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Cocktail Party with Dr Carolyn Woo, President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services

  • 18 December 2014 06:30 PM

Dr Carolyn Woo of Catholic Relief Services (USA) proved adept at quickly engaging business and community leaders with her gracious sense of humour, showing more than a glimpse of the sharp intellect that gained her the position of Dean of Business at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

Her presentation at the cocktail party held at St Mary's Cathedral House was an apt reminder of the premise behind the establishment of the Sydney Catholic Business Network itself. Dr Woo is herself a bridge between business and philanthropy. She is a passionate advocate for her field of study and is more than qualified to speak on the merits of business as 'a force of good' - the crux of her argument - through her intimate involvement with Caritas Australia and UNDA which she described as the 'jewels of the crown of the Catholic Church in Australia', while at the same time serving on six publicly traded company boards.

Dr Woo asked her audience to differentiate between business and those who wield this instrument either to destroy or create, stagnate or develop. While certainly fulfilling its primary functions of providing products, services and solutions, 'business' in its noble form can also become the vehicle for positive social change - a means for personal development, an incentive to seek something higher and use our ‘God-given ingenuity' through an exchange of ideas. More importantly, business can also be used to combat the very elements of suffering that plague society: poverty, inequity and corruption.

Dr Woo presented a clear challenge to everyone in the room: there are always opportunities in business to create meaningful dialogue and action to effect real positive change.