Adventurers, Altona, angels, Birdlife, birds, Birdwatching, Garden, Gardening, Swans, Victoria, Williamstown, Williamstown, Women in Business

Autumnal sunshine relaxes a busy mind

http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/black-swan

Escaping ones desk is always a challenge. There is inevitably another email to answer or proposal or report to write. So this afternoon when I took a few minutes to walk outside to inspect how my garden was holding up after a few days without rain, I realised just how beautiful a day it was and decided it was time to leave the keyboard behind and take a walk.

While the sun was shining, I took myself up to a river crossing at Kororoit Creek which is surrounded by industrial buildings and in easy view of the incredibly ugly train overpass that is unnecessarily being built 200 meters from the water.

There are a number of places close to my house where I can see birds and they are some of my favourite animals to photograph. Thankfully, the shore birds don’t seem to notice their built up environment and I arrived at just the right time to see many of them enveloped in dappled sunlight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had the birds all to myself and while taking photos is a way to capture the moment,  I was happy just to witness their activity as they went about feeding, preening and generally enjoying the sunshine.

Some of the birds in this tiny patch of water included those with the most unlikely features. The Royal Spoonbills have beautiful white feathers and jet black spoon shaped bills which they waft left and right through the water to sift out food.  One of my favourites are the Red- Necked Avocets whose tips of their black beaks tilt upwards in the most surprising way!  Black Winged Stilts have legs so thin that I don’t see how they stay standing and the Sooty Oystercatcher is just a joy of red and black. Check out those legs!

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Sooty Oystercatcher
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Black Winged Stilt

As I continued walking, I entered a grasslands area and here the birdlife changes. They’re mostly smaller and a little noisier.  Beautiful, tiny (less than 8 cms high) are the Zitting Cisticolas. I just love their high pitched little song like hiss of a snake only less scary which immediately tells me that they’re around even if I can’t see them.  Unless you get one like this that sits atop a tiny branch and makes his presence known to everyone!

Zitting Cisticola
Listen to me!

A little bigger but just as flighty, the lovely Crested Pigeons shimmer in the sunlight and are not bothered by the flocks of sparrows (which are becoming more rare) also enjoying the warm air.

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A line of sparrows
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Crested Pigeon

I found myself at Cherry Lake, Altona  having walked much further than I intended… following the birds.  In a whispering She-Oak I was delighted to see White Eared Honeyeaters and Red Brow Finches dropping down to take little sips and dips in the lake then quickly returning to the She-Oak.  I hoped there were no large fish in the lake else these little birds would have made some quick fish a bitesized meal! A Little Wattlebird didn’t want to miss out so he soon joined the fun.

I’m sure there were many other birds I either didn’t see or couldn’t photograph… as soon as they hear me coming, most vanish into the undergrowth or behind a convenient bush.  But occasionally, as with the Red Browed Finches, they tolerate me standing right under their tree as they flit back and forth.

Seeing any birds is always a joy and I encourage to get out into your own backyard and see what you can see.  Listen and look up and down. They are all around you!

If you enjoyed accompanying me on today’s walk through Williamstown and Altona, think about making a donation to BirdLife. before June 30th.  Many of our birds are in danger of disappearing completely. Let’s not forget how much they add to our lives with the colour and song.  Enjoy the sunshine this weekend.

http://www.birdlife.org.au/current-appeal

 

Art, artists, Australia, Benchmarking, birds, Birdwatching, Books & Writing, business planning, Business Strategy, creativity, goal-setting, leadership, life balance, Photography, Strategic Planning, Victoria, Women, Women in Business, writer in transit, writing, writers, writers in residence, Writers

Change is good

Mono Negative

Keeping one’s blog up-to-date is important and the same is true with the associated website! I felt mine needed a good refresh so I’ve implemented an upgrade and reorganised my site. I’d love to hear your feedback. If you think it’s better than before let me know.

As I’m not so active on Facebook I’ve moved my bird photos onto this site and you’ll find them here  I like taking time to write about the things that interest me – and my interests are varied and on occasion, unrelated – but  I want to spend less time online … this is a challenge for all of us I’d say.  I find Facebook has become just a series of anonymous videos for the most part as many friends ‘follow’ but do not post or like so therefore communication has become a bit one way. So I’m putting my efforts into this site. Such as they are.

I have new projects I’m working on and hope to share them here soon. Less time on line (I’m hoping) means more time for real world projects to be completed.

