Summary Report - Prepared by
Belinda Brennan, May 2006
In February 2004 - $379,000 was granted through the Victorian
Government Community Support Fund for the project
Women Who Mean Business
..selling Gippsland's Finest.
The project was launched in Sale by Deputy Premier and Minister
for Victorian Communities John Thwaites in February 2004.
The Women Who Mean Business project set out to address the
needs of women in Gippsland.
- To realise their full potential
- To develop greater self-esteem
- To be more involved in promoting Gippsland
- To increase business and employment opportunities
Stage One Project Establishment
January - June 2004
- Project Management Committee established
- Project Officers and Project Networking Officer were employed
- Production of first quarterly Newsletter - 1300 distributed
- Website established wwmb.org.au
- Establishment of 8 regional working groups - 170 participants
- Orbost & District
- Buchan & District
- Stratford / Maffra
- Latrobe Region
- Warragul & District
- Leongatha / Meeniyan
- Yarram & District
- Swifts Creek / Omeo
- Women who Mean Business expressions of interest and data
base - 240
- Database Gippsland Women's Network - 1200
- Women who Mean Business Email List established - 160
The groups were asked to develop their own database of contacts
to expand the Network and Diaries of the project process and
stories were created and maintained throughout the projects.
GWN History CD, Website &
Presentation in Queensland History CD, Website & Presentation
As the project grew and networks expanded requests were received
from groups wanting to hear more about the history of the
Gippsland Women's Network. A presentation was created on CD
and made available to Government and community groups.
GWN President Mary Salce was invited to Charters Towers in
Qld to showcase the history of the Gippsland Women's Network
and the projects including the WwMB as an example and an inspiration
for other groups wishing to establish similar projects to
empower women in their own communities.
Stage Two Skills Development
Workshops July 2004 - March 2005
The Women Who Mean Business project presented an exciting
opportunity for women of all ages, economic and cultural backgrounds
to come together from all over Gippsland to develop talents
in leadership, business and the arts through a series of workshops.
Over 885 participants have contributed to 50 skills training
workshops and more than 200 have been directly involved in
the community projects.
Prior to commencing their community projects, each group
took part in a series of similar workshops and later more
defined areas were addressed according to each individual
Some of these workshops were funded by Victoria University.
Primary Workshops included:
- Two Day Skills Development
- Working with the Media
- Business Planning
- Events Management Workshops
Other workshops requested by individual
- Digital photography
- Creative writing
- Submission writing
- And Mosaic
Stage 3 Putting Theory into
Practice July 2004 - December 2005
Each community project received $10,000 and were expected
to raise another $10,000 either in grants or in kind. Each
group developed detailed project plans including budget, timelines,
stakeholders, strategies and actions.
- Creation of a quilt celebrating the diversity of women
in South Gippsland, the ages, stages and paths that bring
them together, creating a blanket of support for all
- Development of a register of all youth activities in the
Mirboo / Boolara / Thorpedale districts with assistance
from local community groups in those areas, the south Gippsland
shire council and the Mirboo district youth network.
Arts Discovery Trail in Linear Park - over 50 bollards have
been painted and erected along the path, each depicting a
theme from Gippsland's heritage. All painted by local groups
- Group became incorporated as the Women's Compass Network
- Website for Gippsland Artists
- Working with the local shire, schools, community groups
- Group participants are learning public speaking
- Shire has undertaken capital works to improve the beauty
and safety of the Linear Park Trail including installation
- Group of about 30 artists involved in making bollards
- Participated in the 'Warming Up for the Commonwealth Games'
- Submitted a three year plan to the Shire regarding future
Garden for Humanity. The Garden, a place for locals and tourists
to gather for recreation and enjoyment
- Learning new skills including garden design, sculpture
& woodcraft, business skills etc
- Learning to work with and within committees
- Developed networks with community groups, landcare organisations,
local council & businesses
- Learnt skills and gained experience in dealing with the
media for a positive outcome
- Researched & recorded
aspects of local history
- Developed awareness and understanding of Koori culture
- Provided an opportunity to link Rail Trail to Maffra,
Sculpture Garden and Town Walk
Tucker 'n Tales - recipe and story book
- Skills Development
- New Businesses & Products
- New Networks including Tourism
- New Learning Opportunities
- Working with Media
- Involvement with Commonwealth Games
- Project as base for Community Development unit at Monash
- Assisting other Community Groups with Fundraising
Art & Craft Gallery - Buchan Gallery Inc
- Communicating with community, bringing people together
- Negotiated with Shire
- Incorporation of the Group
- Skills training inc Risk Management, Legal Documentation
- Communicating with media and submitting media releases
- Received funding from Shire for fire affected areas.
