Zonta Club of Hervey Bay Inc hosts a successful International Women's Day Breakfast event

The Zonta Club of Hervey Bay Inc, Australia, had a successful International Women's Day Breakfast event. This year's theme was Technology Embraces Equity, and the day began with a Welcome to Country by Butchella woman Karen Hall, followed by a panel presentation, speeches from the local councilors and the club president, the launch of the Women in STEM Scholarship and much fun drawing the fundraising raffles.

The panel was chaired by world-renowned IT specialist Dr. Ann Moffatt and discussed the role of technology in bringing equity for women, the challenges for women in their careers and the benefits of the STEM career field. Other panelists included Kathy Townsend, an associate professor from the University of the Sunshine Coast and world authority on marine animals, Emma Conway, a people and culture specialist from Hyne Timber, and Geoff Augutis, Director of Queensland Computers. All spoke about their passion for their industries, the cultural changes that have occurred over time and the importance of diversity and women's engagement in all fields of work and business.

More than 140 guests attended with a long waiting list, and the club was joined by special guests, including the Mayor of the Fraser Coast Regional Council, George Seymour and councilors Jade Wellings and David Lee. They spoke to encourage women to nominate and participate in local government. Many large groups booked full tables for employees and club members, and the club benefitted from generous sponsors for the raffles. These sponsors included Kingfisher Resort on K'gari, who have supported the club for many years; Bunnings Hervey Bay, who support as many Zonta activities as possible; De Lorenzo and South Street Salon, who were very generous; and the Hervey Bay Boat Club, who also provide the venue freely every year and cater the event.

The club was also supported by Wilsons, who have sponsored them for many years, and they were very grateful that Ann donated one of her books for the lucky door prize. The day's proceeds will be used to support the Women in STEM Scholarship. Club President Sara Faraj noted the inspiration of the panel of speakers and the learning from the successful Women in Careers project conducted in 2022 as motivation for the club's decision to offer the scholarship this year.

Each year, the requests for tickets grow, and next year, the club plans to organize the venue to increase capacity so that more of our community, including more school students, can attend. They have also seen increased participation by men in their community and appreciate their support as they advocate for equity and services to women in our community.