By Jacqui Loustau, Founder and one of the Directors of the Australian Women in Security Network
This week is National Volunteer week.
To see some thoughts on volunteering from our AWSN cohort please have a look at the post: Thoughts on volunteering.
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.
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…!
- It’s the stories of women that we have helped get a
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.