#WorkWomenWisdom Event 4 – Successful Women Invest in Themselves

Hello and welcome

What an amazing turnout for our first (and yes belated) event for 2019. Thank you all so much for your support. Before we start a bit of housekeeping; in case of fire we will follow the staff and the toilets are there.

I would like to acknowledge traditional owners of the land that we meet tonight, the Wadjuk people of the Noongar nation their elders past present and emerging. 

I would also like to thank my support crew. Retired Architect Tina Arthur has taken over coordinating the #WorkWomenWisdom LinkedIn Forum and the events, along with Jody Darcy behind the camera – please advise if you don’t want your photo taken. The photos will be posted on the Forum site and used for promotion on social media.   In addition to Tina, Jody and Living Edge we are supported by Kay Cohen from Fabric Quarterly and journalist Rachael Bernstone.  And of course, thank you to our student volunteers – architecture students from UWA and Curtin, and my daughter Kate (definitely not an architecture student).    

I would also like to introduce and thank Living Edge for coming on board as a sponsor of Work Women Wisdom providing us with this amazing space to meet and wonderful wine and food.  Please have a look around at their stunning range of office, residential and commercial furniture. I encourage you to introduce yourselves and your clients to the Living Edge team represented tonight by Paulina and manager Eugene who is on leave but has been pivotal in supporting us.   

As many of you will know #WorkWomenWisdom was set up in 2017 while I was President of the Institute of Architects.  I came to realise that many women in the design sector left large practices, the institute and let their registration lapse when they had their first child.  Seeking flexibility in their working lives many never return but after a few years continue to practice from home or in small studios in the suburbs balancing work and caring roles – often for both their children and aging parents.

I saw a real need to reach out and provide a supportive and safe space for targeted information sharing, conversation and networking. While we started with only architects, we welcome interior architects and designer here today.  Future events will include networking with our consultant partners.

So, to the theme for tonight – why discuss strategies for building your future financial security? Well sometimes the stars just happen to align.

Firstly, Morgan Stanley Strategic Financial Planners Rachael Green and Jenny Rachmat connected in 2018 via a work colleague offering to do a targeted presentation to women in architecture about the importance of developing a financial plan for the long term no matter what stage of your career you are, and no matter how much or little your income or assets are.

Then my good friend Jen Ehlers (you may remember her as the Network Queen in Event 1) sent me an article by Emma Dawson “Most poor people in the world are women. Australia is no exception”.

In the article -I attached the link to the invite – Emma postures (and I quote) “The cause for gendered poverty is structural. It is entrenched in our workplace settings and embedded in our personal relationships. It is at play at every stage of a woman’s life, from childhood to the grave, making its mark on our education, our employment, our homes, our familial responsibilities and our retirement options. At its heart is the simple fact that women do the lions share of caring for others. Caring is women’s work and our society does not value women’s work.”

About a month later I found an article by Caitlin Fitzsimmons in the Sydney Morning Herald “The precarious lives of women over 55″. The line in the intro: “Women over 55 are the fastest growing group of homeless people in Australia“. Women at risk of homelessness in later life have often lived conventional lives, were middle class, educated and had taken time out of work to care others while working part time.

In fact, 2017 research shows women are, on average, retiring with 47% less superannuation than men caused in part by reduced earnings while working part-time, while men were progressing up the career ladder. In short, our career progression never really recovers. Australian freelance journalist, author, feminist and public speaker Catherine Fox believes that the only way to ensure our leaders act, is to talk about the burden on taxpayers (men in particular) when educated women retire and need the pension.

This got me thinking about my own circumstances. Sometimes life throws you lemons. I was partner in a successful design practice at 40 with four small children, property and shares when I separated. Anyone who has separated will tell you it all goes and you start your financial life again from ground zero.

Did I know this was going to happen in my mid-30’s? No!

Did I have super, income protection or life insurance or any financial plan at all? Nope! So, now as a 55year old woman with bugger all superannuation, a home with a mortgage, running a design business during a once in a generation recession, four kids + stepchildren. I wish I had been encouraged to financially invest in myself when I was in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.

So, it was a no brainer .. this had to be the first Work Women Wisdom event for 2019. Funny thing though, when we picked the date, I wasn’t aware that this week is Homelessness week. The alignment of the stars was complete.

 Enough from me! 

Please welcome Rachael Green and Jenny Rachmat.  Women who understand women.  They both work closely with their clients to develop comprehensive holistic financial plans that meet their needs – now and into the future. After chatting to them several times I now know it is never too early to speak to a trusted and experienced financial planner and no you don’t have to have loads of cash to have a plan!  Rachael and Jenny! 


Thanks, so much Jenny and Rachael.  Are there any questions? 

Please stay and chat over a wine and some nibbles. 

I would also like to encourage you all to consider attending a couple of upcoming events. We will post the links to these events on the Forum.  Please join LinkedIn and contact Tina to connect with the #WorkWomenWisdom closed Forum.

21st August Parlour returns with Justine Clark hosting its Winter Salon at Brickworks with Dimity Walker and Kate Fitzgerald

29th August The Institute and the GET are hosting a panel discussion on Flexibility in the Workplace with speakers including representatives from government, legal and architectural fraternity, and;

12 September Diversity Council of Australia are hosting a panel discussion on Sexual Harassment Myth Busters at Aurecon.