Collective x Kailis


Midday cocktails, a city skyline and brilliant minds

Collective x Kailis

Photography by Scott Ehler


Hosted with luxury jewellery brand Kailis, this week Collective Hub had the pleasure of bringing together some of the nation’s most successful women for a collision of inspiration, connection and innovation.

Guests, selected for their trailblazing in industries from journalism and fashion to tech and beauty, travelled from across the country and included September cover star and Gritty Pretty’s Eleanor Pendleton, Wonderland actor Anna Bamford, the Today Show’s Sylvia Jeffreys, Manning Cartell sisters Cheryl, Vanessa and Gabrielle Manning, OneShift founder Gen George and anti-human trafficking advocate Stephanie Lorenzo, among many others.

In the picturesque dining room of The Butler, our Editor-in-Chief, Lisa Messenger, hosted a panel discussion with a diverse group of inspirational women who included Maria Kailis, who doubles as a GP/obstetrician while also the director of MG Kailis Group; Emma Macdonald, a Fairfax journalist and co-founder of Send Hope Not Flowers, a charity that raises money to help women survive childbirth in the developing world; and Eva Galambos, the director and buyer of leading fashion boutique and online store Parlour X.

While we would have loved to bottle up every conversation, here are some of the highlights:

Maria Kailis on juggling it all between two very different sectors: “The good thing is that neither [being a GP/obstetrician or a company director] is really like work. As a GP/obstetrician, I’ve been on call 24/7 for 27 years and have somehow brought up my children at the same time. You just do every day. If you think about it too much, you will become overwhelmed and you won’t do it. At the end of some days, I am sure we’ve all come to the end and thought, ‘Oh my goodness, how did that happen?’ Mostly you get through it and the bits that you don’t do, usually turn out to be not that important. My advice to mums with new babies is: when you go to bed at night, remember what you did do, not what you didn’t do.”

Emma Macdonald on shifting your career after spending decades establishing it: “There has been a severe sense of anxiety because I didn’t let go of being a journalist and still haven’t; I am clinging on to it with my fingernails. There is a point that if Send Hope gets really big… then things could change because helping women survive childbirth is a bit more important than Fairfax’s bottom line. I would hate to leave journalism, but this experience has opened up an entire new world for me. Journalism, I can do it while I’m half asleep; put in me in front of Malcolm Turnbull and I can give you 3000 words in an hour… but this is a whole new world and I’m out of my comfort zone.

“But at the age of 44, it’s really good to be learning new stuff, but it can be very anxious. We just need one bit of our money to go missing en route… and our reputation, my name and that of my [co-founder]… it’s all on the line and it comes down to us. I have had a byline but I’ve never had my name and brand associated with something and that is nerve wracking, but in a good way.”

Eva Galambos on disruption and pioneering in the fashion space: “Having to be a pioneer is exciting but also equally challenging. On the one hand, we are pioneering and that’s phenomenal and it’s incredibly fulfilling, but on the other hand, we are going in blindly. There are not a lot of people you can ask for support and advice; you are asking yourself, you are having to draw even more from your own personal history and from following your gut instinct.

“I’m in an industry that changes every season, every year, every moment and there are so many factors at play.  It’s exciting, but it’s challenging. For me, that means, you have to maintain two businesses at the same time – one online and one that is bricks-and-mortar. I don’t have a digital background and my greatest competition doesn’t come from other bricks-and-mortar boutiques, it comes from others online. It all comes down to servicing these days. You need to keep moving and rolling and maintain your self-confidence – that is key for every person. But as a woman, going through life, you have struggles that you have to encounter whether it’s family and commitments or emotional sensibility, history and change.”


Special thanks to everyone who attended, to our partners on the day The Butler, Willow and Bear, Gascoigne and King, Chandon Australia, G’Vine Gin and especially Kailis.  

Mel Carswell

Deputy Editor