On Wednesday 8 March, 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, and featuring three remarkable Greek-Australian
women who have carved their own path in the world of journalism,
media, communications, and marketing:
• HACCI 2021 Woman of Influence Award winner Niki Savva is a celebrated
political journalist, author, and former advisor to the Howard Federal
government; ever since she entered the male-dominated world of political
journalism she made her own mark in the industry; she walks in the upper
echelons of power and her books offer insight into the inner workings of politics
and the power plays that shape Australia, its economy, its status in the world, its
laws, its policies, everything that affects our day-to-day lives.
• 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. She is
currently the most recognisable Ambassador for medicinal cannabis in the
country, working as a Communications Executive for plant-based medicine
• 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?’In what was an open discussion about their careers and experiences as communicators, the three panelists 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
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. 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,"
she advised. "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
Leading the conversation towards "our personal spheres of influence, what we can all
do to move the needle in ways that can have some measure of change, however big or
small," 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,"
she told the audience. "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."
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.
Quotes attributed to HACCI Board Chair, Fotini Kypraios:
“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.”