June 22nd, 2023All about women who launch… and brunch
Daylesford’s Women to the Front launched into the world in style on International Women’s Day back in March and is now busy preparing for it’s next local event in August.
Em Ireland is a main moving force behind the Women to the Front concept and is no stranger to many as Daylesford’s ChillOut festival director with over 25 years of music and events industry experience.
Em’s resume includes work on major fests like Big Day Out, Meredith Music Festival and Golden Plains and she runs her own events management company. In making Women to the Front a reality, with plans to ultimately see it take off nationally, Em is ably assisted by Tasha Robinson at their Daylesford HQ.
“Women to the Front is an event and forum that celebrates, supports and honours women in industry,” she said.
“It’s a multigenerational thing. I’m a 50-year-old woman and Tash is a 20-year-old woman and one of our aims is to connect new businesses with older businesses and provide mentorship.”
Em says Women to the Front aims to connect, support and mentor women from all sorts of business and industry sectors from food and agri business to the science, health, education and arts sectors.
Touring their enjoyable networking events – think brunch in pleasant setting with interesting guest speakers – to regional and metropolitan areas is a key aspect, and Em says that when they held their launch event in March a pleasingly wide cross-section of business and professional backgrounds were represented.
“We had midwives, local ice creamery and hot chocolate entrepreneurs, primary producers, musicians, teachers, and media professionals,” she says.
“Initially it’s a festival run event, promoting women. But behind the scene is an infrastructure created to share nationally, bringing women to the front of their industries and promoting and assisting other women through mentoring, socialising and connection to share valuable ideas and safe work practices.”
Em says the ultimate hope is to connect women in regional areas who are isolated, linking them both socially and within industry.
“Mental health issues are at an all time high and people have been forced into isolation,” she says.
At the moment Women to the Front are getting set to host another Daylesford event in August.
“We’ve invited women from across regional areas and some metropolitan Melbourne to join in a discussion about surviving the winter months and what the coming year looks like,” Em says.
For the annual Words in Winter festival they’re also planning to stage a women authors’ panel.
Making women in the community know they’re seen, heard and supported across all ages is a main motivator behind the formation of Women to the Front – “especially trans women and non binary persons who identify as they, them, femme,” Em says.
Enhancing the experience of people in the community and creating lifelong connections, and infrastructure, for people to use and enjoy for years to come are additional main motivators she mentions.
“We want women to not feel alone,” Em says.
For those keen to know more, they’ve set up an Instagram account with the handle @womentothe_front where they give recognition to women in industry.
Words: Eve Lamb | Image: Contributed