IWD 2020 Panel: ‘Women Changing The World’

On International Women’s Day this year, I spoke at a ‘Women Changing The World’ event organised by tech start-up incubator Fishburners.

The panel featured women using their entrepreneurial talents for good. Here are some takeaways.

“You’re not always right, which takes a long time to learn. Everyone has their vision, but keep focused on the common goal.” – Simone Amelia Jordan

Packed house for the ‘Women Changing The World’ panel on #IWD2020. Image: Fishburners

“Take up space and flex your voice. Make room, take a spot. At events, at board meetings, wherever you need to be.” – Sasha Sarago

“You need to build resilience. You will be disappointed every second day. Equip yourself with a strong back and a strong network that backs you.” – Carola Jonas

Attendees soaking up knowledge at the #IWD2020 panel

“Stick to your vision and mission. The point of innovation is it is different and it won’t make sense to a lot of people. A lot of it is intuitive.” – Patricia Kaziro

“Value what you bring to the world. We need male energy but we also need female energy and to date, female energy has not been equal.” – Deborah Fairfull

“It does not get easier; things get harder. There are lots of ideas out there and just because something wasn’t your idea, doesn’t mean you can’t get on board.” – Jenna Leo

Remembering Racism As A Child

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Ah, Gosford. You were a distant memory tucked away in the back of my mind until Elite Daily brought you back to life this week. What appears to be just a brief blog post shouting out a Christian church for being, you know, Christian and extending well wishes to Islamic passersby commencing Ramadan means so much more to me.

My family moved to Gosford in 1989. My sister Julie had a mysterious cough (which she still has to this day, SMH) and thinking it was due to us living on Parramatta Road, Sydney’s most clogged thoroughfare, Mum pulled us from the chaos of the inner city to the beautiful beaches of the Central Coast, joining my aunty and cousins who’d relocated months earlier. A different world, indeed.

In Summer Hill, my friendship group was a rainbow coalition: Indian-Fijian, Filipino, Lebanese, Maori. Thanks to gentrification in 2015 it’s a predominantly white area now but back then you name it, we had it. I don’t know how I knew at eight years old Gosford would be an extremely different environment for me, but I did. And it was. I experienced racism for the first time there and it was so stinging and immediate I’ll never forget how blindsided I was by it.

As soon as we moved Mum enrolled Julie and I at St. Patrick’s, East Gosford. We’d gone to St. Patrick’s in our old neighborhood so we thought we’d ease right in. How wrong we were. From the moment I started third grade (or Year 3, as we say in Australia) I knew I was different. There was only one other “ethnic” girl named Aphrodite (she was Greek Cypriot) and instead of embracing me, she stayed away like the plague. She ignored my smiles and acted as if she couldn’t understand me when I’d strike up conversation. I remember she had gorgeous thick, black curly hair and wore it in a bun every day for fear of standing out from the limp, mousey brown strands surrounding her. The other girls called her “Dede” and I thought she was a sellout.

Gosford

It wasn’t too long before I was called “wog” by the other girls. I’d heard the word vaguely before, but never directed at me. I was heated. Who the hell were they to speak to me like that? Just as I reported back to Mum I was going to have to lay hands on these racist little bitches, Julie came home from her kindergarten class one day to let us know, at the tender age of five, another student laughed in her face and told her that her beautiful dark brown eyes looked like “poo.” She cried as she shared they constantly teased her friend Michelle, the only Aboriginal girl in class. Being the protective sister I always was, I remember feeling angry and helpless. My campus was separate from my very shy little sister’s and the thought of not being able to protect her killed me. My social conscience was highly developed from a very young age and therefore I expressed myself in the only ways a child knows how: with my temper and fists. We eventually decided to move back to the city because, frankly, we missed “us” (our neighbor coming over and observing my grandmother frying kibbe on the stove with an “Ewwwww, what is that? Looks disgusting!” was probably the final straw). We missed feeling accepted and part of a community. I slipped right back into my old school, with old friends who looked and talked just like me. Those two years away felt like a bad dream and still do to this day.

Gosford, it appears, is a very different place nowadays. For an Anglican church to post a sign acknowledging their Muslim neighbors in a community that used to frown on diversity makes my heart burst. In these times when racism is viewed as a dirty word (but its results are not) you cannot help to be encouraged by small steps towards righting the wrongs of the past. That’s why we should never refuse to take notice of the pain felt by those who came before us simply because things [might have] changed in the present. And that’s why what appears as a plain sign to you means the world to me.

The Best Clothing & Sneaker Stores: Sydney, Australia

While Sydney is Australia’s oldest and most populous city, its younger sibling Melbourne has always had the edge in regards to shopping. However when it comes to specialty sneaker stores and niche street wear apparel, the Harbour City might be in first place.

