RACV Club Member Evelyn Looi counts her mother and late grandmother as role models and credits them with encouraging her to become a strong and independent woman.
“My mum and my grandma both worked and raised family at the same time and they taught me from a young age that women should be independent: physically, financially, and mentally,” she says.
Evelyn believes International Women’s Day on March 8 is a day to celebrate women’s achievements and her sources of inspiration go back to Wu Zetian of the Tang dynasty, the only woman to sit on China’s throne as Emperor in her own right.
“She was the one that gave me the idea that women could stand up and thrive in a male-dominated society through tenacity, diligence, intelligence and bravery.”
Evelyn calls Melbourne home but she also considers herself an international citizen, having grown up in Malaysia and studied and worked in Scotland, New Zealand and Australia.
After completing her MSc in Glasgow and returning to Malaysia to lecture for two years, she moved to Dunedin to undertake a PhD in Management (specialising in Healthcare Management). It was her time in Dunedin that the significance of International Women’s Day dawned on her.
“It really struck a chord when I moved to New Zealand because I had truly become an international citizen and woman,” she says. “It is interesting to be in a society where there is a lot more respect for women, one that is more open to having women as leaders, like Jacinda Ardern and Helen Clark, and also Julia Gillard here in Australia. We have almost the same opportunity as men to be in key positions of high ranks, which is both motivating and inspiring.”
Six years ago, Evelyn moved to Melbourne and she became a member of the RACV Club in 2016.
“I first joined the Club to gain access to the fitness centre and pool, but soon I realised the Club had so much more to offer,” she says.
She joined the pilot program of the Mentorship Program in 2017 and then signed up for the Young Professionals group.
“It was great to have a mentor because at that point I was doing a start-up and creating an app to help people to lose weight. This is very close to my heart because I’ve been through that whole journey of gaining weight and my health suffered. I wanted to share that journey with other people. But the problem with start-ups is that on bad days you feel like giving up. Being part of the Mentor Program helped me stayed focused and motivated.”
Evelyn changed tack when an opportunity to work as a researcher for GLOBE (World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention) at Deakin University came along.
“Instead of helping people on an individual level, I worked in an area where I could help shaped the policy and healthiness of our food environment in a more general sense,” she says.
Furthermore, during her time at Deakin University, she learnt that even superannuation and investment have a role to play in the population’s health and wellbeing.
“ESGs, social governance, corporate social responsibility and climate change, these are all linked to a healthier, sustainable environment,” she says. "How investments influence organisations and how organisations could help build a more sustainable environment for the population; it’s very interesting.”
This has inspired her to enrol into the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute’s Investment Foundations© Program to increase her knowledge in the financial and investment sectors.
Upon the completion of her fixed-term research contract with Deakin University, she joined Activus Investment Advisors, a boutique asset consulting firm, as a Marketing Manager.
She shares her professional and personal insights with other Club Members through the Young Professionals group.
“The group is very collaborative,” she says. “We share ideas and information and it’s a way to keep abreast of what’s happening in other areas and industries. We attend professional development events and we have had fellow members share their expertise with the group as well. In this day and age, networking is one of the most powerful tools you can have and RACV Club Young Professionals group gives you access to that.”
Member Interest Groups, such as the Young Professionals Group, provide the opportunity for Members to engage with each other over shared interests. To find out more, contact the Club Events team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call (03) 9944 8888.
To find out more about the RACV Club Mentor Program, click here