bulgari hand bag valued at over $4,000. I’m smiling as I write the words to tell you that a guest at Member Dayna Willems table won the Bulgari Serpenti necklace and joined on the spot. We very much look forward to welcoming Tracey Ferarro to Queensland group! It was then time to draw the official part of the event to a close. We didn’t make it out of the room without another acquisition, Dr Amanda Tetley whose grandfather had ben rescued by the very boat that Melanie Oppenheimer’s Grandmother had served aboard is very excited to join us. This second new member tipped our fundraising over our initial goal of $50,000. I am so proud of this result from our little Queensland group. May I say that as I write, Queensland is the highest performing state per member for fund raising this year. My heart bursts with joy and gratitude!