Australian Woman’s Network (AWN), with Founder and CEO Francesca Thorne, aim to bring together an extensive global network of successful women to provide leverage resources. Such resources enable women and communities to reach their full potential and achieve ‘greatness’ through structured networking events and learning opportunities. AWN is focused on creating a better Australia through diversity and inclusion, with a principal focus in the short term on gender equality and achieving parity in the workplace. To this end, AWN is combining with other recognised Business Leaders (women, men and youth) across all industries who share the same passion through their extensive Ambassador network.
AWN recognise tides are changing and that gender parity is improving with more female representation on company boards and in C-level executive roles. However, there is still much more to be done. AWN plays a pivotal role in championing the cause, by bringing women together in a supportive and collaborative network environment, to share and learn from each other. In addition to providing a strong and supportive network, AWN seeks to equip its members with continual learning experiences, resources and opportunities.
The AWN platform provides members with tangible capabilities and skills to implement within their organisation, and in every aspect of their daily lives. By championing this process, AWN endeavours to create “strong women” who are empowered to advocate not only their own aspirations and goals, but the broader gender parity cause in the community, corporate world and beyond.
AWN Points of Difference
The Australian Womens Network’s aspiration is to achieve Gender Parity and Inspire both Men and Women to achieve greatness, in whatever form they desire. AWN differentiates itself from other existing women’s networks in the following way:
- Australian Womens Network’s targeted demographic is C-level Executives, including CEO’s, Executive Directors and Directors of all types of organisations; we believe we have a role to play in launching and furthering the careers of the next generation of women in the workplace. AWN is focused on bringing both women and men together in a non-competitive, supportive network to share learning experiences and create far-reaching networks, which enable self-growth and a supportive environment which we call family. AWN creates Accessibility to networks, mentoring, resources, learning and opportunities, helping to elevate today’s junior graduates/executives/front-line managers and staff to the next stage of their career. To help enable this objective, we have made our membership price accessible to all. In addition, AWN seeks to partner with women and men to enable them to drive cultural change within organisations to which they are affiliated.
- The AWN family actively includes men and other constituent groups (i.e. youth) as part of our network. Many other currently existing women’s networks do not include men or other constituent groups as part of the change agenda. AWN believe that driving successful change will require all workplace and community members to be champions of change, spearheading the agenda; and we wholeheartedly welcome their support and mentoring.
- The AWN family is an early stage organisation, formed in 2014, and is willing to work with partners who share our vision to achieve change. Whilst growing rapidly in terms of membership and network reach, AWN acknowledges it is still in a formative stage with a belief that many voices sharing the same vision, allows AWN to enact greater change.
- The AWN family has extensive international reach. We have extensive networks in USA, Asia and beyond through our Ambassador Network Program. We are actively seeking international expansion to drive positive unity and equality while continuing to grow our Australian footprint.
How Will We Achieve Success
The main ways we expect to pursue our agenda include:
Our Key Summits
The Business Summit: The purpose of the Business Summit is twofold. It is our principal networking event and is open to members and non-members. It aims to bring together both men and women in a daylong event. Secondly, the Business Summit provides an exceptional learning opportunity with keynote speeches, a panel, and breakout sessions run by some of our most prominent business leaders in Australia. The first event was held in April 2016 in Melbourne and consisted of both the Business Summit followed by the Blue Frost Gala Ball (open to men and women). The Business Summit saw over 500 plus women attend, including Executive Directors, Directors and CEOs across a broad range of industries, as well as Federal and State Government representatives. Each event has a philanthropic ethos with attendees donating to a charity of choice.
The Leadership Academy is both an online portal and a live platform that features industry thought leaders. The Leadership Academy (TLA) features events that companies may already be running and is open to other Senior Executives to attend (eg: AIM/VU) – we provide another complimentary or alternative platform for organisations to market their events. TLA also features Directors who have created specific events, based on the needs and or requests of other Executives and CEO’s and enables capability development from recognised experts. The events may be live, remote and/or prerecorded (eg: webinars/podcasts). TLA is run all across Australia with intentions of an international rollout. TLA is currently partnering with leading organisations, business leaders and Members of Parliament as part of active thought leaders.
International Men’s Day (Official Day of Celebration is 19th November)
We are currently in the throws of launching our inaugural International Men’s Day Summit (IMDS), to Inspire, Connect, Grow and Transform, to be held in November each year. The 20th November is to celebrate and focus on men’s and youth’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality and highlighting male role models. The IMDS celebrates men’s’ and youth’s achievements and contributions, in particular, their contribution to community, family, marriage and child care. The broader and ultimate aim of the event is to promote basic humanitarian values to both male and female genders. The event focusses on sharing learning and successes from both men and women on ways in which inclusion can help improve culture and elevate business outcomes. We need more supportive and powerful men to step up beside women, in building a gender equal world.
Youth Forum (held bi-annually)
The Youth Forum is for 13 – 18 year old’s; engaging the next generation of leaders on why diversity and inclusion is necessary. This comprehensive event will demonstrate and enable youth on why and how to be a successful leader. This event is anticipated to be launched in late 2018, with one of our new partners. Announcement Coming soon!!!
Blue Frost Gala Ball (held bi-annually)
Blue Frost Gala Ball is the AWN’s major philanthropic event. It brings together our networks, ambassadors and partners, in a fun and relaxing way. Components of all ticket sales are donated to a nominated beneficiary, in addition to proceeds raised from raffle tickets, silent and live auctions partnered with Helping Hand to achieve a great outcome for the charity of choice.