BPW Melbourne

About our Club

Join a dynamic club that connects a diverse range of professional women. Be part of a global network promoting equal opportunity, participation and representation of women in the workplace and marketplace.

BPW Melbourne believes that equality means business.  That’s why we engage with business and government on the evidence that there is a return on investment when women become top executives and leaders in public life. The global Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which promote the advancement of women in public life, are the compass that guides our activities and advocacy. Our objective is to encourage local businesses to sign up to the WEPs.

BPW Melbourne is the only women’s club representing women in both business and professional careers.

Our members represent women in all walks of business life, at all stages of their careers. Our members are small business owners and public servants. Some are at the beginning of their careers, and others are chief executives, directors and corporate managers.  Our professionals include lawyers and journalists, and represent education, government, and community organisations.

Younger members especially benefit from the skills development that supporting our activities can offer.

Join us on the first Tuesday of the month in a creative and modern setting conducive to an exchange of bold ideas and entrepreneurial wisdom. 

 Management Committee  - 2018-19

President - Caroline Bayliss ; Vice President, Advocacy - Stephanie Ziersch;  Treasurer - Denise Patience;  Secretary - Emma Manser; Membership - Helen Sloane

Our next event: Tuesday, April 2 6.45pm

 Duke of Wellington Hotel 

Ground floor, 146 Flinders St, Melbourne 


Dear BPW Melbourne members,

Please join us at the Duke of Wellington for our April meeting and dinner.

As part of the BPW Victoria Policy Working Group, BPW Melbourne members Stephanie Ziersch and Michelle Wareham have completed a draft paper on Building Women's Leadership at all Career Stages.  The paper is designed to provide a statement on the topic and identify relevant resources, legislation and communication tools to assist BPW clubs across Victoria to consider and contribute to discussion and debate on this issue.

Over dinner, BPW Melbourne members will have the opportunity to discuss the paper, provide feedback and hear more about how BPW Victorian clubs are working together to raise the profile of BPW in relation to key women's issues.

A management meeting will be held at 6pm, with dinner from 6.45pm. Drinks and meals at bar prices - you can pay on the night.

RSVP to Emma: bpwamelbourne @gmail.com 

©Image result for balance for better iwd 

This year's IWD theme is


 © Photograph: Avel Shah / EyeEm 



Recent events : 


November 13

Knowing what to say...knowing what to do 

An informal talk over dinner by Youna Kim, General Manager of Innovation and Development,EDVOS. Our acknowledgement of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.


June 5

Journeying the Antarctic: A night with Rashmi Venkatraman

Rashmi Venkatraman recently returned from an expedition with over 75 other women of STEMM, from all over the world,  to Antarctica. This was the culmination of  a year-long leadership study program. In June, Rashmi came to tell us of her experiences during this 'Homeward Bound' program, and to explain how the expedition had had an impact on her and her colleagues, two of whom came to support her on the night !

Some comments from the attendees:

"My 'take home" was how important it is to keep being environmentally conscious -  even if it sometimes feels like your efforts are insignificant, we have to realise that every little bit counts."

 "I was impressed by Rashmi's views on the need to surround oneself with "Critical Friends" and to have constructive conversations, so we can develop personally and professionally. This seems vitally important in the social media age, where we converse in echo chambers and where abuse, rather than respectful debate, is rife." (Caroline)

"Rashmi has such a unique story of learning and success, achieved both independently and with the power of other like-minded women. It was an inspiring night hearing a story I wouldn't have otherwise heard without this opportunity from BPW Melbourne." (Emma)

 "My take out was: The power and opportunity to change the world, when a small group of dedicated women get together." (Karen)

 "The message that shot straight through to my heart was ‘Mother Nature needs her daughters’. Such a cry for help. "(Denise)

You can learn more about the projects, past and future, here: https://homewardboundprojects.com.au/


May 1 

We hosted an evening with Personal Development Coach, Leadership Coach and Mentor, Helen Sloan.  Helen discussed better ways to understand your colleagues and better communicate in the workplace. This was followed by dinner and networking with a fascinating group of women !


 February 6 

Gender Equality for Women in the Arts Industry.

In February, we were joined for dinner with inspirational speaker, artist and entrepreneur, Jenny Port, director of the Duldig Studio in Malvern, and owner of the Jenny Port Gallery in Collingwood . This was a continuation of our popular series, where we have discussed 'Women in Law', Women in Science', and 'Women in Politics.'