- Grant Submissions
- Set up own website
- Connection with Tourist Operators
- Setting up Opening & running of a gallery
Swifts Creek/Omeo Project
Traveling Photo & Art Exhibition.
Swifts Creek, Omeo project had three parts
- Enhancing the Back to Back Wool Challenge,
- Staging a photographic exhibition of the challenge and
- Taking local artists and their works to the city.
- Photographic & Art Exhibition which was shown in Gippsland
and in Melbourne
- Learnt the process development of a project and making
the transition from goal to achievement
- Women learnt the importance of planning and being open
- The role of reflection in approaching problem solving
- Working with existing events - back to back - to promote
tourism and community participation & plans for ongoing
- Developed networks both locally and in Melbourne
- Organising of own workshops
- Overcoming personal fears to exhibit own artwork in the
- Developed confidence to go on to bigger and better things
- Realisation that things are more accessible than previously
believed - you just have to give it a go
- Learnt the value of others and their willingness to help
and to be involved
Magical Garden Community Pathway. At Orbost they've created
a Magical garden and community walkway that incorporates
native plants and sculptures.
- Liaised with Shire, Parks Victoria & Local Businesses
- Obtained in-kind contributions & participation from
- Meetings & negotiation with DSE & Parks Victoria
- Assisted in preparation of plan with Shire
- Planning a landscape and assisting with drawing up of
- Working with Koori art group
- Participants taking responsibility for tasks
- Research & Negotiation skills developed & improved
- Learnt how to compromise and gain consensus
- Increasing artistic skills and completing workshops
- Increased Confidence & Self Esteem
Spring into Art Festival - a four day festival held over
Melbourne Cup weekend to celebrate the arts in various locations
around the district..
- Marina Prior
- Conducted a highly successful Festival that attracted
a wide range of people to Yarram & District over 4 days
- Utilisation of the old Court House after helping to get
the renovations underway
- Developed network with the organising committee of the
Annual Tarra Festival
- Established database of Artists within the Region
- Developed brochure, website & extensive advertising
for the Festival
- Worked together with local hospitality businesses, shires
& the community to promote the district
- Developed a strong volunteer database
Stage 4 Showcasing and Celebration
September 2005 - March 2006
Launch of each Project
- Spring Into Art Festival - 28th October - 1st November
2005. Over 2000 people attended.
Omeo Swift Creek
- 12thJune, Omeo International Wool Challenge Back to Back.
Over 400 attended
- 29th August. Back to Back Photographic Exhibition. Over
- 15th October 2005. Omeo/Swift Creek Connections Exhibition
opened by the Deputy Premier and Minister for Victorian
Communities, John Thwaites at the Queen Victoria Women's
Centre, Melbourne. Over 80 attended.
- 1st October .The Launch of the Garden for Humanity, officially
opened by the Hon. Joan Kirner. Over 200 attended.
- 28th January 2006 - Launch Baw Baw Arts Discovery Trail
Over 100 people attended
- Magical Garden (to be opened after Forum)
- Buchan Gallery (to be opened after Forum)
- Tucker and Tales book - to be launched late February
Showcasing Forum - 17th &
18th February 2006.
- 120 participants across the two days
- Presentation by each Project
- Key Note speaker - Joan Kirner
- Marketing Forum
- Art & Craft Market
- Celebration and Entertainment with Food
The project evaluation has taken a number of forms:
- Evaluation of workshops
- Feedback to Project Management Committee
- Interviews with participants (documented report)
- Evaluation of Forum (documented report)
- Survey in Final Newsletter - overall project.
The final report for the Women Who Mean Business Project
is due in late July 2006. It will be a showcase of the great
achievements of the project, the key learnings, the outcomes,
evaluations and where the groups and projects are heading
after the project.
