Greek Australian business community gather for HACCI International Women’s Day event

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On Wednesday, March 8, the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HACCI) celebrated International Women’s Day by holding its 9th annual special event, titled ‘Cracking the Code: Innovative Storytelling Towards Equality.’

More than 120 people attended the sold out event which took place at Le Ciel in Cremorne, and was centered around a panel discussion hosted by journalist-turned-CEO of the Social Studio, Dewi Cooke.

The panel featured three remarkable Greek Australian women who have carved their own path in the world of journalism, media, communications, and marketing. They are:

  • HACCI 2021 Woman of Influence Award winner, Niki Savva. She is a celebrated political journalist, author, and former advisor to the Howard Federal government.
  • Helen Kapalos used her fame after a successful career as a newsreader to fight for causes she believed in. In 2015, she was appointed as chair of the Victorian Multicultural Commission; at the same time, she embarked on a different journey, as a documentary filmmaker and advocate for medicinal cannabis.
  • Expert marketing strategist, Mia Fileman, is a full-time trainer, mentor and consultant for women in business. After 20 years in marketing, she set up her own business, Campaign Del Mar, a marketing education platform for marketers and entrepreneurs offering online training and education in multi-channel marketing. She is also the producer and host of a popular industry-focused podcast, ‘Got Marketing?’
Dewi Cooke, Helen Kapalos, Mia Fileman, and Niki Savva.

In what was an open discussion about their careers and experiences as communicators, the three panellists provided the audience with ideas, insights and practical tools to influence discussions in many facets of their lives.

“It’s as simple as shifting our attitude when it comes to the context of community,” Helen Kapalos said. “Make the shift from a community of problems to a community of possibilities.”

Nikki Savva had some practical and direct advice for the audience: “If there are people in here who employ women, give them a pay rise,” she said.

“If you see men disrespecting women, tell them to stop. The most important thing is for people to stay engaged; connect to organisations, even if it’s a political party or a community group, donate to organisations that help other women,” she added.

“There are all sorts of practical ways that each of us as individuals can do. We can all make a difference.”

For her part, Mia Fileman focused on aspiring business owners: “If your daughter, your sister, or your wife comes to you saying she wants to start a business, be her support. This is how we can crack the code and get to equality. Please throw support behind them; running a business is risky, but it also gives women incredible opportunities.”

Dewi Cooke closed the event with a call to action: “Think about what is the one thing you can do once you walk out of this room to create change in the next 24 hours.”

Dewi Cooke, Mia Fileman, Niki Savva, and Helen Kapalos.

“It can be an email you send to someone, a conversation at the office, a donation, or joining a political party, be active; we are active, not passive participants of the world,” she added.

The discussion continued further during the rest of the night, as the attendees, including prominent members of the Greek Australian community, networked over drinks and canapés, enjoying the spectacular view of the city.

HACCI Board Chair, Fotini Kypraios, said: “I’m very proud of how our annual International Women’s Day event is growing stronger and more popular every year.”

“HACCI has been celebrating International Women’s Day since 2014, and it looks like we’ll keep doing this for many years to come, because no matter how hard we fight, no matter how many discussions we hold, how many actions we take, we’re still living in a man’s world, where women are still facing inequality, discrimination, or worse, on a daily basis,” Ms Kypraios added.

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