Empowering communities to reduce inequalities isn’t an easy job; it involves our board, funders, volunteers and project partner, Human and Hope Association, working together. We are especially grateful for our volunteers who combine their passions and skills to advocate and raise funds for our work. This week, we are shining the spotlight on our Sydney-based Events Manager, Katherine Ducker.
Tell us about your professional background? My career in event management has spanned over 7 years. I started my career in Professional Conference Organising, working on a range of events varying in size. After over four years in that area of the events industry, I transitioned into in-house event management. I now work for a large independent law firm, managing their many events and activities. In addition to my current role in in-house event management, I have been organising Sydney-based fundraising events for HHA Inc in my spare time for around 18 months.
What drew you to volunteer for HHA Inc? Throughout my career, I had occasionally managed and assisted with fundraising events for charities, so when an opportunity arose to work for HHA Inc on their fundraising events, I couldn’t resist. Once I heard about more about what HHA Inc did and aimed to achieve, I just had to get involved in any small way that I could.
Why is local empowerment so important? Having been born and raised in Australia, I have been very privileged in my upbringing, through education, career and way of life; just because I was born in a country where the citizens are empowered and have the freedom to achieve whatever they put their minds to. When you look a country like Cambodia, having seen the results of HHA Inc’s hard work in empowering the locals, it really goes to show what a significant impact it can make. It allows people to dream and work towards a future of their own design. Local empowerment can build a community and foster growth for a better and more fulfilling life for current and future generations to come.
What motivates you to stay involved? Knowing that our hard work on fundraising goes towards local Cambodian adults and children. We see the impact of providing these educational and skill-based opportunities has on their lives. Everyone deserves to be educated and have every opportunity to achieve their goals. Knowing that in some way I am helping others to get that chance, that they otherwise may not have had, reminds me of why I do this. It provides a sense of perspective, looking beyond my everyday champagne problems.
What do you do as part of your role? I organise two fundraising events in Sydney each year. This can range from a movie night to a nature hike, to our most recent month-long virtual walk to Cambodia, where we raised our largest amount from an event since I have been involved. Organising these events involves a lot of aspects, such as venue comparisons, project planning, budgeting, registration set up, Sponsorship/donation requests, creating marketing and social media communications and a lot of direct contact with potential guests to promote attendance at the events.
What contribution or achievement are you most proud of? In terms of events, I am most proud of the 2019 Virtual Walk to Cambodia. Not only did we reach our step goal (and then some), but we surpassed our fundraising goal, by a long shot. Financially, my greatest achievement to-date is raising $9,000 in my first year of managing events for HHA Inc.
Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? My friends, partner and family are huge supporters of my involvement at HHA Inc. They try to support the events that we hold as much as they can, either by attending or donating. I have also had friends who have in turn played an active role in supporting HHA Inc, through graphic design and web development. The firm that I work for and also my direct manager are very supportive of my involvement. They have provided me with flexibility if I have ever required it for an HHA Inc event. Additionally, the firm provided HHA Inc with a $2,000 grant in 2018.
What is your dream for HHA Inc? To raise enough funds to empower local Cambodians to build and sustain a prosperous community for generations to come. In turn, it would be great to see members of that community achieving each of their respective goals either through education, career or way of life.
What is the motto you live by? Everything happens for a reason, so live life without regrets! I honestly believe that, especially with how I first became involved in HHA Inc. My housemate/friend had a connection to HHA Inc and saw the advertisement for a volunteer event organiser. At that time, I was looking to do something in my spare time such as volunteering. One thing led to another and I soon became involved with HHA Inc and hit the ground running. I haven’t looked back since.