It’s been a while since I’ve worked in a ‘real’ office, but for the past few weeks I’ve been undertaking an in-house stint in communications and engagement with Major Road Projects Victoria on the Echuca-Moama Bridge build.
It’s my second in-house secondment with the organisation, and on both occasions it’s been a great opportunity to extend myself and shake things up a bit. I’ve genuinely loved working in a busy office space alongside the team of clever engineers, construction gurus and project managers who are delivering this once-in-a-generation infrastructure project here in Echuca Moama.
And if I’m honest, it’s also been a chance to test a niggling theory that maybe life would be easier working for someone else, than running my own business.
The morning tea breaks featuring scones with jam and cream, and the obligatory daily newspaper quiz with the team have sure added weight to that hypothesis. As has the regular pay check.
But it’s meant returning to that world of calling on friends to help with before and after-school care and sport-runs for my three young boys, missing important occasions at school, that dreaded feeling of asking for time off when your child falls ill, heading out into the cold to commute to the office, returning home after dark, and sacrificing my daily gym class. I know that’s the norm for most working mums, and it used to be mine. But it reminded me of why I made the change.
Don’t be misguided – it’s not all shinshine and lollypops at The Splendid Word.
Running your own business is bloody hard work. And when you’re talking about a start-up biz, the odds of longevity, let-a-lone success, are stacked firmly against you. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60% of start-ups fail in the first three years.
The fact that TSW is now in its eighth year, and continuing to grow, quite honestly blows my mind.
And as anyone running their own business can attest, it’s a 24-7 commitment. It requires enormous self-motivation, dedication, risk-taking, sacrifice, vulnerability, courage and passion. There’s practically no security in terms of when the next pay cheque might arrive, and you never, ever switch off.
But if these past few weeks working in-house have shown me anything, it’s that the grass is not always greener. There are perks and pitfalls in every line of work – and it all comes down to personal choice and priorities. For me, at this point in my life, the upsides of life as a freelance writer, far outweigh the hard stuff.
The freedom to choose the work that lights me up, the flexibilty to work my own hours (and yes, often-times that’s the graveyard shift), to be my own boss, to be at school when my kids get awards at assembly, to welcome them home when they get off the school bus, and to run them around to extra-curricular activities in the evenings, is a rare gift that I feel incredibly grateful for. And I know Christy feels the same.
But if you ask me if we feel ‘lucky’ to have this flexibility and choice in our work life at The Splendid Word, the honest answer is no.
Luck really didn’t play a part in this business. And it hasn’t been easy. At all.
We’ve worked (and continue to work) incredibly hard to build The Splendid Word from the ground up – and not just over the past eight years. The seed to where we find ourselves today was sown way back in the classroom at school and university, and then in the busy newsrooms of print and broadcast media outlets.
Eight years ago, when I was pregnant with my third child, and deep in the trenches of juggling motherhood with a career in political comms, I made a choice.
I took a giant leap and went freelance.
I didn’t want to give up the career I had worked so hard to build, but I wanted to be around more for my kids as they grew up.
And so I gave up the security of a great job, regular pay cheque, superannuation and paid holidays in favour of starting a brand new business in partnership with a near stranger – Christy – who today is one of my very best friends, mentors and confidantes.
In the early days, our business model was a messy mix of us sitting up all night long writing content, and then stealing pockets of time on the computer during the day in between running around after our little kids. It was a hard slog, and we were definitely burning the candle at both ends, but it built the foundation for our family-friendly business, that eight years on, has grown to a team of five amazing freelancers.
Back in the early days, I often told myself and others that TSW was a temporary gig, and that I’d get a ‘real job’ when my three boys were all at school.
Well I’ve put that theory to the test these past few weeks, and as I return to my TSW office today my feet are firmly planted where I stand.
The Splendid Word has brought with it some of the greatest challenges and triumphs that I have known in my working life so far. It’s my ‘real job’, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
In our regular Spreading the Good Stuff podcast discussions we often talk about making time to nurture our own physical and emotional well being. And we understand that for many of us this can be a challenge, particularly when the ‘wheels fall off’ and life throws up challenges which consume both our time and headspace.
