Melbourne conference image and dates

TLyfordMessage from President Theresa Lyford

It is with great pleasure that I invite you to the 21st Conference of Clubs of SISWP at the Pullman & Mercure Hotel, Albert Park Melbourne.

The theme of the 2018 Conference is Inspiring and Innovative Women Shaping the Future and your Conference Committee is working hard to achieve a program that is innovative, informing and of course inspiring.

This year’s Conference structure will be a little different than in previous years, where the General Business of the Conference of Clubs will be organised for the Friday concluding with the Opening Ceremony and Friendship Evening which also celebrates our Official Coming of Age of our 21st Conference of Clubs. The Saturday and Sunday of the Conference will be packed with a selection of inspiring and innovative women who will share with you their stories and interspersed with this will be workshops, panel discussions, best practice presentations, poster sessions and plenaries.

Our Gala Dinner will be a dual event – the handover celebration for incoming President Anusha and our 40th Birthday Party as a Federation of Clubs. So, come prepared for fun, entertainment and friendship and help us celebrate these two amazing events.

This year there will be a special morning tea on the Saturday of the Conference for those members who are attending for the first time so when you fill out your registration for the Conference please indicate if this is your first Conference of Clubs that you will be attending. This is also the opportunity to encourage your fellow Club Members who are new to the Organisation and who are wishing to find out more about SISWP, to take the opportunity to come and be part of the Conference of Clubs in Melbourne.

Melbourne is the capital city of the Australian state of Victoria and sits on the banks of the Yarra River and around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Melbourne is renowned for its food and wine cafes, flourishing arts scene, stylish shopping, program of festivals and events throughout the year, history and heritage, art and culture and of course sports.

The conference venue is located on Queens Road, overlooking the picturesque Albert Park Lake, venue of the renowned Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix Racing held every year in March and is also where our accommodation for the SISWP Board Meeting, AGM and our Conference is situated. We have secured great accommodation price for you so please follow our links to book your accommodation for the Conference.

At the city centre is the modern Federation Square with its plazas, bars and restaurants conveniently located beside the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of the iconic Arts Centre – a performing arts complex and the National Gallery of Victoria. The City’s passion for fashion in a serious matter, and boasts international retail shopping giants along with well-established Australian major retailers, boutique and local designers all vying for your attention and hopefully a visit to spend some time viewing their fashion labels.

Travel in and around Melbourne and the suburbs is well serviced on either trams or trains and our Conference Venue is conveniently located not far from a direct Tram Service into the centre of Melbourne City.

I look forward to welcoming you all to our 21st Conference of Clubs 2018 in Melbourne, 4-6 May, 2018.


Theresa Lyford
SISWP President 2016-2018


Robyn Rose pic

Message from Conference Chair Robyn Rose

Welcome to the Conference of Clubs!

The members of 2018 organising committee of the Soroptimist International South West Pacific Conference of Clubs extend a warm welcome to you to the 21st Conference of Clubs.

Pack your party frocks for the 21st celebrations over the weekend. The committee have had many brainstorming sessions to develop an innovative and inspiring program in line with President Theresa’s theme biennium of Innovate, Inform, and Inspire - Shaping the future.

We have set aside one day for SISWP business and the other two days will be informative with an external focus on one day and an internal focus on another day. This conference is about the future and to reflect that, the external speakers that we have lined up for you are inspiring and innovative women who are doing amazing things which have impact for the future.

More will be revealed when all of the speakers are confirmed. The opening ceremony at this conference will occur at the end of the business meeting on the Friday followed by the Friendship Night Cocktail Party.


The end of the conference will be marked by the Gala Dinner on the Sunday night. As the program gets finalised more information will be posted to the website.

We look forward to welcoming you to our city and meeting you at the Conference of Clubs in Melbourne.


Robyn Rose
2018 Conference Chair

The Pullman & Mercure Hotel, will be the venue for your conference experience, this upscale hotel is located near St Kilda and the Chapel Street precincts, the Pullman & Mercure Melbourne Albert Park is an upscale hotel overlooking picturesque Albert Park Lake, home to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. From here, it’s just moments to the top tourist attractions and activities in Melbourne.


Mercure Melbourne Albert Park Hotel

Located at 65 Queens Rd, Melbourne 3004

Mercure Superior King Copy



Conference room rate of $200.00 AUD, which will include ONE (1) Full Hot breakfast and Complimentary WIFI

To obtain this special conference rate, please make your booking direct with Mercure Guestroom using this hotel link.

 Or alternatively you can book direct with Hotel on (03) 8554 2528 or email hotel and quote "SISWP"






What to Do in Melbourne

Why not come a few days earlier or stay a few days later as there is so much to see and do in Melbourne and Victoria. 

 2018 Conference of Clubs from SISWP on Vimeo.

Don't forget to visist the Visit web site to see what else to see and do in Melbourne and Victoria.


 Conference Facilities

conference room

The Conference and Event Centre is one of the largest, most comprehensive function venues in Melbourne. With 2,600 square-metres of conferencing space encompassing 31 separate function rooms, our Melbourne CBD fringe hotel can accommodate up to 1,600 delegates.

