Join us for an evening of networking, appetisers, drinks and celebrating two Riverina women with the final two screenings of the 2018/19 Hear Them Roar Video Series.
Appetisers will be served during the networking at the commencement of the evening.
Drinks will be available for purchase at the bar (cash only).
Date: Thursday 9th May 2019
Time: 6pm - 8.30pm
Location: Romano’s Hotel, 81 Fitzmaurice Street, Wagga Wagga
Tickets: $20 WiB Members | $30 Non-Members & Guests
Ticket Sales Close (RSVP): Wednesday 8th May 2019
Tickets are strictly not available at the door.
Jennie Meiklejohn is owner of the River & Wren Boutique Market, a beautiful country indoor market held in Wagga Wagga. The market is curated to offer a diverse range of the very best on-trend handmade, homemade and homegrown that the region has to offer and hosts more than 110 market shops at each market. River & Wren attracts thousands of visitors from the region and beyond and is a place where the community comes together to enjoy the social, sensory and retail therapy of a fun, vibrant, friendly and happy market.
Moving to Wagga to marry a farmer provided a professional challenge for Jennie. Though she was happy to move for personal reasons, sixteen years ago it provided this career girl with few options to continue down her chosen career path.
River & Wren was Jennie’s opportunity to do something that she absolutely loved, to help other creative people achieve their dreams, to build community and most importantly, it gave her the flexibility to be home when her children arrived home from school, to be involved with her children’s schools, with her community and to have time to maintain friendships and enjoy a lunch with friends without feeling guilty!
Jennie’s goal was to create a market that would rival the wonderful city markets that she frequented when she lived in Sydney, a market that would be popular with both artisans and with the community.
The market has grown well beyond any expectations Jennie had when she founded it almost five years ago. She started the business as “something to do” in her spare time but it has developed into a full time job and has been a vehicle for exciting adventures for Jennie both personally and for the business.
Personally, River & Wren has been a very steep learning curve. Being an organiser of people and events in a previous life, “business” was an alien concept that Jennie needed to conquer. Learning how to establish a business from a legal and financial perspective and to run it to earn an income has been a huge personal achievement. Jennie and the River & Wren Boutique Market were a finalist in two categories of the 2018 Wagga Wagga Business Chamber’s Golden Crow Awards for Excellence in Small Business and Outstanding Business Leader. Jennie was also asked to participate in the Museum of the Riverina’s 2019 HerStory Exhibition.
River & Wren has grown steadily from 50 stall holders in August 2014 to over 120 in 2019, giving the local handmade community a creative outlet in the region. It is also recognised as a fun and friendly community event, which gives back to the community by regularly supporting community groups and charities.
Jennie has also personally volunteered with many local organisations including Wagga Wagga Toy Library, Wagga Women’s Health Centre, Wagga Sustainable Living Festival, as well as numerous school fetes and events in her local farming district.
Ginny Stevens is passionate about Australian agriculture, the health and wellbeing of people living in small farming communities, and building the resilience of those communities. The backdrop to this is growing up on a Tasmanian farm, the rigours of school girl rowing, jillarooing in the NT, an AgScience degree, 8 years in Agribusiness banking, and, today, a Mangoplah farmer’s wife and mum of young twins.
This passion, and the alarming rates of rural depression and suicide, lead Ginny to start Active Farmers (AF) at Mangoplah in 2015, while still working full-time. Every week now, she is driven and inspired by her enthusiastic locally-based trainers who help more than 300 Active Farmers get together to work on improving their health across 20+ communities. The local double bonus in these often very small farming communities is increased physical activity and social interaction, 2 key factors in enhancing mental health and wellbeing.
The future of rural industries and/or rural and regional businesses is very important to Ginny. Not only because she is a farmers wife, but because of her passion for Agriculture and community resilience. Being healthy both physically and mentally, plus regular social interaction within a rural community leads to improved community resilience and prosperity. She believes that if you live within a community of healthy and happy people you are more likely to be more productive within your farm or workplace and in turn add to improving the long term sustainability of the Ag Industry.
Rural and regional Australia is one of the best places to live world and it deeply concerns Ginny that we have terribly high rates of suicide and how can this industry be sustainable if these statistics continue to remain high? Her overall future aspirations are to provide a National service that is delivered within rural communities that is proactive for both physical and mental health and fosters social interaction and builds a sense of community and belonging. This is what prosperity looks like to her.
Ginny’s greatest achievements recently (aside from becoming a Mum of twins) are making the NSW RWA Final and establishing Active Farmer’s Not For Profit Organisation and health promotion charity.
The vision is stronger and more resilient small farming communities. The mission is to provide LOCAL group fitness classes and LOCAL access to nutrition, mindfulness, financial management and mental health specialists. National expansion of the AF network to reach as many small farming communities as possible would help bridge some of the current gaps in locally available services. It is difficult to measure the impact, however they know that physical exercise and social interaction contribute to improved mental health and wellbeing, build resilience in tackling the stresses of modern day farming and reduce isolation. They recently began using technology to ensure continuity of weekly group fitness classes during a trainer’s absence.
Ginny aims to grow from the 20 farming communities serviced today, to 70 by June 30, 2020.
Sara Sutton is Wagga born and bred, she has always lived in Wagga, and champions this great town, both in her broad travels across NSW in her job role and also within the large organisation that is CBA.
She is a big believer in giving back and supporting the town that she loves so dearly.
Sara has also been very blessed to have been able to drive an executive career, with very large impact, from Wagga. She is the Regional General Manager (NSW/ACT Region) of Commonwealth Bank, leading 1350 staff across 164 branches from Murwillumbah in the north of NSW to Eden in the far south.
She is also a Mum of a Brady bunch of 4, a wife, and a part time uni student.
In 2015, Sara won the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber’s award for Young Business Executive, after which she went on to win the NSW Regional Business Awards (Riverina-Murray), and was a finalist in the NSW State Business Chamber awards. She was also CBA Leader of the Year in retail sales in the same year, out of 7000 candidates. Sara was winner of the CBA Brand Manager of the Year (Riverina Area, NSW) in both 2012 and 2013. In 2012 she was awarded the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber Don Kendall Award for Service to Community, received a highly commended in the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber Awards for Large Business, and achieved CBA Large Branch of the Year (Riverina Area, NSW)
As a long term member of Women in Business Wagga Wagga including mentor for 3 years, Sara has also been a long term member and involved in the Wagga Wagga Business Chamber, assisted with school based mentoring at Mt Austin High School, led a weekly volunteering program with St Vincent de Paul with CBA in Wagga, was part of the Wagga Live committee, executive member of Lake Albert Public School P & C, and Committee 4 Wagga School Leaders Program presenter and mentor for the past 3 years.