“ASK ME HOW?” was the leading message given to 95 professional women from throughout regional Queensland at The Regional Women in Business Long Lunch in Goondiwindi.

It was the second time local business Engage & Create Consulting has hosted the event and this year it was held in the back garden of Goondiwindi’s newest retail hub, The House, which aptly offers a place for female business owners to operate from.

(MAIN IMAGE: The Engage & Create Consulting team – Julia Spicer, Natalie Woods and Yasmin Taylor. ALL IMAGES: Photographer and writer Grace Quast)

A panel discussion heard from four businesswomen throughout south-west Queensland who’ve managed to pivot their operations and businesses to help deal with the recent COVID-19 health pandemic and drought.

Marketer Jade Mackay was responsible for taking Goondiwindi Cotton’s retail store online; a move which significantly boosted sales.

She encouraged the crowd to ask questions of each other, to foster progress.

“If you don’t ask someone how they are doing these things, you are not getting the full benefit, ask me how I did it, how do you change people, ask me how,” Jade said.

Attendees also heard from Goondiwindi Business Chamber Executive Officer, Terri Ann Crothers, who spoke about the move of going back to work after volunteering on countless committees and raising children, while juggling her art career.

Donna Haslem a grape grower, opened The Farmhouse Café in St George five years ago with no idea what challenges were ahead of her.

“COVID, drought, all of it, you’ve just for to learn to take the curveballs, you pivot with them, you let your customers guide the way you react to them, you let your customers guide the way you operate,” Donna said.

But challenges come in all forms; Mungindi Café founder, Anna Harrison described to the crowd the night three shops burnt down in the small-town last September.

“Losing three of our biggest shops in the small town of Mungindi, it’s just crippling. I watched it that night, and I thought of the despair and thought of wow we’ve just had 4 years of drought, how is this town going to bounce back,” Anna said.

She decided to open ‘Flock’ with a group of local women, as a way to bring the community back together.

“With the loss of those three shops, we actually lost the incidental community. So, a farmer can walk in off the street, and see 5 other people that he can talk to,” Anna said.

The event is held as part of Queensland Small Business Month and is supported by the Queensland Government.

PHOTO GALLERY: Grace Quast photographer

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