Thursday, 11 May 2017

National Volunteer Week 2017 - thanks from AWSN founder Jacqui Loustau

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By Jacqui Loustau, Founder and one of the Directors of the Australian Women in Security Network
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This week is National Volunteer week. 

It is a week where we recognise volunteers for all their hard work, passion and tireless efforts for causes that they believe in. With this in mind it’s time to acknowledge what goes into making the Australian Women in Security Network what it is today. I feel that it is essential that we say thank you to you all and to recognise what we have achieved together in the AWSN in the last 2 years.
 
The AWSN is now active across Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth and has over 600 members. The 3 chapter leads in each city are volunteering their time because they truly believe in this cause and can see that we are making a difference.

  • It’s the stories of women that we have helped get a job
  • It’s the women who we have helped have a voice and be bold and speak at conferences. 
  • It’s the connections we have helped make within our community or abroad. 
  • It’s the support we have offered those women who are alone in this male dominated field and to encourage them to keep at it. 
  • We have given so many women a voice and chance to showcase their abilities in this field.
  • We have inspired women to give security a go. 
  • We have educated people on challenges we face in this industry and ways in which to avoid unconscious bias. 
  • We’ve nurtured graduates and provide students hope and a pathway to their future dream jobs. 
  • We’ve provided opportunities to those who may not have had the confidence to ask.
  • We have had not-for-profits and students thank us for the help we have provided.
  • We got access to senior managers and industry leaders that we never would have had imagined would open their doors for us.
  • We’ve provided real testimonies of what jobs in security would really entail and how to get in it.
  • We have provided girls with the awareness that jobs in security exists and that they can actually help people.
  • We have provided a platform where people can provide their ideas, thoughts and let their personalities shine through.
  • We’ve collaborated and learnt from other industries, professions and company sizes. It’s organising the local chapter events and getting awesome feedback after such a buzz in the room.
  • We do all this in our spare time. 
Some of you may or may not know what is involved in keeping a group afloat. It’s a lot of late night work, emails on the train, phone calls while walking to and from the office and using all your lunch breaks for meetings. For some of us it's flying across the country for different events on our own money (thank you Chris!) and countries (thank you Michelle). Most of us volunteers have a paid day time job and young families to attend to in the evenings. Many of us have moved into new roles and are trying to keep abreast of that at the same time. When volunteering, you are using your spare time to help someone or a community out. It’s motivating, rewarding but it’s also exhausting…! 

I am not writing this to complain or moan. I am writing this as it’s the truth of what is involved every day for most of the volunteers working for the AWSN in their spare time. Something that I admire about every one of them. Through providing an open diverse network of individuals where no matter what gender, age, skillset, level and industries are welcome to come together to learn about security. This is a group which we should be proud of.

There are so many people I would like to thank. You know who you are. You are the ones who go out of your way to help, you are the ones who ask for no thanks but just do it as you believe in our case. You are the ones that we recognise today. Thank-you.

More support is needed to help drive the initiatives we feel so passionate about. 
So please reach out to your chapter lead today to give a HUGE thanks them and to offer a lending hand. Our volunteers and chapter leads certainly deserve this.
Thank-you.

To see some thoughts on volunteering from our AWSN cohort please have a look at the post: Thoughts on volunteering.


 This post has been created on behalf of AWSN. 

(c) AWSN 2017

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency, organisation or association.