Gael in final of Telstra Business Womens Award 2005
Jill Gael, who has inspired many women with her workshops
across Gippsland, describes her entry in the Telstra Business
Womens Award 2005:
I am a finalist in South Australia for the Telstra Business
Womens Award 2005 and I will know in mid September whether
I have won the Business Owner category (and then go on the
national finals in November).
Just being in the final six in the state is thrilling. I
was nominated anonymously and was not sure I would do the
application (I was busy, it is big, it takes attention to
detail!) but decided I would do so, in part, to tell the stories
of the WwMB project and its predecessor, Uniting Our Rural
Communities, of which I am immensely proud.
You wont be surprised to know that Gippsland featured
a lot in my application, including scanned copies of some
of those little slips of paper we wrote feedback to each other
All of mine are treasures I often refer to. I also gave the
judges an outline of the amazing outcomes of the community
projects you are about to launch. I hope when I meet them
for my interview shortly that they challenge me about the
bragging I have done I will be delighted to say I probably
I even put in a picture of The Mobile Gippsland Office-
really I did
I had a lot of fun with my application and of course I concentrated
some of it on being a woman who means business in her business;
but I was also writing because I have never really told my
kids enough of my life (they know me as a Mum) and once I
started I was so glad I had the chance to give them the highlights
of my journey and my story.
My Dad died when they were really little and he was a great
influence so it was a chance to describe that for them. And
as you know I have had at least three careers; changes that
were probably hardly noticeable to them and all of which have
There were lots of other things too, including work with
Fijian women potters, teaching them high fired pottery techniques
and supporting them in purchasing and establishing their own
The women were soon supplying the Fijian tourist market with
indigenous high fired pottery art pieces for the first time;
a business that endured for well more than 15 years.
There was a womens performance piece, Is This
Seat Taken? performed over nine nights in the Space
at the Festival Theatre. Written and performed by indigenous
and white women (including me), it explored our stories
common experiences, struggles and joys in our relationships
with family and friends and the difference in access to education,
employment, health and opportunity.
It was a sell out show every night, reaching thousands of
people with real and meaningful impacts. I asked a number
of people to write supporting letters for my award application
and they all did.
They said wonderful things about who I am to them and I thank
them all. One of the many letters I treasure is from my son
who has worked in my business with me for the past three years.
Here is what he said.
I have worked in a variety of industries including
the airline industry, manufacturing, retail and the arts industry.
Since I began working for Jill three years ago, I have been
delighted to have joined a refreshing company that, for the
first time in my career, is free of sexism, racism and elitism.
I cried with joy when I read it and I felt sad that the
rest of the working world he has known is so NOT like it.
What he said describes everything that is important to me
in life as well as business if we are able to work
and live in such an environment, we flourish and I have had
the privilege of creating it in my business, for myself and
Now, I encourage you all to write your stories and share
who you are! Maybe this will be our next Wonderful Womens
project and maybe we can call it Journeys Started, Hardly
Begun or Well on the Way Im not sure which
one of these describes mine best!
Warm regards Jill Gael
A Letter from
Jill Gael, Facilitator Skills Development Workshops -
21 October 04
To all the participants and organisers of the WwMB Leadership
Skill Development Workshops I have just returned from
my 8th workshop in glorious Gippsland and this time I took
a week to travel about and really see some of the wonderful
landscapes you have at your doorsteps.
What a beautiful and diverse part of the world it is! When
I started the WwMB project, I expected to find some old friends
and make some new ones. Not being one who pays attention to
detail, I did not figure just how many that would be! Needless
to say I have had a ball working with nearly 200 women over
the past three months.
I have also had a chance to see what has happened in communities
where women have previously joined hands to leap high. I remain
convinced that this process of bringing women together to
learn, share and apply their energy together is really powerful.
And the projects you are planning are exciting. There will
be workshops, events, information and a range of other tangibles
that will have enduring benefits in eight or more places
thats awesome! I know that you each take different things
from my workshops.
For some it came at just the right time
you were at a crossroad or looking for direction or a change.
