International Women's Day at Afea - Afea Care Services
March 14th 2024

To celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March) and this year’s theme, ‘Count Her In. Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’, we held a special Fireside Chat featuring our fearless women leaders.

Our Chief Marketing Officer, Marielle Bagus (or Maz, as we call her) sat down with our Founder and co-CEO Esha Oberoi to talk about female empowerment and resilience.

Women’s Experiences

At Afea, we value authenticity and vulnerability, so it was an especially raw and revealing conversation that riveted the room.

Maz and Esha spoke about grief, societal expectations of women and how life experiences can shape who we are as leaders in the workplace.

“One of the things I pride myself on is I don’t get caught up in the noise,” Esha shares. “But I have had experiences where a man says something in a meeting, and I would think, wow, if I said that, immediately I would be put on the spot.”

Women have plenty of these examples, Esha says, but adds that “we want to lift our energy and we don’t want these experiences to pull us down, and there are incredible men and allies out there that uplift us and push us forward.”

Esha then turns the spotlight on Maz and asks her about her background and upbringing.

Loss and Life

Maz was born in Sydney to parents who migrated to Australia from the Philippines in the 1970s. “They were both the eldest of five children, and the first in their family to go to college. When they came to Australia, they really started a new chapter for a better life for our entire family.”

She experienced loss at an early age, losing her father at the age of 24.

“I think a lot of people think that grief grows smaller and smaller until one day you eventually don’t feel it anymore. But what I found is that time doesn’t really heal all wounds…my grief stays the same. It’s my life that has grown bigger around the pain.”

Professional Lessons

Maz brought these life lessons to her career: “By continuing to participate in life, I can now process grief a lot better. So, when you have a hurdle at work, it might seem difficult at first, but your problem-solving becomes better with experience. I aim to create a team environment where we feel comfortable making mistakes…because we learn and do better next time.”

She says she believes being a great leader isn’t about being the smartest person in the room. “A great leader is someone who has the ability to recognise when someone else is smarter than them in a particular area and to empower them to use their skills.”

Forging Connections

As Chief Marketing Officer, Maz spearheads various engagement activities for Afea’s carers and clients in the community, but she also highlights the importance of forging connections with one another.

“The deeper the connections we foster in the workplace – understanding how each other learn, what we value, where our boundaries are – then the less assumptions we make, and the more open our dialogues become.”

Esha concurs and adds, “Everyone has these unique experiences in their life, and it’s really about breaking down those judgments. We come with very unique back stories that shape who we are, and having personalised interactions with each other creates an inclusive workplace and a more inclusive world.”

Happy International Women’s Day!

This year’s IWD theme calls on everyone to support the dreams and aspirations of every woman. When women are given equal opportunities to earn, learn and lead, entire communities thrive!

We can see this happening at Afea, where women comprise more than 60% of our staff, hold key leadership roles and provide vital support to more than a thousand families every week.

Let’s continue to celebrate the incredible women in our organisation and in our lives!

Learn more about IWD 2024.

If you want to know more about how we can support you, reach out to us now!

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