In addition to more mass market locations like Culture Kings (which features an in-store barber shop and DJ) there are recently-opened smaller, boutique gems the experienced sneaker head and street wear junkie must see as part of their Down Under shopping experience.

SOLE MATE
250 Pitt Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Contact

What Made You Open Your Store?
Wilan Fung (Director): “I wanted to open up my own store a good few years back when [pioneer street wear store] Nitrogen was still around. It inspired me that it was possible to have my own store and make it happen one day. After almost three years working as a flagship manager at HYPE DC (the leading footwear chain in Australia) I finally decided it was time for me to take the skills I’ve picked up over the years of working in the industry and start my own business. At SOLE MATE we want to share our passion for sneakers and accessories we love, and we strive to make it easier for people in Australia to purchase these locally hard to find products.”

What Makes Your Store Unique?
WF: “We’re currently the only sneaker boutique in Sydney that uses shrink wrap to ensure every customer walks away with a fresh pair of sneakers. We also provide a consignment section to offer some of the rarest and hard to find sneakers as we are trying to bring the sneaker community of Sydney closer. And we have the best and most diverse selection of children’s sneakers, bar none.”

What Are Your Short and Long Term Plans For The Store?
WF: “Our short term goal is to build a solid foundation as an outstanding sneaker boutique. We’re also looking forward to having a well-known reputation of what we do as the best in the footwear industry in the near future.”

BONAFIDE
Shop 4, 27-33 Goulburn Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Contact

What Made You Open Your Store?
Michael Ferrer (Managing Director): “Let me start off by explaining what ‘Bonafide’ means. It’s derived from a Latin legal term, bona fide, meaning in good faith. This is the mantra in which this store is based upon. The Bonafide team thought there was a huge void missing in the Australian fashion market where consumers who followed urban fashion were missing out on a big piece of the cake. That void that was the main motivation for the Bonafide team to open the store and as a team who loves our clothes and style as much as any other urban street wear wearer, we created Bonafide composed of all the things we look for when we go shopping. Therefore Bonafide’s a store where customers can have faith that we offer the freshest clothing from all over the world at competitive prices and with the best service imaginable.”

What Makes Your Store Unique?
MF: “Various factors make Bonafide unique, but I attribute most of our success on the international appeal of our brands and our impeccable service. We pride ourselves in both carrying unique international brands as well as local Aussie brands. We’ve held well-known American brands such as Alife, Diamond Supply, Crooks, Mighty Healthy, New Era, Mitchell ‘N Ness, BloodBath, Good Wood, BBC, TWON and Young ‘N Reckless as well as upcoming brands such as City League and Cukui. Japanese brands have included big names such as Bape, Neighborhood and Mastermind. We’re also big on making sure we do everything possible to support local Aussie brands, like Circle Park, Ones and Geedup.

“One of the worst things about shopping these days is walking into a shop and not being noticed. Or being a regular customer in a shop, dropping some serious cash, but never being remembered. That shit bugs me hard. So at Bonafide when you come in, you’ll always get a “Hey… how’s it going?” or a “How are you today?” … stuff that makes the shopping experience an actual experience! Come in more than once? I can guarantee our staff will remember your face, your name… whatever…we fucking remember! Hell, Peanut, our shop dog, will even make you feel more welcome than most shop assistants these days!”

What Are Your Short and Long Term Plans For The Store?
MF: “Our main short term goal is to make Bonafide a destination store for all lovers of urban streetwear. We want the shop just to be able to roll off the tongues of people when they consider high-end urban fashion. In the long run, we will be focusing on launching our own line of self-named clothing. We want to be a brand all about quality and simplicity of design. Our aim is to become international and launch the brand in countries which have a profound appreciation and love for fashion such as America, Japan and even European countries such as Spain. We dropped our first line of tees and varsity jackets recently; the tees are a simple black with our Bonafide logo in white on the back but made with glow in the dark material that cannot be made here in Australia. But with any successful clothing line comes years of hard work, creativity and time so all I can say now is, watch this space!”

Mariah Carey Touring Australia For The First Time In 15 Years

While we’re yet to see her in her controversial role as a judge on American Idol, Mariah Carey has announced she’s returning to Australia for a run of shows in the new year.

Promoter Mark Rafter of UAE Presents, the touring company bringing the pop legend Down Under, says: “It’s going to be a very high-production show, featuring all her greatest hits and some of her Christmas songs,”

The show run begins at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast on New Year’s Day and heads to Sydney on January 3.

Carey hasn’t toured Australia since 1998, since her chart-topping Butterfly album was released. A married mother of two adorable twins (Moroccan and Monroe, nicknamed “Roc” and “Ro,” to Nick Cannon) the now 43-year-old will be performing all of her greatest hits and rolling out new songs like her latest, “Triumph” (featuring Rick Ross and Meek Mill).

Ticket prices start at $99 all the way up to $699 for a VIP seat and meet-and-greet, available from Ticketek.