For others it is a renewal of interest in community involvement;
still others are looking for business skills. For many it
is the connection and networking that matters.
Whether the content was new or refreshing your skills, Id
be sure that many of the models and ideas we shared will be
useful moving forward. And lucky me, I have been doing what
I love to do sharing what I know and learning from
you. Thank you for all the stories and ideas, the invitations
home for meals, the soft bed or two, drives, renewed interest
in knitting and the great warmth of friendship.
Regards, JILL GAEL
Women who Mean
Business Project moves into Stage Two
- 30 Jun 04
The Women who Mean Business Project moves
into phase two which includes the appointment of three project
coordinators across the eight identified locations in Gippsland.
Due to a high standard of applicants for position as Project
Coordinator, the Women who Mean Business Project Management
Committee have appointed three women to the position according
to their geographic locations.
Meg Viney, from Inverloch, is project coordinator
for South and West Gippsland. Her appointed areas include
Warragul, Moe/Morwell, Meeniyan and Yarram. Kate Earle, from
Marlo, has been appointed to Orbost and Buchan and Deb Milligan,
from Briagolong, has been appointed as project coordinator
for Stratford and Swifts Creek.
All three women come to the project with
a wealth of experience and expertise in community administration
both professionally and as volunteers. They are all equipped
to assisting women reach their full potential for themselves,
their community and region.
The Women who Mean Business Project Management
Committee welcome this excellent team of leaders to the project
look forward to their efforts in building good working and
personal relationships within each of the locations. Contact
details for each location and Project Coordinators profiles
on page .
Information sessions have been delivered
in seven of the eight locations across Gippsland to advise
them of what the Women who Mean Business Selling Gippslands
Finest Project has planned for Stage Two and the next two
Stratford will be hosting its information
session on ??? The expression of interest to date has been
overwhelming. Over 220 women have shown their interest in
this exciting project.
The first edition of Women who Mean Business
Selling Gippsland Finest newsletter was circulated
to 1200 persons across Gippsland and to local and state government
The next phase of Stage two is the delivery
of eight 2-day skills workshop being held in each of the eight
locations. The cost of the workshops is $10 which includes
registration fee and catering Click
Here for details.
A web site is currently being established
by Anchor Web Designs. Beth Harris, owner/ operator of Anchor
Web Designs is currently working with the Women who Mean Business
Project in establishing a user friendly, informative and interactive
website. In particular, this website will enable project participants
to easily access data, project updates and opportunity for
Mary Salce, Project Management Committee
volunteer says the first edition of the Women who Mean
Business newsletter, was sent out to over 1000 persons across
Gippsland which has already attracted extensive media, local
government and community attention.
Management Affects Us All -
30 Jun 04
A national Water Forum conference held in
Armidale recently was an outcome from the very successful
conference; Women on the Move held 19 November,
2003 in Sale. This Conference was attended by 200 women and
was facilitated by the Regional Womens Advisory Council
and organised by the Wellington Shire.
In early May 2004, at the invitation of
the Regional Womens Advisory Council appointed by the
Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon John Anderson MP, a group of
prominent women from across Australia attended a Water Forum.
The Forum engaged the women on one of the
most important issues facing both urban and regional Australia
today the way that our nations precious water
resources are managed and used.
The Forum also helped to build the capacity
for women and communities to continue to be engaged on water
issues over time. The Forum issued a communiqué highlighting
the importance of Governments agreeing on a National Water
Initiative at the COAG meeting of 25 June 2004, to ensure
Australias future through the sustainable use of water.
The group also committed to ongoing advocacy
for change within their own communities and to lobby governments
to resolve this most critical national issue. Why does this
diverse group of women, lawyers, irrigators, bankers, leaders
of womens networks, farming and industry bodies and
community groups, believe all Australians need to commit to
a new way of thinking about water management?
