TO be in the midst of almost 400 other high-achieving and dynamic women at a recent conference in the nation’s capital was an inspiring experience for Boolarra’s Samantha Brick.
A private occupational therapist as well as the president elect for Soroptimist International Gippsland, Mrs Brick was the chosen representative from Latrobe City to attend the National Rural Women’s Conference in Canberra from 18 to 20 February, having received sponsorship from Regional Development Australia Gippsland.
“There were quite a few applications from Latrobe, so I was really pleased I got the chance to attend the conference, to talk to lots of other rural women about their businesses and networks and to promote Soroptimist International,” Mrs Brick said.
“Attending the conference really helped broaden my horizons to issues other rural women face including the impact of mining and coal seam exploration and the importance of supporting local growers of food.”
Mrs Brick said one of the ongoing benefits of attending the conference was the network of contacts made.
“These networks are important because women can feel isolated living in rural areas,” she said, adding the support was invaluable.
“Hearing from women who are dynamic and who have achieved things and have a lot of drive motivates you to do things yourself.”
Some of the tools Mrs Brick found herself introduced to included social networking site ConnectPink, which she said she would use in conjunction with Facebook.
Mrs Brick said the more she learnt of projects run by other rural women across the country, the more relevant she could make Soroptimist International Gippsland to issues affecting local women.
“The best part of the conference was that all the scholarship winners were staying at the same hotel, and we have all become really close since,” she said.
Themed ‘Big Inspiration, Big Challenges, Big Business and Big Networks’, the conference allowed Mrs Brick and five other delegates from Gippsland sponsored by RDA Gippsland to share their own experiences and make connections.
RDA Gippsland chair Richard Elkington said supporting the women aligned with the Gippsland Regional Plan’s priorities around health and community wellbeing outcomes.
“It’s important we support regional women who are leaders in their communities, to learn new skills and be inspired by other women who make significant contributions to their regional communities across Australia,” Mr Elkington said.