Strong networks benefitting the MS community

Recently I had the privilege of attending two MS Angels events. Many of you would be aware of the MS Angels, who are groups of female business  and community leaders who all excel in their chosen fields. These dynamic executives all share a common goal of supporting MS research in Australia. Founded in 2009, there are now MS Angels groups in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane. The objective of this initiative is to fund cutting-edge research, which then may go on to attract further significant funding.

The Melbourne MS Angels event on Thursday 21 August 2014 was hosted by Medibank at their Docklands office. The guest speaker was Laura McKenzie, CEO of Scale and Associate Professor Russell Dale. Scale is a female-focused angel investor network, founded in 2013. Laura inspired the audience and spoke about financial empowerment of women, women as investors and women as entrepreneurs.

Scale CEO Laura McKenzie (source: The Australian)

Scale CEO Laura McKenzie (source: The Australian)

In a previous aspect of my career I was a health practitioner, so I continue to be interested in work that will have benefits  in direct health care delivery and Dr Dale  provided an amazing talk that captivated the entire group. Dr Dale is a researcher who together with Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville,  have had their research supported by the Melbourne MS Angels  in 2012.

Their project shows how innovative and diverse modern MS research truly is. Together they have focused on understanding early brain inflammation in children who develop MS. Exciting new findings have recently been published and Dr Dale provided an update to the group.

Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville and Associate Professor Russell Dale at a recent Kiss Goodbye to MS event

Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville and Associate Professor Russell Dale at a recent Kiss Goodbye to MS event

The Canberra MS Angels group held a special event to celebrate 10 years of MS Research Australia and five years of the MS Angels, on Wednesday 27 August 2014. It was hosted by Honorary MS Angel, Senator Kate Lundy at Parliament House. Senator Lundy is a truly great supporter of the MS movement and has always been generous with her time for MS Australia and the MS Angels. The guest speaker was entrepreneur, Helen Roe, founder of Orange Lantern. She spoke to the group about her bold decision to move from corporate life to running her own business. It was a pleasure for me to catch up with some previous colleagues and familiar faces from my previous time working in Canberra, who are also committed to the MS.

Senator Kate Lundy, Guest Speaker Helen Roe and Australian Opal and Olympian Lauren Jackson

Senator Kate Lundy, Guest Speaker Helen Roe and Australian Opal and Olympian Lauren Jackson

Mandy Lee, MS Research Australia’s Development and Event Manager, also spoke about MS Research Australia’s decade of achievements and the importance of MS Angels’ contribution, who have now collectively donated more than $500,000 to MS research,  since the groups first began.

It is truly invigorating to attend functions like these, as it demonstrates the strong resolve that exists in the MS community and that there are so many talented and dedicated people giving their time to join the journey  towards a cause. It is always inspiring as CEO of MS Australia to witness the energy and commitment people offer,  to so many aspects of the MS community.

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