2 million participants across 65 festivals in 30 locations on five continents and growing...
If you are a woman, identify as a woman, or know a woman - WOW is for you.
Featuring former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former Governor General Quentin Bryce, songstress Christine Anu, the incredible Spinifex Gum and much much more, WOW (Women of the World) Australia have officially released the first taste of their 2020 festival program. Early bird tickets go on sale November 29th via www.brisbanepowerhouse.org.
Question: What is WOW Australia?
Cathy Hunt: WOW - Women of the World, is a global force supporting women and girls, action and change. The Festival will take place over three days from 3 – 5 April, with an opening night welcome celebration on 2 April and closing night concert at QPAC on 5 April.
Question: What's a typical day like for you as the Global Advisor for the WOW Foundation and Executive Producer of WOW Australia?
Cathy Hunt: I start the day by deciding in the morning who I am going to be talking to, and what I am going to pitch, and what clothes will suit my message for the day! I talk to and connect with many people from all walks of life and I am constantly thinking about how I communicate with each those people, and to get the best out of them, and the best outcome for us all.
There's a lot of meetings – I'm constantly meeting people to speak to funders, to talk about how wonderful this event is, to meet with potential speakers and workshop facilitators and changemakers, and to connect like-minded organisations with each other as we all support the same cause of a gender-equal future.
I spend a lot of my day listening to people's stories who want to present at WOW, and deciding if they are the right stories, that reflect what our community and audience want to hear.
There's a lot of talking on the telephone and persuading people of the benefits of investing in WOW Australia and being a part of our events, and why gender equality is such an important thing for saving the planet.
Then I might round off the day by going to see the work of artists and performers who we might want to showcase at WOW Australia.
Only having two cups of coffee and no more – otherwise I might get carried away!
Question: Can you share the 2020 program highlights, with us?
Cathy Hunt: The program highlights are not always the obvious ones. The obvious ones are easy to spot – Once Upon a Time in Australia – when Julia Gillard and Dame Quentin Bryce discuss the time two women held the highest offices in the land – the amazing Christine Anu in concert– and the incredible closing night concert with Spinifex Gum ….
But many of the program highlights will be in the WOW Bites, where you will hear extraordinary stories from ordinary women - stories of women who've changed their lives and the lives of people around them. A festival favourite is participating in Speed mentoring and meeting new people. And getting to grab some new designer clothes or jewellery from a woman designer who you can meet in person.
Question: How are you preparing ahead of such an incredible line-up of guests?
Cathy Hunt: Well it's pretty busy in the WOW Australia office this time of year! We are really focused on making sure that everybody understands what they are doing and why they are there. We are briefing the facilitators of conversations and setting in motion a whole range of workshops and opportunities to learn and exchange, so that every person who attends WOW Australia 2020, as an audience member, performer or speaker – walks away with a new outlook on life.
I'm also focused on keeping fit and healthy – it's only going to get busier in the runup to the festival!
Question: What can attendees of a WOW Australia 2020 event expect?
Cathy Hunt: They can expect to laugh a lot, to cry a lot, to walk away inspired and with confidence to do whatever they want to do in their lives. And, they can have a whole new network of people to help them get there.
Question: What have you personally learnt from Julia Gillard?
Cathy Hunt: That women get things done. That women can bring people together and work together to get things done. And that when you've finished a job, like you've finished being in political life or running a business or another tangent of your career, that you can move on and into something else fantastic, and that you can take the skills you've developed and your leadership experience and use that to make more incredible opportunities.
And also, I've learned that it's good sometimes to show your emotions, and that there is nothing wrong with showing your emotion and your passion when it is required, when the time is right.
Question: What's next for WOW Australia?
Cathy Hunt: We are fully focused on making WOW Australia 2020 the biggest and brightest event that we possibly can. So we can build on the conversations held and develop our legacy for future years. And continue to bring more men into the conversation as participants, speakers, audience and allies so that they are along for the journey with us. See you all in April 2020.
Interview by Brooke Hunter