However, we all know that it’s when we are working through life’s challenges and tough times that most self care habits get put on the back burner, despite it being THE most important time to get enough sleep, eat well, meditate, exercise, slow down and refuel your tank.
Self care is no longer a dirty word and many of us have started to fully understand the benefits of taking the time to replenish and appreciate the subsequent boost of energy and positive mindset to help us tackle life’s challenges. But for many, self care can still be seen as a challenge, or guilty pleasure. Thankfully help is at hand.
Thanks to some talented ladies who make it their business to ensure we are showing ourselves the same care and attention we might give to family, friends and work, there are plenty of opportunities to practice self care.
This weekend in Echuca Moama there are two wonderful workshops dedicated to self care, starting with a Wellbeing and Life Success Immersion on Saturday with Erin Barnes at Next Generation Wellness. This event is actually sold out, which is no surprise. We chatted with Erin (who is actually Leonie’s sister) on our Spreading the Good Stuff podcast during January and it has been one of our most listened to conversations.
Erin is a passionate physical, emotional and behavioural expert and her work, which also include one-to-one sessions, aims to bring you comprehensible education, actionable tools and integrative behaviours to enhance your life. Erin is a master at blending brain, body and behavioural science to help you achieve sustained and elevated wellbeing, and maximise focus and productivity to live your best life, which is something we bang on about a lot on the podcast. Erin’s immersion day offers practical and achievable tools towards greater wellness, a yoga session and delicious, healthy treats. And the good news news is that she is in town for a couple of days if you’re keen to lock in a one-to-one session of this ‘good stuff’ – find out more here.
We are doubly blessed in Echuca Moama this weekend to have another wonderful day dedicated to self care thanks to the lovely ladies at Well Soul Studio.
Beautiful You – Your Body Is Talking It’s Time To Listen is an event all about self care and will feature Nat Kringoudis (doctor of Chinese Medicine, acupuncturist, author, speaker and all-round natural fertility expert), Lola Berry (nutritionist, author and yoga teacher) and local lady Ellen McNeil (Well Soul studio chiropractor with a Diploma in Chiropractic Neuro-Developmental Paediatrics and yoga teacher). This incredible trio will help empower women of all ages to understand their bodies and discover how nutrition, movement, hormones and overwhelm can significantly impact our health. How good does that sound? The day includes workshops, information sessions and yoga and is designed for you, your mum, your daughter, your sister or your best friend, but you need to be quick as spots are filling fast. Book your place here.
So, it’s pretty clear that if you’re in need of some extra self care tools, Echuca Moama is certainly the place to be this weekend and we think it’s worth spreading the good stuff for!
Enjoy a weekend of wellness immersion, or even just a walk in nature with family and friends to refill your bucket. You won’t regret it.
Image thanks to: www.weheartit.com
Can you believe we’re almost through March?
It’s been a busy start to the year for us, finishing off some large social media and event projects and opening doors to new and exciting content writing challenges for the year ahead.
In between our weekly content creation tasks for social media business pages, websites, marketing and communications plans, and brochures, we have found small pockets of time to pursue our passion project – Spreading the Good Stuff podcast.
Have you had a chance to tune into our podcast yet? It’s been full of so much good stuff!
We started the podcast early in 2018 with Katrina Myers from Barham Avocados, who was our first ever guest on the couch at Spreading the Good Stuff (STGS) live conversation series at Junction, Moama.
So far this year we’ve dropped five episodes, which you can find here, and the conversation has flowed from tackling goals for the new year, how to achieve health and fitness ‘your’ way, to a profound and moving discussion around grief.
There was not a dry eye in the house and we will be forever grateful to Shari and Tracey for opening their hearts to share what grief can look like and the many challenges of wading through it.
This emotional conversation explored the complexities, the misconceptions and the mystery of grief and touched on how we can do it better – as individuals, as friends and family members, and as a community.
We only scratched the surface on this topic, but know it was the start of many brave and much-needed conversations since, and have no doubt it will become a helpful tool for many to continue to listen, learn and share when it comes to living with grief.
More than 6000 people have now downloaded our podcast conversations, and since making it to our 20th episode last month we have been buoyed to continue to share the successes and challenges of achieving wellness in our often ‘busy’ and overwhelming lives, where caring for ourselves is sometimes the very last item on our ‘to-do’ list.
