International Women’s Day (IWD) marks a special moment in time for the Orange Sky community, and this year hits particularly close to home for our organisation. The 2022 theme is ‘Break The Bias’; a movement encouraging us all to pause and hold space for purposeful conversations that inspire actions to stop generational stigmas, discrimination, and exclusion around women. 

Each and every day, Orange Sky strives to positively connect people doing it tough – regardless of who they are and what their living situation is – through non-judgemental and genuine conversations. We pull out our iconic six orange chairs, throw on a load of washing, and sit down for a chat with our friends.

IWD encompasses many things, but most importantly, it is a day committed to transforming communities, and changing the way people think, feel and respond to create a more inclusive space for the women of our world to thrive. 

This sentiment is infused into everything we do at Orange Sky, and the passionate people who make it happen. This year, we were lucky enough to hear from four amazing women at our IWD event. Together, through the power of technology, we were able to share in their wisdom, knowledge and stories, and walk away from the conversation feeling inspired and hopeful for the future. Here’s what they had to say…

Jenny Hutchens: Orange Sky, Chief Finance Officer

Jenny is a valued member of the Orange Sky family, having recently joined as the Chief Financial Officer. She is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and is particularly excited about the future growth and pathway Orange Sky is carving. 

“I have chosen to challenge biases in my personal and professional life. I strive in my personal life to role model behaviours and show that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of differences and uniquenesses. In my work life, recruitment in particular, is not based on gender or race, but on diversity of thought and bringing the best to the organisation.”

Kiri Brain: Turks Legal, Chief Executive Officer

Kiri is CEO of Turks Legal, one of Orange Sky’s incredibly valued partners. Kiri comes from a marketing background and has always had a passion for diversity – particularly in the workplace. 

“Breaking the bias to me reminds us that we can’t make a change unless we as individuals decide that we need to do something and take action. It is really important that we are aware of our own actions and consciously recognise that we are going to take steps to break the bias ”

Mary-Anne Cahill: Orange Sky Volunteer 

Mary-Anne has volunteered with our service on the Sunshine Coast for almost 6 years! She attributes her passion for education and helping others to her migrant background. Strength and high achievement were modelled by her family and community, which she brought to her 40 years of teaching and her volunteering with orange Sky.

“Every shift we meet female friends with the amazing resilience to put their feet on the ground each morning and go on for another day. This is something that needs to be celebrated. We need to consider and champion these women. We need to speak positively about their experiences and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. I see our role as a social conduit between our friends and the wider community. We have an obligation to be their voice, at times when they have no voice.”

Abbey Allin: Thread Together, Marketing and Commercial Lead 

Abbey is the Marketing and Commercial Lead for Thread Together, an organisation that supports our friends experiencing homelessness through the provision of clothing donations.

“The most important piece of advice I have received was to be myself. I worked closely with engineers [in a previous role], where the bias was heavily steered towards men. However, I was told – you don’t have to be a man to get things done. This allowed me to confidently use my skills of understanding and empathy, to remain authentic to myself whilst being successful in the workplace. This advice came to me from a female manager who exuded calm in the face of adversity. An intelligent and empathetic leader who found solutions and took people on the journey with her.”

A world where women choose to challenge the biases and champion each other looks hopeful, but change cannot happen on its own. With the support, encouragement and passion from women like Abbey, Jenny, Kiri and Mary-Anne, together we can carve a world for future generations to thrive in.

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