Luz Restrepo, Colombia
I believe in the power of women from many nations working together.
I studied Medicine in my native Colombia, graduated as a GP and worked in Casualty. Finding that I enjoyed hospital administration more, I moved into an administrative role gaining Graduate Diplomas in Business Administration and Marketing and an MA in Communication. Before leaving Colombia in 2010 I had established my own communications company and was a university lecturer in Marketing.
As a political refugee, I arrived in Australia in 2010, with my life in tatters and spoke no English. I felt like a nobody: frightened, isolated and disempowered. I soon discovered that I was not alone. In 2011, along with a group of 25 women experiencing similar challenges, we began to make and sell crafts around Melbourne. We understood that to support each other is also to strengthen each other.
SisterWorks Inc. was born in May 2013 when a committee of volunteers joined us with legal, fund-raising, marketing, and administrative skills to give support and structure to the project. Today, SisterWorks is a not-for-profit social enterprise ‘Handmade with Love in Melbourne’. SisterWorks supports women who are migrants, asylum seekers or refugees to become financially independent and happily settled in Australia.
Now SisterWorks Family is formed of over 170 Sisters: 68 remarkable volunteers, four tireless staff members and 88 amazing women who are working hard to become entrepreneurs or to have work experience in Australia that allows them to become self-sufficient and independent.
I bring to SisterWorks inspirational leadership, marketing and network skills and a vision of women of many cultures supporting each other through working together.