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AWA Past, Present and an Invitation

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The dynamics of the AWA have changed over time, and if the AWA wants to stay relevant in today's world we must do some things differently.

History

The AWA was established after WWI, during a time when expat communities were vital in keeping Americans informed and connected to their cultural identity and traditions.  

Generally, women did not work, but like today, needed to express their talents in a way that created meaningful contribution to society.  For man years, the ladies of the AWA worked in large social committees to plan fundraising events.

As time advanced, American women began joining the workforce.  Some relocated to Melbourne with spouses, on temporary placements.  The context evolved but pattern remained - professional women needing an outlet to express intelligence and determination.  This group of women had access to corporate resources and knowledge in the use of charity funds. Fundraising peaked. 

In the mid 2000s, unattached professional women were arriving on their own.  The digital revolution picked up its pace.  Then, most impactfully, in 2007, the United States experienced a financial crisis, which forced many American companies to consolidate.  Our corporate expats began departing, taking with them much fundraising knowledge and availability of time.

During the following years, members felt pressure to continue holding large fundraisers.  Balls at the Crown Casino were run by fewer people, who were now often permanent residents, concurrently invested in raising children and reeducating to obtain employment.  

Facebook arrived and the internet became a primary expat resource.  Travel had become more affordable, with Americans in Melbourne constantly on the go.  From about 2009-2014, AWA membership halved.

Today

Today the AWA stands at around 100 members.  This is low to long-term members, but high to new arrivals.  The internet revolution appears to have peaked an advantage to organizations offering personal connections.  Our numbers are holding, but participation in traditional events has dropped off.  

The AWA seeks to redefine the value we offer our members.  If we read it right, we feel that most of the women are now working, but may still need assistance with employment.  The clearest direction is to develop events that offer professional development and business networking.

The AWA maintains validity through its connection as a fundraising auxiliary to the Children's Hospital.  However, fundraising in this defined environment also needs to be reshaped.  With a refreshing population, the AWA is in a good position to transition to a newer sustainable fundraising model.

Invitation

The AWA seeks your input into the formation of a Professional Development Program.  The launch will be held during the June General Meeting.  We have already been asking members about what they would like to see in this program.  To further customize our offerings, we anticipate speaking to businesses about their perspectives in employing people with experience in the American sector.  Finally, we seek to become a portal for American expats seeking employment in Melbourne, which might for the foundation of a new fundraising model.  

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