We are delighted that more than 110 Foundation members and guests attended our annual Foundation Members Cocktail Party at Judy and Steven Lowy’s home on Wednesday, 15 December 2021, with our special guest speaker Alan Joyce AC.
In thanking Foundation members for their support as we mark the Foundation’s 10-year anniversary, Judy spoke about the important impact that our donors have made on Moriah and on our children. “Since our inception, and with your help, the Foundation has raised over $30M. We have supported and will continue to support hundreds of children to come to Moriah. We have brought a range of innovative programs to all our children, invested in our educators, improved our children’s learning environments and begun building an endowment fund. We have also been paying off the debt from the purchase of our land.”
Judy thanked Alan Joyce for leading Australia’s flagship airline carrier, Qantas Airways, with distinction through the most challenging period in our aviation history. In introducing Alan, Judy said “In addition to running an incredibly complex and challenging business, he has been at the forefront of issues that are important to our entire society. One of the reasons Alan has been so successful at navigating these multiple roles is that he exhibits many of the crucial ingredients of great leadership. He has vision, he brings people with him, he has empathy, authenticity and a great awareness of his social responsibility and impact.”
Reflections and insights by Alan Joyce
Alan shared that he came from a poor background in Ireland, and his parents, who had to leave school at age 12, were very passionate about giving their four sons an education. Recognising education as the great leveller, Alan congratulated the Foundation for their commitment to making a Moriah education available to so many children.
Reflecting on the past 20 months, Alan highlighted how Qantas has been agile and evolved throughout its 101-year history and is now the oldest continuously operating airline in the world. He shared what he and his Board did to ensure Qantas would survive the challenges of COVID. The airline was forced to ground flights, put aircraft in storage, and make the difficult decision to stand down 22,000 staff, as they fought to maintain liquidity and survival. Over this period, the national carrier was also undertaking over 200 rescue flights around the world, to bring Australians home as well as fly Afghan refugees to safety. Despite spending many weeks in quarantine on multiple occasions, we learnt about how deeply moved crew were, seeing the relieved faces of those who they rescued.
Alan spoke about the complexities of managing the different and constantly changing COVID restrictions imposed by various State Premiers and the need for a more national approach.
As travel begins to resume, Alan is optimistic about the future of Qantas, anticipating that Qantas will operate at 120% of pre-COVID domestic flight take-up in the coming months. While international travel is likely to take longer to reach previous levels, Qantas will be opening up new non-stop long-haul direct routes from Australia and is well positioned to take advantage of the expected leisure travel boom over the next two years.
Questions from our audience
Alan shared how Qantas planned for worst case COVID scenarios, most of which eventuated, but far more rapidly than could ever have been imagined.
In dealing with the crisis, it was critical that Qantas made decisions in a timely manner and were prepared to try new things to get people back to work and generate cash. Experimenting with new domestic routes really paid off and the airline has launched 50 new domestic routes, almost all of which have proved successful.
When they were forced to stand down staff, Alan was determined to ensure it was done as fairly as possible and his integrity and empathy for his staff was palpable.
Asked about the impact of Zoom on business travel, Alan expects corporate travel to bounce back, as businesses thrive on relationships and travel opportunities for employees are key. Any decrease in the short term in business travel will be filled by the huge increase in leisure travel that research is predicting. In fact, pre-COVID, over 60% of Qantas’ premium seats were filled by passengers travelling for leisure, and that share is expected to increase as more people travel to see friends and family after such a long period apart.
On the topic of leadership, Alan spoke about the importance of standing by your beliefs, even when they aren’t popular, trying to make a real difference and really “doing something with your leadership position,” and being prepared to take risks.
Responding to questions about COVID safety on planes, Alan spoke about numerous protections in air travel, including cabin design and hospital-grade air filters that significantly reduce the risk of onboard transmission.
Looking towards the future with confidence, Alan expects the Qantas Group to increase its domestic market share to about 70%, and said Qantas will continue to take calculated, commercial and entrepreneurial risks, to engage customers and trial new ventures.
Alan elaborated on his recent announcements of Qantas plans for significant spending on new aircraft, new cabin configurations and new direct long-haul routes, which will be fantastic for Australian travellers.
We enjoyed Alan’s wonderful sense of humour and were inspired by his personal anecdotes, and reflections on the importance of leading with integrity, taking measured risks and striving to make a difference.
A vote of thanks from our College President
College President, Stephen Jankelowitz, thanked Alan for taking time out of his busy schedule to be the keynote speaker at our event. “Thank you for sharing your insights about your future plans for Australia’s flagship carrier. We all look forward to boarding your aircraft once again, and with you at the helm, we do so with confidence.”
Stephen thanked Judy and Steve Lowy for being such warm and gracious hosts and for their long-standing friendship and support of Moriah over many years. He also thanked our Foundation members and corporate sponsors for their support of our children and families especially during the COVID pandemic. “It is thanks to you that we have been able to ensure that no family who qualified for fee support had to face the heartache of having to take their child out of Moriah, and that we were able to meet our debt repayments to the bank.”
Extending a warm thanks to our educational leaders and staff, Stephen applauded Rabbi Smukler for continuing to invest in our people, building their capacity and professional practice. Sharing some of the College’s priorities for 2022 and beyond, Stephen said, “Our educators and wellbeing staff are focused on generating student engagement, achievement and growth, and empowering every child to achieve personal excellence.”
Celebrating our ten-year anniversary
As we celebrate the important milestone of our Foundation’s ten-year anniversary, we were delighted to be able to gather together in person once again, and thank you, our valued Foundation members and corporate sponsors, for your generosity.
Please enjoy watching our ten-year anniversary video, and we hope you enjoy seeing how you have sparked something with your meaningful support.
Wishing you and your family an enjoyable summer break and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022.
With warm regards for a Shabbat Shalom,
The Moriah Foundation Team