Notebooks
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SONIA GANDHI

Founder of FOMA

Sonia is the founder and CEO of a multi-award-winning events and social enterprise, Gandhi Creations Pty Ltd. A social enterprise, that has for over a decade created sustainable platforms in response to business, social and cultural needs of our communities. 

 

Sonia's work directly promotes a more diverse Australia by engaging with multicultural communities. Sonia has executed over 550 events in her career and on a broader level, the work she produces has served as meeting grounds for the exchange of ideas between nations and platforms for enhanced cultural diplomacy and improved foreign investment and trade. 

OUR foma ambassadors

Founder of Anjilla Seddeqi

Anjilla seddeqi

Anjilla Seddeqi is an Australian designer of Afghan heritage. She arrived in Sydney, Australia in 1989 with her family seeking refuge from war torn Afghanistan.

Anjilla has interned with UNHCR and practiced refugee law for a number of years before turning her focus to fashion and design. She is inspired by her heritage as well as the classic and feminine silhouettes of the 1950s, where dressing was an art form in itself. Her debut collection was launched at Dubai Modest Fashion Week in December 2017.

CLICK HERE to read more about Anjilla Seddeqi.

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colleen tighe johnson

Founder of Buluuy Mirrii

As a Gomeroi fashion designer, Colleen uses her talents to harness the spirit of her Gomeroi ancestors and revive Gomeroi Dreaming Stories through each design. Her label, Buluuy Mirrii (Black Star in her Gamilaraay language) has been featured on international runways in Melbourne, New Zealand, Canada, and New York Fashion Week in Spring and Fall 2017. 

The label Buluuy Mirrii celebrates a range of Aboriginal talents. Commissioned Gomeroi artworks are transformed into fabric patterns by a Gomeroi graphic designer, printed on luxury fabrics and sewn into one-off garments. Her label, Buluuy Mirrii promotes and revives important aspects of Gomeroi culture in each runway show, allowing the international fashion audience to learn some of Gomeroi cultural richness through specially recorded Gomeroi soundtracks and voice overs which tell the stories behind each garment.

CLICK HERE to read more about Colleen Tighe Johnson

charlotte smith

Fashion Anthropologist

As a ‘Globe Trotting Fashion Anthropologist’, Charlotte is a social and cultural commentator through the lens of fashion. She is also an author, speaker and curator.

 

In 2004, Charlotte inherited a vast collection of vintage and historic garments and accessories from her American Quaker godmother, Doris Darnell. The bequest included Doris’ notes documenting the stories of the women who wore the clothing making the inheritance more than a fashion collection, but a recording of international social history told through fashion.

 

As a Fashion ‘Anthropologist’, Charlotte travels the world seeking out fashion’s history, its social impact, inspirations and innovations, as well as the powerful influence of multiculturalism that celebrates identity, culture and heritage in dress.

CLICK HERE to read more about Charlotte Smith.

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Claudia chan shaw

Designer. Author. Broadcaster

Claudia Chan Shaw is a Sydney-born creative who has a multi-faceted career as a fashion designer, television and radio presenter, author, public speaker, installation artist, curator, and cultural tour leader. Claudia is half Chinese with her family’s Chinese roots tracing back to the Australian Gold Rush of the 1850s. 

Claudia is co-designer and director for the internationally acclaimed Australian fashion label, Vivian Chan Shaw. Claudia was a familiar face on Australian television as the co-host and presenter of ABC TV’s popular program, Collectors​ , and currently hosts Arts Friday​ on 89.7fm Eastside Radio. Claudia is also the author of Collectomania – from objects of desire to magnificent obsession. Claudia was the curator of the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival (2016 – 2018) and collaborated on Lunar New Year celebrations at World Square from 2019 – 2021. Claudia also leads cultural tours around the world for the Art Gallery Society NSW, with a focus on Art Deco design.

CLICK HERE to read more about Claudia Chan Shaw.

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cristina talacko

Founder of SalDoce Fine Foods

Cristina is an entrepreneur, owner and founder of SalDoce Fine Foods manufacturing, retailing and exporting allergen sensitive and vegan foods to more than 20 countries. Also co- owner of retail organic bulk food stores My Wellness Northbridge and My Wellness Indooroopilly promoting zero waste lifestyle.

She runs the environmental not for profit Coalition for Conservation and is on many boards like Multicultural NSW, the Australia Brazil Chamber of Commerce, DFAT’s Council on Australia Latin America Relations, Beyond Zero Emissions and the charity One Meal it Makes a Difference.

CLICK HERE to read more about Cristina Talacko.

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Karim gharbi

Founder of The VIP Sydney

Helping clients invest in memories, Karim Gharbi is the Founder and Managing Director of The VIP Sydney. He is passionate about creating opportunities for individuals and brands.

 

Throughout his 18 years in events and hospitality, Karim has established an exclusive collection of high profile contacts, secured business relationships and developed a loyal clientele. The combination of leisure & luxury inspired him to develop The VIP Sydney to keep those connections thriving and continue to tailor extraordinary experiences. 

 

During this time, he has worked closely for numerous national and international celebrities, including Giorgio Armani, Baz Luhrmann and Hugh Jackman.

CLICK HERE to read more about Karim Gharbi

Monika tu

Director of the Black Diamondz Group

Monika Tu is the founder and director of the Black Diamondz Group. Monika Tu is the Chinese-Australian executive renowned for leading the revolution of global buyers into the Australian property market. Holding numerous accolades, including the Hong Kong Business Association Success Story Award (2014), she was also named Top 10 Chinese Entrepreneurs in Australia at Parliament House (2016), and finalist for both REB’s Innovator of the Year and Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2018). She is highly regarded as Sydney’s number one real estate agent for luxury properties and a leading industry expert on the future of Australian real estate.

CLICK HERE to read more about Monika Tu.

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Prof. tim harcourt

new Industry Professor and Chief Economist

Tim Harcourt is the new Industry Professor and Chief Economist at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Prof. Harcourt specialises in Australia’s economic engagement with the Global Economy particularly Asia, Latin America and Emerging Markets and has worked in both public policy and research roles in International Trade, Labour Markets, Climate Innovation and the Economics of Sport.

Prof. Harcourt is passionate about making economics and international trade accessible to the whole community. Prof. Harcourt is also well known for his TV show The Airport Economist about his travels to over 60 countries to see what makes their economies tick and the potential trade opportunities with Australia.

CLICK HERE to read more about Prof. Tim Harcourt.