HEARING the views of women in maritime is the focus of the first north Queensland WISTA event to be held on Monday evening at the Maritime Museum of Townsville.

The event is to be followed two days late with a similar function in Cairns.

“The main purpose of these events is to include our regional areas of Australia into the WISTA network and provide a scope that is beyond just the metropolitan areas because shipping is national,” WISTA Australia president Alison Cusack said.

“WISTA also now has the capacity to expand regionally,” she said, adding increased membership and sponsorship had buoyed the non-profit organisation.


WISTA is a global organisation that connects and supports more than 3000 female executives and decision makers around the world.

Guest speakers at the Townsville event include Michelle Taylor, vice president of WISTA Australia and partner at Colin, Biggers & Paisley; Lilian Auvaa, managing director of HERLI Group; Maria James, trade and business development executive at the Port of Townsville; and  Peter Hinsch, managing director of Harbourside Coldstores.

The second event will take place at 5.30pm on Wednesday 3 April at the Riley resort in Cairns.

“Attendees of these events will be able to access a discounted membership to WISTA should they wish to join the association,” Ms Cusack said.

Along with a number of high profile speakers the Cairns event will also host a panel discussion exploring the promotion of agricultural exports through Cairns.

Panel members include Joe Moro, chair of FNQ Growers; Lilian Auvaa, HERLI Group; Barbara Ford from Air Freight Handling Services; and Peter Hinsch, Harbourside Coldstores.

“We want to give women the opportunity to be part of WISTA,” Ms Cusack said, adding the IMO theme for 2019 is ‘empowering women in the maritime community’.

“We want to give women the opportunity to access a network, because it should be able choice and we need to provide that, especially for women in regional areas.”