Inaugural Women in Leadership Retreat inspires in Martinborough

20 Sep 2023 1:19 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

This year saw the successful delivery of AuSAE’s inaugural Women in Association Leadership Retreat, supported by Tourism New Zealand and Business Events Wellington.

The experience saw 16 women leaders in associations enjoy a programme of inspiring women speakers, external leadership experts, stories of success, panel discussions, and interactive workshops while exploring the excellent restaurants and wine village of picturesque Martinborough, New Zealand.

Staying at The Martinborough Hotel and Parehua Resort, the group embarked on a series of empowering workshops and education sessions facilitated by author, speaker, and MC Lisa O’Neill on female leadership challenges and opportunities.

Attendee Monique Penton, HR Manager for the AFCA (Australian Cabinet & Furniture Association) says: “Attending the Women in Leadership retreat was a truly transformative experience. Surrounded by brilliant and inspiring women, I found the perfect space to embrace my own leadership potential. The sessions were empowering, the discussions were insightful, and the support was unwavering. This retreat not only enhanced my skills and confidence but also forged lifelong connections with incredible women. I walked away from the retreat with a renewed sense of purpose and a clear path to achieving my goals."

Amongst the sessions, guests enjoyed local experiences including networking dinners at the Karahui Wine Bar and Eatery, Moy Hall Vineyard and Wharekauhau Resort; a Greytown Honey beekeeping experience, candle making at the Social Scent Company, a Schoc Chocolate tasting at The White Swan, cycling to a wine tasting with Palliser Estate, and a spectacular stargazing experience.

AuSAE CEO Toni Brearley says: “It was a truly unforgettable experience. The attendees’ insights and willingness to share enriched our discussions and made the retreat incredibly meaningful. The connections we forged and the lessons we learned from one another will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on our professional journeys.”

Tourism New Zealand Australian Business Events Manager Helen Bambry adds: “This was an incredible opportunity to gather and support the women leaders of the association sector. Martinborough was the perfect showcase destination, with its stunning surroundings and warm welcome fostering an atmosphere of connection and openness. We are excited to see the continued impact these women will make in their respective fields.”

A Women in Association Leadership Dinner will be held on 27 November in Canberra, co-hosted by Tourism New Zealand and Business Events Wellington. This will feature an exclusive audience with Dalia Feldheim, opening keynote speaker for ACE 2023. For details please contact


The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Australian Office:
Address: Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra QLD 4011 Australia
Free Call: +61 1300 764 576
Phone: +61 7 3268 7955

New Zealand Office:
Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677

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