Current water management arrangements are
insufficient on a number of fronts. Water users have voiced
concerns over lack of security and certainty surrounding their
access to water resources. This fundamental lack of certainty
in water rights has impacted on their capacity to borrow and
The banking sector is affected by this
uncertainty and there are impacts on local development. A
recent study of Investment Trends in the Lower Murray- Darling
Basin published by the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics
identified investment as a key component in the economic
health of regions in particular, in developing and
sustaining the industries that support regional economies
and reported that high investment levels are found within
those areas where there are highly secure, reliable water
Environmentalists have pointed to large
areas of over-use of the nations water resources, over-allocation
of irrigation licenses and the lack of secure water to protect
critical environmental assets and attributes. Communities
and farmers have strongly questioned the level of transparency,
accountability and quality of water planning and consultative
Often, the quality and accuracy of the science
underpinning decisions to increase water for the environment
has been questioned or rejected. In August 2003, the Council
of Australian Governments agreed to develop a new National
Water Initiative (NWI) to set out a national coordinated
way forward in managing Australias precious water resources.
The main thrust of the NWI will be to provide for:
- Investment certainty through secure,
certain and nationally compatible water access entitlements;
- Water sharing plans that set out how
water will be allocated between different uses, to be developed
on a catchment basis, based on best available science and
involving clear and transparent processes including stakeholder
- Fair and firm processes for returning
over-allocated surface and groundwater systems to environmental
- The development of an efficient national
model for water markets to facilitate the movement of water
to its highest value use;
- Accurate water accounting, including
metering, monitoring and reporting; and
- Specific measures to address the issues
confronting urban water users.
Decisions about the details of a National
Water Initiative will be made by Governments on 25 June 2004.
A best result National Water Initiative
will put in place an effective national approach to provide
security for water users and the environment, increase the
productivity and efficiency of water use, sustain rural and
urban communities and ensure the health of river and groundwater
A critical ongoing step is for all urban,
rural and regional communities to work in partnership with
governments and industry to ensure the sustainable future
of our water resources.
The Women and Water Forum called upon State
governments to follow up the Forum with water workshops for
women in each State. This would provide an important opportunity
for further engagement by women and communities on this critical
A State Conference
for women to discuss current water issues is planned to be
held in Central Gippsland on World Rural Womens Day
15 October, 2004. The Women and Water communiqué
and list of participants are available at www.dotars.gov.au/regional/rwac/
- 25 May 04
Gippsland Womens Network (GWN) in partnership with Arts
Network East Gippsland (ANEG) are delighted to be bearers
of good community news. The State Governments Community
Support Fund has funded the Women Who Mean Business
Selling Gippslands Finest Project for its three-year
duration. The project also hopes to link and forge strong
partnerships with local government and other community agencies,
but most importantly, strong partnerships with YOU, the community
members across all of Gippsland. The project belongs to Gippsland,
and we as the facilitators, are simply the conduit for delivering
the project to you.
Thank you to GWN supporters for completing
and returning survey feedback! Many GWN supporters completed
a survey mailed out in the GWN April 2003 newsletter expressing
preferences and ideas for community art priorities within
their local communities. Belinda Brennan, consultant, facilitated
eight Gippsland community location workshops in April 2003
and consolidated these recommendations along with The
Box ideas in application to the Community Support fund.
Your feedback strengthened our submission to the State Governments
Community Support Fund, resulting in the successful outcome
of financial State Government support.
The GWN is in the process of employing two
part-time project coordinators who will oversee the project.
One project officer will oversee projects in the South Gippsland,
Latrobe and Baw Baw areas. The second project coordinator
will work in the East Gippsland and Wellington shire areas.
A project website is currently being finalised.
The website will be regularly updated with news, ideas and
participant comments and project commentaries. (Watch this
space for the official launch date of the Women who Mean Business
Please remember ... the Women who Mean Business
project is open to ALL women and community living in Gippsland,
and is not a project just for artists. We believe the Women
who Mean Business will unleash many other personal and community
skills and artistic abilities to all who become involved.
We look forward to working with you on this exciting project
which will strengthen the talents within our rural communities
and each of us.
A BIG WELCOME TO YOU ALL!
PROJECT NETWORKING OFFICER on behalf of the Management Committee,
Women who Mean Business Project