A double page spread for each project including photos will
highlight the project outcomes and share some of the experiences
along the way.
The report will be handed to the Community Support Fund at
a luncheon in late July in Sale.
Brennan Facilitation and Management Services
17th March 2006
- Over 3000 people involved in/attended project activities
- 58 workshops, 920 participants
- More than 170 media articles
- 160 Govt, Business & Community groups participated
- Seven of the groups donated more than $10,000 in kind
- Cash grants from Gippsland Shires totaling $12,700
- Small Volunteer Grant $2500
- Much more in in-kind support from right across the region
- 330 Members on the WwMB Email List
- Approx. 800 on the mailing list database
- 1000 Newsletters being distributed quarterly
And that is just the beginning
Top Ten Golden Rules for Successful
Community Development Project
- Effective communication is vital
- Community projects mean working together
- Accept the Group will take time to develop - use the time
- Have a Plan, Write it down, update it when necessary
- Keep good written records
- Enjoy the project - its challenges, the personalities,
the setbacks and the achievements
- Recognise that everyone in the team has great skills
- Look after the people in the team - they are your greatest
- Share resources, the workload, the excitement and the
- Keep it in perspective
Overall Project Outcomes
- Improved confidence and self knowledge about what one
can do and would try
- Learning from others through newsletters as well as personally
- Increased confidence of women to get involved
- Increased confidence in dealing with organisations for
- Raising profile of local women via newsletters and media.
- Recognising the importance and acknowledging diversity
in personal skills, abilities and interests.
- Development of skills - both personally and as a group
- Communication, research, business, submissions writing,
budget management, event management, negotiation, media,
mosaicing, digital photography, strategy planning - the
list goes on)
- Development of understanding of mechanisms of government
and how to work with them for community benefit.
- Awareness and greater understanding of Koori culture and
- Skills developed being utilised for other community projects
- Skills developed being utilised for business ventures
- Establishment of websites
- Establishment of ongoing partnerships and linkages with
range of government and non government organisations
- Expansion of networks and opportunities for cooperation
- Strengthen relationships with local Shire and community
- Forming new support networks
- Greater involvement of women in other local projects
- Women taking on new roles, and opportunities for other
- Increase in women taking on leadership roles in community
- Promotion of community projects and achievements - across
Gippsland and the State
- Development of friendships
- Three of the project committees have incorporated and
are working on new projects in the community
- The money raised from the sale of "Tucker 'n' Tales
will be directed into other community projects
- Establishment of new business ventures by women involved
- Increase in women involved taking up new employment
- Community members and project workers
- Both part time and full time work
- Economic benefits to local communities especially when
events held. (over 2000 in Yarram for Spring into Art Festival)
- Increase in tourism opportunities for project sites and
- Increase in publicity for tourism opportunities
Women Who Mean Business Project Ends
with a Bang (and a toot!)
Media Release 20 Feb 2006
Last Friday & Saturday over 100 women gathered in Sale
to showcase and celebrate The Women Who Mean Business - Selling
Gippslands Finest Project.
This was the culmination of the $450,000 - three year project.
After showcasing the eight projects across the region, former
Premier of Victoria, The Hon. Joan Kirner responded. Mrs Kirner
said "It's fantastic to see what you're doing; one of
our next steps is to make sure that we have the capacity to
share that with other women, not only rural women but urban
women as well, to say this is what we can do"
Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan made a brief appearance
to reiterate his support of the project. Mr Ryan said "the
women of our community are so often the leaders in the way
in which Gippsland functions. The program today is a testament
to the remarkable diversity of women in Gippsland"
The event at the Esso BHP Billiton Wellington Entertainment
Centre in Sale also featured an Art and Craft Exhibition giving
participants an opportunity to display and sell their products.
Police Inspector Jill Wood spoke at the dinner on Friday
night about how the role of women in policing had changed
over the last thirty years.
The tooting came under the instruction of Jill
Gael, Co-Founder of the Centre for People Development. Jill
had dinner guests and project participants tooting their
own horns in recognition of the incredible contribution
each person has made in one way or another towards the development
of the projects and the training and empowering of the people
involved in the WwMB project over the last three years.