Self care has been a common theme so far this year and Episode #19, featuring Koondrook based fitness guru Rach Robertson in conversation with Katrina, discussed the importance of regular exercise for our wellbeing, and the important tip that one size does not fit all.
Our follow-up conversation in Episode #20 discussed how we all choose to keep physically and emotionally in shape and how to resist the urge of comparison when it comes to setting our personal fitness goals – which is not an easy task.
Episode #17, which dropped in mid January, was a fabulous conversation (one of our most popular to date) with Leonie’s sister Erin Barnes, who runs a wellness business Next Generation Wellness on the Sunshine Coast. The girls discussed how and why we often set ourselves up to fail when it comes to setting unrealistic goals and encouraged us to take the time to recalibrate and be gentle with ourselves.
Erin is a passionate physical, emotional and behavioural expert and this conversation discussed society’s obsession with resolutions and why we typically fall short on them. It explored an alternative strategy for a better way to achieve overall wellbeing and life success goals in the year ahead and we know you’ll gain plenty from this conversation.
In the following Episode #18 we unpacked our own experiences of intention setting, dreaming big, doing the work, letting go and rejecting the ‘all or nothing’ mindset, choosing action over perfection and decluttering. This was a BIG conversation and one we all benefited from, thanks to Erin.
We love delivering these fortnightly conversations to our growing audience and are extremely grateful to all those tuning in on a regular basis. This podcast is a real gift and we often comment it’s like a therapy session for the three of us to regularly set aside time to talk about the ‘big’ and important things in our lives.
If you’re keen to tune in to any one of our 21 conversations so far, subscribe via Whooshkaa, on iTunes or on your favourite podcast app. We also love hearing heart-warming feedback from our listeners and also suggestions for future conversations.
We have only just scratched the surface when it comes to the subject of women and wellness in work, family and community and we have so many stories to share with insights and advice from incredible individuals from across our regional communities who can help empower us all to live our best life.
Thanks for tuning in and helping us to Spread the Good Stuff!
We’re back #spreadingthegoodstuff for a fabulous event happening locally next week to celebrate regional women.
A group of motivated local women and businesses, led by Nina O’Brien at Committee for Echuca Moama, has organised a fabulous International Women’s Day Brunch event to celebrate all women in our twin towns and highlight just some of the amazing work being done by our local ladies.
The event – this coming Tuesday March 5 – is hosted by Moama Bowling Club and includes some amazing guest speakers, as well as a diverse panel of local ladies who will share their experience and advice and start an important conversation around fostering confidence, knowledge and inspiration among us women folk.
The aim of the brunch is to highlight what incredibly diverse, strong and talented women and girls we have across our region and to celebrate what can be achieved when we support each other.
Women who attend are in for a treat with an amazing panel of guest speakers including local GP and marathon runner Dr Claire Goodman, chiropractor and yoga teacher from Well Soul Studio, Ellen McNeil, and an incredible discussion panel featuring Megan Williams from Camel Milk Co Australia, Georgia Cadd founder of Squoosh, Njernda’s Kelli Bartlett and owner of Endota Spa Echuca and singer Jacinta Cannon – all hosted by MC and Boss Lady Brain founder April Whiston.
The event aims to provide all those who attend a great morning of networking and inspiration, as well as health-related information about health and wellbeing activities and services, which are all available locally.
Importantly, any funds raised from ticket sales will be directed back into a community-based charity or initiative that supports the advancement of women in the local community.
Doors open at the Venue, Moama Bowling Club at 8.30am for a 9am start (concluding at 11.30am), tickets are only $10 and are available here.
What a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day, which is coming up on Friday March 8th!
We can’t wait to bring you another profound Spreading the Good Stuff LIVE event at Junction and we are thrilled to be back for our sixth episode, next Wednesday November 28, for an important conversation about grief.
Episode 6 will bring together two brave local women for an important discussion about what grief looks like, their own personal experiences and importantly how well we deal with ‘grief’ as a community.
Together with mental health social worker Tracey Farrell, of Hidden Treasure Therapy, and the brave and determined mother of baby Ruby (now in heaven) Shari Gotch, we will discuss the challenges, misconceptions and mystery of grief.
