Wow. That is all I can say of Ruby Assembly Consultants first evening at Westpac Women’s Markets The Ruby Connection.

I was encouraged along by good friend Kirsten Reynolds at Kreatrix and we were joined by the lovely Melina Schamroth of m.a.d women. Held at the Melbourne Wine Room, this networking event was the perfect combination of wonderful food and an inspiring speaker.

We heard Ann Sherry AO who is currently the head of Carnival (which includes P&O Cruises), who formerly was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2002 for improving access to banking services to disadvantaged communities and an Order of Australia in 2004 for her contribution to improving corporate governance and corporate management vis-à-vis diversity and work/family practices.

Ann spoke about her journey from the banking industry to the shipping business (which she had no experience in) and likened her corporate business journey to that of new australia shipping champion Jess Watson.  Ann came to Carnival around the time of the Dianne Brimble inquest, when cruising was really viewed as a seedy enterprise. Since she has joined, not only has she learned a great deal about shipping and wearing sensible shoes, she has furthermore reformed the relationship between P&O and the pacific island nations, bringing extra tourism and providing medical care and sustainable water systems. Ann spoke with great vigour, and really humanised the journey of going from industry to industry as a woman. It was a great evening, and I would highly recommend going to Ruby Connection events for any women just starting their business.