ARA Gala No.1


On the evening of 31 August 2022, members of the retail community gathered to celebrate the culture and resilience of the retail sector at the inaugural ARA Gala No.1 black-tie event, presented by Afterpay.

Guests were welcomed by Emma Mildenhall, Wurundjeri woman, accompanied by a beautiful cinematic and music arrangement featuring Wurundjeri man, Kiernan Ironfield on didgeridoo alongside the The Raah Project Orchestra, and an opening performance of ‘Great Southern Land’ by Bonnie Anderson

With the fabulous Tony Armstrong our Master of Ceremonies for the evening, we heard welcoming addresses from The Right Honourable Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, and ARA CEO Paul Zahra.

Dining on an Around the Nation culinary experience, guests were then treated to a spectacular runway show of Australian Designers. Produced by Afterpay and opened by Afterpay’s Head of Country Katrina Konstas, the runway was a true representation of our combined focus on diversity, equality and inclusion in the retail sector.

The ARA was proud to announce the winner of the Women Leaders in Retail Scholarship, a new initiative founded by the Australian Retailers Association in partnership with Chief Executive Women. CEW Committee Chair Deidre Willmott and Craveable Brands CEO Karen Bozic naming Virginia Leaf, General Manager Finance at Wesfarmers OneDigital, the worthy recipient.

Thanks to Virgin Australia and its award-winning loyalty program Velocity Frequent Flyer, we announced the winner of a special lucky draw prize – a voucher for a whopping 500,000 Velocity Points.

We closed out the evening with an incredible performance by legendary Kate Ceberano, then joined by Bonnie Anderson for a passionate duet of “I’m Every Woman”, and closed with an official toast to the sector by ARA President Nicole Sheffield, before switching gears into the after party vibes.

With special thanks to our event presenting partner Afterpay for enabling the night-of-nights for the retail sector to come to life, partners AWS, City of Melbourne and Virgin Australia, and supporting partners ARA Insurance, Idle Hour Vodka, Joey Scandizzo Salon and San Pellegrino.

We look forward to welcoming the Australian retail community at the ARA Gala again in 2023.

ARA | Employment Relations Breakfast


We were delighted to host 80+ members of the ARA retail community at our recent ARA Employment Relations breakfast at the InterContinental Rialto Melbourne in November 2022.

Joining ARA CEO Paul Zahra on stage were, Amanda Curatore (ARA Employment Relations), Duncan Stone (PaidRight), and Deborah Potts (REST Super), discussing the hot topics for retailers and human resource professionals – from pending changes to the industrial relations landscape, workplace relations case law, tackling the gender pay gap and payroll compliance.

With special thanks to event partner PaidRight for enabling this fantastic event to occur.

ARA | Christmas Insights Breakfast


We were delighted to host 120+ members of the ARA retail community at our recent ARA Christmas Insights breakfast at the Fullerton Hotel Sydney in early October 2022.

Joining ARA CEO Paul Zahra on stage were, Jo Gaines (Salesforce)Craig Woolford (MST Marquee)Jonathan Ranstrand (Mastercard) and Laura Demasi (Roy Morgan), sharing first-to-market insights about this year’s Christmas retail spending forecasts.

With special thanks to event partner Salesforce for enabling this fantastic event to occur.

ARA | CEO Lunch


Having navigated the global pandemic, Australian retail is now moving on to tackle the next big global disruption – climate change.

With thanks to our event strategic partner, American Express, this important event saw the launch of our Climate Action plan, sharing what the ARA is doing to help the sector transition to the low-carbon economy of the future.

ARA | Deloitte Gender Equality Symposium


The ARA | Deloitte Gender Equality Symposium on 2 June 2022 was equally challenging and inspiring. As leaders, we have the opportunity to step up to this challenge to better our sector and our community.

Deloitte have been leaders and fierce advocates for gender equality, and we are grateful for their continued partnership in enabling this event to occur.

With special thanks to David Leser and Natasha Stott Despoja, along with all our panellists, for your stewardship and sharing of insights.

Together, let’s accelerate meaningful change.