Well, I felt like the real Cinderella on Friday at Banyule’s Women in business lunch held at The Centre Ivanhoe with key speaker celebrity stylist and shoe business entrepreneur Lana Wilkinson. With my hired Alemais dress from GlamCorner, vintage fake fur jacket and leather boots and borrowed bag from my bestie Jules – it was a lovely excuse to dress up.
And what a fabulous event it was, even with COVID-19 lurking in the background. My fairy god-sister – local identity, personal trainer and podcaster Nikki Ellis – hosted a table of Banyule’s leading business women pictured left to right below: Amy O’Shannessy (Perform Physiotherapy + Pilates), Kate Heslop (State of Solace and Be Podiatry), Jodi Crocker (Baketico Heidelberg), Cinch Training rep Justine, Cinch Training nutritionist Stephanie Canning, me and Nikki (Cinch Training/Find Your Fierce with Nikki Ellis), Nicole Webb (Greensborough Remedial Massage & Myotherapy), Ilene Kairouz (Aqueous Designs) and Karyn Harte (Bees Knees Marketing & Design).
This Women in Business event was particularly stylish from the beautiful plants by The Greenery Garden & Home and table flowers by Floral Impressions to the typeface used for signage and name cards. I think the Banyule Business team did an outstanding job including an event timed to perfection – starting at 11.30am and finishing exactly at 2pm (according to Nikki’s Apple watch!) and there was a quick turnaround with an evening event being held at the same venue. The food by Peter Rowland Catering was also excellent and I think they hold the bar in Melbourne along with other long-term-ers The Big Group. Locally, I have used Luckman Catering and would use them again for future events.
It was a momentous event not only in that it finally happened after two years of lockdowns but also in that Banyule Council has both a female Mayor in Elizabeth Nealy as well as a female CEO in Alison Beckwith (who did a great job as MC having a fireside chat with Lana Wilkinson) so women in business all round. A big thank you too from me to the women behind the scenes in Dani Ahimastos and Jacinta Simms at Banyule Business.
Lana herself was very impressive – articulate, authentic and very down-to-earth highlighting not just the glamorous side of her business (she’s worked with the original stylist turned entrepreneur – Rachel Zoe -and clientele includes Megan Gale, Rebecca Judd, Whitney Port, Millie Macintosh, Rachel Zoe, Ruby Rose, Zoe Foster Blake, Anna Heinrich, Elyse Knowles, Rachael Finch and Natalie Bassingthwaighte) but also the lowlights and stresses with finances, managing staff and a young family coupled with opening a business just before the pandemic hit. What stood out to me was her work ethic inherited from her drycleaning business father – most highly successful people have this in common but it’s always a balancing act. I was glad to hear she prioritises self-care with training three times a week.
The event was the highlight of my week – with the surge in cases in Melbourne – my organisation has given employees the option of working from home over the next four to six weeks. I’ve now had my second booster and masked up on Friday so not only hoping to avoid getting COVID again – I’m also thinking of our strained healthcare workers who are both burnt out and understaffed. While it’s been very challenging as a knowledge worker – it pales in comparison to those at the frontline.
While I haven’t lost my glass slipper, it is back to reality this week but how wonderful it was to have lived the fairy tale life on Friday.