Monday, 26 August 2013

Zonta International Convention 2014 - Showdown in Orlando

turn away now if you can't stand carnage
Remember on my last post I made reference to the ZI Convention Schedule and something called "Workshops"?

Here is my challenge for all of us as Zontians.
  • Would it be true that we are paying good hard earning money for thousands of us to fly from around the globe and come together only once every 2 years? 
  • And that Zontians are smart, hard working, intelligent woman - with resources, skills, networks and knowledge?
And ... can you imagine the power, the intellect, the ideas, the creativity, the energy, the passion, the imagination, the magic possible from having 3000 of us in the same room at the same time?

Can we PLEASE move beyond the passive "bums on seats / death by powerpoint" model that has dominated so many Conventions and District Conferences in the past?

The Wow starts Now ...ummm ... never....

What if from among our 30,000 odd members some of our best public speakers, some of our best graphic designers, some of our best creative minds are invited to run free to support and design creative and memorable ways to share our messages?

YES, YES YOU DO SUCK AT POWERPOINT! Can we please, have our professional skills on show, and let's have some interaction?

You and I are smart achieving people. Given the right environment and a chance to interact in a professionally facilitated manner, together we could design amazing projects and generate energy and engagement.

I've been told in the past by ZI senior people that it's too hard. I've been told that people won't accept the change. That there is too much business to be presented to add interactive elements.

I respond:

Make the business bits interactive! Can I put these propositions:
  •  that you would prefer to talk WITH someone rather than be talked AT?  
  • Get rid of the bits where people are reading their pre-written reports - otherwise why are they there? What value are they adding?
  • If a person is getting up on stage, they need a clear purpose - a winning proposition on WHY THIS NEXT BIT OF INFORMATION IS IMPORTANT.

People will change when they can be part of something meaningful, when they explore and discover ideas and possibilities with each other; when members recognise each of us ARE Zonta and rather than passively sitting on one's backside, stand up and have respect for how we administer ourselves and harness the combined talents of THOUSANDS OF SMART WOMEN BEING IN THE SAME PLACE FOR 5 DAYS!

If you are going to haul yourself all the way to Orlando, would you not want to experience passion, engagement, fun, exploration, discovery, interaction, innovation, love and joy?

So this is my WHY. 

Martin Luther King is famous for saying: "I have a dream" not "I have a powerpoint and a 6 step plan"

So this is your chance to go nuts: what are all the ideas you have bringing our smart Zontians ideas to table for exploration? I note that ZI have introduced the idea of having a "trade show" style event. I have, above, shared ideas on how to do powerpoint. What other ideas can you come up with?

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Zonta International 2014 Convention Schedule Posted!

The excitement is building!

The Convention Committee have released the Convention Schedule for Thursday 26 June to Tuesday 1 July.

Only half a day. The suspense! Ohh ... I wonder what will happen in the afternoons??

So what are the big highlights?

Friday 27 June:
  • Love a good Open Forum - get your off the record and crazy rant questions ready!
  • Opening Ceremony - The most fabulous party ever! THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all the ladies wearing their national costume. I'm keeping it a surprise but us Aussies have FINALLY worked out a national costume!! 
I'm not saying anything
Saturday, 28 June

  • Business By Laws - I know at my upcoming District Conference we are voting on motions for this Convention!
Sunday, 29 June
  • I think I may have some free time .... I won't be the voting delegate, neither am I standing for ZI office. Perhaps I am having coffee with you - my Polish Reader?
 Monday, 30 June
  • Workshops - can this be real???*
 Tuesday, 1 July
  • Closing Ceremony - a glorious big glam formal dinner where we all get to have our final chat and final drink with each other.
I'm still waiting to see the offered day trips - I wonder what they'll offer? And then we can organise our Mrs. Banks Special Unique Day Trip deals!

*Warning - I have a ranty post coming up next about workshops at Convention. Grrrrr

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Zonta International and White Ribbon Campaign, together, say NO to Violence against Women.

Imagine this ..... suburban Canberra, a high school full of boys and Matt Hollis is wondering if any of them are going to turn up.

Matt is a teacher at this school and he is also an Ambassador for Australia's White Ribbon Campaign. He is working hard in the school to raise awareness with the boys and his fellow teachers about having respect and care for the women in their lives. Matt has a special event planned and is hoping he'll get enough of the students to show the school that the effort is worthwhile.

So what is Matt's purpose?

To help these young men to grow up creating a world of safety and respect for others. Because currently, Australia is like most western nations - living with an approx. 30% of women reporting some form of domestic violence incident in their lives.

1 in 3

I'll stop for a moment to let that sink in.

