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The future’s bright


The future’s bright

Sunshine Coast business women are encouraged to get out and SHINE thanks to this conference.

“Let’s make 2022 happen.”

It’s a simple notion, but one that Sunshine Coast business people are holding on to with all their might.

SHINE Business Women founder Zoe Sparks knows all too well how COVID-19 has negatively affected our region.

But she is hopeful the next 12 months will be prosperous for the Sunshine Coast’s 31,500 businesses, and she plans to instil that confidence in fellow business women.

The fourth Shine Business Women’s Step Up Conference is happening in October to give women a platform to immerse themselves in professional and personal development, and the chance to “fill their cup”.

“The whole idea is to make sure we’re offering professional and personal development, speakers, workshops and opportunities for women in business,” Ms Sparks tells My Weekly Preview.

“We want to be as inclusive as possible and give [women] the chance to expand on their skills and grow and head in different directions.”

The 2021 event will include a range of special guests including Department of Transport and Main Roads’ deputy director general Amanda Yeates, Mervat Quirke from Thompson Institute, Smart Advice’s Michelle Hamer and Emma Greenhatch from Food and Agricultural Network.

World-renowned keynote speaker Keith Abraham, who Ms Sparks has been trying to secure for the event for several years after hearing him speak at a conference previously, will round off the event.

“Everybody who walks out of that room will just be like ‘wow, let’s go, let’s make 2022 happen’, which is really our ultimate goal making sure we’re helping women,” Ms Sparks says.

With the ever-changing world we live in, Ms Sparks, who has a background in conference and event management, believes now is more important than ever to take the time out for self-growth and development.

“There’s a lot of women out there who have pivoted or changed and are looking at how they grow, what’s next, or how they get back on track because our whole world has changed quite significantly.

“We’ve had a lot more people reaching out asking for a chat or support.

“I think a lot of ladies on the Coast, when COVID happened, not only were we running businesses, but we had a partner working from home or children we had to home school.

“Looking after ourselves and making sure we are still filling up our cup is so important.”

Ms Sparks says Shine Business Women aims to complement rather than compete with other local networks, offering a membership program, regular events, SHINE’ing the Spotlight books and a podcast, as well as one-on-one mentoring.

The Shine Business Women’s Step Up Conference will take place on October 22 at Maroochy RSL.

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