Faces of AWNY: Hayley Whitfield

Hayley Whitfield is one of AWNY’s extraordinary event leads. Find out how she ended up in a billionaire’s apartment and what she misses most from Australia.

Tell us about yourself – why did you move to NYC?
I moved to New York in 2013 from sunny Sydney, with my husband Michael and 6 month old mini poodle Rosa. We came here just for the experience really—it was always a dream to live overseas in a fast-paced city. I’d travelled loads before, but always skipped America – so arriving on a warm August evening to the West Village was pretty cool. We’ve been here for four years, but took off around the world for 12 months in the middle. After traveling, I was like, right, we must go back to live in New York again, it’s the center of the universe.

I’m originally from Murchison, a Victorian riverside town with 630 people – you know, with all the usual suspects – a bridge, bakery, pub, cemetery and river.

How did you get into your job in NYC?
I launched a company Wolfpack NYC, producing luxury show-stopping dog coats with exaggerated faux-fur trims and accessories, for residents of this dog-crazed city.

What are the differences to working in Australia?
New Yorkers thrive on self-promotion and networking to connect and leverage relationships. As a typical Aussie who has grown-up believing that modesty is a great character trait, the reality in New York is that you just don’t get anything done unless you learn how to hustle and can articulate your personal brand and proposition to others, in like, an elevator pitch. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable articulating my strengths and intentions, without the shadow of worrying that I will be perceived as having a big head. In New York, it’s simply not a bad thing to talk openly about your successes and intentions, it’s a comfortably, open platform to identify ways to collaborate and help each other.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about living/working in NYC?
By this drop dead gorgeous male makeup artist at the MAC store in Union Square – it’s an incredible melting pot this city, but damn you gotta devote some serious time to self care when you live amongst the hustle and bustle.

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment?
Hmmmm I went into this billionaire’s apartment on the Upper East Side, overlooking Central Park and showed my collection of Wolfpack leather dog coats for their selection. I was like, yep, for a solo start-up, that’s pretty cool.

When you need retail therapy, you run to…
All Saints, Meatpacking District

Favorite NYC brunch spot
Banter – Aussie café in the Village.

Favorite NYC cocktail spot & cocktail of choice
One Hotel Brooklyn Bridge Rooftop – absolutely phenomenal view of the Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, Hudson River, historic Dumbo, and with beautifully styled décor. All cocktails.

What are your favorite ways to connect with Aussie culture in NYC?
Through the AWNY events and working on the committee – its full of Aussie slang to keep me grounded. And of course, every Aussie brunch spot.

Anything you miss about Australia?
BBQ Shapes, BBQ Shapes, BBQ Shapes

What do you like about being part of AWNY?
Feeling like I have a ‘home away from home’ Aussie family. We share the same relaxed, open values – it’s so easy to relate.


Faces of AWNY: Tanya McCaw

Tanya moved to NYC in mid-2015 with her husband Lee, who is also her business partner. The couple moved from Perth, where they still operate their IT company Royal IT, to launch their business in New York because they wanted to expand overseas.

Where do you live? Why did you choose that area?
Financial District. I love it because we across the road from the Battery Park and the river.  It’s close to several subway stations and there is so much history and charm to the area.

Any advice for people moving to NY?
Study up on the process with renting.  It can be confusing and frustrating if you are not organized and educated.

What do you do?
I lead the Operations at Royal IT in NYC.  We are a boutique IT support and consulting company.

As a professional working in NYC, what are the differences to working in Australia?
Hustling much harder. A lot more networking is needed to develop solid relationships, and I also work longer hours.IMG_20170714_101939_124

What’s the biggest challenge or road block you’ve faced in NYC and how do you overcome it?
Launching a business from scratch is a very challenging task. Especially when you are only new to the country and city. There were so many lessons and learnings and it required a huge amount of strength and resilience.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about living/working in NYC?The best way to grow the business and client base is to get out the door and meet people. Developing relationships and a strong network is critical.

Any advice for other professionals working in NYC?
Never give up. This city can have a way of breaking you down many times, but use it as an opportunity to grow. Also, it’s important in such a busy city to take time out for yourself, whether it’s a walk or reading a book. Downtime is important.

What do you like/dislike about living in NY?
I love that I never get bored, there are always so many things to do and see.
I dislike the winter – it’s far too cold and long.

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment/s?
I was one of the judges at the Nathan’s Famous Hotdog Eating Contest in 2017.  It was such a crazy experience, I am still in disbelief that the male winner ate 72 hotdogs in 10 minutes.

Three words to describe New York:

  • Expansion
  • Opportunity
  • Intriguing

If you didn’t live in NYC, you would stay the night at…
The Williamsburg Hotel – just out of the city.

Favorite NYC brunch spot
Tiny’s in Tribeca.

