Business As Unusual

Surreal is the word I would use for this week. It’s been hard watching the dominoes fall as businesses continue to close and the subsequent loss of customers and jobs across the board. It’s been heartening to see essential industries in the opposite position putting on people who’ve been stood down or lost their jobs. While I feel extremely grateful to still have a job – it’s been completely overwhelming to see the human cost and economic impact in our community. I spent most of this week ensuring La Trobe alumni could access LinkedIn Learning (one of our alumni benefits) and liaising with the team at LinkedIn regarding contractual issues, which has not been great timing given the demand for all things online by alumni and in general.

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Within the La Trobe community, my colleagues have pivoted and launched the Student Crisis Appeal which went live yesterday. Like many people, our students rely on casual jobs in retail and hospitality to pay their rent and buy food as well as study. La Trobe University will match every dollar raised from alumni and private donors and our Senior Executive Group have already donated to the cause with 100% of funds going directly to students – many of who wouldn’t be able to continue to study without financial assistance.

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Locally, if you can support Banyule businesses that are still operating, please do. While my friend Jonno from Valiant Barbers has temporarily closed up shop, Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training has moved to Zoom sessions online and limited outdoors sessions and I picked up four super delicious takeaway burrito bowls from Luis at The Pioneer Cafe yesterday in Rosanna.

If you can’t afford to pay for Zoom sessions, Yoga with Adriene is free on YouTube as well as La Trobe Sport’s #ActivationInIsolation series which will hold #MobilityMondays, #WorkoutWednesdays and #FlexibilityFridays. I’ve seen P.E. with Joe for children being promoted online and I know it’s really hard at the moment for working parents at home who have young children.

One of the reasons we moved to the suburbs was to give our children a backyard. As much as they’ve outgrown the cubby and sandpit, we have a basketball ring which may be our saving grace and I bought a badminton set online the other day which has brought out our competitive side as a family. If I had a garage, I’d definitely get my Miao Miao on and go full Asian buying a table tennis set – nothing like a bit of ping pong over winter!

Establishing a new routine will become really important in the coming days and weeks. I’ve already started walking to ‘work’ in what would ordinarily have been my morning car commute, setting up my home office (with a better outlook and a mostly well-behaved office dog who is loving the 24/7 company) and will be setting up similar spaces and routines for my kids as they move to online learning, which will definitely happen. I’ve already moved the social events I had on with friends to Zoom so we will still catch up online instead of in real life and I know younger friends are using Houseparty for group video chat or Netflix Party to watch movies with mates.

Hang in there – if you are one of the unlucky people who lost their job this week, then I am thinking of you. Please take care of your mental health, as much as your physical health. The coming months will be a test of our true character, courage and resilience dealing with the unknown and unknowable.

Content is king

Don’t I know it. One of my colleague’s whole job is producing all sorts of content for our Alumni communications channels including our monthly e-News – listicles, video vox pops and social media on Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s a big job which keeps her very busy and while I miss content writing from my previous freelancing life, I’ve also been glad to move on to more strategic work, which will still be operational in nature next year when I execute my Young Alumni plan.

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I went to Shine On with Jules Lund at the Rosanna Golf Club on Wednesday night as a guest of Banyule Business. It was a great event with close to 100 local small business people there to see Jules present. He’s had a really interesting career change from Getaway TV host (followed by radio) which saw his Facebook page for radio the most highly engaged in Australia at one point. His interest in graphic design and photography (visual content) has resulted in his move into the entrepreneurship space with his global marketing technology company Tribe. It was a fascinating discussion made all the more interesting by his back story as a Reach Foundation protege mentored by the late, and great, Jim Stynes (and Reach Foundation founder) at the age of 15 – something I wasn’t aware of.

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Jules has had a stellar rise in the digital marketing industry but learnt a lot of life lessons on the way including the need to step back once a CEO is in place and the anxiety that comes with running a business of his scale that has grown exponentially from him as founder to 70 plus people globally. He stressed the need for prioritising sleep over work and the power of meditation. While he is focused on building wealth at the moment, I do question whether it’s worth it and I hope that he one day returns to the giving space supporting Reach. Money is not always everything and balance has become increasingly important to me as I get older – easy to want but hard to put into practice especially with competing needs of family, friends, work and your own interests.

It was fantastic to see three of the Banyule Business small business awards (presented after Jules Lund) go to sustainable cleaning company The Pure Green Fairy, Leni Swims and The Ode Wardrobe – the latter two businesses create sustainable swimwear and bridal wear. I spoke to Thanh Nguyen from The Pure Green Fairy after her win as well as a number of other media people there (including my friend and ex-colleague Anastasia who won the door prize!) and La Trobe alumnus and Tribe staff member Zach Karengalis.

Networking also took place before the event so it was lovely to also catch up briefly with my friend Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training who has moved to the public speaking circuit on top of still running her business.

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It was hard to go out on a school night but evening events will become more common in the lead up to Christmas and with summer soon upon us – the Summer Night Market has started at the Queen Vic Market in the city while the Coburg Night Market is also on next weekend. I was in the city briefly today walking past the heritage listed Victorian Artists Society building (above) and it was glorious in the sun after the heat of yesterday. Have a good one.

