Past participants from three different Executive Women’s Business (EWB) programs came together this week in an alumni networking function hosted by Westpac.

Guest speakers Arun Abey (co-founder of ipac securities and author of “How Much is Enough”) and Bernie Bolger (psychotherapist and mediator) spoke to the EWB alumni about their own career journeys, and the decisions and principles that have guided the choices they made in their professional careers.

Arun’s story is typical of many immigrant families – the son of two highly-educated Sri Lankan immigrants, he spent his childhood being acutely aware of his family’s financial insecurity. He says though, that this never stopped him from pursuing his dreams and he ended up co-founding ipac securities, which he was able to later sell for an amazing $250m.

He credits his success not to any kind of benefits of his background, but to a handful of simple principles – a keen sense of self and values, with the passion and drive to do something with his life. “Reasonable intelligence” he says, “combined with a lot of drive and motivation counts for a lot more than background”.

Bernie’s story will be familiar to many working women as she spent most of her working life in a constant pursuit of being all things to all people, and constantly being busy and looking to achieve more without assessing why she was so driven to work.

Originally from Ireland, Bernie overcame the expectations of her Irish Catholic roots and chose to pursue a degree in pharmacy rather than marriage and children. After moving to Australia, she ended up being the first woman in Australia to own a chain of pharmacies before realising that her pursuit of business excellence wasn’t what she actually wanted to achieve with her life. She took the plunge with a career change in her forties, and is now a successful psychotherapist, counsellor and mediator.

“We have to learn to be comfortable asking for help” she says. “That, combined with a dedication to being authentic and your true self, the ability to communicate, and a strong network who can ask you the right questions to make you look inside yourself, is absolutely critical for any person”.

These principles underpin the very essence of Orijen’s Executive Women’s Business program – the creation of a safe space where peers and mentors can support, advise and counsel each other.

Thank you to all our EWB Alumni who were able to attend the function. If you are interested in becoming a part of our Executive Women’s Business program, please enter your Expression of Interest below: