On May 17 and 18, the BWN hosted our biennial Craigs Investment Partners and Cooney Lees Morgan Regional Business Women’s Conference at Trinity Wharf Tauranga.
This year our theme was “Forging your own Path” and speakers chosen were all trail blazing individuals who have had to think and act to explore opportunities outside their comfort zone, and challenge the status quo in order to achieve the success they have today.
The conference opened on Friday evening with a wonderful mihi whakatau by Tania Waikato from Cooney Lees Morgan. She gave us a fascinating insight into the translation and story behind New Zealand’s most famous Haka – “Ka mate!”, which she revealed to be about the power of female sexuality.
Our MC for the event was Tauranga bred sport fanatic, Rikki Swannell. She gave us a great insight into her career in sports journalism and broadcasting. Starting initially as a journalist at Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB, she is now working in a freelance capacity as both a commentator and reporter, predominantly on Sky Sport.
She then introduced our keynote speaker for the evening, Lisa King. Lisa shared the story behind her social enterprise Eat my Lunch and her vision for the future expansion of it in order to ensure more Kiwi Kids don’t go without Lunch.
The evening finished at 9:30 and attendees took home with them a very generous goodie bag, laden with contributions from our sponsors and speakers.
Saturday’s programme started with three local women each sharing how they have forged their own path to get where they are today. First up was Rebecca Anderson from Chaos & Harmony, followed by Teresa Hodges from Blak. Rebecca and Teresa told us their experiences starting out in the world of fashion, their challenges of entering domestic and overseas markets, then finding a niche for their products and their successful collaboration with their retail store BlakChaos. Leisa Renwick a teacher at Mount College then spoke of her battle to save her life after being diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and then her fight to get access to lifesaving treatment for all who need it.
Following morning tea, Mark Lister from Craigs Inverstment Partners gave us a very informative update on the financial trends both in the New Zealand and international market. We were then entertained by Dr Farah Palmer with her life experiences in the world of Rugby, initially as player and captain of the New Zealand Ferns and now as the only female Board Member at Rugby New Zealand.
After a wonderful buffet lunch enjoying the surrounds of Trinity Wharf, Jennifer Ross from Cooney Lees Morgan enlightened us further around the concept of social enterprises and gave some great examples of some operating in New Zealand and locally. She was followed by Sandra Clair who shared her interesting story of how she came to New Zealand from Switzerland and established her company Artemis to utilise her expertise around plants medicinal properties.
The final speaker for the conference was Tonia Cawood. Her presentation was a great conclusion to the conference echoing the sentiments of many of the speakers, encouraging us all to find our own purpose and passion, to have courage to take action, and surround ourselves with supportive people as we each forge our own path in life.