What are your top 3 tips for friends visiting NYC?
Get all the touristy things out of the way in the first few days and then take time to explore each neighborhood. So many hidden gems!

Venture over to Williamsburg for the day or hire bikes and ride around Central Park.

Who are some Aussie ladies doing awesome things in NYC who are currently on your radar?
I always look up to good leaders such as Belinda Jackson, the president at AWNY who does a fantastic job.  All of my Aussie girlfriends are doing awesome things and I love hearing their stories and updates on how they are progressing with their careers in NYC.

What things do you do to keep home sickness under control?
I skype my Mum once a week.  Go back to Perth at least once a year. Surround myself with great company here in NYC.

What are your favorite ways to connect with Aussie culture in NYC?
Hang out with fellow Aussies regularly
Grill (BBQ)
Grab a coffee at Bluestone
Eat at Two Hands in Tribeca and the Australian Bar

What do you like about being part of AWNY?
I love meeting follow Aussies and getting involved in a range of different activities. I have also enjoyed being part of the Charity team and working on the annual Fall Gala event in support of The Dwelling Place of NYC.

What’s on in New York—October 2017

By Allison Jurjens

Settling back in to the swing of work and the city after summer “vacation”, we can at least still enjoy the mercy of warm weather – and a massive line up of events, from AWNY as well as all the city has to offer.  You could be out every night of the week and every weekend!

Here’s what’s on in October:

October 1 brings the Australian time change. If you are calling home, it’s the start of daylight saving – one hour forward Down Under.  Here in New York, we won’t be “falling back” until November 5, when the clocks go back at the end of Daylight Saving.  So currently there is a time zone difference of +14 hour in Sydney, but after the two changes, it will become +16 hours ahead in Sydney.

The changing of the seasons will bring some interesting adventures for those who like to travel outside the city and see the leaves change over these next few months.  Read all about it with AWNY’s Fall Foliage Tips.

Month-long Archtober celebrates architecture around Manhattan, Governors Island and the boroughs.  At least one building per day is highlighted by a tour – some old, revered, new, green, but all amazing in their own right.  Go to the website for tickets.

October 2 – AWNY joins together for a small group gathering to discuss the Emotional Transition of Moving to New York.  This evening event in Chelsea at 6.30pm will be a unique opportunity to explore the psychological issues amidst the thrill of the adventure.  On October 27 there will be the same event in the East Village at a 10am time slot. Get further info from our Facebook events pages here for the pm event and here for the am event.

October 3 – Get your ticket today for the 1.15pm tour with AWNY of the JP Morgan Museum and Library at 225 Madison Avenue.  Connect with the group for a coffee nearby after the event as well. All information and ticket details can be found on our Facebook event page here.

October 4 – Join our Australian friends for their free short film festival, Focus on Abilities, celebrating and supporting those with disabilities.  This Midtown West event promises to be a great night out with AWNY friends, though please do RSVP ahead for catering.

October 5 – Australian artist Jacinda Bayne presents Merging Landscapes Opening Reception from 6-8pm at Anderson Contemporary (180 Maiden Lane, New York). To RSVP, please click here. The exhibition is open to the public from October 6 – December 5, 2017.

October 6-8 – The Big Chocolate Show is over 5,000 chocolate fans, professionals, chefs, food editors and industry buyers gathering in Chelsea for the one indulgence that seems to unite the world. About 100 exhibitors are expected over a 3-day period to showcase their chocolate expertise and commitment to global cocoa sustainability.

October 12-15 – NYC WFF Wine and Food Festival. Tickets start at $100 and many are $350, but once you have your ticket, there’s nothing more to pay.

October 13-15 – NY Coffee Festival. America loves coffee and that can’t be argued. This Chelsea festival gives you access to unlimited cups of coffee, seminars and demonstrations from world-class baristas, live music, art exhibits, food and Coffee Masters NYC, the face-paced barista competition.

October 14-15 – Open House New York Weekend unlocks the most extraordinary buildings in NYC every October for an opportunity to meet people who design, build and preserve New York. Most sites during OHNY Weekend are Open Access and can be visited during open hours without reservations.

October 18-November 15 – The White Light Festival, based out of the Lincoln Center UWS, focuses on uplifting faith in humanity to inspire and design a better future. In over 12 luminous concerts, internationally acclaimed choirs will perform all 150 psalms as a part of The Psalms Experience.

October 19 –  The *GALA evening at the Dwelling Place* is the AWNY’s Charity Event of the year. Please click through for your ticket, and ensure you note “AUSSIE” in the registration to be seated with the AWNY group.

October 21 – Dogs in CostumeWith Halloween around the corner, the pooches get first cut in the largest dog costume parade in the world, held in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village from noon to 3 p.m.  Dress your dog in the most creative costume you can imagine and compete in a runway competition for a thousand dollars in prizes.