Inspiring and Innovative Women Shaping the Future

program iage



Thursday 3rd May

2:00-5:00pm      Programme of Service (POS) Meeting

4:00-7:00pm      Registration desk open for the Business Meeting

6:00-8:00pm      Delgate Briefing - open to all attendees

Thursday evening is a free evening.


Friday 4th of May - Day Events - Business meeting for Club Delegates


Registration Desk will open for the Business Meeting


Business Meeting


Friday 4th of May - Evening Events 




Opening Ceremony


Friendship night/21st Conferene Celebrations - Cocktail Party
Dress - national Costume or Cocktail Dress.


Saturday 5th of May - Day 2 - Informative and Inspiring women


Conference Information Desk open.


Conference:  Speaker events, Panel discussion, workshops.  Theme will be "Informative and inspiring women"


National Meetings

5:30-7:30pm       Membership Meeting

Saturday evening is a free evening. 


Sunday 6th of May - Day 3 Conference Events


Conference Information Desk open.


Highligts of the days activies will be presentation by International President Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, Best Practice Project Awards, SISWP 40th Birthday Celebrations.

1:30pm                  SISWP Annual General Meeting


Handover Ceremony


Sunday 6th of May - Evening Event


Gala Dinner - SISWP 40th Birthday


Call for Abstracts SISWP Conference of Clubs 2018

Come join the party SISWP is 40!

The Conference of Clubs Committee is pleased to invite SI clubs and members from across the South West Pacific Federation to submit an Abstract for the 21st Conference of Clubs in Melbourne between 4 and 6 May 2018. The Abstract will be for a presentation, poster or workshop as part of the Conference program on Sunday 6th May 2018.

The Conference theme mirrors President Theresa Lyford’s Biennium theme – “Inspiring and Innovative Women Shaping the Future”. This conference will provide a unique opportunity to explore leading approaches to Soroptimism and the future.

After reading all the information below and preparing your abstract, the abstract can be submitted to Conference Chair



The Conference Committee invites you to submit an abstract for consideration as an oral presentation, workshop or poster presentation at the SISWP Conference of Clubs.


A 30 minute spoken presentation, including question and answer time (i.e. a 25 minute presentation plus five minutes for questions and answers). Presenters will show a Power point presentation of their accepted abstract. An SISWP Power Point template will be provided to you.


Poster presentations will be allocated a specific space to at the Conference venue. Delegates will be able to view all accepted posters at the Conference. Poster size must be minimum A3 and maximum A1.


A 45 minute session. Workshops vary from other presentation types in that they aim to provide participants with the opportunity to develop new knowledge or skills. This may take the form of a combination of some limited educational presentation combined with activities, interactive group or individual work. Presenters should identify learning objectives in their abstract and how they propose to make the workshop interactive.

While every effort will be made to accept an Abstract for the presentation type selected during the submission process, the Conference Committee reserves the right to allocate a different presentation type if it is felt to be more appropriate, and if program space is limited.



Across all the themes outlined below SISWP members are interested in being informed and inspired by innovation that shapes the future of Soroptimism and the world reflecting the theme of the conference.

Please select one theme for your presentation type from the list of seven below.


Models of service clubs have changed over the last 100 years. Have we got it right? What is working well in your club?


In keeping with the conference theme “Inspiring and Innovative Women Shaping the Future”. We are keen to hear how Soroptimists are shaping the future in your community.


Social enterprises are springing up everywhere. Has your club created a social enterprise or been involved in one? What worked, what didn’t, what positives do you have to share?


Fundraising for projects is integral for Soroptimists around the world. We would like to hear your inspiring stories about partnerships with like-minded organisations and successful funding submissions.


Engagement is critical for people to enjoy a fulfilling life. We are interested in hearing about approaches which engage women to join a Soroptimist Club. As a club how have you attracted and kept members in your club?


Young people often bring a unique perspective when considering how best to shape the future. Does your club work with groups of young people or attract young members? We would like to hear your success stories and learnings.


Technological advances provide a unique opportunity to engage people in different ways. We are interested in hearing about uses of technology that clubs have utilised successfully.



Call for abstracts opening date - 1st January 2018

Call for abstracts closing date - 14th February 2018


Abstract Notifications

28th February 2018



Abstracts should be original work.

An Abstract must be submitted by the presenting author.

A maximum of one (1) abstracts can be submitted per Club.

Abstracts must not exceed 250 words

Abstracts should be thoroughly checked for spelling and grammar.

Abstracts must be submitted by midnight AEDST 14th February 2018 for consideration by the Abstract Review Committee. Authors will be notified of acceptance of Abstract by 28th February including the presentation type it has been accepted for.

To be formally accepted, abstract authors/presenters must have registered and paid to attend the Conference by 4th March 2018. If payment not received abstracts will be withdrawn.

 Send in your Abstract submission to Conference Chair




Final Board Meeting for 2016-2018 Biennium

The Last Board Meeting will be held on Wednesday 2 May (8.30 am to 5 pm) & Thursday 3 May (8.30 am to 1 pm) at Pullman & Mercure Melbourne Albert Park.

