Wednesday, May 13, 2009

women at work

Earlier today I attended the Eastern Women's Business Forum, the second in a series of three forums across Yarra Ranges, Knox and Maroondah. The Forum is an opportunity to hear other women speak about their journey whilst sharing your own. Through networking women discover new techniques to apply to their own businesses and at the same time get valuable mentoring support from other business women.

Pictured left to right: Donna Donavan - Economic Development, Shire of Yarra Ranges, Trudy Lynam - Floriculture, Dee Lynam - Floriculture, Samantha Dunn - Councillor, Shire of Yarra Ranges, Rebecca McKenzie - Director Corporate Services, Shire of Yarra Ranges, Joanne Tate - Yarra Valley Winery Tours and Janine McClelland - The Remedy Group.

Today’s speakers were a wonderful group of women, all giving frank accounts of their journeys, the pitfalls, the highpoints and the lessons learnt.

Janine McClelland of
The Remedy Group, was a relative newcomer to small business and gave a very frank account of the journey that lead her to homeopathy. Her start was difficult, her knowledge of small business limited and her future was looking grim, but she had a complete turnaround. The positive energy she invested into her vision for her business was inspiring and she is now reaping the benefits of that positive outlook.

Dee and Trudy Lynam of
Floriculture spoke about how a random decision (influenced by a dog!) saw them end up in the cut flower and foliage industry. Hearing how their business had grown, their commitment to delivering a quality local product and their continual expansion of the business into new marketplaces was terrific. The use of the internet was one of the key tools in their success and expansion and they utilise many technologies across their business very well.

Dee Lynam went on to speak about her membership of the Wandin CWA and the core of CWA was about addressing social issues and their impact on women and children. She spoke of her recent work assisting bushfire victims with both material and emotional support. She went on to speak equally as passionately about her membership of Winhort, a group set up in 2002 aimed at encouraging rural women to become more involved in horticultural issues.

Her commitment to her volunteer work was outstanding and she is a fine role model for all women.

Joanne Tate of
Yarra Valley Winery Tours spoke about her journey from learning about small business at Healesville's Living and Learning Centre through to taking courses in Box Hill about tourism, an industry she was very interested in developing locally. Her passion found her filling a gap, in what was a very thin tourism market 17 years ago. Her advice was very practical, don't overcapitalise, the web is very important (Joanne spends more on web development than advertising in print media) and never stop learning. Her enthusiasm for what she does was catching and she is a great motivator.

It was a wonderful morning, MC'd by the Shire's new director of Corporate Services, Rebecca McKenzie who did a great job. The value of networking can never be understated and at today's forum the women took full advantage of the learning opportunities, business tips and support proffered.



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