BPW Melbourne policy focus is the theme of "women in the pipeline." We think there is important work to be done in empowering and developing women professionals at the early to mid-stages of their careers



BPW Melbourne recognised the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVW) with a dinner and special guest speaker Elizabeth Trewhella, National Operations Manager for Fitted for Work. Fitted for Work helps women experiencing adversity break through barriers to get and keep work (https://fittedforwork.org/).   


Women in Politics: Why does it matter ?


BPW Melbourne presented a special panel discussion on the importance of greater representation of women in politics, and how to address the challenges in achieving this.

Our speakers were (L-R) Federal Labor Member for Hotham, Clare O'Neil MP; Mayor, City of Monash, Rebecca Paterson; Deputy Leader of the Victorian Nationals, Steph Ryan MP; Academic Director, University of Melbourne Pathway to politics Program for Women, Dr Andrea Carson.


Making the Invisible Visible: Recognising the impact and effects of non-physical violence on women's work choices.

To commemorate White Ribbon Day, we hosted an informative panel discussion with guest speakers:

  • Koraly Dimitriades - author, poet and opinion writer
  • Gaynor Witt - Associate Director of Organisational Development at Swinburne University, and
  • Jacqueline Graham who was recently appointed Director of Marketing and Vice President of BPW Australia

(L-R) MC and Club Secretary Michelle Wareham, Jaqueline Graham, Gaynor Witt, President Caroline Bayliss, and Koraly Dimitriadis.


Great news  from the BPWA National Conference that was held mid-October in Geelong, which was hosted by our friends and colleagues at BPW Geelong and BPW South-West Victoria !


Our Club President, Caroline Bayliss, was awarded the National Pat Harrison Award for Outstanding Leadership of a Club President .

BPW Melbourne's Jacqueline Graham was elected as Director of Marketing of BPW Australia, as well as Vice President of BPW Australia, which means that she will assume Presidential responsibilities in the event that the President vacates her office for any reason . 

Our Club's Freda Miriklis was awarded a Life Membership of BPW Australia, a fitting recognition of Freda's many years of service to the organisation at local, national and international level, not least as Immediate Past BPW International President.

Judith van Unen acquitted herself admirably as the Chief Parliamentarian for the Conference Proceedings, that is, managing the complexities of voting at Conference.

All Victorian clubs unanimously nominated an eminent Victorian colleague, Anne Daniel (immediate past President of BPW Swan Hill) as the Victorian State Representative

 Congratulations from us all, Caroline, to you and to all these inspiring women !

August 31

We held a stimulating event, 'Women in Science', to mark Equal Pay Day. Last year, we focussed on pay disparity in the legal profession, and this year we concentrated on inequality in STEM.

Here are some comments from those who attended:

"It was confronting to hear of the impact that 'taking a break' can have on careers in science.

It was inspiring to hear of the role that career teachers and mentors can have in challenging and expanding the career dreams of young women". (Michelle)

L-R Assoc. Prof. Bill Petreski, Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea, Karen Delvin (BPW), Dr Jesse E Olsen, Dr Leonie Walsh.

"Bill's comments about disruption being a driver for equality was extremely thought provoking.… I was shocked to learn that the pay gap starts from graduation…. The venue and food was terrific, loved the terrace". (Karen) 


'The speaker that impressed me the most was Maggie, she has such a heavy load and exhibits infectious energy and passion with her large task – I hope that many women in science get behind what she does, and that funding really is linked to diversity. Eventually future generations will benefit at whatever range of work they wish to contribute. Perhaps even Maggie's daughter.  Jesse's salad bowl analogy was 'delicious', and referred to several times afterwards - I believe the panel will take that away.' (Victoria)

'The speaker who impressed me the most was Jesse E Olsen, as I was intrigued by his broader diversity research'. (Bron) 

 Two Special Guests

At our meeting, forum and dinner on June 7, we were delighted to be joined by two special gu

ests: Janis Shaw, President BPWA, and Patricia Francis, Secretariat Representative of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. Both had come to Melbourne to attend the UN Women’s Economic Empowerment consultation, hosted by Tennis Australia. Despite their heavy schedule, they had been inveigled by Melbourne member Freda Miriklis into joining us, and giving their valuable insights into that important meeting.