If all of this makes sense to you, please let me know. We’re all friends here.

Art, artists, Craftsy, creativity, Fashion, Mothers Day, Women in Business

Feeling Crafty this Mothers’ Day?

 

Free weekend of craft videos

There is a great site I like to visit where I can see creative experts in action, Craftsy.com.  I dream of the day I will turn into a committed crafter instead of an art procrastinator. This Mothers’ Day Craftsy.com is doing a free Watchathon weekend where you can watch all their crafting videos for FREE! Love it.  I may not leave my computer long enough this weekend to put any of it into action (that’s not procrastination you see, I’m studying).  Want to join in? Here’s the link.

I’d love to be one of those people who can just get on with a great creative project and voila: days, weeks or months later they have a finished result. A great dress, a soufflé, a coastal water colour or a beautifully beaded bag… this is, unfortunately, not me.

I may not have time to knit that amazing scarf, jumper… you name it, I promised myself I’d make my mother in time for THIS Mothers’ Day but I’ll be ready for next year. Maybe even start a great quilting project to make in time for Xmas?  So what are you waiting for, get crafty here!  I’m right behind you 🙂

Women in Business

Executing an Idea You Strongly Believe In Globally

Great to see the exciting things the women of the world are doing. What do you have planned for 2017?

Women Entrepreneurs GROW Global

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It’s that time of year when you reflect on your accomplishments, celebrate your successes, and plan a path for the future.  One thing we all need as we delve into 2017 with our global dream is a healthy dose of inspiration. Hopefully, we are giving you a little of that here at WEGG but in case you need more, read the article below for stories about how women overcame challenges and grew their businesses beyond borders.

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-11-41-02-amIn 2017, may you be globally ambitious!  We look forward to learning, growing and inspiring one another together in the new year.

Read more:  Women entrepreneurs whose stories inspired us in 2016

Screenshot:  Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro, one of the women business owners featured in the article above.  That’s also a quote from her site.

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next_up_4jan_2017_wegginarNote: Don’t miss our next WEGG webinar 1/4/17 on “Laurel Delaney’s Global Trade Trends Report 2017,”…

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Australia, Business Strategy, fundraising, philanthropy, Women, Women in Business

Should you be certified?

CFREJust recently I decided to apply for certification as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) Why? What? Did you know you could be such a thing? I was encouraged by my highly professional and effective fundraising colleague Stephen Mally of Fundraising Force that this was something that was considered highly important for all fundraisers and I do agree that it is important that we help recognise the skills and abilities required to be provide excellence in this challenging – and somewhat undervalued –  field.  It is not, as a lovely contact said to me the other day, just a matter of sending out a few ‘begging’ letters. He added: ‘Surely your assistant could do that?” I hope there’s more to fundraising than a few sporadic mailings no matter how well written?

For me, it was a choice to acknowledge the commitment I had made to my own career over these past 16 or more years. It was a way to promote the continuing professionalism of the sector and to encourage others to seek to further their own careers.

So I’ve signed up and will take the exam later this year.  I had a look at the number of  Australian ‘graduates’ to the certification and while there were a few there were not that many. So it made me ask? Do you think it’s worth the effort? Should it matter whether you’re a CFRE?  I’m interested in your thoughts.  And will let you know how I go with my study before the exam.  It never hurts to brush up on your knowledge and I’m sure I’ll also learn a few things I didn’t know before. If you’d like to find out more about CFRE, visit www.cfre.org or go to the Fundraising Institute of Australia website for more information.

Australia, fundraising, Melbourne Zoo, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Threatened Species, Victoria, Women in Business, Zoos, Zoos Victoria

Fundraising Excellence… Helping Australian threatened species

For the first time Zoos Victoria and our Foundation (fundraising and sponsorship) team were recognised by the Australian Fundraising Institute for our very special fundraising campaign leveraging the 150th anniversary of Melbourne Zoo.  It was my privilege to head up the ZV Foundation during this highly creative period, a role I still hold.

mali

One of the main projects was Mali in the City with 50 sculptures of our very own (then) baby elephant Mali were painted by professional and amateur artists and positioned all around the city. Each sculpture had a paid sponsor for the period of the installation and at the end of the exhibition, all of the sculptures were successfully auctioned off. A wonderful event that brought the Melbourne community back in touch with its fantastic city Zoo.  We raised almost AUD $1m with the campaign across our various events and activities for our Victorian and International conservation programmes. And had a great time in the process!

