Empowering day for Wheatbelt women

Empowering day for Wheatbelt women

Agribusiness
Shire of Dowerin chief officer Rebecca McCall (left), with Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days chairwoman and event co-ordinator Nadine McMorran.

Shire of Dowerin chief officer Rebecca McCall (left), with Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days chairwoman and event co-ordinator Nadine McMorran.

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"We wanted to empower our guests & connect that diversification that exists in the Wheatbelt with our regional start-ups and our niche businesses."

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THE 'We are rural women' event - a day to connect, empower and inspire rural women and promote niche rural businesses - was well-supported at Dowerin last Wednesday.

Organised by the Shire of Dowerin and presented by the Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days, 115 women packed into the Dowerin Community Club.

Guest speakers included founder of The Aussie Mummy, Breeahn Carter, who was also MC for the day, social media and digital marketing expert and creator of SociallyEM, Emma Williams and Lighthouse Capital financial planner Julia Shortinghuis, who is the host of The Good Money Habits podcast.

Ms Carter started The Aussie Mummy as a YouTube channel, which evolved into her Instagram platform which now has more than 15,000 followers.

A mum of two, a wife, a social media content creator, influencer, MC and presenter, Ms Carter said it was significant to realise that women wore many hats.

"Just after I had my first daughter in 2017, I needed a creative outlet because I had been made redundant from my job and I wanted to do something for myself," Ms Carter said.

"My page has evolved from being a mummy blogger page to being about me.

"The reason for that is because although I love being a mum, I know I am so much more and I think a lot of women can relate to that.

"We are not just a mum, not just a wife, not just 20, 30, 40 or 50-year-old - we are not just our job - there is so much more to us as women and I think it's time we all start celebrating that and start putting ourselves first."

Since building a community on social media, Ms Carter has worked as an influencer with brands including K-Mart, Modibodi and Marks & Spencer.

Ms Williams, a mother of three who has founded six businesses, provided tips on how to grow a small business and utilise social media to expand your customer base, while Ms Shortinghuis discussed economic independence and provided tips for safeguarding your financial future.

The day started off with a 'Get to know your body' panel where physiotherapist Emily Gray, chiropractor Deanna Hanson and naturopath Samantha Smith discussed the importance of moving and listening to your body's needs, as well as women's hormones and how they change throughout each stage of life.

Later in the day, another panel of successful business women in the Wheatbelt - Lot39 Store and Cafe owner Jodie Schell, Moora Shire president Tracy Lefroy and Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days chairwoman and event co-ordinator Nadine McMorran, discussed their professional experiences.

Shire of Dowerin chief executive officer Rebecca McCall said the event organisers had planned to only focus on women's health and wellbeing, before they identified a need to promote and connect small niche businesses within the region.

She said in an effort to retain Dowerin's services and its existing population, the shire had formed a working group.

"Throughout COVID I started pulling together some community champions to see what we could do to make sure Dowerin didn't sink, as we do have a declining population, businesses for sale and so forth," Ms McCall said.

"We thought a combination of a women's day to launch into the 2021 field days with a focus on small business but also health and wellbeing and the importance of an online presence for these businesses was a good way to go.

"We wanted to empower our guests and connect that diversification that exists in the Wheatbelt with our regional start-ups and our niche businesses."

Physiotherapist Emily Gray, who also presented in the Know Your Body Panel, said it was a unique opportunity for women to have so many resources in one location.

"I've never been to an event like this before and the speakers have given us so much valuable advice," Ms Gray said.

She started her own physiotherapy practice in Wyalkatchem last year where she works part-time.

"There is no rule book for starting up your own business and couple that with the dynamic of being in the country as well -- you don't know what you don't know, so it was a tricky process initially," Ms Gray said.

Also a champion five-star horse rider, she uses her insight into the sport to enhance the physiotherapy services she provides to equestrians.

Ms Gray plans to run the business full-time once she had equestrian facilities built in Wyalkatchem so that she could train there rather than have to commute to Perth weekly.

"I knew my business would be very well received but I didn't think it would be this busy already, so it's been great to get some tips from the women here today," she said.

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