On March 25th, 2023, the Australian Asian Women’s Business Association (AABWA), The Korean Women’s International Network (KOWIN) and the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce Australia (NCCA) co-hosted an event to celebrate International Women's Day. The event brought together women from diverse backgrounds to celebrate and empower one another.
The event was held at the Kooyong Tennis Club, and began with an opening speech from Jane Wei (AABWA President), and Helene Hagemans (NCCA President). The attendees of the event enjoyed a musical performance by the Orix Duo, consisting of cellist Ye Jin Choi and Indonesian pianist Kevin Suherman. The two started collaborating in 2017 at the start of their postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Shortly after, the duo competed and won the annual Wilfrid Parry Brahms Sonata Prize at the Academy, for their performance of Brahms Sonata for Piano and Cello in E minor.
In the last season, the Orix Duo were guest artists for the Team of Pianists’ Classic Music in Historic Venues Concert Series in Melbourne. Formerly, the duo were artists of the For Crying Out Loud! Concert Series at London’s Wigmore Hall, a series dedicated to young children and their parents; in addition to being guest artists for Bloomsbury Festival’s New Wave Lunchtime Concert Series, performing a programme inspired by the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing.
As previous winners of the Delius Prize Competition, the Orix Duo were invited by the Delius Society in London to perform in Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge, where they were praised by the Society for their “sense of architecture, elegance and nuance”. The Orix Duo have performed in venues such as the Labassa Mansion and Rippon Lea Estate in Melbourne; St. James’s Church Piccadilly, Steinway Hall, and Wigmore Hall in London.
Karen Kim (KOWIN President) spoke and introduced the main event. Karyn Sobels, the past President of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was our keynote speaker. As the first female President in the Chamber's 171-year history, Karyn shared her experience of more than 30 years in the Retail, Telecommunications and Banking sectors, being a small business owner, and an experienced Company Director.
During her speech, Karyn focused on the theme of "Embracing Equality" and provided a plethora of facts that demonstrated the need for Australia to embrace and create structures to have more women in the workforce. She highlighted that forward projections on workforce numbers are showing the alarming impact of structures that prevent entry to the workforce, such as day-care, support for women at work, pay disparity, and work flexibility changes. Karyn suggested that supporting each other, speaking up in the workplace, creating environments for upward progression, and speaking out to local politicians were crucial steps towards achieving gender equality.
Karyn energized the room with her charge to maintain being change makers, inspiring the next generation, seeking promotions, opening doors for more women to step through to leadership, and advocating for work flexibility without sacrificing promotion possibilities.
Karyn’s speech was followed by a Q&A session, and a video from Tokens for Life Uganda was then shown. The attendees were excited by the raffle draws and the event concluded with group photos.
Overall, the "Celebrating International Women's Day" event was a great success, bringing together women from different backgrounds and providing a platform to celebrate and empower women. The keynote speech from Karyn Sobels and the musical performance by the Orix Duo were both exceptional and inspiring, leaving attendees feeling motivated and encouraged to pursue their own dreams and goals.
Lastly, we would like to thank our amazing sponsors of the event:
● I Finance
● Lapeau Medi.Spa
● La Maxime
● Julie and Friend Talk Show
● Rising Industry & Trade Pty Ltd
● Hello Music
● Digital Club
● Native Bliss Australia
● Endless Studio
● Zen Japanese Restaurant