It was an action packed International Women’s Day Lunch that took place in early March with a presentation from the keynote speaker, Catherine McGregor and an industry panel presenting to an audience of 350 people from the drinks industry.
Keynote speaker, Catherine McGregor
“A transsexual who doesn’t drink doing International Women’s Day at the Drinks Association, what could go wrong?” asked Catherine McGregor, as she opened her presentation on a very rainy Sydney day to an audience of 350 people from the drinks industry.
This was no “high-powered TED talk”, rather Ms McGregor said she was honoured to speak, and we were grateful to listen to her, cocooned and captivated as she talked through her life experiences, while storms lashed the coast of Sydney.
Ms McGregor’s presentation explored change, joyful encounters with the unexpected, spirituality and suffering. She spoke about her love of cricket, of Shane Warne and the military but the theme that ran through it all was change.
To change takes courage and Ms McGregor is change personified. We, as a society, are on the brink of great change as a society, particularly in relation gender balance and politics.
Ms McGregor said: “Ladies, gentlemen, There’s great change in Australian society at the moment. All for the better. There’s a generation of young women who’ve drawn attention to issues that need drawing attention to. The world’s changing.
Industry Panel: Two Birds Brewing, Jayne Lewis, Pernod Ricard's Bryan Fry and hotelier, Craig Laundy
A brewer, hotelier and CEO shared the floor on the industry panel, each having embraced change to progress their own organisations. Pernod Ricard’s Emma Baldwin deftly facilitated the conversation with each participant contemplating how far they and their businesses have travelled and discussing where the road to gender equity must go from here.
Two Birds’ Brewing, Jayne Lewis is the change we want to see in the world of brewing. She has the trophy to prove it and an unwavering social commitment to actively improving the world of brewing for women, as well as other minority groups.
For CEO & Chairman of Pernod Ricard, Bryan Fry leads the change and keeps his house tidy. For him, there is no room for sexism nor racism and gender equity is led from the top.
He said, “Get it right at the top in terms of leadership and buy-in and then lead the case for change from there.”
For hotelier Craig Laundy, addressing structural bias is the key to creating change. He and his family want women to know that working in venues, working in pubs, bars and restaurants, can be a rewarding long term career, and rewarding both in terms of personal, social and community achievement as well as financially.
View the days highlights here