SISWP Conference of Clubs 2016, Sydney

The 20th SISWP Conference of Clubs 2016 was held at Waterview Convention Centre, Bicentennial Park, Sydney, from 29 April to 1 May 2016. With the total number of participants at this Federation conference at around 300, Malaysia was well represented with 20 members from SI Bangsar, Damansara, KL, Penang, PJ and Shah Alam. Malaysian representatives included outgoing SISWP Immediate Past President Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam, incoming SISWP President-Elect and YSM Chairman Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam, outgoing National Rep Joanne Yeoh, incoming NR and SIROM IPP Nora Lam, SIROM President Anita Pater and SIROM President-Elect Saradha Narayanan.

The Malaysian attendees

(from left) SIPJ Joyce Kee, SISA Faridah Yasin, SISA Mary Absolom, SIKL Joanne Fernandez, SISA Fadzilla Yasin, SICB Khoo Suat Pheng, SICB Nora Lam, SIPJ Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam, SIPJ Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam, SIP Anita Pater, SID Saradha Narayanan, SIPJ Sharon Saw, SID Joanne Yeoh, SICB Helena Cheah, SI Ipoh Sumathi Sivamany, SI Ipoh Jean Chai, SISA Michele Kaur, SISA Cynthia Paul, SISA Elia Talib and SISA Wan Hasmah

The conference opened with the Parade of Flags.

NR Joanne carrying flag

NR Joanne Yeoh carrying the Malaysian flag

SIPJ-Anusha with flag

Incoming SISWP PE and YSM Chairman Anusha Santhirasthipam carrying the SISWP flag

Uncle Max

Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison conducting the traditional cleansing smoke ceremony

Dr Mehreen Faruqi

The Opening Speaker was Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, NSW Parliament


SISWP President Carolyn Hudson

In the afternoon of Day 1, there were National Meetings at the Waterview, where Malaysian delegates and proxies gathered for matters of discussion.
Day 2 began with a presentation by SISWP IPP Siew Yong Gnanalingam and Convention Chair of the next Convention of Clubs, which will be held in Malaysia in 2019.

PSG presentation

Convention Chair Puan Sri Siew Yong presenting the 14 clubs of the local host

PSG presentation1

Convention Chair Puan Sri Siew Yong inviting all delegates to come to Malaysia for the Conference of Clubs in 2019

It was a dynamic few days of business sessions, where there were some fiery discussions and resolutions passed. We also had inspirational speakers, who shared their experiences and perspectives on two panels over the weekend. The first panel was moderated by SISWP PE Theresa Lyford on the theme of “Women Accepting the Change of Leadership”, with the keynote speaker being Dorothy Hoddinott AO Principal of Holroyd High School. The first panelist was Lee-May Saw, President of the Women’s Lawyers’ Association of NSW and Barrister. the second was Michelle Byrne, the Mayor of the Hill Shire Castle Hill, Sydney, and finally Annabelle Chauncy OAM, CEO School for Life Foundation.

Theresa and the panel

(from left) Lee-May Saw, Dorothy Hoddinott, Michelle Byrne, Annabelle Chauncy and panel moderator Theresa Lyford

Day 3 began with a welcome from International President Yvonne Simpson.

Yvonne Simpson

President Yvonne Simpson

The second panel on Day 3 was on the theme of “Women Accepting the Challenge of Gender Equality” and was moderated by SISWP IPP Siew Yong. The panellists were SI Singapore President Dr Theresa Devashayam, who is a researcher and writer on gender, Domestic Violence NSW CEO Moo Baulch and  International Women’s Development Agency Senior Research and Policy Adviser Joanne Crawford.

Moo Baulch’s presentation can be seen below:

One of the highlights of the conference for Malaysia was the election of SIROM Extension Convenor and SICB member Helena Cheah as Assistant Membership Asia.

Helena Cheah

Another highlight was the Best Practice Awards where SI Penang received the Federation Best Practice Award 2015-2016 for Goal 1 Objective 1 – advancing education and learning opportunities for Women, and SI Petaling Jaya received the Federation Best Practice Award 2015-2016 for Goal 1 Objective 2 – Improve Access to Economic Empowerment and Sustainable Opportunities for the Employment of Women.

SIP award

SIROM President and SI Penang delegate Anita Pater accepts award on behalf of SIP. From left, SISWP President Carolyn Hudson, Anita Pater and SISWP Programme Director Di Lockwood

Receiving BPA

From left, Carolyn Hudson, SEEED JobsForLife project lead Dato Anusha Santhirasthipam, SIPJ delegate Sharon Saw, Di Lockwood and Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam

SISA table

SI Shah Alam had a table selling some Soroptimist items to raise funds for their club throughout the conference

At the close of the conference, President-Elect Theresa Lyford presented her vision for her presidency.

Theresa and her challenge

We also congratulate our incoming National Rep Nora Lam for being elected to the SISWP Board of Directors.

nora lam closing ceremony

NR Nora Lam carrying Malaysia’s flag at the closing ceremony

Another highlight was witnessing our own Dato’ Anusha becoming the President-Elect of SISWP.

PSG Anusha Theresa and Carolyn

Outgoing IPP Siew Yong, PE Anusha, President Theresa and IPP Carolyn at the gala dinner after the handover ceremony

All in all, it was a fabulous Conference of Clubs – much appreciation to the conference organising committee for the great conference. It was a splendid time to catch up with old friends and make new ones, learn new perspectives on relevant topics, discuss our organisational issues and also have a lot of fun!

Congratulations to the award winners and the position holders. Congratulations also to the new SISWP committee and we look forward to an exciting new biennium!

See more photos of the conference on SIROM Facebook album.

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