Host: Influential Women
Written by Carly Brooks – CEO, Influential Women.
Welcome to an Influential Women (IW) workshop, watch your step, this tangle of extension leads is powering secret women’s business. Whether there are 20 beef producers in a frosty showground pavilion or a dozen grain growers in a stifling town hall, IW workshops are tonic for the soul.
Despite the range of women who attend IW workshops in a variety of locations, each workshop begins in a very similar fashion. As each woman comes through the door you can see them breathe, relax, and peel back the layers of responsibility that sit atop their shoulders most days. Without fail, clusters of women begin chatting over caffeine and discussing how they managed to arrive at the workshop. These tales consist of kilometres of dusty roads, handballing of children, delegating of chores, and the juggling of career commitments. It would appear that the act of congregating is therapeutic in itself.
Enter stage left Catherine Marriott! In order to deliver thought provoking content that includes: values based communication, Myers Briggs Type Indicator testing, leadership, public speaking, and social media along with agricultural engagement skills, Mazz arrives like Mary Poppins. Not swinging off an umbrella, but with a bottomless bag of tools for the workshop.
Throughout the course of a workshop a number of things tend to occur. There is always passionate and lively discussion about the role Australian farmers play in the greater scheme of things. Some days there are tears of relief when a woman overcomes her very real fear of public speaking and there is always outrageous laughter as witticisms fly freely amongst the group. The comfortable environment provides a place for capacity building to blossom and a sense of unity and clarity of purpose develops.
But then what? The goodness of the workshop comes to an end, the school pick up has to happen and there is a barrage of emails and phone calls to attend to. Calm your farm, the spark has only just been ignited! Great things have come from IW workshops according to Camilla Osborn, a founding member of the Central Australian women’s network ‘Desert Poppies.’ “IW helped me gain confidence using social media and lead to the creation of ‘Desert Poppies,’ that now has a supportive group of over 80 active members.” Michelle Pardy, Barooga, NSW says, “As a mother of a young family, life can get a bit static, but the IW experience reminded me that I’m still me. It gave me an emotional recharge and confidence boost. I developed a set of new skills that helped me to tell rural stories through film, radio, and print media.”
If ever the proof was in the pudding then hear this, Jane Sale of this brilliant blog, Central Station, declared that, “Without IW there would be no Central Station. Central Station is an idea that was a combined effort from going to an IW workshop and meeting with other women involved in the pastoral industry.”
Please mind your head, as light bulb moments are regular occurrences in IW workshops.