AWNY Meet and Greet Program

Welcome to New York!  
If you have just arrived, or are on your way here, get connected in a New York minute with AWNY’s new Meet and Greet program.  Connecting with fellow Australian women in New York is a great way to make your transition easier.  

How does the Meet and Greet program work?  
As a new member of Australian Women in New York, fill out the form below and we will put you in touch with an existing AWNY member to meet up for a coffee, drink or walk in the park.  Any information on the form is optional.  It helps us match you up with someone who may be in a similar situation, or has the information that you’d like.  

How can the Meet and Greet program help me?
With over 50 women on the Committee, and thousands in the group, you can get specific advice and support for your life stage, including anything you want to know about career, family needs, entertainment, arts and leisure, entrepreneurial endeavors, and living in New York.  We find that although each of our situations is unique, we are not alone in wanting to be social and getting connected.  Relationships in this city are key.  When we’re connected, we are stronger and healthier.


What happens after the initial meet-up?
An experienced fellow Australian woman will be there for you to answer questions and help you find your way around.  If you want, we can introduce and connect you to other like-minded women, or just stay connected so you know a friendly face at upcoming AWNY events.  Whatever it is that you’d like from your time in New York, we are here to help you make it all happen.

Help!  I’ve just arrived and wondering if I’ve made the right decision…
You might be feeling anything from happiness and excitement, to homesickness, frustration, and uncertainty – and these are all completely normal reactions.  We’ve noticed that connecting with fellow Australian women at the beginning of your time here is one of the best ways to make your transition easier.

How do I get started?
Fill out the new members form, and tell us a little about yourself.  We will put you in touch with an AWNY volunteer with similar interests who has experienced the transition of moving to and living in NYC.  Whether you want to discuss career opportunities, exploring the city’s cultural offerings, or raising kids in NYC, we are here to help you navigate New York life in all its depth and diversity.    



Event: Summer rooftop cocktails at The Met, September 22

Join Australian Women in New York on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for summer cocktails and spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline.

Enjoy the last licks of summer overlooking the city on a Friday night with the ladies. Plus, just opened is the “On Country” Exhibition of Australian Aboriginal Art, so come early to wander the exhibit before coming upstairs for a drink.

Event details

Date: Friday, September 22
Time: 5.30pm on the roof – bar closes at 8pm
Location: Cantor Roof Garden Bar at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave, Manhattan, New York 10028. Access the rooftop on the Fifth floor via the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries.
Cost: Admission fee to the museum, plus cash bar for your own drinks. The museum has a suggested admission fee, but visitors are free to pay what they wish.
How to find us: Look for Cara in a blue dress near the entrance.
RSVP: Let us know you are coming on our Facebook event page.

If this is your first event and you would like to connect with our Event Co-ordinator beforehand, please feel free to email Cara Zelas –

UPDATE: Bring a friend to drinks at the Met and help us launch Meet & Greet!

This new AWNY initiative aims to bring prospective and current members together over a cup of coffee.

We believe Meet & Greet will help Australian women support each other by giving new arrivals to NYC a friendly face to ask for advice, as well as a personal introduction to our network.

Our network receives a ton of requests for advice about New York City. Yet, each of our circumstances is slightly different. Through Meet & Greet, prospective members can identify their areas of interest, such as childcare, changing career, traveling solo, etc – and be connected with a member with similar experiences.

Any prospective member who attends drinks at the Met will have access to the Meet & Greet program. We believe this program to be an invaluable resource for any Australian woman who is new to NYC. We look forward to welcoming everyone as we launch Meet & Greet at the Met!

See you there!

Join us for rooftop drinks
RSVP on our Facebook page

Jumpstart your US job hunt: simple tips for Americanizing your search

So you’ve taken the plunge and moved to the US to try your luck in the Big Apple? Let me guess, sublet – tick. Favourite cocktail bar – tick. Growing credit card bill – tick. Now what you really need is to find a job.

And this is where it can get a wee bit tricky.

As one of the most competitive job markets in the world, finding work in New York is going to be quite different to what you’re used to in Australia. Making sure you’re ready to tackle the task like an American will help you be successful in what will ultimately enable you to live and work in the US.

Toot your own horn loud and proud!

Americans are not afraid of being their biggest advocate. Unfortunately, this isn’t something Aussies are typically very good at. It just feels a bit wankerish to talk yourself up, right? Well, you’re going to have to get over that, and quickly. If you get put forward for an interview, remember you’re going to be up against other Americans who have been taught from school-age how to sell themselves, so if you don’t do it, they will!

People are going to want to know your story, but they don’t have all day to hear it – life is fast-paced in New York. Have your pitch about who you are, what you want out of life, and why you’re brilliant at what you do ready to roll at a moment’s notice (and preferably in 25 words or less).