Workshops were held on Friday and as a result already women
are making plans to set up share market groups, develop more
distinct business plans for their workplace and further investigate
the use of websites to promote their community groups and
The Marketing Forum on Saturday with Jill Gael, Sophie ONeill
- a specialist in food marketing, Linda Bertoli - Sage Technologys
Managing Director and Dr Sharron Dickman, - general manager
of Pathfinder Marketing proved to be an outstanding success
as the speakers revealed not only the positive aspects of
marketing but also pitfalls from their own experience. Participants
were disappointed when question time came to an end because
of time constraints.
Women participating in the projects are keen to expand the
network thats been created and to share their experiences
with other women in the region and beyond.
There are still 3 of the projects to be officially launched.
The Latrobe groups book Tucker N Tales will be launched
at the Toongabbie Hall on Tues 28th February from 7pm, the
Magical Garden at Orbost will be officially opened on Anzac
Day and the Buchan Art Gallery group is waiting for confirmation
of a date from the office of Minister John Thwaites and the
Hon. Joan Kirner.
The evaluation of the project will continue with a final
report to be presented to Minister for Victorian Communities,
Three photo albums are available for viewing though they
may not work well with slower internet connections.
The WwMB project, sponsored by the Community Support Fund,
has been empowering women both in their personal lives and
in community leadership roles. Stage Two of the project, attracted
more than 750 participants above all expectations.
Thanks to the project officers at Omeo/Swifts Creek,
Buchan, Orbost, Stratford/Maffra, Warragul, Latrobe Valley,
Yarram and Leongatha for working so hard towards this achievement.
We held 44 workshops which included two-day Skills Development,
Business Planning, How to Manage the Media, Submission Writing,
Event Management and Promotion, Photography, Interviewing
and Creative Writing.
After a lull, the Leongatha group has started its project
while continuing with skills development workshops. We acknowledge
the Victorian University for providing and sponsoring the
high quality training workshops. This support reduced costs
and enabled our committee to deliver further training when
requested by the working groups. I extend appreciation to
Robert Cugno, workshop presenters and everyone in the community
who has offered support.
Many of you will remember Jill Gael. We are hoping she will
join us early next year when we celebrate the completion of
the WWMB project. Jill has been nominated for the Telstra
Business Womens Award (well deserved) and we wish her
all the best.
Stage three of our project is about putting theory into practice
and, as you will read in the project updates in this newsletter,
the ground work is well on the way for all eight projects.
During this ground work stage the groups are still identifying
the different skills that are required to complete the project
and arranging workshops as necessary.
All these workshops are open to the public. By doing the
hands on work many women are acquiring amazing new skills
and accomplishments. They are making clay tiles, wood carving,
cementing, drawing and planning to scale. They are mastering
photography, marketing, lobbying, submission writing, reporting,
media, creative writing, testing food recipes, seeking work
quotes, artistic designing, advertising and booking exhibition
spaces in Melbourne to promote their region.
They are gardening, sculpturing, painting, arranging meetings
with local shires to discuss inkind support and seeking sponsorship.
All this and more is happening as individually and collectively
women head down journeys of self and community discovery.
Outcomes to date vary from setting up new businesses to someone
gaining the self-esteem to join in with local the community.
We will start sharing outcomes in our Spring newsletter (see
details in Junes message).
The evaluation process has begun and a brain storm will take
place at the next WWMB project meeting on July 19 at Maffra.
For the project evaluation we have the support of the Victorian
Rural Womens Network and the project evaluator, Jenny
O Neil, employed by WwMB.
The Women Who Mean Business newsletter is a great way for
women throughout Gippsland to keep up to date with what is
happening throughout Gippsland. All up, 1000 copies of the
newsletter are distributed around Gippsland.
The newsletter also can be downloaded
here. Beth Harris continues to update the website as monthly
reports come in and our e-mail list has grown to 195. To be
included please advise Beth, firstname.lastname@example.org
In this newsletter you will find articles by John Jago and
Loretta Leslie, encouraging more women to stand for Local
Government election, when many municipalities go to the polls
in November this year. Lets encourage and support Gippsland
women to take a stand.
Over the years I find that we are being asked more and more
to make a choice to give up the right to choose and I always
remember a quote from Martin Luther King Our lives begin
to end when we say nothing about the things that matter
have a go.
For more detailed updates visit each project page.