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Gender wellbeing gap highlighted at International Women’s Day Luncheon

A world-class dining experience, the latest tips from the world of neuroscience and an opportunity to meet with other passionate, driven female business leaders, explains why tickets to this International Women’s Day Luncheon sold out weeks in advance.

Moving the needle on gender equity can seem like a far-fetched aspiration, but one that is attainable when remarkable women come together to share their journeys and professional endeavors.

This message reverberated through Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden on 8 March, as women from all walks of life gathered at Sydney’s Botanic House to glean some much-needed encouragement and support in light of International Women’s Day.

Greeted with cocktails on arrival, the 140 guests enjoyed the beautiful views of the surrounding palms and tasteful interiors. Delectable modern dishes prepared by chef Luke Nguyen kept the hunger pangs at bay, while women from a broad range of industries exchanged ideas that flowed as abundantly as the wines carefully chosen by distinguished sommelier Louella Matthews.

In keeping with the theme of celebrating women, each wine was produced by a female winemaker.

Michelle Noerianto of eKa CIRCLE set the mood with a harmonious singing bowl performance that paired nicely with luxurious complimentary products kindly gifted to attendees from Vanessa Megan Gray Lyndon.

Michelle Noerianto of eKa CIRCLE set the mood with a harmonious singing bowl performance that paired nicely with luxurious complimentary products gifted to attendees from Vanessa Megan Gray Lyndon.

Lydon is the Founder of her eponymous Australian organic luxury label that is renowned for its award-winning innovation and industry-leading natural skincare products.

After welcoming their guests, the event hosts, The CEO Magazine’s Anna Dutton and Powerful Steps Founder Tory Archbold, led a question and answer style conversation, which provided some food for thought on the universal struggles that many women can relate to.

As dedicated advocates for empowering women to find and leverage their own voice, the event served as a gentle nudge in this direction.

International Women's Day Luncheon 2024

Power up your performance

The highly anticipated moment arrived when Kristy Goodwin took to the stage. Best known for her expertise in digital wellbeing and productivity, Goodwin enlightened the audience on one of the biggest barriers to economic empowerment, stress – more specifically, digital stress.

“Today’s International Women’s Day theme about how can we optimize and seek economic empowerment is an impossibility if women are chronically stressed, exhausted and burnt out,” Goodwin expressed.

“We have a gender wellbeing gap. Significantly, and concerningly, more women than men are at the moment experiencing stress and burnout and our tech habits are one of the contributing factors to that.”

As a neuroscientist, Goodwin went on to explain how the ways that women are living and working is at odds with our ‘human operating system’.

Part of this stress she said is linked to the technology habits we have adopted – the invisible stressors that are draining the limited battery life available to us.

“Research tells us that just seeing a phone, even if it is on silent and face down, drops our cognitive performance by 10 percent.”

Perhaps surprisingly, the takeaway message was that there is a four-to-six hour window of opportunity – dictated by the prefrontal cortex – to condense our most taxing work into each day. Providing an antidote to this, she shared the research-backed tips for bridging the gender wellbeing gap.

From deliberate cold exposure – think Wim Hoff’s ice baths – and keeping digital distractions at bay to getting 10 mins of sunlight first thing in the morning, her speech was a reminder of the small tweaks that can be made to achieve higher aspirations, especially as knowledge workers.

Simple gestures such as sighing, staring into the distance and closing your eyes for 30 seconds were highlighted as effective ways to regulate your stress response. Just don’t forget to mute yourself or turn off your camera when the urge arises during a virtual meeting.

“Research tells us that just seeing a phone, even if it is on silent and face down, drops our cognitive performance by 10 percent,” she said. “But if you want to build your stress tolerance, a 30-to-60 second cold shower will give you a 500 percent increase in dopamine [the feel-good hormone].”

The secret, Goodwin added, is to exposure your body to cold temperatures in the morning rather than the evening.

Designed specifically for women

International Women’s Day Luncheon 2024

In addition to keeping women’s digital wellbeing toolkits up to date with these insights, Goodwin’s book Dear Digital, We need to talk… and digital wellbeing cards were among the prizes snapped up by a handful of lucky guests.

Other prizes included a Daniel Avakian C-suite outfit, three Tsavo Wellness spa packages, two Powerful Steps tickets to hear Bethenny Frankel speak and three vitamin packages by EIR Women.

Following the prize draw, the celebrations continued as guests networked, inspired by the lively atmosphere.

Designed to foster meaningful connections and a nurturing experience, the International Women’s Day Luncheon could not have achieved these aims if it wasn’t for the support of its sponsors, Commonwealth Private and Holman Webb.

Are you keen to take your brand to the next level and attract more abundance? The CEO Magazine in collaboration with Powerful Steps has an International Women’s Day special offer for attendees to take advantage of. Click here to find out more about the packages available.

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