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1989

Melanie O'Toole

inducted 2013 Service

About Melanie O'Toole

Influenced by her grandmothers and great aunts who remain active in the Country Women's Association, Melanie O'Toole has forged a positive and determined contribution to voluntary service to improve the equality rights of women.

During her senior school days, was successful in in the Victorian History Teachers' State-wide Essay competition, won numerous dance awards and was runner-up of the Warrnambool and District Lions Youth of the Year award.

After leaving school, Melanie completed Tertiary qualifications in marketing, with first degree majors in Japanese and Economics from Monash University and language capabilities in Japanese and Mandarin. She has worked in numerous marketing roles with public and private organisations with a focus on marketing distribution and promotion strategies and media liaison across the Asian­ Pacific region.

At the University of Melbourne, Melanie was responsible for brand and stakeholder management within the markets of Singapore, Malaysia and China. Her role included coordinating academic departments in their marketing efforts and developing people and institutional links with employers, government ministries, media agencies, embassies and educational organisations. Colleagues described Melanie as passionate and results-driven.

Taking a 6-month sabbatical from her marketing role at the University of Melbourne, Melanie was employed as a marketing and communications consultant for the largest Chinese Chemical Engineering company in China. It was at a time, when public and private companies were questioning their role in the new World Trade Organisation environment and looking at ways in which to stay competitive.

As a former Australia-Singapore Young Business Ambassador Melanie was involved in the signing of Australia's first free trade agreement with Singapore and opening up trade possibilities for women business owners.

Since her formative years, Melanie has represented Australia on numerous Government led delegations and Government enquiries to investigate and improve the economic status of women. Since its inception by the Keating Government, Melanie has been a participant on government delegations to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Women's Leaders Network. She does this policy work on a voluntary basis and pays her own way on each delegation.
Melanie voluntarily serves on a number of boards and committees trying to improve the quality of life of Australian women and their sisters. These include:

-Former Board Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women;

-Former Board Director and Senior Government Adviser, International Women's Federation of Commerce and Industry

-Senior Advisor, Federal Government funded Economic Security for Women Council - policy and advocacy council providing intelligence and advice to Federal parliamentarians on economic issues facing women. These issues include: education, access to fair and decent employment, retirement savings, caring responsibilities - parental leave, and carers leave.

-Founding member of the Australian White Ribbon Campaign - to help raise public awareness of the need to eliminate violence against women and children.

-Founding member and Victorian state representative on the Federal Government's Women in Global Business Network.

-Economic Adviser, National Council of Women (the oldest women's organisation globally with representative status with the United Nations).

-Adviser to the ACTU's Women's Committee on international trends effecting women and their employment.

Melanie is a also columnist for "Women in China", the biggest national women's magazine in China, reporting on global and cross-cultural , communication strategies.

Melanie believes that "Our regional neighbours cannot be underestimated on the potential that is valuable for bi-lateral trade and social discourse. Voluntary work in the global arena helps support greater understanding and creates opportunities for business exchange."