Embrace change, capitalise on opportunities and move ahead with confidence were the messages for regional women in business from across the state when they gathered in Adelaide on Saturday.
The event served as the launch of the 2021 program for the Women in Business Regional Network, and attracted women from as far afield as Port Lincoln, Burra and Mount Gambier.
The keynote speakers were Elle Crawford Marsden, a Hindmarsh Island life coach and podcaster, and psychologist Stephanie Schmidt from World’s End, the 2020 SA Agrifuture’s Rural Women’s Award Winner.
Elle spoke about her experience in rebuilding her life after the death of one of her children due to cancer, and on the need to connect with your purpose and who you are.
Stephanie, who has been through her own personal mental health challenges during 2020, gave tips on how to move forward and also spoke about her project to try to educate regional and rural people from across SA and beyond, so they can better deal with their own mental health challenges as well as assist others.
She said her mission was in response to a realisation that there would never be enough government funds and clinicians available to meet everyone’s mental health challenges, particularly in the smaller, outlying communities.
“My dream is to build the capacity of our rural communities and individuals from the ground up, so we all have skills to put into practice every day to manage the little challenges, and then have them in place when we are faced with big life adversities,” she explained.
The two speakers were backed up by a panel of members who had beaten the odds and made changes in their businesses to survive and thrive against a backdrop of bushfires and COVID-19. The panel comprised Anne Rhodes of McLaren Unvaled, Susie Williams from the Fleurieu App, Justine Searby from Bridge Trophies and Grazing4Dayz and Patti Blucher from By Blu on Kangaroo Island.
Network founder Carolyn Jeffrey said 2021 was going to be a busy year with 95 events already proposed and additional chapters and events expected to be added.
“We have grown so much over the past three years and it’s exciting to start 2021 with more than 290 members now stretching across three states,” Carolyn said.
“I think 2020 provided an opportunity for the network to really show the support that it could provide to regional women in business in possibly their most challenging days. Now we need to all acknowledge the lessons we learned in 2020 and move forward with confidence into 2021 and learn to embrace both recent and future changes.”