There’s something electric about walking into a room filled with powerful businesswomen.

On the eve of International Women’s Day on 8 March, nearly 100 women, including (above, L-R) Katarina Kroslakova, Director, Primary Ideas; Sarah Harding, Head of Residential, Knight Frank Australia; Susan Armstrong, Content Director, The CEO Magazine, Tina Arena, award-winning singer-songwriter; and Natarsha Belling, national news presenter, gathered at McCarroll’s Maserati in Artarmon, Sydney, to discuss this year’s theme, #BalanceForBetter, and celebrate what it means to be a woman in 2019.

Maserati’s Marketing Manager Elisa Iurato welcomed clients, partners and key media personnel before Natarsha led the compelling discussion where each panellist shared what International Women’s Day and #BalanceForBetter means to them, their challenges and many successes in life, and their best pieces of advice for career women in 2019.

“We all know that men and women are wired differently but, for a long time, female traits like empathy and collaboration have been viewed as weaknesses in the workplace,” Susan explains.

“What we’re seeing now is that men are coming to realise that these female traits are not in fact weaknesses, but actually strengths that are necessary to keep the workforce happy.”

“My best advice for all the women here tonight is to support one another because in doing that, you're helping to inspire other women and men as well,” Sarah said.

“I couldn't agree more,” Katarina adds. “We also need to focus on instilling the right values in the next generation. Our daughters and granddaughters are going to be able to make some tremendous changes so if we invest in them, it'll come back to us tenfold.”

Giovanni Pilu, founder and Executive Chef of Pilu at Freshwater, introduced the three-course menu for the evening, which featured a range of shared items including roast spatchcock with heirloom carrots, and barramundi with pea puree and fresh garden peas, served with baby cos, chilli broccolini and spiced roasted pumpkin.

Trays of Absolut Vodka martinis, St Hugo wines, G.H. Mumm Champagne and delicate canapes floated around the showroom as guests fawned over the luxury cars on display – from the sporty Ghibli luxury sedan and Levante SUV, to the flagship Quattroporte GTS, high-performance GranTurismo and open-air GranCabrio.

After dinner, seven-time ARIA Award-winning singer-songwriter Tina Arena took to the stage to discuss her achievements as one of Australia’s highest-selling female artists who continues to smash glass ceilings in the music industry.

“The inequality between men and women has been known for a long time, and it’s something I’ve been speaking about for the past 15 years – and I’ve been ridiculed for it,” Tina explains. “It’s exciting, yet also disappointing that Australia is only now catching up to the rest of the world when it comes to being vocal and taking action on the issue of gender equality.

As the daughter of two Sicilian immigrants, Tina’s parents taught her that the only way she was going to get anywhere in life is if she worked hard at what she loved – regardless of who or what stood in her way.

“One of our greatest social problems is that we tend to want to put everyone in the same basket – even though we don’t belong in the same basket,” she notes.

“We’re all different and that’s worth celebrating. Until we start to understand and accept that those differences are what make this world a beautiful place, we’ll never understand real happiness.”

For more International Women’s Day inspiration, we bring you the stories of 20 brave women advocating for a fair, equal world for all.