It’s not what you know, but who you know

Networking, yuck! And if there was any way around it, believe me I’d be the first person to tell you how to do it. But networking is simply a way of life here. And not just casual, accidental conversations – but rather, deliberate, regular and strategic meet-ups.

Contact people who have jobs in fields or companies you want to work and see if they would be willing to meet you for a coffee. Most of them will view this as a compliment and will gladly give you 30 minutes of their time. Treat these opportunities like you would a job interview; take a resume and have your elevator pitch, as well as some intelligent questions, ready. You never know what unadvertised openings they might be aware of, or other contacts they might have.

Understand the ins and outs of the E3 visa

As Australians, we are in such a lucky position to have the option to use the E3 visa. The problem is, however, that many American recruiters have never heard of it. Some will even think you’re making it up. So you’ll need to be au fait with the intricacies of how the visa works and what’s required of your employer should they ask you to explain it to them. Not having a clear answer could mean the difference between them picking you and picking someone who doesn’t come with the added baggage of a visa application process.

There are some very useful websites that explain the various elements of the process and what employers are required to do, such as which covers many topics including how to describe your working status on applications and resumes.

You might have to step sideways (or even downwards) to get your foot in the door

When you imagine your life in New York, the picture probably comes complete with you working in your dream job. Without wanting to dash any hopes or dreams, it’s important to keep things real. You are going to be up against plenty of other wannabe New Yorkers in your quest to find that perfect job, and so keeping an open mind is very important.

You may have to be willing to take a sideways – or downwards – step for that first job in New York. Recruiters aren’t inclined to value (or even know) many Australian companies and want to see that you have had American-based experience. So if you can get your foot in the door with one company, it makes the next job much easier to score. The dream job, while not unobtainable, might just be a little bit further away than you first thought.

AWNY is hosting a Working in the USA expert panel discussion on June 14

If you are looking for more advice, or would like to speak to real human beings who have expertise in the New York job market, grab your ticket to the 2017 AWNY Working in the USA event.

Buy tickets here



Event: Working in the USA information session, June 14

Working in the USA: Expert advice for Aussie job seekers

Have you recently arrived in the US? Looking for a job? Or are you looking to change things up with your New York career?

Then why not join AWNY for an informative session on working in the USA, with expert advice for Aussie job seekers.

Belinda Jackson, of Prosell International and Working in the USA, has been living and working in New York for over a decade and has provided advice to many Aussies who have made the move to the States. She will provide practical advice about how to find your next job in the USA.

Learn how to:

  • Prepare your resume for American eyes
  • Hone your interview skills
  • Make you LinkedIn profile relevant to a US employer
  • Repackage yourself for a new role
  • Network to uncover the hidden job market
  • Navigate the cultural differences between workplaces in Australia and the US

Belinda’s presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.

Event details

Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Time: 6.00pm for welcome drinks, 6.30pm start
Location: Australian Consulate-General, 150 East 42nd Street, Floor 34, New York, NY 10017
Event cost: AAA/AWNY Members: $15 / Non-Members: $25 – includes wine and nibbles

Buy tickets


Places at this always-popular event are strictly limited, so reserve your ticket today!

If you have questions about this session, please contact Katarina Filipovic.

What is an AWNY/AAA Member? Find out more about membership and benefits.

Buy tickets

From Melbourne via Hawaii to New York – Inspired by love, Paris Awong creates luxury wedding products in this weeks AWNY Startup Stories.

Love is the business for Paris Awong of the Paris Awong Collective! Following love to Hawaii and getting married inspired her collection of luxury wedding products.

You hail from Melbourne but came to New York via some time in Hawaii! That’s an interesting transition. What brought you to Hawaii and then to the Big Apple? 

The old fashioned answer of ‘it was a boy!’ That is what drew me to Hawaii. My dream of living in New York began when I was young, travelling here many times with mum + dad for their work. This planted the seed, and after many years of planning my move, 2012 was the year. Little did I know that at that same time I had just met my future hubby Joey, who is from Hawaii.

So this developed a new and fun sidetrack adventure, and off I went and moved with him to alohaville!

After a few years my handsome Hawaiian popped the question and it was wedding planning ahoy! After 6 months of being a Mr. + Mrs. we decided to continue our adventure, and ‘New York’ was the title of the next chapter.

As the year 2016 began and my business launched, our flights were booked and over the seas we came to our new island of Manhattan.

Tell us about Paris Awong Collective, when you started and what inspired you to want to start this business?  

It’s the common story of how most entrepreneurs start, they think of something they wish existed, and then go ahead and do it themselves.

Well this was my story also. During my engagement, I imagined so many products that I would have loved for myself and as gifts for my bridesmaids, that during my hectic wedding planning schedule, I also had a side business I was developing in the back of my head.

