Women who Mean Business selling Gippsland 's Finest
  News & Updates

Women who Mean Business Project Newsletter

Download the Autumn Edition 2006 (pdf - 6.7m)
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Download the Spring Edition 2005 (pdf - 2.1m)
Download the Winter Edition 2005 (pdf - 491k)
Download the Autumn Edition 2005
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Download the Summer Edition 2005
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Download the Spring Edition 2004 (pdf - 361k)
Download the Winter Edition 2004 (pdf - 515k)
Download the Autumn Edition 2004 (pdf - 406)

Jill Gael in final of Telstra Business Women’s Award 2005

Jill Gael, who has inspired many women with her workshops across Gippsland, describes her entry in the Telstra Business Women’s Award 2005:

I am a finalist in South Australia for the Telstra Business Women’s 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 won’t 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 on!

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 undersold you.

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 enriched me.

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 kilns.

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 women’s 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 others.

Now, I encourage you all to write your stories and share who you are! Maybe this will be our next Wonderful Women’s project and maybe we can call it “Journeys Started, Hardly Begun or Well on the Way” – I’m 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 – that’s 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, I’d 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 Coordinator’s 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 Gippsland’s Finest Project has planned for Stage Two and the next two years.

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 agencies.

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 personal input.

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.

Water 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 Women’s Advisory Council and organised by the Wellington Shire.

In early May 2004, at the invitation of the Regional Women’s 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 nation’s 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 Australia’s 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 women’s 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 invest.

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 supplies”.

Environmentalists have pointed to large areas of over-use of the nation’s 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 processes.

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 Australia’s 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 consultation;
  • Fair and firm processes for returning over-allocated surface and groundwater systems to environmental sustainability;
  • 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 systems.

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 issue.

A State Conference for women to discuss current water issues is planned to be held in Central Gippsland on World Rural Women’s Day – 15 October, 2004. The Women and Water communiqué and list of participants are available at www.dotars.gov.au/regional/rwac/ media/communique.htm

Welcome - 25 May 04

The Gippsland Women’s Network (GWN) in partnership with Arts Network East Gippsland (ANEG) are delighted to be bearers of good community news. The State Government’s Community Support Fund has funded the Women Who Mean Business – Selling Gippsland’s 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 Government’s 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 web site.)

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.


Catherine Noy
PROJECT NETWORKING OFFICER on behalf of the Management Committee, Women who Mean Business Project

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