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Women in Business Night a chance to create connections

CONNECTING LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE: The first Women in Business Night was split into two groups to follow Covid-19 protocols. Pictured back from left at Taiki e! Impact House are Seda Naden, Lyn Robb, Vicki Hiha, Jessie Bourke, Meredith Thomson, Sandra Groves, Marie Cramp, Kendall Bramwell, Sue Cameron, Alice Kibble and Regina de Wolf-Ngarimu. Seated from left are Helena Anderson, Samantha Cameron, Kylee Nepia and Steph Barnett. Pictures by Gwenda Harvey Photography
NETWORKING: Pictured at the gathering held at Harcourts are Debs Hancock, Taranga Kent, Jess MacLellan, Chrissy Aldridge, Annie Meredith, Katie Griffin, Kirstie Lovell, Alice Kibble (standing), Jean Torrie, Amanda Cook, Vesna Radonich, Nikki Archdale, Jay Brown, Sandra Troy, Diane Taylor, Wendy Reeves and Leshaan Smith.

The first ever Tairawhiti Women in Business Night was a success with all spaces taken and plans for further networking events.

The networking event held on November 11 was hosted by BNI First Light - Gisborne in collaboration with Taiki e! Impact House and was organised by Ask Alice owner Alice Kibble.

Tickets fo the event were sold out within 12 days and to follow Covid-19 protocols around gathering numbers, participants were divided into two groups — one met in the Harcourts Gisborne office and the other at Taiki e! Impact House.

Owner of Katie Jane Wellness and BNI First Light president Katie Griffin said the event was about bringing women together to connect like-minded people.

“We discussed challenges we have faced in business and we wanted to create connections for support.

“People have experienced a variety of challenges — staffing issues, navigating the Covid-19 pandemic, burnout affecting mental and physical health, and isolation when people are working on their own.”

Ms Griffin said the group she was part of was really engaged, honest and open about their business experiences.

“Everyone was really supportive of each other and we are hoping this event is the first of many.

“We have created a Facebook group called ‘Women in Business Tairawhiti’ — we encourage businesswomen to join so we can organise another networking event in the new year and continue to work together to use business as a tool to enhance community.”

Ms Griffin said her group also discussed how important it was to have a mentor.

“A third party one can talk to outside of work about what’s going on in their business; someone who can guide you through the challenges you may face.

“I think it is beneficial to have a mentor — a lot of women here tonight commented that it can be really helpful.

“I personally work on my own. I have found being part of a group like BNI is really good for connecting with people and for extra support. It has been great for my personal and professional development.”

BNI (Business Network International) is a business and professional referral organisation where members meet weekly, in different chapters nationwide, to exchange qualified business referrals and develop relationships.

Event organiser Alice Kibble is a BNI member and a resident at Taiki E! impact house.

“We had a great turnout, which was really awesome. We are actually surprised by the amount of interest in the event, which is testament to the need for a women in business support group here in Tairawhiti.

“We have had a range of businesswomen come along — end-of-life doula, photographers, cafe owners, technology, artists and forestry — a wide variety of industries were represented here.”

Ms Kibble said her group talked about how important it was to have a support network when running a business, to learn from other people’s experiences — especially in the current climate.

“The event was really about collaboration of ideas and solutions, so we can move together towards a better future.

“Our group also talked about challenges we face as business owners — time, and how you manage it.”

Ms Kibble said the group also talked about how to prioritise self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

“How it’s really important to prioritise yourself and take time out for yourself and family.

“Business isn’t the be-all and end-all. It’s a driver to create a better life for your community and whanau. Don’t forget that’s the reason you are doing it.”

Author Regina De Wolf-Ngarimu said she really enjoyed the evening.

“The opportunity to connect with other businesswomen in the community in a relaxed and nurturing environment is a gift.

“We live in a diverse, highly creative space and the mahi of these mana wahine, who drive entrepreneurial activity, adds to the business landscape.

“I feel that in Turanganui-a-Kiwa, activities that create work and income should be assisted and applauded by all. Every person I met had knowledge to share and that’s beautiful.

“It was fantastic to have Alice Kibble involved in this. I really admire her drive. While Alice was young, I actually voted for her when she ran for council as she was the only candidate to proactively approach us with information on her values.

“Her business is fantastic. Also, the Taiki E! environment is full of smart, supportive people every day, and they are so respectful.”

The event was a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2021.