Enterprise Melbourne: Women in Business Luncheon

I have an embarrassing story to share. I was so excited about the upcoming Women in Business luncheon, that I actually arrived a day early for it! So when the actual day arrived I was pretty excited to attend.

The Melbourne Women in Business Luncheon, is an annual event run by the City of Melbourne. The luncheon aims to acknowledge the achievements of women and the important role they play in Melbourne’s business community.


This year’s event featured four amazingly talented women (is it wrong to be a little envious?). Each worthy and deserving of their achievements. The guest speakers were:

Drawing on their own experiences, the speakers discussed whether they believe an entrepreneur is something that can be learnt or whether its based on instinct alone. The luncheon kicked off with Margaret Porritt’s retelling of how she grew Feathers into a major Australian fashion label. It was clear from Margaret’s story that the entrepreneurial spirit can be realised at the most unlikely of times. She started Feathers in 1972, after a divorce that left her raising three boys on her own. Margaret’s success has been generated through her nimbleness and ability to never blame others. “I never try to blame anyone else for my mistakes. You need to take responsibility for your own actions. Be nimble and flexible.”

© Donna Stevens - Official photos from the City of MelbourneThe second speaker, Cristina Re, is the vintage girl’s idea of heaven. The original founder of DIY, Cristina Re oozes sophistication, beauty and reward. Known for her vintage inspired designs, she believes entrepreneurship is realised when you work towards achieving your vision. “To get to where you want to go, you must have a clear vision. Without it you won’t know if you are heading in the right direction.” A creative person inside and out, Cristina strongly believes in using imagery to convey your vision. “A vision doesn’t have to be a long winded statement, it can be pictures that convey what you want to achieve. A vision board is a fun way to really delve into what you want and I really encourage all to try one” added Cristina.

Dr Carol Tan is a true entrepreneur and as the Program Manager in Entrepreneurship at RMIT, she would have to be.  Teaching Applied Entrepreneurship at RMIT last year, Carol decided to apply her knowledge into running a pop-up Malaysian eatery. Her time frame? 3.5 weeks from concept to implementation! She knew that utilising her personal and professional networks was an important tool to ensure success. “People think that if you are an entrepreneur, you must do it alone. This isn’t true and the best assistance I received  was from my professional and personal networks.”

© Donna Stevens - Official photos from the City of Melbourne

Speaker Dr Carol Tan

Carol believes that entrepreneurial success is best achieved with the assistance of a loyal support base. She believes reward and achievement and showing gratitude is an important role for any entrepreneur.

Clare Bowditch is one of those people that you instantly like. Refreshingly down to earth, genuine and extremely talented. Clare proves that you can have it all. From actor to singer, political activist and founder of Big Hearted Business she is the essence of an entrepreneur. What’s not to love? She’s proof that you have fun whilst working hard.

The one thing all these ladies have in common is their determination and vision. They could see their dream ahead, and toiled until it was achieved. For me, they are all proof that you really can do anything if you set your mind to it!

Images with thanks: © Donna Stevens – Official photos from the City of Melbourne

Julia Makin

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