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Courage & Inclusion at The Heart of International Women’s Day

Courage and inclusion were the inspiring themes at the International Women’s Day (IWD) breakfast hosted by Hands Across The Water, which the MM team had the privilege of attending.

Hands Across The Water, is just one of the charities that MM has been supporting over the years. Hands Across The Water (HATW) was established after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, with a mission to provide care and assistance for children left devastated by the effects of the natural disaster. Today, HATW continues to provide support for the most vulnerable of children in Thailand, with 7 homes across Thailand and over 350+ children in their care.

The breakfast, which was held at the Art Gallery of NSW, was attended by over 160 people, with guest speaker Kirrily Dear of ‘Inside a Bold Mind’, and 7 NEWS’ Gemma Acton as MC.

Courage Makes the Uncomfortable Comfortable

Kirrily Dear, who is the founder of ‘Inside A Bold Mind’, is an ultra marathon runner who speaks of courage as the driving factor for what she has been able to achieve and the person she is today.

Speaking warmingly of her 10 year old self who could put her mind to anything, Kirrily shares how she has dealt with problems with what she describes as the ‘battle mode’ – waging war with any ‘scary’ problem. Only by harnessing the ‘expansion mode’ in recent years, has she been able to make the uncomfortable comfortable, and thus complete the many marathons that she has participated in.

Citing courage as her saviour, Dear has embarked on various inspiring adventures. In 2014, after running 860km through regional NSW, Kirrily established ‘Run Against Violence’, an association which uses running and other sporting activities to educate and engage communities in ending family violence.

In 2017, Kirrily completed the 15-day Andes Challenge which consisted of glacier climbing, trail running and mountain biking over a 180km course. In September of the same year, Kirrily became one of a few that ran across the full width of NSW, running over 1300km in 19 days (Broken Hill to Sydney Ultra Marathon).

Inclusion Fuels a Brighter Future - Am’s Story

At HATW’s International Women’s Day breakfast, Claire Baines, the charity’s CEO, shared an inspiring story of Am, a now 26 year old Thai woman who has been in the care of HATW.

Claire candidly spoke of Am’s perseverance and courage. With HATW’s help and a scholarship, Am has been able to live a life of choice, having graduated with a degree in Business English from university. Currently working at Baan Home Hug where she grew up, in 2024, Am plans to complete an Intensive English course at TAFE in Sydney, furthering her education and setting up for a life that’s under her control.

Am’s story is just one of many where personal growth and success is possible thanks to inclusion. The sky’s the limit when kids and young people are included and have access to their basic human rights of healthcare, education and a caring home environment. Am’s story will pave the way for more Thai children under the care of Hands Across The Water.

MM’s Everyday Inclusion

MM is an inclusive workplace, where diversity is embraced, collaboration is encouraged and teams thrive thanks to these super powers. Speaking in regards to this year’s International Women’s Day focus of ‘Inspiring Inclusion’, Justine Butler, the company’s Managing Partner shares:

“This year’s focus on ‘Inspiring Inclusion’ is important in cultivating greater recognition of the positive impact a diverse range of experiences can bring to business and society, as was evident in hearing the inspirational stories of Kirrily Dear and Am, as told by Claire Baines.

Women not only deserve and need more seats at the decision-making tables in boardrooms, but it’s been shown consistently that this brings huge benefits in offering a greater breadth of ideas and perspectives. At Media Merchants, we remain committed to an agency culture that not only invites everyone to contribute and feel valued, but additionally embraces and listens to what is said in the true spirit of inclusion and desire for growth and learning.”

Priding itself on its open door policy where everybody is welcome and everyone is included, MM’s Managing Director, James Fitzgerald concludes with “Respect, Inclusion and Diversity are values we embrace and hold dear to our hearts through the wonderful family environment we enjoy at MM.”

Happy International Women’s Day! On this iconic day and every day, may we inspire inclusion and lift everyone up for a fairer and equitable world for all.

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