Building Women ‘UP’ the Vibe of Gala Dinner

A sold-out crowd at the Business Women Albury Wodonga Gala Dinner. Photos: Sally Harding

At last year’s Business Women Albury Wodonga Gala Dinner, KYLIE KING reported what she learned from the evening. This year, it was time for SALLY HARDING to be inspired – not just by guest speaker, Sarah Wilson, but also by the business women of Albury Wodonga.

To me, quitting sugar is what happens when someone makes a cup of tea and gets it wrong, but you drink it anyway.

Sugar is the one thing I can’t seem to give up, even when I’m trying to trim down and even when it would make life easier. Like, when you go away and come home to find ants have colonised your kitchen from the sugar bowl outwards.

Just on this point (living without sugar, not ants), I must say I am in total awe of Sarah Wilson, guest speaker at the Business Women Albury Wodonga Gala Dinner on Friday night at The Cube, Wodonga.

Guest speaker Sarah Wilson

Sarah not only managed to rid her life from sugar, she wrote a New York Times bestselling book about it (simply called “I Quit Sugar”) and encouraged others to do the same.

It turns out that sugar is not all that sweet for us after all, not to mention ridiculously addictive, and deep-down Sarah knew she could make a difference.

But having conviction when you believe in something is just one small slice of her recipe for entrepreneurial success (deliberate cooking puns, reserved for the seriously accomplished foodie).

The biggest ingredient, Sarah says, is to take on board the tips and tricks of successful others while being brave enough to follow your own gut instincts.

Women gather for pre-event networking.

As someone who often forgets to follow recipes, that is very encouraging to hear. Slapping a family meal together, however, is a little different to starting or building a business though. Or is it?

We all have gut instincts but sometimes they need guidance to be recognised and followed, and that is where the business women of Albury Wodonga are kicking serious goals.

The personal-development and networking events of BWAW are proving so popular that events, like this one are becoming complete sell-outs. What a testament to the hard work and passion of the organising committee.

One of these committee members is outgoing chairwoman, Bronwyn Tyrell, who is standing down after five years in the role, to be replaced by another fabulous woman, Amy van de Ven (Thank you Bronwyn and welcome Amy).

Amy van de Ven and Bronwyn Tyrell

But behind the glitz and glamour of Friday’s gala evening – and there were serious amounts of both – there were reminders of a genuine culture of mentoring and care for other women.

On stage and on screen we learned about the professional journeys of three Albury Wodonga business women, Felicity Cahill, Cassandra Watt and Breanne Kovacs, and their respective mentors, Karen Crook, Mell Millgate and Dr Alfeen Varghese. What wonderful insight into the work and dedication of all involved.

‘How nice is it to be a part of a female community that passes on life tips so naturally and strives to build others up and not bring them down?’

During her talk, Sarah also raised the subject of anxiety, both from her own perspective and as a general observation. We were told it is not always a bad thing to experience it, because it tells us helpful things. It also reminds us we are human.

Another thing, apparently, walking is a quick fix for anxiety because it’s physically impossible to be anxious and walk at the same time (unless perhaps you’re barefoot on our front lawn in bindii season. Just ask the dog).

Such a helpful take-home message because we all worry sometimes. How nice is it to be a part of a female community that passes on life tips so naturally and strives to build others up and not bring them down?

A special mention to the four gentlemen who came along (it was very easy to count them). Fortunately they didn’t seem at all daunted by the disproportionate gender ratio.

Brad Tyrell and Damien Cofield

Also, thanks to the kind person who made a cup of tea for me at the end of the night. Meant to tell you that you forgot the sugar but it’s OK. Really.

In case you missed our Social Snaps photo gallery click here. A flashback to Kylie King’s review of last year’s event featuring Mia Freedman: here.

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