As an accredited AASW practitioner, Tracey has an unwavering commitment to working with our most vulnerable children and families, those who have experienced trauma and attachment difficulties, children living out of home, families where a parent has a terminal illness and of course, the bereaved.
Tracey (pictured below):
~ “To me, grief is best imagined using the analogy of the kaleidoscope. It shifts and changes. Just when you feel there’s some predictability in the patterns, it changes again.
~ “We need to tell our stories, and be willing to listen to them, without trying to make it better,”
Shari and her brave family said goodbye to baby Ruby just after the Christmas of 2013, following a courageous battle with a rare genetic disorder, which included severe epilepsy.
Baby Ruby Eve endured her first seizure 14 hours post birth and continued to battle them on a daily basis during her short ten months of life.
Ruby spent much of her short life in and out of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital and since this challenging time her family has strived to continue her legacy in a positive way. This has included Team Ruby Eve competing in the annual Run for Kids in Melbourne and various other fundraising efforts, including hiking the Kokoda Track – raising much needed funds for the Children’s Neuroscience Centre. In May this year, Shari and sister Toni also walked the El Camino track in Spain to raise money for Ronald McDonald House.
Shari and her extended family and friends work tirelessly to raise both funds and awareness for rare childhood illness as she continues her daily journey through grief.
Shari (pictured below with Ruby):
~ “Grief is an endless journey… coping with grief is like driving with no destination.”
~ “Starting the conversation and raising awareness is a good start in educating people about grief. Which is why nights like this are a great opportunity.”
Since its inception more than two years ago, our Spreading the Good Stuff LIVE events have examined the lives of extraordinary individuals in our region who are making a positive impact in their patch, and we have covered some profound and important conversations around suicide and mental health, inclusion, foster care and adoption and sustainable living.
This LIVE conversation series builds on our crusade to promote positive communication and the power of kind language across our regional communities, and we have also recently adapted this concept to a fortnightly podcast, also called Spreading the Good Stuff, with our good friend over at Barham Avocados Katrina Myers.
Our LIVE Spreading the Good Stuff events involve an intimate conversation hour to explore some of the big issues, challenges and opportunities of our time – leaving you enriched, enlarged and inspired to spread more of your own good in the world. There is also opportunity at each event to ask questions of our guest speakers and continue the conversation over a casual drink or bite to eat.
For more event details and to purchase tickets visit the event page here.
We hope you can join us for an intimate and insightful evening.
See you there,
Christy and Leonie
You set out with good intentions, but you get side-tracked with distraction after distraction, and by days’ end your to-do-list is even longer than when you started……
We get it. Being productive at work is a universal challenge. And believe us, procrastination visits here often.
But thankfully there are plenty of ways we can all increase our productive flow and get back to the important business of getting stuff done in the workplace!
Here are just 5 simple tips that do the trick for us:
1. Set small goals
Do you often find yourself staring despairingly at a to-do list that runs across pages and pages of a notepad? You’re not alone.
As working women with young families, we too know what it’s like to have full calendars of business, sporting, community and social commitments. The logistics of keeping your head around all the competing demands on your time can be overwhelming, and the best way to get that stuff out of our heads is to put it down in a list on paper – lots of paper.
But the problem with working from a monster list like that is you can NEVER get to the bottom of it and you often wind up feeling like you’ve achieved nothing at the end of the day – which is when the negative self-talk can creep in.
Here’s how we avoid falling into that trap.
Instead of working from your monster (let’s call it ‘master’) list each day, and feeling like a failure at 5pm when you discover you’ve added more new tasks than you’ve completed, have a go at this.
Each new working day, create a separate ‘daily list’ to which you add the three most important tasks from your master list. Now work from that list instead, and if you get through each of the tasks before the day is out, grab another job from your master list, and work towards completing that too. We promise by days’ end you’ll feel so much more productive because you’ll actually reach the bottom of the list.
2. Plan ahead
If you rock up to work without a plan, the chances are you’re going to start your day directionless, wasting precious hours deciding what to do with your time first.
Before you clock off for the day, our tip is to spend five or ten minutes planning your next working day, even breaking it down in to one hour blocks if it helps. Jot your plan down on a fresh page and leave it front and centre at your work station so that the moment you sit down to work the following day, you have a clear strategy for what needs to happen, and you are ready to roll from the get-go.