Club Contact Details

Email: melbourne@bpw.com.au
Phone:0408 142 050 Caroline Bayliss, Club President

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We welcome you

If you are interested in finding out more about BPW in your local area, you are invited to join us at one of our meetings.  Please check the events sections above to find out what's on this month.  You can book online to attend.  You will find out more about us, meet some of our wonderful members and enjoy a topical guest speaker.

President Caroline Bayliss

From the Club President

Dear Members and Friends of BPW Melbourne,

My name is Caroline Bayliss, and as President of BPW Melbourne, I would like to welcome you to our Club.  Our members are small business owners, chief executives, directors, corporate managers, lawyers, journalists and other professionals. We have members in education, government and community organizations.  The global Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) which promote the advancement of women in public life, are the compass that guides our activities and advocacy.Our objective is to encourage local businesses to sign up to the WEPs, because we believe that equality makes good business sense.

I look forward to seeing you in the very near future at one of our events.

Caroline Bayliss
President BPW Melbourne

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About our club

In BPW, members matter most.  We focus on issues and personal or professional development that is relevant to our own club.  We enjoy different types of meetings, including dinner with a speaker, workshops to enhance our skills and social events where lifelong friendships are made.

Some of our Club  Members

Back row (L-R) Denise Patience (Treasurer), Bronwyn Williams, Michelle Wareham,  Tracie Andrews, Jacqueline Graham (Director of Marketing and Vice President, BPW Australia).

Front row (L-R) Stephanie Ziersch (Policy),Caroline Bayliss (Club President), Karen Delvin (Membership), Annie McCaig.

Our Projects

Find out about our current projects 

Our Past Events

Take a look at some of our club's past dinner meetings, workshops and social events.  Read more... 

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Club Projects

We choose the local, national and international projects that our club members will support our club members have chosen to focus currently on these:

Women Making Dreams Happen

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2015, in March, BPW Melbourne convened an event reflecting   the IWD 2015 theme, “Make It Happen”, encouragingeffective action for advancing and recognising women. our event featured prominent women from diverse cultural backgrounds, each of whom has pursued her dream with passion and determination – and definitely “made it happen”.

Award-winning author Hanifa Deen, and Melbourne lawyer turned Bollywood actress Pallavi Sharda, provided great insight and inspiration to the audience of around 80 people about their own “light bulb moment” that changed the course of their working and private lives – and the importance of acting on that moment, in order to realise their own dream of professional success and personal fulfilment.

In addition to our wonderful speakers, our event was enriched by the creative contributions of two young female artists, each of whom provided a thought provoking backdrop to the proceedings and a deeper context for our discussion:

  • performance poet Ebony MonCrief captivated and engaged our audience with a piece that portrayed the  inspiration derived by a woman on her own physical and metaphysical journey to self-discovery and fulfilment.
  • VCA graduate Natalie Sun kindly provided a number of her unconventional, yet compelling, artworks for sale. 

BPW Melbourne would like to thank our event partner, the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, for  hosting our event at the iconic Queen Victorian Women’s Centre in Melbourne’s CBD and advertising “Women Making Dreams Happen” as part of the QVWC’s high profile International Women’s Day program.

Empowering Women – Breaking the Cycle

In support of White Ribbon Day, BPW Melbourne held a breakfast event on 18th November 2014 titled Empowering Women – Breaking the Cycle.  

For this event, we partnered with The Big Issue which provides employment and hope to hundreds of homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people each year.

To explore the topics of empowerment, homelessness and family violence, Michelle Wareham, BPW Melbourne presented a panel of three speakers: 

  • Karen Delvin, Vice President BPW Melbourne, who spoke about the work of BPW internationally in promoting and driving the uptake of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) .
  • Suzanne Schuitman from The Big Issue who described the range of employment programs provided by The Big Issue for disadvantaged women, including the Women’s Subscription Enterprise (WSE); and 
  • Cheryl, an employee of the WSE, who provided a hands-on perspective of the issues of homelessness, the challenges of being a woman in those circumstances and how she has been able to apply the WSE programs to break the cycle.

The passion, openness and insights of all thee speakers contributed to a unique and thought-provoking morning, appreciated by all who attended.

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