Once I was in wedded bliss and had more time on my hands, the physical planning of a business-to-be began. Ideas and designs were flowing as I let my creative urges soar, along with the marketing and PR side of it to build the brand and name before the launch.

Growing up within a creative and artistic family and studying design and graphic art, I had always known that I wanted to branch out and develop my own business within a field that I loved. I just needed to wait for the moment in my life that inspired me and fed my imagination, and my engagement was just that!

While planning my wedding, the main idea was not of a standard cliché wedding. I wanted to create an event resonant of a high-end modern yet romantic gala and cocktail party, and this is the theme I carried through to my products.

‘Luxury products inspired by modern style’.


Do you design and manufacture your products? Tell us about that and how you oversee the process? 

From the moment an idea comes into my head, to the finished product arriving at my door, I am involved 200%. My favorite part is the design. I create a product, almost to the finished result, in my head, and then I source individual manufacturers whose skills are specific to each product.

Having separate manufactures for each product isn’t the most cost effective measure to take, but knowing that they have individual skill sets focused on each of my creations makes it worth it.

Launching a business can only be done once, and first impressions of the debut collection sets the stage for what’s to follow.

Do you sell online or in retail stores as well? 

After designing our website, I launched the business with our online store allowing our products to be accessible worldwide. Now, after being in business for 9 months, we currently have a number of retail boutiques + online stores carrying the debut collection within Australia, NZ, USA, and Canada.

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How did you go about getting your product into stores? 

Many stores contacted me directly, which was amazing! I had an Australian online wedding registry website order a number of products before we even launched, which was a great sign that my marketing strategy was working!!

I then showcased our products at a trade show here in New York which grew our network and stockists to the US and Canada.

I am now currently researching stores that stock similar luxury lifestyle products to grow our wholesale client base in order to build our network for our growth in the New Year.

What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’?

I really push myself to the max when it comes to my dreams, and for this, I feel that my ‘Ah Ha’ moment is still ahead of me in the future. However, I do know that this business is growing and my dreams are being chased and caught.

Making the move to New York and launching my own business were two separate ambitions that collided and are now developing each other in ways that I am so excited by!

What have been the hardest lessons in starting your business? 

The main part that was the hardest for myself, and many new business owners, was trusting in myself to take the risk. I believed in my ideas and products, however, committing financially and mentally to focus on this new endeavor within my life was tough.

Knowing that creating and owning a business was a part of my vision, and that design and marketing are my strong skill sets, made me trust in myself and drive forward with all that I have.

Some people ask how I started it all and then took my business to New York?…’I just did it!’

Do you find business to be seasonal or quite steady? 

Being a new start-up with only 8 months down, it’s hard to compare the seasons at this stage.

In developing my debut collection, my aim was to design products that were universal and not seasonal. Luxury items for fashion femmes, brides, and newlyweds, which are required and desired year round.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

My initial marketing began down the social media route. I developed our website to include a Blog which could also be shared through social media. The more avenues you mention your brand and have clicks and interactions, the more links will be available on the web to build your SEO and status on search engines.

Through social media, I have also been contacted by a number of magazines to photograph select items to include within their product pages. These published advertisements have been a great draw card to other customers and potential stockists.


Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks? 

The most amazed and inspired I have ever been, was when I saw Sir Richard Branson talk at a convention in Melbourne 5 years ago and then afterwards personally having dinner with him!! Yes, this was an insane evening, and an evening that really made me think about Richard’s struggles and failed start-ups and how much drive he had to push through. And thank god he did!!

This meeting was the basis of all my questions within myself.


In addition to that, I have many close friends who inspire me everyday that have started their own businesses and are successful. The insights and back and forth banter with someone who knows the feelings of a ‘start-up’ makes for a great therapist and career advisor!

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business? 

If you know what you are great at, and you have a drive in you that makes you constantly push yourself in whatever you do, then you may just have the strength to take on your own business.

Believing in your skills and talents is ultimately what keeps you confident in pursuing this endeavor.

Like I said before, ‘I just did it!’ Sometimes over thinking things has its burden and can scare you away. If you know your strengths, skills, and have developed a sound business plan, then take this risk and give it a chance!

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business? 

I feel that Australians have a unique and creative sense of style and design, and this is very much noticed and celebrated internationally. This creative eye that we hold I feel is unique to us, and I feel lucky to be a part of this contribution.

What is next for Paris Awong Collective?

Behind the scenes I am growing and expanding into more avenues. Currently we have our Bespoke Weddings line, which we will continue to grow, and soon we will launch our homewares and men’s line within the New Year.

Our aim is to branch out into more stores within the US and also take it across to Europe.

Do you have an offer or promo code you would like to share with AWNY members? 

Of course!! To my fellow Aussie friends take 20% off storewide with the code: AUSSIE20

Enjoy your Luxuries!! Xxx


Follow the Paris Awong Collective at:

Love this AWNY Startup Story? Want more?

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