International Women's Day in Nillumbik


Thursday 7 March 2024

Tickets on sale now! 

Join us for an evening celebrating International Women’s Day in Nillumbik. This annual gala dinner celebrates the exceptional achievements and invaluable contributions of local women, centred on this year's theme: "Count Her In: Accelerating gender equality through economic empowerment".

Experience the presentation of the esteemed Young Women Leaders of Nillumbik Awards alongside an exceptional line-up of keynote speakers, panellists and a performance by the all-female ‘Queen of Hearts Mariachi Band’.

Should you face any financial barriers to participating in this event, please contact Council's Gender Equity Lead at, or call 9433 3111 to discuss options available to you.

Keynote speaker

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George (Georgina) McEncroe

This year’s keynote speaker is the remarkable George McEncroe, the founder of Shebah – an all-women rideshare service. George's incredible journey to becoming an innovative business leader and a relentless advocate for women's empowerment is deeply inspiring. Her narrative of resilience, entrepreneurship and dedication to providing opportunities for women in driving and passenger services embodies an unwavering commitment to gender equality.

Panel discussion

George will lead a discussion on this year’s theme with our panel of awe-inspiring, local women.

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Angela Burt (Director of Indigenous Leadership – Richmond Football Club)

Angela brings her extensive expertise from the AFL industry, guiding strategic Indigenous programs at the Richmond Football Club and beyond. Her perspectives on Indigenous women's leadership and reconciliation initiatives will fuel insightful conversations.

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Jennifer A. Marshall Graves, PhD, FAA, AC (Distinguished Professor and Vice Chancellor’s Fellow – LaTrobe University)

Geneticist Jenny Graves' ground-breaking work focuses on Australian animals, exploiting their distant relationship to humans to explore the origin, function and fate of human sex genes and chromosomes, (in)famously predicting the disappearance of the human Y chromosome. Over her long research career Jenny has advocated for women in science at the institutional, local and national level, and the international level through the Australian Academy of Science and professional bodies. As 2006 Laureate of the international L’Oréal-UNESCO award for Women in Science, she plays a continuing role in the encouragement and recognition of women in science in Australia.

Elnaz Etehad (Senior Policy Analyst at the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action)

Elnaz Etehad is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action. Migrating to Australia from Iran in 2010, Elnaz has studied extensively abroad, completing her Master’s degree in Sweden and her PhD in Public Policy in Adelaide. Despite her professional success overseas and decorated academic career, Elnaz experienced a myriad of barriers to securing employment in Australia, including being a mum to two young kids, and found herself socially isolated when resettling in Melbourne in 2018. Through her lived experiences, Elnaz has become a passionate advocate for social connection, particularly for migrant women and girls, and the advancement of women of colour in leadership in Melbourne’s public sector. She is also a graduate of the inaugural Nillumbik Leaders program 2023.

Young Women Leaders of Nillumbik Awards

The Young Women Leaders of Nillumbik Awards acknowledge the contribution of young women in Nillumbik to their communities. Awards will be presented for inspiring young women aged 12-25 in the following categories:

  • Nillumbik Young Woman of the Year
  • Young Creative Leader
  • Young Sports Leader
  • Young Gender Equity Leader
  • Young Climate Action Leader
  • Young Community Leader

Find out more



Dinner will be served alongside a performance by the Queen of Hearts Mariachi. Queen of Hearts Mariachi is making waves across Melbourne. This all-female band pioneers the fusion of the Mexican Mariachi tradition with their unique contemporary twist. Going beyond just covering the traditional classics, these talented ladies from both Latin America and Australia showcase their own original compositions. Bound by their shared passion for Mexican music, Queen of Hearts Mariachi creates a captivating blend of cultural melodies and heartfelt storytelling.