3. Limit distractions
In this constantly connected, fast-paced, digital age in which we all live and work, the distractions are relentless. And if we let them have their way with us, they will.
We are constantly interrupted by that addictive ‘ping’ signalling a new email, text message, social media notification, newsflash or phonecall. And when our phones and computers aren’t pinging, we’re busy checking them anyway, refreshing the page just to double check that we haven’t missed an update. Seriously it’s a miracle anyone gets anything done!
For us, the best way to limit distractions is to turn them off and put them well out of sight. Sounds simple in theory doesn’t it. But in reality, it’s not.
That’s why we love using the Forrest app, which is designed to help you stay away from your smartphone and stay focused on your work in a fun way. Whenever you want to focus on your work, you plant a tree. The tree grows in the time frame you set, and it dies if you try to use your phone for anything else during that time. Neat huh!
Unfortunately though, the Forrest app doesn’t stop you from sneakily wandering away from the task at hand to check your emails on the computer. We know this, because we do it sometimes.
So our tip there is to completely shut down your emails when you’re trying to focus on a particular piece of work.
What we find works well is to set certain periods during the working day (usually 10-20 minutes) where we ‘intentionally’ spend time tending to our inbox, responding to emails, and liaising with clients. When the time is up (again you can use the Forrest App to keep you on track), we shut the email down and get back to the real work. For us it works well to schedule email time in the morning, noon and afternoon, but do whatever fits best for you.
Some people recommend not accessing your email at all until lunchtime, which frees you up to focus on your own work for the entire morning without being bogged down by the demands of others on your time (which is essentially what most messages in your email inbox are – people working through their own to-do-lists with their own deadlines and agendas). We’ve tried this in the past, and it really does work – so test it out and see how you go.
4. Embrace the tools
There are so many great apps and tools out there (many of which are free) that can help you remain focused on your work and support you to really power through your to-do-list.
At The Splendid Word, we are a team of freelancers, and we all work individually from our own homes, so we find project management tools like Trello and Asana to be tremendously helpful. Both programs are free, and in our experience, they help us to work more collaboratively and to get more done. Trello works like a huge whiteboard, with cards and lists that allow you to organise and prioritise your projects in a fun, flexible and productive way. Similarly Asana helps you to set priorities and deadlines, share details of projects and assign tasks to team members all in the one place. With both programs you can follow projects and tasks through every stage of the game and keep everyone aligned on the goals to ensure you hit those all important deadlines.
We also love using Google Drive for sharing and editing documents, Google Calendar for sharing our weekly work plans and meetings, and Dropbox for sharing photographs for social media clients and other projects.
5. Celebrate the wins
The key thing to remember and to acknowledge is that not every day will be perfectly productive, so try to cut yourself some slack when things don’t go to plan.
When those days do strike (and they will), try not to wipe the whole week off. Take some time to plan ahead for the next day, set yourself some realistic goals and try again!
If you want to hear more about how we get stuff done at work and about other tools that have worked for us, be sure to tune in to this week’s Spreading The Good Stuff podcast episode where we dive a little deeper in to the issue and explore some of our biggest productivity challenges and triumphs.
Until next time, good luck mastering those distractions!
Our newest in-house TSW team member Katie Eldridge recently participated in the Unite to Fight fundraising event in Melbourne to support vital cancer research at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, Katie underwent much of her treatment and surgery at Peter Mac – making this a cause very close to her heart.
In today’s blog, Katie shares her personal account of the importance of fundraising events like this one, and how they are making a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities right across the nation…………….
“Even though this was the third time I’ve participated in the Peter Mac Unite to Fight event, I still couldn’t help but be overcome with that warm fuzzy feeling.
But it wasn’t just the overwhelming acknowledgement of the journey I had been on to reach the event that stirred my emotions.
It was also the stories of those around me – the feeling that I was contributing to something bigger and an immense gratitude for the incredibly generous souls that had donated money to our cause.
A mammoth $1.3 million was raised as part of the event this year, and it got me thinking about all the money that is donated and given to various charities every day.
In a world that can often seem marred by terror, hatred and evil, here was a pure example of human kindness, generosity, strength, determination and compassion.