Registration for Silent Observers - Not Board Members - is now open via Events booking on the SISWP Website.

SWP Board Members 2016-2018 (Directors, Convenors, National Reps, MC and Appointees) have been sent all the information, if you have not received the information please check your SWP email accounts and contact Federation Secretary


Programme of Service (POS) Meeting

The POS Meeting will be held on Thursday 3 May 2018 from 2pm to 5pm.
The Programme of Service Committee comprises the following:

  • Federation Programme Director
  • Federation Assistant Programme Directors
  • Federation Programme CoordinatorsProgramme/UN Liaisons for each of the Regions
  • National Representatives of the countries which do not have Regions.

This is a reminder that all INCOMING POS Committee are expected to attend the meeting. Federation will reimburse travel costs for the Incoming POS Committee from Travel Pool. There is no travel pool reimbursement available to Outgoing POS Committee members.


First Board Meeting 2018-2020 Biennium

The First Board Meeting will be held on Monday 7 May 2018 (8.30 am to 1 pm) at Pullman & Mercure Melbourne Albert Park. All incoming SWP Board Members 2018-2020 are expected to attend this meeting and lunch.
Silent observers are welcome for the meeting only.

Registration for Silent Observers - Not Board Members - is now open via Events booking on the SISWP Website.


Conference of Clubs 2018 - Visa Letters

Travellers to Australia need a valid passport. Visas are required by many visitors travelling to Australia. New Zealand passport holders are exempt.

Any member who requires a letter for your visa application from Federation please contact the Federation Secretary ASAP.

Please include the following information:

  • Full Name - First Name, Middle/Other Name, Surname/Family Name
  • Club and SISWP Membership Number
  • Position in Club/Region/Delegate
  • Passport NumberAccommodation details

Members and visitors planning on coming to Australia for the Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific Conference of Clubs 2018 should note that travellers coming to Australia will require a valid passport and visa.




Travellers to Australia need a valid passport. Visas are required by many visitors travelling to Australia. New Zealand passport holders are exempt.

The 21st Conference of Clubs has been registered with Department of Immigration and Border Protection and we require additional information which may assist you with obtaining visas.

The Visa to apply for is Visitor (Business Stream) Visa (Subclass 600).

Please ensure that you apply for your visas as soon as possible. If you require a visa letter from the Federation please contact Federation Secretary Sue Latta



3 Day Registration:

  • Conference Opening & Closing Ceremonies, Morning & Afternoon Tea and Lunch, Keynote Speakers, Panel Sessions, Workshops, Business Sessions, AGM, Cocktail Party and Gala Dinner

1 Day Registrations:

  • Friday: includes Morning & Afternoon Tea and Lunch, Business Session, Conference Opening Ceremony and Cocktail Party
  • Saturday: includes Morning & Afternoon Tea and Lunch, Conference Key Note Speakers & Panel Sessions and Workshops
  • Sunday: includes Morning & Afternoon Tea and Lunch, Conference Key Note Speakers & Panel Sessions, Workshops, AGM, Conference Closing Ceremony and Gala Dinner


Discount Rates:

Super Early Bird Rate


Early Bird Rate

$600 Closes 28 February 2018

Full Rate

$650 Closes 31 March 2018

Late Rate

$670 Closes 15 April 2018


Payment for the conference is via your personal Paypal account, Direct Debit or Credit Card: You will be redirected to the Soroptimist Paypal account to make payment.

Cheque: Select "Cheque" Payment Method. You will be required to send the cheque to HQ within 14 days of Registration.


Cancellations after 1 February 2018 - Will incur a 25% fee of total Registration Fee

Cancellations after 1 March 2018 - Will incur 50% fee of total Registration Fee

Cancellations after 1 April 2018 - No Refund on Registration Fee



Here are some frequently asked questions together with answers regarding the upcoming Conference of Clubs 2018.

Conference Registration: 


Paying via PayPal

Q: Do I have to have a PayPal account to register and pay online?

A:  No. You do not need to have a Paypal account to pay by Direct Debit or Credit Card. If you wish to pay by Direct Debit or Credit Card, select the Paypal payment option at the end of the Registration form:

Tip Sheet Paying By Direct Debit or Credit Card without a Paypal Account1






  You will be redirected to the Paypal screen where you need to select the Pay with Debit or Credit Card option. Follow the steps to complete your payment.

Tip Sheet Paying By Direct Debit or Credit Card without a Paypal Account 















Registering for SISWP Board Meetings

Q: I want to register as an observer for the SISWP Board Meetings. When Can I do this?

A: Follow this link to Events on the SISWP Website to register.


Q: Can we register for a Trade Table at the Conference of Clubs 2018?

A: If you would like to have a trade table at the conference send a request by email to the conference committee at

 Numbers of tables are limited due to space available.


Q: When is the SISWP Annual General Meeting being held?

A: SISWP Annual General Meeting will be held on Sunday 6th May at 1:30pm.