The new Muslim Professionals Association (MPA) was launched at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers in Melbourne on Wednesday 19 July 2017 with over a hundred industry and community leaders in attendance. 

At the time of increased angst and rise of Islamophobia, the launch of the MPA is a much-needed initiative to help eliminate the issues of unfairness in the workforce and unconscious bias.

Research finds that although Australian Muslims are highly educated, institutionalised discrimination prevents Muslims from obtaining employment and leadership positions.

MPA is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that aspires to be a portal for mentoring, support and networking for Australian Muslim professionals across all industries.

MPA founder, its current President and an engineer, Nada Kalam, highlighted the “importance of career mentoring and the value of strong networks in assisting emerging professionals to advance their careers”.

The launch inspired dozens of guests to register their support for MPA’s mentoring program which will connect emerging professionals with mentors in their field. The online professionals’ directory will also provide an opportunity for members to find and connect with like-minded professionals.

Unemployment rates within the Muslim community are more than twice the national average. It is for this reason the MPA has developed an exclusive jobs portal which will share employment opportunities from employers that promote diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Guests at the launch participated in a networking activity, gaining valuable connections with other professionals in a relaxed, Muslim-friendly environment.

Steve Walsh, Chairman of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, warmly welcomed all guests and reinforced Maurice Blackburn’s commitment to being the country’s leading social justice law firm and a true champion in the fight for fair.

Guest speaker Rasha Abbas, Head of Australian Division Project Delivery at ANZ, stressed the importance of networking and encouraged guests to find an inspirational mentor and sponsor, and utilise their networks to advance their careers.

Rasha Abbas addressing the audience.

Fellow guest speaker Almir Colan, Director of the Australian Centre for Islamic Finance, shared his own story of arriving to Australia as a refugee and the pivotal role that mentors have played in advancing his career.

MPA was also pleased to provide a platform for the announcement of the Muslim Woman’s Williamson Scholarship by Richard Dent, CEO of Leadership Victoria, in partnership with the Islamic Council of Victoria.

The Williamson Program is one of Australia’s most sought after leadership development experience, and the Muslim Woman’s scholarship is an incredible opportunity to foster and empower Muslim women into community leadership.

Guest speaker, Mr Almir Colan, inspired guests discussing the importance of networking and supporting one another.

Azmeena Hussain, a Senior Associate from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, highlighted the need to for employers to support diversity as boards that do not “look and feel like the makeup of Australia will never reflect the views of the community”.

The MPA membership fee of $50 is currently waived and members will have access to a wide range of benefits when registering.

The launch of MPA is only the beginning of a journey that requires the support of individuals, businesses and organisations in order to develop and advance Muslim professionals and the community along with them.

Networking was encouraged by separating guests into randomly allocated groups

For more information or to register with MPA, please visit:  muslimprofessionals.com.au/join-us.

For more information on the Muslim Woman’s Williamson Scholarship, please visit: www.leadershipvictoria.org/programs/muslim-womens-initiative

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