The Rotary Club of Brisbane held its inaugural Rotary International Women's Day Breakfast Seminar with the theme of "Breaking Down the Barriers" at the United Services Club on the 1st of March. The seminar was well-attended with a total of 41 attendees including our 2 keynote speakers, 14 RCoB members and 7 Rotarians supporting us from other clubs including the Brisbane Mid City, Pine Rivers Daybreak, Brisbane Planetarium and Fortitude Valley clubs, one UQ Rotary Peace Fellow and a goodly leavening of guests and other people interested in the theme of the event.
Keynote Speakers Wendy Protheroe and Julie McDonald OAM (Photo: Lauren Panrucker)
The United Services Club turned on a good breakfast and we thank Rotarian Denise Schellbach for organising the venue. The main food for the morning, however, was brain food. This was provided for us in lavish helpings by our two fantastic keynote speakers, Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist and member of the Commonwealth Games Legacy Commmittee, Julie McDonald OAM and Rotary District 9600 District Governor Elect Wendy Protheroe who has graced and transformed the boardrooms of government, corporate and not-for-profit organisations.
L-R: Robyn Burridge, Graeme Whitmore, Doris Whitmore and Savina Vankov  (Photo: Lauren Panrucker)
Julie talked to us about her road to the top in swimming and the progress over the years to the point where this year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast will be the first in history where the number of medals  available to women athletes will not be less than the number available to male athletes. She also talked to us about her efforts to get more physical activity - of any type - into schools and the difficulties with that posed by entrenched practices and interests. Wendy talked about her distinguished career so far with a bit of focus on some critical points where "gender mattered". Both keynote speakers had the audience entertained and laughing while skilfully weaving in some more sobering items for reflection. All in all the programme was perfectly in keeping with the theme of the event.
L-R: Dorothy Watts, Jennifer Crisp, Bruce Clarke and Rod Thorburn (Photo: Lauren Panrucker)
Proceeds from the event will be donated to Polio Plus, Rotary International's mega project in partnership with other organisations to free the world forever from the threat of polio. The battle is almost won, but there are still at least four years and probably more of very hard effort before it is over.
Thanks go to Lauren Panrucker of Tide Productions who took society photos before the event and got us a guernsey in the Newfarm Village News. More pics can be found in the album of the event:
Special thanks also must go to Keith Watts without whose indefatigable efforts and sheer determination the event could not have been anything like the success it was, and also to Denise Schellbach, Christine Petersen, Dan Adler, Jacqui Page and Wendy Protheroe who all made significant contributions toward making the event a reality.