Letter from the Chair

Dear Members and Friends of our Association,

The tag I used for 2013 in the last End of Year Message, was “change”. Change continued to be a defining feature for our association in 2014, the major change, of course, being that of our name to “German Australian Business Council e.V.”. Aside from this, we elected a new board, welcomed our new Patron and also introduced a refreshed strategy. What has not changed though is our continued focus on providing our members and friends with high quality events across Germany. This included an increase in events in the Berlin region.

We started off the year with an Australia Day lunch at Frankfurt, supported by corporate member Telstra, followed by an event with Telstra’s CTO, Dr. Hugh Bradlow, to which members of our association were invited. Our signature event, the Annual Ambassador’s Dinner, took place in Berlin in June and marked the welcome of H.E. David Ritchie AO, as Patron of our association. The event was supported by corporate members Austrade, Sonic Healthcare, Telstra and Scout24. The highlight event for Frankfurt in the past year would certainly have been the new edition of the Melbourne Cup Event, which was attended by approx. 150 people and took place at the Adina Apartment Hotel with support from corporate member Melbourne Business School, sponsors Tourism Victoria, Emirates, Victorian Racing Club and many other eminent businesses. The key event in the Munich region was certainly the German Australian Business and Technology Forum organized by Austrade with our association as one of the partners. Further prominent business events were a presentation by Peter Sargent from ANZ in Frankfurt, a lunch seminar with Johann Mittermayer from Woolmark, also in Frankfurt,,a networking event showcasing Sonic Healthcare’s outstanding cutting-edge medical laboratory in Berlin and the annual Oktoberfest Event in Munich sponsored by long-time corporate member mic AG, who were again joined by corporate member Telstra.

A preliminary events calendar for 2015 has already been prepared by the board and will again feature our signature events Australia Day, the Ambassador’s Dinner and the Melbourne Cup Event, together with many others showcasing various industries. The Australia Day Event in Frankfurt on 26th January 2015 will also mark the re-launch of our association as the German Australian Business Council. The 2015 Ambassador’s Dinner will again be held at Frankfurt in the week commencing 8 June 2015, with the Melbourne Cup event taking place on 3rd November 2015.

On the international side, there is increasing combined effort to expand the network and leverage off each other’s business connections. We are looking at introducing a joint newsletter and a joint landing page. 2015 will also mark the first pan-European event, scheduled to take place at the European Parliament at Brussels in April. The international group is rapidly expanding with Greece, Switzerland and the Czech Republic having joined the group and a prospect for revival in Denmark and perhaps Luxemburg.

The start of a year is always an opportunity to say thank you for all the support our association has received from various sources. First and foremost, I would like to thank you as our members and friends for the support you have given us over the past year, in particular with respect to implementing the changes that the board had envisaged in order to take our association to the next level of growth.

I would like to thank my fellow board members, who have fulfilled their various roles with much enthusiasm and great dedication. While all board members deserve praise, I would like to direct a very special thank you to Catherine Stephen for enormous efforts in organizing Frankfurt events, Deputy Chair Elisabeth Opie for guiding us through the process of the strategy refresh, Roanne Yee and Penelope Richardson for taking on the enormous task of rebranding as the German Australian Business Council and overseeing the overhaul of the website, Rob Harrison for giving the newsletter a new outfit, Eberhard Goihl for tireless administrative work in the background and Claas de Boer and Simone Wienhausen for firmly grounding the presence of our association in Berlin.

I would also like to thank those who have supported us from an administrative point of view, namely Susanne Schnack, our office, and my P.A. Jacqueline Fehse, for all-round admin support regarding events and more. Susanne, who has been our office for the last 1.5 years and has done a splendid job looking after our accounts and administrating events, has decided to move on to an (almost) full-time job and will conclude her role with the German Australian Business Council in early January. We are sad to see her go and I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank her for excellent work for the German Australian Business Council and wish her well in her future role

Sabine Pittrof (Chair of the board)