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Women chiefs grow

A WOMEN’S organisation born of the chaos following World War II is starting to take root in WA.

Women Chiefs of Enterprises International was founded in France in 1946 by Yvonne Foinant who was left to run a multi-national corporation because her husband had been killed in the war.

Now the WCEI is active in 35 countries around the world and has more than 35,000 members.

Although the organisation came to Australia in 1985, it has only been active in WA for the past three years.

WCEI WA chapter president and Ros King and Associates principal Ros King said the WA membership was only now starting to expand.

Ms King said the organisation had very strict entry criteria.

“Most of the members must own and run a successful business although 10 per cent of our members can be CEOs of big government departments or big companies,” she said.

“The members have to be involved with the day-to-day running of the business.”

WA members include accountant Diana Newman who is on the Gunning Enquiry into mortgage brokers and property developer Beth Walker.

Ms King said the reason businesswomen joined the group were many, however the overwhelming reason seemed to be support.

“A lot of members are sole business owners or the only woman in top management in their organisation,” she said.

“They feel they can’t discuss their problems with anyone else.

“Plus a lot of members use the organisation as a business tool. They travel overseas or over east and can touch base with members from other chapters over there.

“One member touched base with other members in seven states in the US recently.”

Ms King said the organisation had a national and international conference each year. Next year the national conference will be held in Perth.

“We’re making a conscious effort to get women in from Asia, India and Mauritius because of WA’s proximity to the Indian Ocean rim,” Ms King said.

“A lot of people think women are downtrodden in Asia but a lot of the big companies there are run by women.”

Ms King said the group ran about eight or nine networking functions a year, although most of the organisation’s events were aimed at building business.

She said the majority of the organisation’s functions were held after hours because work commitments mostly ruled out lunchtime functions.

For information phone 9385 5511.

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