Sell-out International Women’s Day breakfast at Red Energy Arena

Last week International Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated around the world on Wednesday 8 March.

On Friday, together with Be.Bendigo, we recognised and celebrated this important date with a breakfast in our Sky Lounge!

The theme for IWD 2023 is ‘Cracking the Code: Innovation for a Gender Equal Future.’

The theme highlights the vital role that transformative ideas, inclusive technologies, and accessible education can play in addressing the pervasive discrimination and marginalisation of women around the world.

The planning for our IWD breakfast began in November last year, with Rob Herbert, CEO, Be.Bendigo and Eve Ritchens, Marketing Manager, Red Energy Arena agreeing that it would be a great idea to showcase female winners of the 2022 Business Excellence Awards.

The idea grew from there and we got cracking on locking in our panel of speakers!

By the end of 2022, a date was set, and the host and panel were booked, which included four inspiring and successful leaders from the Bendigo region.

We secured Kate Mannix (CEO AFS & Associates Chartered Accountants and Non-Executive Director for the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) as our host and panel facilitator, and the following influential panel speakers:

  • Angela Crombie: Director of Research and Innovation, Bendigo Health (the perfect fit to talk about all things innovation and ‘Cracking the Code’!)
  • Sarah Gee: Curium Legal and Curium Academy (winner, Young and Professional Award at the 2022 Business Excellence Awards).
  • Greta Donaldson: Bendigo Brittle and winner, Regional Businesswoman of the Year at the 2022 Business Excellence Awards

Fast forward to January 2023, we set up ‘early bird’ tickets hoping to encourage some early sales to get it moving. Little did we expect the event would sell out in January, with six weeks to go until the March event!

The breakfast was opened by the Chair of Bendigo Stadium Limited, Stacie Wright, who delivered our Acknowledgement of Country and gave the audience some of her own personal and professional insights into this year’s IWD theme.

“For BSL Red Energy Arena, participating in today’s event was an easy decision,” she said.

“We believe that to crack the equality code, we need to continue to challenge our thinking. Whilst we have a female dominant executive – 55% of our managers are female and we have a female chair – we know we can do much more.

“For me, equality is achieved when everyone in the room is equal.

“Whilst I believe that here in Australia, we’re incredibly fortunate, there are still many in our local communities where access to inclusive digital technologies and education is critical.”

After Stacie’s address, we then heard from our panel of speakers who unpacked everything surrounding this year’s theme of ‘Cracking the Code’ and their own reflections of IWD – including career, business, motherhood and their own challenges and advice for women.

“I’m not even sure how to describe the morning! Kate and the panel members were as incredible as expected,” said Eve Ritchens, Marketing Manager, Red Energy Arena.

“Sarah Gee, Ange Crombie, and Greta Donaldson – each from different industries, with different stories, themes, and inspiration for the variety of ages in the room.

“Having Megan Champion there to talk about her Women of Gold project, and the importance of telling more women’s stories was also the perfect addition to the breakfast.

“We already have our next event in the works, so watch this space!”

At Red Energy Arena, we’re incredibly fortunate to have a full events team, as well as an on-site catering team.

Our teams worked tirelessly up until the event day to perfect every detail – from the catering, to the furniture and room setup – and everything in between!

A huge thank you to Be.Bendigo for helping bring this event to life.

Thank you to the 110 men and women who attended this breakfast to make it such a successful (and sell-out!) event!

We couldn’t have done it all without the support from the local business community. A special thank you goes to the following businesses for their support and generosity:

Oliver Birch – thank you for loaning us the stunning furniture and décor for the event
Bendigo Backdrops – for the lovely backdrop for our panel
OAK Magazine – thanks for all the magazines, featuring two of our panel speakers
Bendigo Brittle – thank you for the lovely treat for all attendees
Indulge Chocolates – the chocolates for all attendees were a hit, we loved our Red Energy Arena branded labels
Monalisa – thank you for donating a $100 gift card for our lucky door prizes
Wander into Wildness – thank you for the Sound Healing gift voucher, valued at $135 for our lucky door prizes and the discount vouchers for all attendees
O’Farrell Robertson McMahon Lawyers – thank you for your kind donation of champagne for three lucky door prize winners.

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