I know these days it can seem like you are constantly digging your hand in your pocket for one charity after another, and in today’s fast-paced, consumer-driven society where living costs are becoming increasingly expensive and purse strings are stretched to the limit, I worry sometimes that the generosity will dry up.
Here in our own incredibly giving Echuca Moama community we have fundraisers for MND, Cystic Fibrosis, Community Living & Respite Services, Johnno’s Run and Girls Night Out just to name a few, let alone the various worthy national and international causes that people contribute to and I know even for myself it can sometimes seem overwhelming.
But what I was reminded of on that day and have learnt from my own personal experience is that there will always be kind people in the world who want to help others.
Particularly when someone is sick, or disaster strikes, people can often feel helpless and sometimes donating money can be the only way they know how to help.
And after a bit of digging this realisation of mine was only backed up by the statistics.
According to Giving Australia, the largest ever research effort into giving and volunteering in Australia, led by the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at Queensland University of Technology in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology and the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, it was estimated that 14.9 million Australian adults gave a staggering $12.5 billion to charities and not-for-profits organisations in 2015-16.
That equates to about 81% of the population with an average donation of $764.08 and a median donation of $200.
I always knew we lived in the lucky country but how amazing is that?!
I have been on both the giving and the receiving end of donations and let me tell you, I know how uplifting it is when your chips are down to realise there is a tribe of people willing to raise you up and I also know how equally amazing it feels to be able to help others in their time of need.
So from my heart to yours, thank you. Thank you for any donations you have made or will make in the future that may seem insignificant at the time – because are truly appreciated and meaningful.
Even when the issues seem so big and you think what difference can I make? Believe me, every bit helps, and we cannot give up.
I’m not saying you need to hand over all your hard-earned cash to any old cause but when we find something we believe in, I think it is our duty as compassionate citizens to contribute. It doesn’t always have to be with money – it may be with kind words or acts of service but by choosing kindness and compassion for the people and communities around you will not only bring joy to yourself, but hope to people like me.
Hope, that maybe one day they’ll find a cure for cancer.
Hope, that together we can all make a difference not only for my cause but for so many other worthy people suffering or in need across the world.
Hope, that the love, kindness and compassion we share we will be contagious.
Hope, that we can inspire the next generation to have respect for themselves, others and the planet.
Because that is the kind of world I want to live in.
Katie for TSW xx
When was the last time you checked in with your mental health? Are you not sure where to start?
Mental Health Week is a great opportunity to have a discussion about our emotional wellbeing and to check in with family and friends if you’re concerned.
When considering your own mental health there are so many tips and tools to help you to live your ‘best’ life – both physically and emotionally.
One size does not fit all when it comes to mental health, and it’s okay to admit that we don’t always know the answers and solutions, however there is abundance of help and resources out there to explore.
We’ve compiled a list of suggestions from our team here at The Splendid Word and would encourage you to take the time over the weekend to check in with yourself to ensure your mental health is in the best shape it can be.
Everyone approaches their emotional well being differently and in today’s blog we have shared what we do each day to ensure we are taking care of our own mental health.
Here are some of our favourite apps and programs:
Chopra Meditation programs
A Live Yogi online programs
Mindfully podcast with Brett Kirk (good one for the guys)
Bootcamp for the Soul by Trevor Hendy (another good one for the guys)
Daily gratitude journaling and regular, round-table conversations with family and friends to discuss:
Don’t ignore your mental health… it’s way too important!
The Splendid Word Team
Image thanks to: mhcsa.org.au
It’s something I am increasingly becoming more mindful of as I try to make better choices for the health of my family and the planet, in the hope that I can be a positive role model for my two young children and raise them with a social and environmental conscience.
The WICKED (Waste In Campaspe – Know, Educate, Do) Program informs and educates, and aims to shape positive attitudes and behaviour change in waste reduction. The WICKED survey provides important insights into the impact the program is having in our community and you can WIN some fabulous prizes by being involved.
Campaspe Shire Environmental Projects and Education Officer Samantha Ferrier explains the WICKED survey provides valuable information on residents’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to environment and waste management practices across the Shire.
