Societe magazine has it’s foundations firmly rooted in three key principles – to create, consider, and be curious. That’s why we like to get behind other people and organisations that are speaking to these qualities too. Brown Bread’s 8th Broad-ly speaking event was held in Auckland last Wednesday, and as a proud sponsor we wanted to ensure the nuggets of wisdom shared on the night were recapped online for those of you who couldn’t make it.

Timely topics and brave tales were eloquently expressed to the group of women (and a few great men) who gathered at Newmarket’s BMW headquarters. Prompting us to consider our position in society as females, individuals, family members, employees, and members of a wider community network.


Here’s a quick summary of each speaker’s 4 minutes to mull over this coming week:


Leigh Melville:

(Director, Art + Object)

Money isn’t just ‘mens business’ anymore. Being in the art world taking on positions of workplace leadership, Leigh has come to know that what really deserves to be championed are the values of service, excellence and community – regardless of gender or skill set.


Nesh Pillay: 

(Light Rail Transport Consenting Lead, Auckland Transport)

Consent isn’t just a term relevant to physical and sexual issues. Consent is any form of vocalising a need with boldness, and without shameful regard. Nesh believes that women should be involved in the planning process for cities. For them to be engaged in building an environment that is for them and their safety, creating connected, flowing cities for everyone. In her own words, “We matter more than place or buildings. We must speak to it, because by our own inaction and when we stay silent we condemn another generation of women to the reality of unsafe cities.”


Roanne Parker:


Roan showed us how good it can look to be open, honest, and vulnerable about things beyond our control, and also keeping a sense of humour in the midst of personal crisis (i.e: “one positive about chemo is I don’t have to wax my foofoo anymore….”) She urges the women of New Zealand to get more acquainted with their intimate parts – for their own health and longevity, because gynae and ovarian cancers – if caught too late – deliver a heavy reality – with only 38% of diagnosed women surviving (in comparison to breast cancer which has a survival rate in the high 80’s).

Her advice? Know your family history, familiarise yourself with the signs, listen to *your own* body and don’t be ashamed to speak up and ask for tests if something feels not quite right.


Amber Waymouth & Arabella Cryer:

(Future Problem Solvers, St Cuthbert’s College)

Firstly, these girls added a very brainy new word to our vocabulary: Philanthrocapitalism.

From there they went on to voice important questions for our time including ‘how much control are we going to let technology have over our lives in the future?’

In alignment with their work as future problem solvers at St Cuthbert’s college, the girls said we need to be teaching children to think more critically by teaching them how to think not what to think, to be wary of which facets of media are legitimate and which are misleading, and the benefits of trumpeting delegation and teamwork in school environments.


Fiona McMillan:

(Partner, Lane Neave Lawyers)

Fiona shared with us the valuable mistakes of her past, and with them the instructions for performing a successful ‘storm out’ when things don’t quite go your way. Admiringly, she now sees her mistakes in the area of emotionally responding to unmet expectations to be the best lesson, and also the catalyst for bringing about her new ’24 hour rule.’ Her key point: if you don’t ask, you just don’t get.


Ella Henry:

(Senior Lecturer, Auckland University)

Ella told her story that was formed over the years of a challenging yet triumphant childhood, growing up part of the urban maori migration of the 1960’s post war generation. She was one of the original ‘factory kids of west Auckland’, and found her voice when she began her involvement in the Kopapa movement in the 1970’s. She is on a mission to learn the truth of her history, and recover the dignity of Maori women, who lost political power and sexual reproductive rights when the treaty was signed on February the 6th 1870. Acknowledging how the colonisation experience broke Maori women, Ella urged Pakeha women to walk alongside them, not ahead of or prodding, because only in that unity of working together can we create the New Zealand we dream about.


Dame Alison Paterson:

(Chair, KiwiWealth)

How is she 83 years old!

Well, according to Alison, attitude counts for most of it. She explained how it helps to have no preconceived ideas of what’s ‘normal’, and that you can do extraordinary things when you’re not overought.  She taught us not to be constrained by accepting norms, that your reputation is your most important asset / your name is your brand, and that in a rapidly changing world, expanding your repertoire with continued education is vital.