On 24th April 2013, The Australian Ireland Fund Young Leaders hosted a Networking Breakfast for over 100 Young Professionals of Irish and Australian descent In The Star, Sydney.
Executive Director of The Australian Ireland Fund, Teresa Keating welcomed guests and explained that the Young Leader Network was established at the end of 2009 and is a vital and vibrant part of the work of The Australian Ireland Fund. Teresa went on to acknowledge that since its inception in 1987, The Australian Ireland Fund has donated close to $7 million dollars to projects of Peace and Reconciliation, Integrated Education and Community Development. Teresa stated that at a recent Board Meeting, approval was received to support two Flagship Projects in Ireland in recognition of the unprecedented need there. She said, “The Australian Ireland Fund wants to do what we can to preserve the social fabric of communities in Ireland while the Government goes about its business of turning the economy around.”
Teresa recognised that Australia had provided many opportunities for people in the room most notably those who have received a terrific education in Ireland which has enabled them to create opportunities for themselves around the world. She explained that there is much work to do and finished by stating, “The Australian Ireland Fund needs help to raise as much as we can for those less fortunate than ourselves both here and in Ireland.”
Guest Speaker Peter James, Non Executive Director of iiNet, gave an insightful presentation on the history of iiNet from its inception in CEO Michael Malone’s garage in Western Australia in the early 90s right through to the present day; where iiNet now sits as a $1 billion dollar company. Michael moved from County Clare, Ireland to Western Australia with his family when he was six years old. Peter spoke about how Michael’s strong affiliation with Ireland permeates throughout the entire iiNet company. Peter showed the audience iiNet’s current television advertisement which features an Irish family which was well received by all present.
Following on from Peter, Ruth Guy, Director of Barnardos, Ireland gave a memorable presentation on the fantastic work of Barnardos and specifically Barnardos Loughlinstown which provides an early year’s service offered to children aged 0 -7 living in areas of high disadvantage. This project is one of the two Flagship Projects supported by The Australian Ireland Fund in 2013. Ruth acknowledged that without the support of The Australian Ireland Fund, Barnardos Loughlinstown would have had to close down in 2013.
Ruth’s presentation included a moving video clip which features a little girl called Aoife.
Watch it here.
Young Leader Simon Wilson spoke last explaining why he personally became involved with The Australian Ireland Fund upon arriving in Australia in 2012 and how becoming a member of the Young Leader Network has provided him with a forum to network and make connections with like-minded young professionals. Simon also acknowledged that the Young Leader Network has given him a platform to help those less fortunate both in Ireland and Australia. He urged everyone present to support The Australian Ireland Fund, sign up to the Young Leader Network and in turn support both Barnardos Loughlinstown and Darndale Belcamp which is the second flagship project supported by The Australian Ireland Fund in 2013.
Teresa Keating wrapped up the event thanking those in attendance and presenting the guest speakers with a gift from Waterford Crystal.