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The Anti-Networking Event Recap

Sunset, cocktails, and a room full of inspiring female founders made for a perfect collaboration with Michelle Battersby at The Butler

Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Sunroom Michelle Battersby hosted an insightful evening with surprise guest speaker Mia Freedman.

We were thrilled to host Michelle’s Anti-Networking event at The Butler on October 16, 2023. Our guest list included a mix of entrepreneurs, business owners, and career enthusiasts, all eager to connect and gain insights into their professional paths. With Michelle being in town for the first ever SXSW Sydney (a week-long event where the tech and innovation, gaming, music and screen industries converge), the city was buzzing, and it was the perfect opportunity to host an event.

The evening started with a unique activity: jotting down career fears on post-it notes and creating a mosaic of shared anxieties on the wall. The goal was to foster a supportive atmosphere, reassuring attendees that they weren’t alone in their concerns.

Please & Thank You cocktail

The Sunroom team then guided the guests to the new Juanita’s Please & Thank You bar pop-up, where everyone had the chance to sample the signature Please & Thank You cocktail, skilfully crafted with Glendalough Rose Gin. Everyone made their way downstairs to enjoy the panoramic views and sunset on the terrace, while nibbling from the exquisite grazing station. Eating is a thirsty job so our bar set up on the terrace was pumping out Aether Vodka Strawberry Plum Spritz and wines,


As everyone gathered, the group transitioned inside to the main dining room. Michelle extended her heartfelt thanks to all attendees and then went on to share her journey, starting from her early days at Bumble and their remarkable audience growth. She also recounted her involvement in the Keep It Cleaner (KIC) app launch with Steph Claire Smith & Laura Henshaw. Her journey continued with the launch of her very own app, Sunroom. This innovative platform provides a digital haven for women and non-binary individuals to generate content and generate income, liberating them from the restrictions of conventional social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook.

Michelle then revealed her surprise speaker – Mia Freedman, the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of the Mamamia Women’s Media Company. Prior to launching Mamamia in 2007, Mia enjoyed a rich media career, spanning magazine editing, national newspaper columns, radio hosting, and TV presenting. She was even honoured as one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Financial Review.

Michelle Battersby & Mia Freedman

Following an engaging discussion covering career confidence, entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and more, guests formed ‘listening circles’ of four. They introduced themselves, shared business insights, and discussed challenges and wins. This unique event encouraged authentic connections among female founders and businesswomen, with the goal of supporting and empowering each other through shared challenges.

After the listening circles concluded (with some running longer than expected!), guests continued to socialise with Michelle and Mia throughout the evening. The night carried on with more canapés and drinks, creating a fantastic atmosphere enjoyed by all.

“Last year we held our pilot ‘Anti-Networking’ event for career-focused women in Sydney and we couldn’t have found a more perfect location than the Butler. Attendees were blown away by an amazing grazing table, cocktails on arrival and of course the views. The space felt big enough for our 80+ guests to mingle, enjoy a drink outside or sit in a cosy nook indoors. A huge success – thank you so much for having us!”

Georgia May, Sunroom Senior Marketing Manager