The Hilltops Phoenix recently put out a call on social media asking if women in business in the Hilltops area would be interested in being featured in the paper. To our absolute astonishment, almost 80 women put up their hands. All the women have interesting stories to tell, so rather than featuring them all in one week, we have decided to feature them over the next few weeks – a decision which will enable their stories to be told.
It takes guts, grit and graft to be in small business. The ability to successfully own a business in today’s world includes a knowledge of taxation and regulatory obligations, online safety and security, navigating the way to business recovery (COVID-19), effective negotiation skills, accountancy, social networking, occupational health and safety, and marketing. Phew, and if all this isn’t enough, it’s more important than ever to maintain personal wellbeing and enthusiasm especially when things don’t go to plan.
One of the key ways in which women can maintain their wellbeing is by supporting each other, either through mentorship or by networking with one another. A great example of the latter occurred in October this year, when women from across the Hilltops Region gathered in support and celebration of rural women.
The host, Pip Bryant, of the Eastlake Family Tree Fairfield Orchard was happy to support Rural Women’s Day, which is a not for profit organisation. The event was initiated by long-time friend Jackie Elliot, who is a Byaduk local (South West Victoria) and fifth generation farmer. Jackie held the first Rural Women’s Day event in Dunkeld Victoria last year to coincide with International Rural Women’s Day. Tickets flew out the door with 170 women attending across two events. With COVID-19 making this year’s event unable to proceed Jackie turned to her network to brainstorm ways to adapt. Along with Georgie Morrison, author, business owner, mother and farmer’s wife, the two pooled their skills to develop a keepsake print publication full of rural women’s stories. In addition to the magazine, Pip was able to host 20 women, mostly women in business, for an intimate lunch amongst the cherry trees. In addition to a picnic lunch, Rural Women’s Day biscuit and gift bags greeted each guest along with inspiring guest speaker Selina Win Pe. Selina is a mental health and wellbeing advocate while also highlighting rural Australia. She is passionate in her goals and aims to further connect city to country. Selina was also the longest held hostage in the Sydney Lindt terror siege and was kind enough to share her experiences, how they have shaped her and her outlook as well as her strong passion and alignment with rural Australia. It was a moving experience to hear from Selina and the community is grateful for her efforts to attend and for her support.
You are encouraged to consider the businesses owned by Hilltops women as you plan your Christmas and birthday gift lists or simply like or share their social media pages and support women who uplift other women. If you would like to purchase a copy of the Rural Women’s Day magazine, please visit www.ruralwomensday.com.au
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