Reflections from Brisbane

Photo L-R:  Karen Groves, ‘Tricia Summerfield, Sandra Burns, Dr Susanne von Bassewitz (Zonta International President), Judy Gorton and Carole Theobald

In September, all eyes were on Brisbane for the Zonta Combined Australia New Zealand Centennial Conference where around 750 Zontians from four districts gathered at the Brisbane Convention Centre for a packed program on all things ‘Zonta’. Seven members from our club attended the Conference.

Our District 23 Governor, Jane Adornetto, had a serious accident on her way to the conference and had to be hospitalised.  Jane is making a good recovery, but it was sad that having spent the last couple of years organising the event with the Governors from the three other districts she was not there to share the fruits of her labours.  Our own club’s Sandra Burns was the Lt Governor and capably stepped up to cover for Jane.  Carole Theobald (D23 photographer) was tasked with taking as many photos as she could so that Jane would not miss out completely. These photos may be viewed from this link.

What were the highlights from the Conference?  They included:

  • the fantastic opening ceremony: flags, anthems and a Hakka!
  • the grace of Dame Quentin Bryce sharing her insights and signing her books
  • the engaging presentation by Dame Therese Walsh that featured her standing on a washing machine as a girl!
  • AE Fellow Dr Airlie Chapman flying her robotic drone on stage
  • Prof Lisa Harvey-Smith, STEM ambassador, explaining how gender inequality in design results in women being more likely than men to be injured in a car accident, work in buildings that are too cold for them and have difficulty taking photos one-handed with mobile phones
  • the panel discussion exploring child marriage
  • those amazing YWPA awardees sharing their stories – the future is in good hands…
  • the open forum with the Zonta International President, Dr Susanne von Bassewitz and four ANZ District Governors
  • presenting International President, Dr Susanne von Bassewitz with a copy of our club’s history book – she loved it! (see above)
  • the fellowship, the dinner, the marketplace, the laughter!

We learned so much from other clubs…  heard how some invited local women to be individual members, were inspired by some of the local service projects and saw some amazing fundraising ideas in the marketplace.

If you have not been to a district conference or an International Convention, put it on your bucket list today…   The Zonta International Convention in 2020 will be in Chicago from 4-8 July.

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