‘Huge honour’: Effie Cinnani selected for the Multicultural Communities Leadership Action Program

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Greek Australian business woman, Effie Cinanni, has been selected to participate in the Victorian Multicultural Commissions’ – Multicultural Communities Leadership in Action Program in 2022.

The program aims to build the capability of multicultural and multifaith leaders to engage effectively with government, in order for them to learn to become informed and influential community advocates to help mobilise and educate their communities. 

Effie is the Founder and Director of Small Chilli Marketing and Co-founder of the Northern Multicultural Small Business Awards.

She was selected for the women’s stream of the program and will participate in the program from February through to May 2022.

“This really is a huge honour and a privilege, I didn’t expect to be selected among so many applicants to help serve my community in this way, but I am delighted to be given this opportunity,” Effie says.

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“I am really looking forward to building my skills and strengthening my community engagement capability in order to be able to do more for the Greek Community and other multicultural communities here in Victoria.”

To celebrate this exciting news, we sat down with Effie to see how she plans to use this leadership program to her advantage.

1. Why did you decide to apply for the leadership program?

I worked in Greek language schools across Melbourne teaching Greek folk dancing from 1994 – 2008 and have always tried to use that role to inspire others to be ‘culture keepers.’ In 2016, I was given the opportunity to run an event for the Victorian Small Business Festival.

I am the founder and director of a boutique marketing agency called Small chilli marketing and I have always been passionate about multicultural affairs and creating community harmony here in Australia. I’m also very focused on gender equality and women in business. As such, I partnered with a client of mine, The Brotherhood of St Laurence, and co-founded the Northern Multicultural Small Business Awards. 

I decided to apply for the VMC’s  leadership program in order to learn more and build my skills and capacity to become a stronger community advocate. The program seeks to enable participants to learn how to:

  • become influential and informed community advocates.
  • navigate and collaborate with government.
  • be more able to mobilise and educate their communities; and
  • strengthen their civic and community engagement capability.

Participants will:

  • join a network of hundreds of like-minded cultural and faith leaders.
  • develop great potential to create collaborative partnerships and projects.
  • be connected with government representatives; and
  • be more likely to hold future roles in senior community service and on government boards and committees.

2. How will you inspire more Greek Australian women to become business and community leaders?

Effie (right) is passionate about inspiring Greek Australian women.

First, I will undertake the training and then work to identify how I can leverage the services that the Victorian Multicultural Commission offers. Then I’d like to sit down and scope out how I can help my community. 

I want to do one of two things or possibly both. I’d like to start a business incubator program for young women and female entrepreneurs from migrant backgrounds. This is dependent on whether I can get the right supports and funding in place to do this. 

Alternatively, if I can’t get the funds, I will help my local Greek Orthodox church raise funds for the Greek community by running a multicultural event like a “Panigiri” with a focus on Greek women being stall holders and selling their products and services at the event. The event would also focus on Greek culture, music and dance as I am confident I’ll be able to obtain a grant for this type of event.   

3. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I was chosen for the ‘women’s stream’ of the leadership program so my focus will be on helping women in my community to learn or grow their skills, or become successful in business, improve their education or help them develop future skills for further employment. 

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