Empowering women with mentoring and workshopping opportunities, the Townsville Business Women’s Circle is putting professional development in the spotlight.
When the former Townsville Business Women’s Network ceased operating in 2015, the founding volunteer team of the Townsville Business Women’s Circle stepped in with new ideas.
“We were keen to move away from the traditional ‘business card exchange’ approach and set about establishing some practical opportunities to connect business women and men for professional and personal development,” says Sarah Standen, one of TBWC’s founding members and owner of Inkbyte Communications.
“We wanted to implement some fresh approaches for the business community and were lucky enough to have found some high-profile local businesses who were just as passionate about what we wanted to do.”
TBWC soon secured CQ University and BOQ Castletown as sponsors and dived in rolling out 23 events in their first 18 months.
“We introduced monthly educational workshops hosted at CQ University to provide people with practical skills and insights they can apply immediately to their jobs or businesses,” explains TBWC President and owner of Access Therapy Joanna Murray.
“And through the BOQ Castletown Women’s Education Bursary, TBWC has provided over $11,000 to help women, who would otherwise not have been able to, pursue their education dreams.”
OUR ACHIEVEMENTS HAVE INCLUDED LINKING GOVERNMENT POLICY MAKERS WITH LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS AND BRINGING NATIONALLY RENOWNED SPEAKERS TO THE CITY.
Since founding the TBWC the group has held over 35 professional development workshops and hosted a series of sold-out events connecting and showcasing women and men in business in our community. The volunteer management team has now grown to 10 local business women including Sarah and Joanna — Lisa Banks (PBW Partners Senior Manager); Bridget Woods (Director of Tourism and Events TEL); Rachelle Foley (Director Dexion North Queensland); Heidi Avolio (Succession Law team at Wilson/ Ryan/Grose); Shantelle Scovell (Account Manager JLT); Marsha Zuhorn (CEO Coast to Country Housing); Chloe Costanzo (Qld Country Health Fund Manager) and Victoria Tonner (Founder A Box Of…).
“We are entirely volunteer-based and the only women’s group in the region who operate a not-for profit-model,” Joanna says.
“Our achievements have included linking government policy makers with local business owners and bringing nationally renowned speakers to the city.”
In addition to monthly workshops, the group also coordinates mentor circles for members twice a year – these circles are hosted and facilitated by some of the city’s most successful business women and men, who have volunteered their time to act as mentors. The group also recently hosted its inaugural Business Women’s Awards to celebrate the heart and soul of North Queensland business women.
“We’re now gearing up for the next few years with a strategic planning session to ensure we set a clear and robust roadmap for the future,” Sarah says.
“On the back of the inaugural awards we have a greater understanding of the value we can bring to the business community. We’ve also been approached by other groups to partner on events and seminars.
“We launched the next round of BOQ Castletown bursary grants on September 17 and will be hosting another amazing International Women’s Day event, where we’ll announce the bursary winners in March 2018.”