Travelling 5730 km around Queensland in 2022 has enabled me to meet a lot of inspirational women in our rural, regional and remote communities; women who are active members of committees, often wearing many hats in various groups and a lot who are paving the way for women in business in their local communities as well as maintaining an active role in raising their families.
These women have taken the leap of faith to invest in the bush and are playing a huge role in female leadership, particularly for the next generation.
They have overcome many challenges, especially in the past few years with droughts, floods and COVID, but it has been their determination and resilience that has seen them thrive and deliver services to our local communities that were lacking before, such as hospitality, retail clothing, beauty and even within the wedding industry.
I have not only seen this determination on a small business level but at a corporate level, with 84 per cent of management roles in my profession filled by women.
After spending time on the road this year speaking to these amazing women it has become evident the success of their businesses has come down to the support network around them, meeting with like-minded women and upskilling in areas such as communication, marketing, finance and leadership courses such as the Showgirl awards program that has assisted me in my leadership journey.
It has been vital to understand what other small businesses are doing, what's working and what's not working to be able to ensure business growth in small towns.
The viability of our businesses in rural, regional and remote communities rely on support from the local community and our visitors buying from the bush and buying locally produced goods and services, to keep these businesses in our towns, keep our communities alive and growing and keeping people in our areas for years to come.
Dolly Parton once said, "If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader" and I believe all of the women I have met on my journey have inspired, empowered and motivated me to be a better leader in my community both personally and professionally, maybe even sparking some ideas to start my own small business in the future.
- Cheneya Vetter, Queensland Country Life Showgirl 2021 runner-up
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