Here’s the story which was featured recently by the FIA talking about the awards:

Zoos Victoria

Winner of the 2014 Most Effective Creative Campaign and the 2014 Special Projects, Events Award

Campaign: Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary Mali in the City Campaign.

Key Personnel: Jenny Gray, Kevin Tanner, Pamela Sutton-Legaud MFIA, Sid Myer AM

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What does winning this award mean for your organisation?
Winning the award meant a great deal for Zoos Victoria, in particular helping to acknowledge the hard work of a team of people that worked on Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. It was also significant as it further demonstrated the love that people all over Australia share for Melbourne Zoo and Zoos Victoria as an organisation but also the love people feel for the charismatic animals that live at our zoos including Mali the Asian Elephant. Being successful in reaching a large number of people with our anniversary celebrations was extremely important for our organisation as it meant many people became engaged in our fighting wildlife extinction work and at the end of the day – this is the most important message.

How has it impacted on your work in terms of campaign strategies, staff morale etc?
The Award was a huge boost for the many teams involved in Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. It was nice for staff to be publicly recognised for a campaign which touched so many different people. It has also made staff feel proud to be part of an organisation that is fun, has the ability to be bold and, above all, to be part of an organisation that the community clearly values.

Briefly tell us about the campaign that won you this award? What made this campaign so successful?
We won the Award for our 150th Anniversary celebrations which took place in 2012. In particular, we held a public art exhibition called ‘Mali in the City’ which saw 50 life-size artist decorated fibreglass elephant sculptures displayed all over Melbourne’s city streets and later sold at auction with all proceeds donated to Zoos Victoria fighting wildlife extinction efforts. The campaign was extremely successful as the sculptures were modelled on the exact dimensions of Mali the elephant, (at the time) a two year old elephant calf who was the first female elephant calf born in Australia and arguably one of the most popular animals at Melbourne Zoo. The campaign was also extremely unique, it was eye-catching and helped to brighten the wintery streets of Melbourne and it involved a large number of local people from local business to community and high profile artists.

Why did you/your organisation decide to submit an entry?
We decided to submit an award to help recognise the huge amount of work dedicated to the project by a large number of staff members across many departments of Zoos Victoria and also to help acknowledge the incredibly positive support from the Melbourne community. It was also another avenue to help raise awareness of our fighting extinction work with threatened species within a community that cares about causes.

What advice or suggestions can you give to other members considering submitting an awards nomination?
The Awards are a great way to celebrate your team’s hard work and successes within the fundraising industry. It was also a good way to benchmark your campaigns against what the rest of the industry is doing. In particularly winning the award had numerous benefits including media opportunities as well as the opportunity to build new relationships at the Awards event.

pamela FIA

Austin Kleon, Australia, birds, christmas hampers, Victoria, Women in Business, Writers, Yarra Valley

Another Australian adventure…

Wine-200ml-sparkling_big

 

I’ve always been interested in promoting ‘Australian-made’ and so for a long time I’ve looked for interesting ways to promote home grown innovation.

Of course, Australian food and wine have a deservedly excellent reputation so with this in mind, i’ve decided to start a ‘pop up online store’ to promote Aussie products by way of Christmas hampers. This brings together my love of Australiana, creating a new online alternative and …shopping! What a great combo!

Christmas hampers are mostly very traditional so I’d like to offer something a bit different.  With my pop up store, you can choose the traditional option but also one with a contemporary slant and a luxury alternative.

So what would go into a ‘true blue’ Aussie Christmas hamper? My thoughts are some of the regulars – like Tim Tams. While not a ‘just for Christmas’ item, who doesn’t eat packets of them over the festive Aussie summer season? Then there’s wine. We have some fantastic Shiraz… just right for that family get together. And I’m even learning to love Chardonnay… the less oaken varieties have won me over so they would need to be well represented.  Living as I do in Victoria, I would need to have in my basket some of our fantastic cheeses and relishes possibly from the Yarra Valley. My mouth is watering at the idea. Perhaps a bottle of sparkling wine of the Domaine Chandon variety or something equally gorgeous to accompany that cheese platter? A Botrytis Riesling from the Yarrawood Vineyard? Or a classic Rose from Dominique Portet also of the Yarra Valley. So many choices!

show-your-work-cover1Now normally I wouldn’t share this with you so soon but I’m taking a tip from Austin Kleon and his book ‘Show your Work’ and while this isn’t about my art (as his book refers) but to a new ideas I’m developing, I still thought it a good idea to start getting things out into the world and worry less about waiting til it’s absolutely ‘ready’. It may also generate some great ideas or even some Australian producers who’d be interested in collaborating with me.  Therefore: I’ll be opening my ‘store’ in just a few weeks in time for Christmas orders.  Look forward to sharing some Aussie delights with you.  I’d love to hear what you’d like to find in your Australian Christmas Hamper? Do tell me!

