It may be difficult to imagine Jirsch Sutherland’s Sydney office being transformed into a salsa dance club but that’s just what partner Amanda Young did in March when she hosted a SmartWomen Connect networking event with a Cuban twist.
For one evening, more than 40 members of the professional networking and support group along with a handful of clients and Jirsch Sutherland Sydney colleagues Carolyn Docherty, Holly Cooper, Kathryn Gesilva, Caitlin Duffy and Louise Pierucci shared Amanda’s passion for salsa dancing with Cuban music, food, drinks and an impromptu dance lesson.
When Amanda started taking salsa dance classes in April last year to improve her fitness and meet some new people, she couldn’t have imagined the extent to which this Latin American dance would enrich her personal and professional life. Over the past year she has forged new friendships, experienced a boost to her confidence and passion for life, and nurtured a deeper understanding of different cultures. Her love of salsa also recently took her to a city obsessed with the dance and its music – Havana, Cuba.
“I joined the Havana Dance Academy and went on their dance tour to Cuba with 12 ladies I had never met before,” says Amanda, a little amazed that her passion for salsa dancing motivated her to take such a big step outside her comfort zone.
“We were allocated dance partners and danced three hours a day. And we got to take the dance partners out at night and practice some more.”
In between dance sessions, Amanda and her tour friends explored Havana’s sites, cruised the streets in an old Ford convertible, and relaxed on golden beaches.
By taking to the ‘dance floor’ with salsa instructor Fraudy Martin Estrada Megret, Amanda inspired her SmartWomen guests to join in a group dance lesson, which quickly filled the room with swinging hips and arms, big smiles and laughter.
Going by the feedback from her clients, the Cuban themed event was a hit.
“I think the evening was fun and memorable because it was so different. One client told me they enjoyed it because it was ‘refreshing to attend a networking event that was fun, informal and didn’t put me to sleep’, adding that she hadn’t stopped talking about it the day after,” says Amanda. Another client commended her on “breaking through the ‘boring’ stereotype of networking”.
“I’m thrilled they enjoyed the evening,” adds Amanda.
The two SmartWomen members who won the business card draw prize of a private salsa dance lesson will have another opportunity to nurture their passion for this popular dance. Feliz baile de salsa!
SmartWomen Connect brings together professional women who are committed to bringing the human connection back to business through events that educate and foster strong connections and support. For more information on SmartWomen Connect visit https://smartwomenconnect.com.au/