An idea needing to be made

Heide’s ceramics exhibition with this intriguing name opens today in Bulleen and I love a bold idea at the best of times. As I get older, while ideas are great, it’s the realisation of them and their outcomes that interest me more – skill comes in the actual implementation of ideas but without a vision to start with, there can be no real progress.

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Speaking of ceramics, local artist Lene Kuhl Jakobsen is a finalist in this year’s Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award with her piece ‘What We Know Now’ (images above) addressing the challenge that is climate change. The related exhibition opens on the 14 August at the Manningham Art Gallery in Doncaster. Lene is also exhibiting at the Craft Atrium at Watson Place (off Flinders Lane) as part of the Craft Cubed Festival which starts on 1 August  and I love the image she’s used (below) on her new business cards.

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It’s Open House Weekend and lucky you if you’ve already visited some of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings and hidden surprises. I had a private tour by Dr Gillian Shepherd of the Trendall Research Centre (a previous Open House venue) at La Trobe University the other week- the centre was designed by modernist architect Robin Boyd and houses a number of rare books and artwork left as a private library and mid century apartment (time capsule!) of former resident academic – art historian and archaeologist Arthur Dale (A.D.) Trendall to the University. A private person, not much is known about his personal life except that he worked as a cryptographer (Japanese code breaker) during World War II – my colleagues and I were quite enthralled by the story regaled to us by Gillian over a cup of tea while seated at the Fler dining table . It was a little bit Indiana Jones and Gillian’s passion, and vision for the future, was very inspiring. The western sky views over the University from Trendall’s private floating balcony were also awesome to see.

Speaking of Robin Boyd, his namesake exhibition Design Legend starts at Heide Museum of Modern Art on 3 August. While I will always love Art Deco, mid century modern is probably second on my list and Boyd is one of Australia’s design champions of that era. It’s National Tree Day tomorrow and I hope to feature a local artist inspired by local nature shortly on my blog. A couple of other local happenings include the opening of new cafe, bar and grill Tres in Rosanna, which has replaced Jillian’s on Lower Plenty Road and I wish the new owners well. If you are a home based business you may be interested in a Banyule Business networking event being held on Tuesday morning at Hunter Lane cafe, where you’ll get to meet and hear from my local friend and trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training.

Get on board

It’s been busy – I’m trying hard to minimise the amount of things our family is doing but it’s been hard. My brain reached saturation point yesterday and my body is obviously not coping as for the first time in my life, I’ve managed to pull my neck and shoulder and have now seen a physiotherapist at Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic not once but twice in the past week. They are very good there and I do feel like I’m in safe hands. I did want to do a special shout out for The Shoulder workshop that my trainer Nikki Ellis is holding at her studio Cinch Training in Heidelberg Heights on Saturday 30 March in partnership with Perform Physio+Pilates. As someone who has long believed in the preventative power of exercise, this one would be a great one to go to and I wish it had been held before now!

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I saw Nikki today at the Banyule Women in Business lunch which was a more intimate affair this year held at the Rosanna Golf Club in Lower Plenty. If you’ve never been it’s worth the more scenic drive inland from Banyule Road past the silos and the horses – it’s incredibly beautiful and was spectacular today with a sea of green everywhere you looked. The lunch will return to the Ivanhoe Centre next year once renovations are complete but for the uninitiated Lower Plenty really is a hidden secret in Banyule – country meets city. I also wanted to do a shout out for the #ShopToItinBanyule Facebook and Instagram competition currently being run by Banyule Business until 30th April giving you the chance to win a $500 gift card.

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The keynote speaker at today’s event was KeepCup founder and former lawyer Abigail Forsyth who was charmingly natural and real as a speaker – she’s a very relatable and likeable person and her story is an inspiring one. I had a quick chat with her at the end as we have people in common and her brother and KeepCup co-founder Jamie has moved on from their business to tackle the scourge that is plastic containers with his BeetBox lunchbox company. I look forward to the Banyule Women in Business event every year, it’s been fantastic for me from a networking perspective (as long as you do follow up) and become an annual thing I do with some fabulous local business women who have become good friends.

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A few things to mention today – John Gollings: Spirit of Place opens at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen tomorrow and I’ve been a fan of his photography for a number of years now. The Darebin Community and Kite Festival is also being held on Sunday. Speaking of things that move, I took a few quick and dirty snaps of this mystery vintage yellow bus (below) that I’ve seen being driven locally on Waiora Road and parked on Lower Plenty Road – bigger than a Combi Van but smaller than a normal bus. I’d love to know its story!

Oink oink!

The Lunar New Year of the Pig is about to trot in next Tuesday and if you’ve had a false start to the year – here’s your chance to start all over again. My trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Heidelberg Heights has signed up for FebFast and laid down the gauntlet for all her clients to do the same – and not just for alcohol but sugar, screens and anything else you may be better off reducing in your life.

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It is the Year of the Pig and I’ve bought a set of commemorative gold coins (above) from the Australian Mint as a keepsake gift – the Asian in me couldn’t help myself. Unlike western astrology, pigs are a symbol of wealth in Chinese culture and pig people are known for their beautiful personalities and good fortune in life – lucky you if you were born in the Year of the Pig or know someone who will be born this year.