 

 

Suffrage, Uncategorized, Women in Business

Oxymoron or just moronic?

Have you read the one about the ‘mass of unprepared women (who) will suddenly find themselves in senior jobs’ if the Male Champions of Change have their way? Apparently Mark Lawson in Friday’s Fin Review thinks that ‘while affirmative action always sounds like a good idea… it is doubtful whether women are interested in these senior jobs’. Generous people have suggested he is being ironic. I thought perhaps he was being moronic.

While it may seem very funny to suggest that women can’t hold down senior jobs because “A common corporate story is that of talented, capable, highly skilled women who will have one child and come back after six months off, then have a second child and only be interested in part-time work” (Mark Lawson, Financial Review) perhaps there should be some suggestions about taking the emphasis off of women so that child care is a family issue shared by parents rather than heaped on the shoulders of mothers.  And surprise surprise… there are working women who don’t have children! It’s amazing but true!

As to the ‘mass of unprepared women’ – I’m sorry but I can’t think of a single one.   All the women I know are prepared for just about anything. Except perhaps the constant onslaught of media misogyny – we can still be caught somewhat unprepared for that.

PS: Here is the link if you’re like to read it.

Australia, Suffrage, Uncategorized, Women in Business

After Margaret Thatcher: No Turning Back

margaret thatcher

I read with some sadness of the death of Margaret Thatcher at the ripe old age of 87. What a good innings she had even if her last few years were troubled by dementia. I also read with interest the comments that she was ‘unique’, ‘one of a kind’ and therefore unlikely to be replicated. Is it to early to say I beg to differ?

One of the surprising things about women in positions of power is that … well, when we get there we often do very well. This seems surprising to some parts of the community who show considerable consternation when a woman is appointed to a tough top job. What? A women? At the head of a government (or company, or department) making brave decisions? Must be a one-off. She must be unique. But she wasn’t and she’s not – at least in terms of women who know what they are doing and what they want.

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I am forming a theory that what’s really scary (for some) about women in positions of authority, for example female prime ministers, is that they actually do a very good job. Now that’s not to say they don’t make unpopular decisions or that they don’t break their word (just like their male counterparts) but they are strong-willed, determined, often very good leaders and highly resilient. And there are more and more of them and that is what is making some of our (XY chromosome) community extremely nervous. Clever, well placed women are often very, very efficient and very, very much here to stay.

Some examples: Angela Merkel: Ms Merkel, at 58, is a German politician who has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005, and the Leader of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000. She is the first woman to hold either office. Big boots to fill I’d say. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Merkel
Hillary Clinton
And what about Hilary Clinton? Once she got out from under the ‘First lady’ tag, did she take up knitting ? She did not. She was the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, under President Barack Obama and a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. And closer to home, we cannot ignore our own Prime Minister. Love or hate her political leanings (or anyone else’s), becoming the first woman Prime Minister of Australia is no small feat and she was the Leader of the Australian Labor Party from 2010. She is the first woman to hold either office.

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And away from the pollies: Oprah. She's known just by her first name: that's a very good start and for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show" which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.[There are so many more who were inventors, scientists, doctors… It was a woman who invented Liquid Paper, Bette Nesmith Graham; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu created the first smallpox vaccine; Rosalind Franklin played a pivotal role in mapping out the double helix of DNA in the 1950s; Helen Greiner cofounded iRobot-a packbot that dismantles explosives (source: http://lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com/things-women-invented-first/) Randice-Lisa Altschul invented the world's first disposable cell phone and who can forget Marie Curie who discovered radium and furthered x-ray technology.

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say, you turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning” – Speech at Conservative Party conference, 1980.

Of those who believe that a successful, powerful woman must be an aberration,get ready for a shock. It is time to accept that strong women are and will increasingly be appointed to positions of power all over the world. And to paraphrase the Baroness, there’s no turning away from that.