October 31 – Halloween!  The Village Halloween Parade runs up 6th Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street, and typically runs from 7-10.30pm. If you haven’t been, check the weather, get your full on costume together, grab a buddy and do it! If you have kids of any age, you must go out and join the American candy culture for a night. It is an experience you shouldn’t miss.  Almost every neighborhood can be good.  If you need a recommendation, hit the townhouses on the Upper East Side.




Faces of AWNY: Angela Tohl

Angela Tohl, originally from Adelaide, calls Brisbane home. She now resides in NYC with her beautiful family. Read on to find out her tips for thriving in NYC with kids!

Please start with some background about yourself
I came here 10 years ago in search of an adventure. Along the way, I unexpectedly met the love of my life, to whom I’m now married with two beautiful kids. So…mission well and truly accomplished.

Why did you move to NYC?
I was born in Adelaide, worked in Central Queensland and in Tokyo, Japan, prior to settling in Brisbane, which I consider to be my home in Australia.

A friend and I visited NYC for a holiday in 2005 and it felt as familiar as putting on an old pair of jeans. When I returned to Brisbane, I kept thinking “I wonder what it would be like to live and work in NYC?”. The E3 visa had recently been introduced in the US and I created a plan to secure a career opportunity over here.

Professionally, I’m a Project Manager specializing in business improvement, which I applied to Recruiting and Healthcare in NYC. My current role is as a mummy to two young sons, and my experience of managing relationships and being organized help me navigate our day-to-day adventures.

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment?
In a Manhattan diner, I got chatting to a political scientist who serves at the United Nations. A few days later, I was sitting in on the UN General Assembly, courtesy of a visitor pass from my new acquaintance.

Where do you live, and why did you choose that area?
We moved from Murray Hill to Staten Island when my eldest son was an infant. He was already crawling by 4 months and we suspected he would benefit from more space. Our backyard is now the perfect sanctuary for two busy little boys, and I get to indulge my joy of gardening.

What do you like/dislike about your area?
I love the wide open spaces of Staten Island. We’re in walking distance to many parks and a short drive to the Greenbelt, where we often go hiking. The relaxed feel counters the frenetic pace of Manhattan. The downside is having to drive. I miss being able to walk everywhere.

What do you like/dislike about your neighbourhood (in general and for kids)?
There’s an abundance of activities for kids such as Wagner College STEM programs, the Staten Island Children’s Museum and Snug Harbour Botanical Gardens.

What’s a typical weekend for your family in NY?
Our weekends are a shambolic juggle of birthday parties and soccer for the kids, gym and going for a run for the parents. We regularly get a sitter for “date night” at local restaurants including Adobe Blues, Beans and Leaves Cafe, SIPS + MAKER.

What do you like most/least about having kids in NY?
I love the phenomenon of four seasons and the associated rituals. New Yorkers enthusiastically decorate their homes from Halloween to New Year. And snow… you really can’t beat snow as the ultimate fun activity for kids.

The City offers many free social services to kids, such as The New York Public Library story time and craft activities, NYC Early Intervention and NYC Parks Foundation Learn-to-Play programs.

I dislike the lack of mandated paid maternity leave, the mere 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA (for which only 50% of workplaces qualify), and the lack of work/life balance. I worked up until the two public holidays before giving birth, and developed pregnancy-related hypertension as a result. The US economy functions under a strong capitalist paradigm, but being a primary caregiver for the vulnerable (infant, seniors, sick and special needs individuals) is a relationship that most of us experience. To deny this aspect is to deny the human aspect of communities. Business success and recognizing the whole person are not mutually exclusive.

Funniest NY moment?
When I was 9 months’ pregnant with my second son, my husband badly injured his leg. At Trader Joe’s, I suggested he use the courtesy ride-on scooter. My then 4 year old eagerly jumped on Daddy’s lap to “help” drive. Despite a few near misses with other shoppers, I found the whole thing hilarious and thought I would spontaneously go into labor in the pasta aisle.

If any of your children were born in NY do you have any advice for going through pregnancy/birth over here?
Both my kids were born in NY. Australian women in NY often lack personal support, so I recommend seeking out practical support to suit your circumstances and preferences.

Birth can be very medicalized in the US. However, NYC also offers more natural options for pregnancy and birth. I found a birth doula invaluable for constant support throughout labor and delivery.

La Leche League meetings were fantastic for breastfeeding support. Baby-wearing saved my sanity and was the easiest way to get around Manhattan.

If you also have a job, how do you and your partner juggle work and kids?
I’m currently on career pause. When I resume paid work, I plan to target specific projects, incorporating a reduced schedule, so that I can excel in both employer and family commitments.