The survey seeks feedback on the use of council’s eight transfer stations, kerbside collection, illegal dumping and what goes in what bins. It provides consistent baseline data to help with identifying waste education priorities as well as the planning, coordination, implementation and evaluation of the program. It also gives residents the opportunity to get creative and share a short story and photo about how they are implementing their sustainability practices at home, work or school.
“My favourite part of the survey is reading entrants’ responses to the Sustainable Living question,” Samantha said.
“This year the theme asks residents to demonstrate how they meet one or more of the objectives of the WICKED program – from improving recycling and minimising food waste, to increasing energy and water savings,” she said.
Results from previous WICKED surveys have shown a positive shift in peoples’ attitudes and behaviour towards waste reduction and we can only hope, with the broader movement that is building momentum across the globe thanks to programs such as The War on Waste and the decision by major supermarkets to ban single-use plastic bags, this year’s results will continue to improve.
Not only will completing the survey help improve waste and environment educational opportunities for the community, you can also win one of the following four great prizes:
The WICKED survey is open to all Campaspe Shire and Moama residents, groups, businesses and schools, and can be accessed via council’s website under the ‘Have your say’ section or click here. Hard copies are also available from Customer Service Centres across the Shire.
The online survey closes on Sunday September 30, and winners will be notified by Wednesday October 10.
So now is the perfect time to have your say. And remember every small step we take towards positive behaviour change today can have a huge impact on the attitudes and practices of the next generation.
Image thank to Campaspe Shire
There was an abundance of positivity at a recent Regional Women of Influence panel in Deniliquin, as part of the annual Elders Riverina Sheep Expo, hosted by our very own Spreading the Good Stuff podcast partner Katrina Myers.
Despite current drought conditions and tough times faced by many across the agricultural industry, particularly in NSW and QLD, the three-woman panel discussed opportunities for each and every woman in the room to embrace their power to positively influence others.
“We are all people of influence,” insisted Katrina, who as MC was joined by two notable women of influence: Airlie Trescowthick and Robbie Sefton.
“Everything comes down to mindset – wherever you are, and whatever you are doing,” Katrina said.
“Life is 10% about what happens to you, and 90% how your respond… there are so many opportunities in regional communities.
“Regional communities offer a unique sense of belonging and the challenges encourage you to adopt a growth mindset,” she said.
Despite the troubling prospect of drought and tough times ahead, Katrina and her husband Tim made a conscious decision to move to a regional community and embrace country life on their avocado and cropping farm in Barham.
Managing Director of national marketing communications company Seftons, farmer and 2015 Westpac Woman of Influence (among many other things) Robbie Sefton encouraged the women gathered in Denilquin’s Peppin Heritage Centre to “believe that you can have a crack at anything”.
Robbie, who grew up in Deniliquin, credits her ‘bush’ upbringing for her ability to connect with community.
“It never leaves you – the no ‘bullshit’ approach and the connectedness of country,” she said.
Self-belief and shaping your own destiny were some of the themes discussed, and Robbie encouraged all to “lose the losers and surround yourself with positive people” – Amen to that!
Founder of Farm Table and entrepreneurial producer and innovator Airlie Trescowthick applauded the importance placed on regional and rural ‘values’.
When discussing the many challenges faced by regional women including financial confidence and harnessing knowledge, Arlie spruiked about the benefits of collaboration in regional communities and fostering a ‘shared vision’.
“Knowledge and knowing how farms work is power,” Arlie said.
“You have to know why you are doing something … it’s about exchanging ideas and a positive mindset,” she said.
Farm Table is a national online communications platform, aimed at pooling industry knowledge, connecting individuals and making farmers feel at home ‘online’.
“Agriculture is a knowledge-based economy and exchanging ideas and creating a network for farmers is so important,” Arlie said.
Communication, networking, self care and looking out for each other were clear messages from all three women, who have undoubtedly harnessed the power to influence those in their own patch and beyond.
However, Katrina reminded us that “we are all women of great influence” and have the power to do amazing things in our regional communities.
Drought and tough times certainly throw up many challenges for regional communities, however Katrina, Robbie and Arlie all share a common vision as farmers and women of influence to remain positive, practise a little self care and share both the joy and challenges of life on the land.
Thanks ladies for showing us how to ‘spread the good stuff’.
Thank you also to the organisers of this fabulous event… the scones were amazing!