My past week has been a whirlwind with the return to school and extra-curricular activities on top of a new job although I suspect we’ll be feeling it more next week once we complete a whole 7 days – it sure is busy and one part of me is always a bit incredulous that kids start school at the hottest time of the year. I guess there’s no getting around the weather in Melbourne no matter what you do.

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One of the highlights has been taking delivery of our art deco cabinet (above in our somewhat dark room) from Contemporary Vintage in Alphington and it now taking pride of place in our formal living room. However – the thing with getting ‘new’ pieces for home sometimes has a knock on effect and you realise other things around it need to be replaced or upgraded. In our case, the painting which hung about our old cabinet is now too small so we’re now on the hunt for a new painting which will be more in scale. Speaking of which, one of the work highlights for me is finding out my new building houses some of the La Trobe Art Institute collection including a Sidney Nolan painting that I walk past every day. I did manage to have a quick chat yesterday with the acting LAI Director Sandra Bruce and hope to catch up with her at some stage soon.

Speaking of Heide artists, Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen is holding a Showtime Night Market tonight, a Date Night x Midsumma on 10 February in the Heart Garden near Heide I as well as Art by Twilight on 16 February. It is very calming to spend time in galleries around art as well as in nature so enjoy if you make it there. Happy New Year!

 

Summer lovin’

Well we all got there in the end. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring all that you wish for and more. It’s not even 2019 yet but the year has already rung in changes for me and for other people including my sponsor Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna. After two years, Dani and Dennis Ahimastos have decided to hang up the apron (!) and have sold their business to new owners who will be taking over from 8 January. I was in there for my own farewell lunch last week not realising it was also farewell for them. The business will continue as Hunter Lane Cafe and staff will also be staying on so I hope those of you who are local will continue to support them.

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I also managed to drop into my other sponsor’s house party the other week – Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training – who has also had change with her business moving to a new location this year. It was lovely to celebrate with Nikki in her beautiful home full of beautiful things (she’s a woman after my own heart as a fellow antiques lover with a great eye) along with a number of her other closest clients who are also friends. I feel very lucky to know her and be included in that select group of people.

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I’ve had a massive week of ending including my own Hawaii-an themed Divisional Christmas party at the Thornbury Bowls Club which was heaps of fun! I was surprisingly better at bowls than I thought – hitting the jack on my second try but regardless, it was just a great way to say goodbye to Marketing and Recruitment at La Trobe. While I have previously been invited to lawn balls (and to trugo – another Victorian-era lawn game) – it was the first time I’d ever played. I particularly loved the group of old timers at the front bar I said g’day to who looked like characters out of the movie Crackerjack!

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I have realised this Christmas that there is much to be grateful for and I’m looking forward to an even bigger, better and brighter New Year in 2019. I would say bolder as well even though I am departing from the Bold Thinking Series and I did want to leave you with some summer listening. My very last task was to create a video of highlight speakers to be used for the Facebook advertising campaign that kicks off on Boxing Day – I hope you enjoy it and any of the podcasts that are now available from this year and last – my legacy on the series. With love from Miss Rosanna x.

Find your fierce

Easy to say but not always easy to do.  It’s my trainer Nikki Ellis‘s mantra and tagline on the window of her new Cinch Training studio at 1 Orr Street in Heidelberg Heights.  For locals, it’s the old Shu-Way shoe store completely transformed into a one stop health, wellbeing and fitness centre right next door to Jam and Cream cafe (where you can work off any scones eaten).  My photos don’t quite capture how spectacular her new space currently looks but I love the aqua feature wall and Nikki’s sense of style.  And yes, while Nikki sponsors this very blog, her studio was one I already went to as a new customer a number of years ago and I have followed her ever since.  When you do find the right people for you, it’s important to stick with them and Nikki’s been part of my entourage of warm, supportive and inspiring people in my life for  a long time now.

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I’m happy to say it’s been a pretty seamless move from Macleod to Heidelberg Heights for her and the  new Cinch studio space is more than twice the size of the previous one allowing for lots of room as it used to get pretty tight in the old studio.  Nikki herself looks amazing particularly on the back of a recent procedure and a business trip to San Diego.  As for her mantra, I think it’s hard to separate mind from body – if you cultivate a healthy and fit body, the mental benefits are priceless and you see this in something like the recent Invictus Games for those injured or ill after serving their country – Invictus meaning ‘unconquered’ and if you can conquer both your mind and body, there is nothing you can’t achieve.

The format for Nikki’s new classes is a bit different in that you’re given your own worksheet to follow so while it’s a bit more self-directed, it allows your respective trainer more time to check and correct technique and frees them up from having to facilitate the entire class.  This format is also considered optimal for results as much as it was fun having different themes every week prior to the move.  There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple and consistent.  I expect to be feeling it in my arms tomorrow!

Have a great long weekend for those of you lucky enough to have both the Monday and Tuesday off work – spare a thought for those of us at Universities who don’t get Cup Day off!

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Disclosure: Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch Training