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When the going gets tough

It has been business as usual at the Cairns Business Women’s Club during the COVID-19 lockdown, although it has been conducted in a very different way. Like many other businesses and organisations, we’ve had to alter our meetings to online video conferencing. It certainly has been a whirlwind couple of months, and it has been incredible to witness how many businesses from all industries have adapted to the “new norm”.

When the pandemic first hit, our board members came together and quickly organised several online workshops to help support our members through these times by offering them access to expert advice covering essential topics such as marketing, finances, health and wellbeing. We had fantastic responses and feedback from all our workshops, especially the ones on marketing which were in high demand and really goes to show how relevant marketing is now. Everyone is looking for advice on how they can best get their message out there in this current climate.

Because we haven’t been able to get together, we also held a social function online. Our Mad Hatters Trivia Night was quite successful and was a lot of fun. The countdown is now on to our first face-to-face event since International Women’s Day lunch in March, and we are incredibly excited to be able to see everyone in person again as restrictions ease and events can start up again.

The first face-to-face event we have scheduled is a Business and Bubbles networking get-together on August 7. This will be a Friday night after-work event, and we’re very excited to bring people together again at this popular event which will be held at Rydges Esplanade with a 5pm arrival. It’s a fantastic chance to have a drink after work and enjoy extensive networking opportunities. Networking can be daunting for a lot of people and our Business & Bubbles events are a great way to help overcome that fear, as we provide different opportunities to mingle and ice breakers to help you along the way.

The date for the CBWC awards is still in discussion right now, but nominations will continue to stay open. As we don’t have any information past mid-July on a roadmap of what the restrictions are going to be, there’s an uncertainty around the size of events such as our awards evening. We’re hoping to start up our regular luncheons again in September, and certainly hope that restrictions will be further eased to allow for our famous Christmas lunch event which attracts over 200 attendees each year and is our most popular event of the year.

Right now, our focus is on the continued support of our members and sponsors and trying to get everyone back together face to face again. We are expecting a great turnout at our Business and Bubbles event in August. While we have all done our best to adapt during this time, I think people are missing the connection of seeing each other in person. I personally am excited to get back to seeing everyone face to face again.

On behalf of the CBWC Board, we would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Vlasta Eriksson, who has steered the ship since February this year when she stepped into the President’s role and drove it through quite a tough time. Vlasta announced her resignation from the board in late May. Vlasta has been a member of our club for several years, and we thank her for her valuable contribution as a member and in the President’s role.

Cairns may have a slower recovery period than other regional areas because tourism and hospitality make up a large part of our industry sector, but we are bred tough up here in Far North Queensland, and we will make it to the other side. This will not last forever! An uplifting quote was shared to me by a CBWC member in the early stages of the isolation period and was, to me, truly indictive of FNQ’s spirt – “Tough times don’t last, tough people do!”.

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