KOY 2019 – Freda Miriklis

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Freda Miriklis is a high-level advocate, strategist and humanitarian with 25 years of international development experience. 

The depth and breadth of Freda’s achievements is extraordinary and covers a huge range of activities, including working and supporting multiple national and international causes, through to being acknowledged internationally as an authority on women’s economic empowerment.

Freda’s humanitarian work focused on the building of educational facilities in least developed countries across Africa, Asia and South America.   In 2016, she helped secure funding for the Orthodox Mission of West Africa that allowed Father Themis Adamopoulos to build a Childhood Centre for orphans of the Holy Orthodox Archdiocesan District of Sierra Leone.

On being notified of the award of Kastellorizian of the Year (KOY), Freda said that it is an amazing honour and she feels very humbled.  She said: “A life without advocating for change is a life without meaning for me, and  I will continue to use my voice to create a world where leadership is shared, where difference is celebrated and where each half of humanity respects and embraces each other.  There is growing consciousness from governments and business alike that investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth.   My career highlights my pursuit in seeking equality and opportunities for all – and if opportunity doesn’t knock, I’ll build the door!”

Freda more than meets the three main criteria for the KOY award – must be of Kastellorizian descent; must have demonstrated excellence in a field of endeavour and/or made an outstanding contribution to the Kastellorizian, Greek and/or Australian community; and must be an inspirational role model for Kastellorizians. 

Freda was born in Melbourne to Constantine and Marika (nee Maniatis) Miriklis.  Her father Constantine was born in Melbourne and her grandparents, Nikolas and Kerasia  (nee H’Kominou) Miriklis,  were born on Kastellorizo.   She is married to Andrew Christy.  She has three siblings – Nicholas, Stephen, and Cherrie (the well-known proprietor of Flowers Vasette).

Background: Freda Miriklis serves on a number of boards and is a leader of international consortia creating commercial partnerships and supporting world leaders and CEOs to promote equality and sustainable economic opportunities at a global level.

In 2014, Freda co-founded Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (in London, UK) – the only accredited organisation focused on women’s economic empowerment, recognised by 53 governments across five continents; and serves as Chair. She is Special Adviser to the TX Foundation – a private philanthropic foundation that she helped establish in 2016 bringing transformative change to vulnerable communities around the world by funding the construction of schools.  She also serves on the board of The Hellenic Initiative (THI) Australia uniting and empowering Greek Australians and Philhellenes to work together supporting Greece’s economic recovery and renewal with far-reaching programs making a lasting impact on Greek society.

For over a decade earlier, Freda held various leadership roles with the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW), becoming the youngest elected President in Helsinki, Finland, and one of only 4 Australian members to have held this highest office in BPW globally, since 1930. She was an architect and driver of cultural change, policies and programs to improve the status of women and a main representative to the United Nations forums on human rights and women’s rights. In 2014, Freda oversaw IFBPW’s inaugural Sustainability Report and presided over the 28th Congress in Jeju, South Korea. She contributed to the first International Organisation of Employers (IOE) Policy Brief on Women’s Economic Empowerment and invited to address the ECOSOC Chamber on a high-level event focused on the contributions of women, the young and civil society to the Post 2015 Development Agenda. Prior to this, Freda spent two decades in progressively senior investment advisory roles in Australia’s wealth management sector and a frequent market commentator.

A recognised authority on women’s economic empowerment, Freda was invited to join the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Group (WEPs LG) in New York and serves on this international advisory committee, since 2010.  Freda designed and implemented the first Australian private sector consultation to inform the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment in 2017 and led the Australian corporate consultation and pilot of The UN Women’s Empowerment Principles Gap Analysis Tool (WEPs Tool) that helps companies identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities to improve their performance on gender equality.

Freda’s achievements were further recognised in 2016 by BPW Australia when she was bestowed Life Membership and honoured by the “Freda Miriklis Women’s Empowerment Award” that acknowledges an Australian woman who has excelled in advancing women’s empowerment biennially.

Photo from Left: Chris Dolkas, Fotini Kypraios and Freda Miriklis at the HAACI event in 2018.

Freda is in great demand as a speaker.  Last year she spoke at the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HACCI) at its annual International Women’s Day event.

Since returning to Australia, Freda consults to various organisations mainly talking about the human experience of leading and championing a new wave of leadership for the future of work. 

Freda speaks on a wide range of topics.  Her tag line is “Own the mission”.  She speaks about what fuels the passion and greater purpose in each of us to perform at our best. Having a sense of purpose inspires individuals, teams, companies and countries. She says it is the imperfections of the past that teach us to strive for a better future.

For the past few decades Freda has spoken on many international stages ranging from UN High Level Meetings in New York and Geneva, The World Forum in The Hague, APEC meetings, Commonwealth related forums (including CHOGM, Business Forums, Women’s Forums and Ministerial meetings) to leading grass-roots community consultations in developing countries.

Freda hosts the  National Australia Bank annual Digital Professional Development Day. You can see the 2019 highlights video here

Freda is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FinSia) and Master Stockbroker with the Stockbrokers Association of Australia. She has an appreciation for people, food, art and culture. When not travelling, she loves cooking for her family and friends. 

Article as published in our September 2019 KazziE-Bulletin.

See press clippings from Neos Kosmos below (click to enlarge):