That means in our daily lives, going to work, sport, Zonta - where ever - we are mingling with both the victims and the perpetrators. Just as White Ribbon suggest, it is likely we will come across such violence.

White Ribbon is the world's largest male-led movement to end violence against women. Launched in Canada in 1989, White Ribbon was brought to Australia by the then UNIFEM in 2003.

Today in Australia the White Ribbon Campaign is well established and is fast making in roads in supporting men to help their mates understand and live in respect. Of course, Aussie blokes make it their own with their "Hey Mate" campaign.

Stephen Carter, the White Ribbon Organiser here in Canberra tells me that the script for this commercial was from a real conversation overheard down at the local pub.  ummmm ..... struth!

The Zonta Club of Canberra Breakfast has linked up with the White Ribbon Campaign to plan a joint event to recognise November 25 - the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women - a day important to both organisations.

All Zonta Clubs across the world are joining together in 2013 as a united front in our Zonta says NO campaign. 


Here in Canberra we are hoping to join with White Ribbon in the conduct of an awareness raising event with some of the local boys schools, local White Ribbon Ambassadors and our Zonta club members.

I wonder if our kids will be as inventive as these Canadian school students?

EHHHH! Respected Ladies!! Wow!!

So I can hear you saying ... But Mrs Banks! What happened to Matt and his school students??

OH - yes Matt! Matt visited our Club monthly meeting and shared this story with us. Matt had arranged a large long sheet of black fabric and tins of white paint. The young men would leave their white hand print on the sheet as a pledge that hand would never be raised in violence against women.

The school had to delay classes.

Matt ran out of paint.

Kids were queued down the corridor and painted both hands.

All the male teachers then joined him on stage at the school assembly and together recited the White Ribbon Oath.

I am SO thankful to have Matt in Canberra, doing the work he is doing, changing the lives of these young people and making the world a better place.

What is your club planning for the Zonta says NO Campaign?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

How does a Disney TV commercial relate to Zonta International?

Mostly I stay away from describing the theme parks. We all know they are there, and it is easy to get information on them. There are almost 600 blogs covering the parks!

For people who have never been to WDW, it is easy to confuse WDW, as a group of theme parks, with your average amusement park. Communication from WDW themselves has frequently not helped, with the release of vague, restrictive or just weird advertisements.

This one is one of my favourites. I get the idea - travelling to another time dimension - to another world. But really, I wonder if they were high on drugs when they made it - or assumed you'd be high when you watched it?

Good luck trying to work out what's actually at the park. It looks like you'll get terrorised by giant plastic characters and Peter Pan doing a cheshire cat impersonation.

Then Disney changed the drugs they were taking. Suddenly we were on the guilt train, next stop negligent parenting town.

Ummm ... WOW. At least you are now kind of seeing the resort. But geez .... I am surprised everyone can stand up straight with all the emotional contortions going on in that ad.

More recent ads are still following the same script. They still play on the "world's worst parents" theme, and rarely show what you actually get, they have higher production values, and hey - I got to meet Mickey!

From recent releases this one bears examination. This one shows just how low the advertising can go

OK - so yeah we've got a smiling happy family and we are finally inside a park checking out the attractions. There may be an argument that says they purchased a song rather than prepared an original soundtrack. But let me give you one major clue as to the lack of care: whilst advertising WDW in Orlando, the ad was filmed in Disneyland Resort, Anaheim. Yep - they didn't even film the thing they are advertising. 

And my big bugbear? I am not a white family of 4, with 2 kids aged between 6 - 12.  So yeah, Disney has a target demographic? But don't they realise that they are making Leave it to Beaver commercials for a Modern Family world?


I was inspired to write this post when this new video started being shared around the internets last week. Take a look:

We've still got a bunch of primary school aged kids - but they come in different colours! There are more ages. We see each of the parks - and get glimpses of the resorts. We see other activity too like golfing, and the adult thrill rides like the water slide plunge, Rock and Roll Coaster and Tower of Terror - yes it was filmed at WDW! (what an innovation!). There are older people, there's a wedding, a fancy V&A dinner. There is alcohol! Cirque du Soleil. The guilt theme is left behind for straight up celebration and glory - finishing with the heart tugging family watching the fireworks with wonder.


At last a film that conveys an experience in more broader and wider spectrum.

oh - I just had to get that off my chest ...... (breathe...)

Finally, I really want to share one of my favourite all time Disney advertisements. I love the music, the tiltshift look, the careful timing and again - a beautiful, clean, simple celebration of the park.

Enjoy:  A Day at Epcot:

Here is your homework assignment: what does the history of WDW advertising suggest is important for how Zonta can raise it's own brand awareness in the world?

2014 Zonta International Convention Orlando