WITH Connecting

Connecting WITH migrant women for International Women's Day

In the spirit of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024, the WITH Committee decided to focus on the ‘connecting’ aspect of our organisation and bring migrant women, aspiring to work in tourism and hospitality, together with leaders and with other women working in the industry.

This followed a successful WITH Tas lunch in 2023 at Drysdale TasTAFE featuring speakers from the Migrant Resource Centre of Tasmania (MRC) however this special event was a much more practical collaboration with the MRC. The developing partnership deepened with the appointment of WITH Tas Vice President, Daniela Ruiz, to the MRC Board.

As human connections are best made when sharing food, a dinner event was planned to introduce everyone with Iraqi Cuisine, run by migrant Nagham Al-knani and her daughters, invited to cater.

MRC staff and clients were all invited as WITH’s guests, a significant factor to keeping the event inclusive and made possible by support from Tasmanian Government. An interpreter was also engaged as a courtesy to those with English as a second language but this also proved insightful to those hearing the spoken interpretation in the room.

During the evening industry leaders Amy Hills (Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania), Jack Milbourne (Tasmanian Hospitality Association), Alex Heroy (Destination Southern Tasmania) and James Robinson (Tasmanian Business Advisory Service) introduced their respective organisations and briefly outlined opportunities.

It was then time for everyone to go beyond their comfort zone, initiate conversations and connect with each other.

Following some networking time, Nagham Ak-knani, then spoke about her migrant journey. Her stories, told simply, from the heart and with some humour mixed in, were enlightening and impactful.

WITH Tas is delighted with the success of this night, conversations were sparked and new connections made, right around the room. That these didn’t stop at the end of the event but are flourishing as a result, is of great pride to this small volunteer organisation.


“Witnessing the interaction, learning, and networking was a vivid reminder of the power of bringing diverse groups together.

I'm filled with hope and excitement for the potential partnerships and opportunities that may arise. Here's to creating more inclusive spaces in tourism and hospitality and to the beautiful, diverse future we are building together in Tasmania.”

Daniela Ruiz.
Vice President WITH Tas / MRC Board member