Inaugural Leaders Breakfast a success

MEDIA RELEASE – 11th October 2017
Women encouraged to work on what they love doing and get involved.

Leaders from Tasmania’s tourism industry shared insights and lessons learnt on the way to the top in their respective careers at a business breakfast in Hobart on Tuesday 10th October.

Over 60 guests attended the event hosted by Women in Tourism & Hospitality Tasmania (WITH Tas) at The Old Woolstore where MC Peter West introduced panellists Kath McCann, Natasha Nieuwhof and Jane Parsons. These three women each have successful careers in very different businesses: the dynamic Kath McCann is now Sales & Marketing Manager at Wrest Point but as a 29 year old, energetically took on the challenge as Director of Marketing for Tourism Tasmania.

A Churchill Fellow and co-owner of Goaty Hill Vineyard in the Tamar Valley, Natasha Nieuwhof is actively involved with the wider wine industry and events such as Festivale and Taste of Tasmania.

Jane Parsons, together with her husband Tim, runs Curringa Farm, a trail-blazing agri-tourism business offering visitors the chance to stay and experience a working farm in the Derwent Valley. Jane has also developed a line of gourmet products from the farm’s diverse foods.

All agreed there are not enough women in senior management and boards in the state although progress is being made. They encouraged women to get involved in their wider industry, connecting with other women and men at all levels. Kath McCann said “Boards really do need a broader range of people with different skills and perspectives and there are great opportunities to work on boards currently on offer. We need to encourage great women and men to put up their hands to be considered.”

Their advice for the WITH Tas student scholarship winners in the audience and all other younger Tasmanian women was to find what you love and work on that. Natasha Nieuwhof said “Do things that make you happy. Our business is 24/7 which can be hard work but it’s enjoyable when you love what you do.” Jane Parsons agreed adding “Know that life is a journey, take it a step at a time. Go for what you’re passionate about and be happy with who you are.”

When questioned on whether there was still a need for women-only associations and awards, Natasha pointed out the value of the Australian Women in Wine Awards (WIWA) saying “In the wine industry where it is very male dominated, these awards shine a light on those achieving great things across a variety of roles. It shows other women what we can do. Kath added that groups of women must be genuinely positive, empathetic and supportive of each other. “With the pressure we put on ourselves, we can be our own worst enemies so support from others is crucial.” she said.

Other comments included the importance of ongoing study, something Natasha found life-changing with her Churchill Scholarship, and as Kath said “ Making time to get off the ‘hamster wheel’ and freeing your brain to consider the bigger picture is important.”

WITH Tas President, Jane Johnston, said “The room was buzzing with conversation around the topics raised and it was wonderful to see our two scholarship winners involved in those discussions. Given the strong response to this breakfast, we’re looking forward to presenting a similar event next year.”