Inspiring Inclusion at International Women’s Day Luncheon

The Darwin Innovation Hub and NT Chamber of Commerce proudly hosted a luncheon in celebration of International Women’s Day, recognising the exceptional contributions of women in the export sector, with guest speakers from Steeline GRP, Ikuntji Arts, and Humpty Doo Barramundi.

Three distinguished speakers, Dr. Chrischona Schmidt, Manager for Ikuntji Arts, Tarun Richards Business Services Manager for Humpty Doo Barramundi, and Nicole Brown, Community Engagement Strategist speaking on behalf of Steeline GRP, shared their experiences, shedding light on the pivotal roles women play in propelling innovation and advancement in export-driven industries.

The luncheon event served as more than a celebration to inspire inclusion; it served as a cry for action. Underscoring the pressing need for continuous support and recognition of women’s crucial roles in the export sector, it emphasised the significance of cultivating collaborative spaces where professionals can connect, innovate, and prosper.

The questions posed were strategically crafted to explore the intersections of gender, international trade, and corporate responsibility. With insights from our guest speakers, they shared their influential stories, inspiring the audience to overcome challenges and achieve success.

“By focusing on these critical themes, we not only amplify the voices of women in the export industry but also lay the groundwork for significant progress and change.”


Dr. Chrischona Schmidt

Since joining Ikuntji Artists in 2018, Chrischona has played a pivotal role in the company’s success. Under her leadership, the business has garnered prestigious awards, including the Australian Small Business Champion Awards and the Telstra Business Awards. She has secured over $6 million in funding and achieved a remarkable 600% increase in sales revenue, solidifying Ikuntji Artists as one of Australia’s premier Indigenous art centres established by women.

Tarun Richards

Tarun Richards is the Business Services Manager at Humpty Doo Barramundi, a 100% Australian family-owned and operated farm located in the Northern Territory. With a background in marketing and communications, Tarun’s career took a turn when she joined Humpty Doo Barramundi in 2017, initially as Brand Manager before progressing to Head of Business Services and company secretary. In her role, Tarun oversees various aspects, including HR, training, compliance, and IT services, ensuring smooth operations on the farm.

Nicole Brown

Nicole Brown, a proud Larrakia woman and social activist, is dedicated to advancing Australia’s First Nations peoples. Through her heartfelt efforts, she invests in young leaders, creates safe spaces for community gatherings, initiates purpose-led events, and delivers impactful speeches nationwide and globally. As a resilient single mother, Nicole prioritises supporting marginalised groups, including Indigenous girls and her community.

About International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day stands as a global celebration of women’s remarkable achievements across social, economic, cultural, and political spheres. It serves as a pivotal moment to honor these accomplishments while also addressing the urgent need to accelerate gender equality. By striving to eliminate biases and promote inspiring inclusion, paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable future, where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

At the Darwin Innovation Hub, we endorse the promotion of organisational diversity and take pride in recognising the steps made within our workforce and among our clientele. Paspalis and the Darwin Innovation Hub boast a storied legacy of challenging biases and nurturing female leadership since its inception, maintaining a balanced gender ratio with equal representation of female and male staff, along with female presence in top executive positions.