Southern Cross University's Inaugural Women in Business Lunch

Published 19 May 2003

What women want and how they can get it will be the subject of the keynote address at Southern Cross University's inaugural Women in Business Lunch at the University on Thursday, 22 May.

Fiona Sharkie, a strategic marketer experienced in the fashion, publishing and beauty industries and married with a son aged six, will speak about finding a balance between career and family in her address 'What Women Want and How They Can Get It'.

Ms Sharkie is one of the three principals of The Heat group, a three-year-old cosmetics company based in Melbourne, which has a $50 million turnover. The group created the Goss cosmetics brand for working women. Through cosmetics sales, the group has set up the Goss Report and database of over 1000 working women Australia-wide.

Every six weeks the women are surveyed on a variety of issues relating to work, family, relationships and society. The results are sent to relevant government departments and women's groups around Australia, to try to achieve positive change for women.

Ms Sharkie, who is also Deputy Chairman of overseas aid organisation Plan International, said the implications of the most recent Goss Report are that government, business and the community need to support women to have both a career and family.

"Whatever way we ask the question, women are telling us that they want to work and have a family, not one to the exclusion of the other," she said.

"However, if working women don't get support to do so, then they will continue to have fewer children than women in prior generations. Australia's declining fertility rate is testimony to the fact that women are deciding not to have children, or to have fewer children."

The Women in Business Lunch is an initiative of the Centre for Regional Tourism Research, SCU Division of Business and the SCU Regional Gateway Program (SCURG).

Project Manager of the SCURG, Ros Derrett, said the program recognised that SCU had a responsibility to create partnerships with regional stakeholders.

"The Women in Business Lunch is an ideal way for SCU to make this contribution to northern rivers region, especially with the business sector. We plan to conduct two more lunches in 2003 to encourage networking and better sharing of valuable regional resources."

A $200 gift basket of Goss cosmetics donated by Ms Sharkie will be auctioned at the lunch, with proceeds to go towards The Cancer Councils Biggest Morning Tea.

The Women in Business Lunch will take place on Thursday, May 22, at 12.30pm in the University's Staff and Graduates Club.

For more information and bookings contact Judy Hill Ph: 66 203 051, or e-mail