This year marks a significant milestone in our Club’s history as we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of women’s acceptance as members. To commemorate this occasion, we are speaking to some of our foundation members, to reflect on their journey and the impact of women in shaping the culture of Tattersalls Club. Introducing Liz Powter, member of Tattersalls Club, since 2014 .

How was it that you came to join as a foundation member and what is your original connection to the Club?

My husband has been a member for over 20 years, and I used to come as his guest, to events and to family days in the Athletic Department I always thought the Club was so great. I’d always said to him I’d wished I could join, and actually the membership was my 50th birthday present from my husband and it’s just been the loveliest gift to have received to be part of the founding female member of the Club. I couldn’t believe it when I came to the welcome evening and saw Gai Waterhouse, Shane Gould, Jane Fleming. I was just starstruck; I have to say it was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

Can you share a memorable experience or an achievement you’ve had within the Club?

I’ve been pretty active in the gym, and particularly since Malcolm has been here, he’s challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. He used to see me coming in and just doing my own thing, and he kept on saying “You could do this class”. I was watching him doing all these things that looked so intense to me, and I thought I couldn’t possibly do that. Eventually, he wore me down, and I started doing some of these classes and surprised myself that I could keep up. I really love Malcolm’s passion and enthusiasm with the challenges he also puts on, like the push-up challenge, the Merry fit mass and the 6-week challenges and I’d never participated in that kind of thing in the past as a not competitive sports-wise, but thought I’d give it a go, and there’s been several challenges I’ve managed to complete and surprised myself, and now I’m doing ice baths which I’ve never thought to do! All the staff are so encouraging, while still respectful of boundaries. I weigh less than I did 10 years ago, and I’m turning 60 soon and feel so much better than I did at 50.

In what ways have you seen the Club evolve and grow, to better accommodate and celebrate its female members?

I think there’s been great improvement, but I have to say that there was such goodwill from members right from the start, who went out of their way to come and introduce themselves when I first started. The fact it’s been supported from the top, the Chair, Committee and General Manager that were all in place during that time, were passionate about it and wanted to make it happen and I think that sponsorship from the top is needed. And also we just need to keep on attracting more women to the Club; it’s seeing more women in the Club, running the sub clubs, more staff being women, it’s all those kinds of things that continue to drive the change. It’s a credit to everybody because it’s a really welcoming place.

What role do you believe women play in shaping the culture and community of our Club?

Just having more women working here, being members and being more involved in the various networks has shaped the Club over the past 10 years. Who have all brought new ideas and perspectives. That’s why diversity is good for any organization. The evolution of events and offerings the Club offers has had a clear influence from women.

How has your network and social connections expanded through your involvement in the Club, and what impact has it had on your personal and professional life?

Unfortunately, not as much as I would’ve liked. Part of that is just personal decisions I had to make as to where I spent my time, considering work-life balance and working full time and getting home to children. Also its not always easy when you’re in a minority to walk into a room and start a conversation…but that’s becoming easier to do and there’s certainly safety with members. All of the members who organise the events/activities try and create an environment where people feel comfortable and relaxed, so its something I’d like to make more of a priority for myself moving forward to participate in more social events, and I’ve certainly met some great people both at events I’ve come to and also in the Athletic Department.

How do you see the future of the Club in terms of supporting and empowering its female members, and what contributions would you like to make towards that vision?

Something I’ve thought about a bit too, is thinking of how much I’ve got from the Club and I’m getting to that point now where I’m thinking of how I can give back. You see so many members that do contribute a lot, which is one of the lovely things about the Club, and that creates the kind of culture that everybody’s looking for and that makes it such a special place. So I’m open to being more involved, if my speciality in HR is needed on committee that’s something I’d be open to, but I do also think we need more younger people to be involved. It’s not just about women’s perspective, but more diversity all around, and empowering the next generation of members to feel that there’s a role that they can play in helping the Club evolve into the kind of place that they are going to want to be members of for the next 50 years.

Looking back, what advice would you give to new female members joining the Club now, based on your own experience?

Congratulations! What a great idea you’ve joined this amazing place, you’ll never regret it! I’d say just open your mind to getting involved in a lot of things. There’s a world of opportunity out there, just go for it, it’s wonderful.

In what ways has being a member of the Club empowered you as a woman?

I think those organic conversations you can have with people, that you perhaps wouldn’t usually. It’s an environment where it’s very relaxed and you end up having these conversations with people that you might usually find intimidating. People are very encouraging about whatever you’re doing and open to conversation, and that’s very empowering. To experience networking but not in that commercial/transactional way.