Four of Australia’s top businesswomen are giving back to our global community by raising funds to help women and their families in poverty-stricken communities, through ChildFund Australia’s MentorMe Auction.
For entrepreneur and philanthropist Sue Ismiel, who built her multimillion-dollar business empire from the ground up, helping other women is central to her life, both professionally and personally.
“I am always committed to enhancing the lives of women and those less fortunate,” says Sue. “I believe with financial success comes an obligation to help others. Success is an amazing feeling, but that feeling is best preserved through giving back.”
Sue joins fellow Australian industry leaders including magazine publishing powerhouse Jackie Frank, Australia;s “most influential woman” Ann Sherry AO and women’s leadership advocate Jenny Boddington in auctioning off an exclusive mentoring session in the ChildFund Australia MentorMe Auction.
For every $210 raised through Sue, Jackie and Ann’s auctions, an industrious woman from an ethnic minority community in Vietnam will receive a small business loan, enabling her to invest in agriculture production and build a sustainable livelihood for her and her family.
“It’s about encouraging women in the most poverty-stricken parts of the world to get on their feet, start a business,”says Sue. “If I can help one woman who is so desperate to provide for her family, then I’ve done my part.”
Mother-of-seven Thao from Vietnam’s rural Hoa Binh province has shown how determination and hard work, combined with a little help to get started, can lift families out of extreme poverty. Thao turned a $50 loan into a thriving family business by participating in a village credit and savings scheme, and learning new skills through ChildFund-supported business and agricultural training programs.
Thao says she no longer needs to worry about providing food for her family of seven, as their income has increased. Her two daughters are now also studying at preschool and primary school.
Says Thao: “I hope to continue to support my girls throughout their education, as by doing this, I believe they can live a better life than we do today.”
QBE senior executive Jenny Boddington, whose auction will support families building home-based businesses in Sri Lanka, says: “It is too easy to be overwhelmed with big issues and think that we cannot make a difference. But an initiative like this is tremendously worthwhile. The important thing to me is that it is facilitative, teaching somebody how to fish, not just giving a fish.”