Video highlights from Women in Leadership / Women in Business Event 2017

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Video highlights from Women in Leadership / Women in Business Event 2017 - 22 February 2017

Video highlights from Women in Leadership / Women in Business Event 2017

One of the most highly regarded events on the business calendar, ICMI’s Women in Leadership/Women in Business was held on Monday 20 February. An annual event, the Women in Leadership showcase exhibits some of the most highly regarded women in business and leadership roles and some of ICMI’s most in demand speakers. 

Women in Leadership 

Over 500 attendees filled Crown Palladium for the opportunity to hear fabulous stories and experiences from a number of high achieving and inspirational women speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds. 

The vibrant Nicole Livingstone OAM was the MC, who not only hosted the event but also kept attendees entertained as she kept proceedings on track. Drawing on her long career in the media as a presenter and commentator, Nicole displayed to the audience exactly why she is one of ICMI’s most popular MC’s. 

A hive of positivity and excitement could be felt as Nicole kicked off the event, with the first to grace the stage was the impressive Dianne McGrath. Dianne is on a mission to be part of the first human settlement of Mars and is one of only 100 remaining candidates from more than 200,000 initial applications.

She shared her journey from hospitality worker, to a Ph.D. student, to Mars One applicant - a map littered with a total of more than 30 different paths! A motivating story that shows that life is one long journey. As said by Di, “If you see life as an experiment, it gives you the permission to try, to fail, to succeed and to learn” a great motto to live by!  

She replied simply with, what we leave behind is what matters, and her goal is to make the world a better place than she found it. A great way to explain such a large life choice. 

A wealth of experience

Next on stage to share her wealth of experience, was Sadhana Smiles. Sadhana is currently the CEO of Harcourts Victoria and was awarded the 2013 Telstra Business Woman of the Year and in 2016 was named one of 100 Women of Influence in Australia. But, her journey to success wasn’t a smooth one. She shared her story of persistence, that she had many different journeys and paths, littered with roadblocks.


Sadhana drew the audience in, sharing her remarkable story of how she became a mother of nine, whilst also being a high-profile business woman. She described how she fought against the battles life dealt her, to rise above and use her experiences to help others. 

If anyone could follow up Sadhana’s motivating story, it was Yassmin Abdel-Magied. Yassmin is a mechanical engineer, social advocate, and author. She founded the non-for-profit Youth Without Borders at aged 16 and was named the 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year. Yassmin advocates for the empowerment of youth, women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and she spoke of the problems of bias and the need for diversity in the workplace, and throughout the community, and why exactly we must aim to overcome this. 

As said by Yassmin, “Never underestimate your ability to change the world around you” - she inspired attendees and gave faith that anybody can make a difference, if they are willing to push through the tough times and work hard.

Inspiration all around the room

Excitement could be felt throughout the room as the final speaker Anna Meares OAM, one of Australia’s favourite sportswomen, took to the stage. Considered by many to be one of the greatest cyclists of all time, Anna has won 44 medals at Olympic, World, and Commonwealth Games levels and was the first Australian athlete to win medals at four successive Olympic Games. Her presentation moved the whole audience, moving many to tears. Her passion and emotion shone through and there was no attendee left untouched by her dedication.

After hearing Anna’s tales of her humble beginnings, personal strength and dedication there wasn’t anyone who didn’t take away a lesson from her experiences – a perfect way to complete the presentations for the day. To conclude the event, ICMI were very proud to announce the contributions and generosity of the attendees enabled a donation of $5000 to a charity very close to ICMI and to Anna Meares, Cycling Cares.

Cycling Cares is a foundation created in support of Anna’s former coach, Gary West, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) just before Anna headed off to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Cycling Cares is in aid of the Cure for MND Foundation, which aims to find a cure for MND and has an aim to raise over $100,000. We hope that this donation can assist to continue the amazing work the foundation does. 

Thanks to our sponsors

On top of the amazing entertainment, our venue partner, Crown provided wonderful hospitality, as well as delicious nibbles and champagne to conclude the afternoon. 

A big thank you must go to all the sponsors of the Women in Leadership showcase helped to create a fantastic event. These sponsors included Crown Melbourne, Staging Connections, Leishman Associates, Concierge Business Travel, Slim Secrets, Snowgoose Gift Boxes, SOH, Claire Francoise Skin & Beauty Clinic and Bockers and Pony Hampers. The event wouldn’t have been such a success without all the support. 

The winner of the first prize of the business card draw, a $1,500 travel voucher kindly donated by Concierge Business Travel, was won by attendee Margie Read Flavell.

Margie was so touched by Sahdana’s work with her charity, Links Fiji, that she decided to donate her prize to Sadhana to cover her travel to Fiji to continue her work. Links Fiji is a not for profit, with a focus on conducting pap smears for women in rural areas of Fiji and reducing the incidence of cervical cancer.

This was such a kind gesture, and an amazing way to finish such a motivating day.

We often hear stories of attendees finding such inspiration from the showcase, and the content being so life-changing that it has inspired women to seek out change that transforms not only their lives but lives around them. We invite anyone with a story such as this to please come forward and share this, as it makes holding the event so worthwhile. 

Once again, the Women in Leadership / Women in Business showcase was an overwhelming success – a big thank you to all who shared the afternoon with us and we look forward to seeing you again at an ICMI event soon. 

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