Any words of wisdom for people moving to NY with kids?
Be sure to attend to your own self-care as a parent. You are moving to (arguably) the most sophisticated city in the world with the inevitable scarcity mindset thrust upon you. However, your kids will still be happiest in the playground or with a cardboard box and with parents who are healthy and happy. Less is more. Keep it simple.

What do you like about being part of AWNY?
It’s so inspiring to contribute my skills within such a motivated and intelligent group of women.  The diversity of individual talent is phenomenal, and the power of collaboration is evident in the high calibre of support that AWNY provides to the Australian community within NYC.


Faces of AWNY: Danielle Pilc

Danielle Pilc has been part of the Events team on the AWNY committee for four years. She shared some of her New York journey with us here.

Let’s start with your background – why did you move to NYC? Where are you from?
I lived in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and have had the travelling bug from a very young age. I travelled back and forth to London and would spend four months at a time, travelling through Europe. However, Australia was always my base and home. Little did I know that at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, my life would be changed forever. I was at the media launch of the Olympics and met my future husband, Bill, who was from New York. We connected as friends and always stayed in touch. Timing wasn’t right in 2000 as we both had partners and lived on the other side of the world from one another. We stayed in touch through emails every now and then, and then we reconnected and saw each other eight years later in Arizona at the Superbowl and the rest is history! We realized that we wanted to be together and we had never forgotten about each other. Bill wanted to come back to Australia to meet my whole family. We married in 2010 and have lived in New York ever since!

Where do you live and why did you choose that area?
Huntington Harbor, New York. We chose that area overlooking the water as it reminds me of Australia. We are also only five minutes away from Huntington Village (the village reminds me of the Hamptons). It has such a great vibe with amazing restaurants, bars and shopping.

What do you like/dislike about living in NY?
I love the energy of New York, the architecture, the shopping, so many things to list! I dislike some of the smells in NYC, and the very long winters!

What’s your ‘only in New York’ moment/s?
Walking down 5th Avenue and seeing a man walk along with two turtles on leashes.

Any advice for people moving to NY?
Try to break up the winter by taking a trip to the Caribbean or back to Australia—wherever there is warmth!

What do you do?
I am an event planner and have my own company called “Aussie Girl Inc”. The majority of my clients are Australian, so I am very fortunate to be able to travel back to Australia a couple of times a year. My business partner and I arrange events to bring awareness to many different charity organizations. For the past six years, I have been lead event manager on NOVA Employment’s Focus on Ability Short Film Festival. This festival allows filmmakers to submit five-minute short films focusing on the ABILITY of someone with a disability. It is one of the most inspiring events I have ever worked on. I have seen this festival grow from Australia to reach hundreds of thousands of people globally. This year, we received entries from 19 countries. For information on the New York screening of this event, see AWNY’s Facebook page.

2017 FOA Dolby Media Screening

As a professional working in NYC, what are the differences to working in Australia?
I find Australians much more laid back in the professional world, and I like that! However, in New York City, you have a feeling that anything is possible, there is no limit to what you can achieve.

Any advice for other professionals working in NYC?
The best advice I could give is to join different groups and to network. I have made lifelong friends through joining AWNY, and have also been given so much fabulous professional advice from those that have lived here for a lot longer than me.

What’s your favourite New York spot?
I love the Hamptons in the summer! My favorite NYC spot is Central Park.

Anything you miss about Australia?
I miss my family and friends so much!   I also miss the Australian beaches and the laid-back culture.

What are your top tips for friends visiting NYC?
Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes. The best way to see as much of the city as you can is by walking.
* There is so much to do, so I always tell my friends to do as much research before arriving so they get time to fit in everything that they want to do.
* The New York Pass is excellent. One pass allows you to see 90+ attractions and is cheaper than booking things individually.

Three words to describe New York.
Energetic, Cultured, Creative.

If you didn’t live in NYC, you would stay the night atThe Plaza Hotel

When you need retail therapy, you run toWoodbury Common Premium Outlets

Favorite NYC cultural hotspots: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I love going to the New York Library and reading.

Favorite NYC brunch spot: The Boathouse in Central Park

Favorite NYC cocktail spot & cocktail of choice.
I love Beauty & Essex. My favourite cocktail from there is Beauty Elixir (Hendricks gin, cucumber, strawberry, sparkling rosé) The best thing to do when we have family or friends from Australia is to take them on an East Village Bar tour! It’s a great way to experience the East Village, try different cocktails and be taken to bars that you would never know were there! The tour is called – East Village Walking Tour: Craft Cocktails and Speakeasies.

What do you like about being part of AWNY?
I have met so many amazing people through AWNY!

What things do you do to keep home sickness under control?
FaceTiming my family and friends always helps so much!

Danielle & Bill Times Square

Danielle and her husband Bill in Times Square.