International Women's Day 2022: Julie Pilcher

International Women's Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022 we chatted to two amazing women from FCM Meetings & Events, who are making a difference to people’s lives and their local communities in their own unique ways.

Hello Julie Pilcher

You are ‘a busy mum of a blended family as well as a very talented creative, involved in volunteer work including supporting the homeless, aged care and corporate charities … how do you fit everything in as well as having time to yourself?

The adage of giving a job to a busy person seems to apply and resonate with me. I am energetic and hate standing still. I will find things to do rather than relax as general rule! The chaos of a blended family of five girls was intense when they were all teenagers and all living at home, but we worked hard to make it work. I think I had a good mix of work, family, social life and also managed to fit community work in as well, which I think is important.

It’s also been good for our girls to see how important it is to look outside your own lives and help others where you can. It’s been rewarding to see them grow and develop their skill set in helping others. Although in saying ALL of that … I love to shut myself in my bedroom and read or enjoy a good G&T in the afternoon!

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What has motivated you to get involved in the charity space and is there any area you find most rewarding?

I had a very strong driver simply from my upbringing. My father was a very community spirited person in our town and from a young age we had no choice but to be involved. I love the word PARTICIPATE it means so much. Participate in family, friendships, community, work, life. It’s how we were brought up.

What I would love to someday develop as a charity or organisation, would be a system of making a difference to one person. Imagine what that would do? Having a connection is the best thing we can do to help others not so fortunate.

Homelessness is the space I worry about the most, as I live in the inner city. I have made a point of doing something about it with just one man. For four years I have taken him a cup of tea in the morning, every morning. I do his washing, so he can stay clean and check-in on him daily. From that we have developed a great friendship and he is very much part of our family.

He trusts me now with a medical outreach team to help when he is not going so well. I can act as an advocate for him when he needs me. He leaves me notes so I don’t worry if I don’t see him for a day or so. He has a connection with me and my family now and it’s great for all of us. All it took was me asking him one day if he would like me to bring him a cuppa. It’s been really rewarding and we love him. But it takes commitment and I think that is the piece we are missing as a community.

I also have an aged day care facility that I try to drop in on every other week or so. Through stand down, I was restless and had the opportunity to volunteer. I love the oldies, it’s so nice to give some time to them. We built a rooftop garden in Redfern, so now the old boys have something to do every day. They go there, they tend to the garden and send me photos and reports. It’s been a super project for them.

At work I sit on the Ronald McDonald House Charities Committee for the NSW Ball. I’ve done that for 11 years now and it’s a great event. I’ve watched it grow, from raising $500K a year to over $1M. Even during COVID we have pivoted to raise over $800K last year under lock-down. To see the impact that has on families with sick kids is wonderful. I feel grateful to work for a business that values being able to help.

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Have there been any events you’ve attended that you thought were outstanding in terms of creating equality, opportunity and progress for women?

I was lucky enough to go to the ‘Force for Good’ event for a few years. This is an event the travel industry hosts to raise awareness around women in business, ethical and responsible travel as well as having open and honest conversations around child sex trafficking in countries we travel to. The event puts some responsibility back on the industry to champion awareness.

I think what it highlighted also was that although the travel industry has so many women IN it, we still need to do a better job of getting females into senior management. We also need to be better at promoting ourselves and each other!

What I also liked about that event was the number of men in the room and the number of men putting their hand up taking responsibility for change. If we don’t have men as part of the discussion and actively promoting women, we won’t get there. It will take ALL of us to champion women for a seat at the table.

If we don’t have men as part of the discussion and actively promoting women, we won’t get there. It will take ALL of us to champion women for a seat at the table.

Julie Pilcher

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