On Friday 8th November, all across the world members of Zonta International were celebrating 100 years since Zonta began in Buffalo, New York. For our local celebrations, the Zonta Club of Sydney hosted a luncheon on behalf of Zonta District 24 which was held in the Strangers Function Room at NSW Parliament House.
What a wonderful afternoon it was. 120 guests enjoyed a delicious lunch in the rooms overlooking The Domain. From the beginning, when we were treated to a beautiful rendition of both the first and second verses of the Australian National Anthem the day got off to a good start. The anthem was sung by Belinda Thomas, who earlier in the year was awarded the Elizabeth Todd memorial award for female voices which is sponsored by the Zonta Club of Sydney.
Next, Aunty Ann Weldon performed the Welcome to Country, and spoke of strong women, and the importance of family.
Our MC, Philippa McDonald was warm and funny and also managed to keep us running to time, which is quite a feat. We had speeches and toasts given by Catherine Cusack MLC, who very kindly and ably stepped in for Leslie Williams MP who had to return to her electorate in the face of the terrible bushfires which were burning on the mid north coast, as well as Sharyl Scott, current Governor of District 24.
The highlight of the day though was our guest speaker, Professor Kristy Muir, CEO of the Centre for Social Impact and Professor of Social Policy at UNSW Sydney Business School. Her speech was warm and heartfelt, and moved many to tears. She used the quotes from Anais Nin “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” as well as “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” and inspired us all.
As well as our speakers, guests purchased tickets in our raffle and were lucky enough to win prizes including seats at the Sydney Symphony, Belvoir St theatre and champagne and chocolate packages.
Lieutenant Governor (and Governor elect for the next biennium) Karen Tromp also presented certificates of long service – 40 years for Ros Strong and Christine Bishop, and 35 years for relative newcomer Fran Lyndon-Ross.
And we had the chance to meet new friends, connect with old friends and join together to celebrate the work of Zonta in improving the status of women and girls through advocacy and service. Happy 100 years to Zonta International!