SA Woman Australia Community Awards have been held and two Southern Fleurieu women have received the ultimate accolade.
Victor Harbor's Carolyn Jeffrey, the founder of the Women in Business Regional Network won the Community category and Yankalilla's Tiarnie Marks, the owner/operator of 21 Junk Street, won the People's Choice award for her category.
Tiarnie, has also been elected chair of the Fleurieu Business Association and Carolyn founded the Business Network in 2017 to provide support, networking, promotion and advocacy for women in regional areas of the state
Tiarnie was humbled to receive the award.
"I love my community so much and am always grateful for the support we have had from our little regional area. I look forward to doing what I can to do my bit in this area," Tiarnie said.
Carolyn Jeffrey was honoured and privileged to have been named the Community Award winner at the SA Woman Australia awards for supporting women in business in regional South Australia.
"It's fair to say I cried when it was announced, as I hadn't really taken time out to appreciate what an amazing organisation has been created and the difference it has made," Carolyn said.
"Few people start a business or an organisation with the aim of getting an award, but it is a delightful bonus to receive such an accolade. I started the Women in Business Regional Network just over two years ago out of a desire to assist businesswomen in the regions to overcome isolation through networking, access to practical and cost-effective training opportunities, support and to play an advocacy role with the aim of providing them with a voice and nurturing the voice within each of them."
Carolyn said the network now had chapters meeting regularly in Victor Harbor, Strathalbyn, Murray Bridge, McLaren Vale, the Riverland, Yorke Peninsula, Adelaide Hills and Port Pirie. Carolyn organises and attends each function.
Tiarnie established 21 Junk Street with her husband. The business started off as a retro and vintage shop in a back shed and is now a well-known catering business and coffee van servicing the Fleurieu.
"Being nominated was an unexpected surprise. I am so grateful as it has already opened a whole door of opportunities, new networking and refreshing people who love to give advice but are also not afraid to ask for it," Tiarnie said.
Carolyn will not rest on her laurels and has big plans for the next 12 months for the network.
"The plan in 2020 is to have new chapters in the Barossa, Clare, Port Augusta and a couple of other locations. We will create a start-up club to help new businesswomen to get guidance and support and there will be the launch of an online shared marketplace for network members," Carolyn said.
"There will also be a heavy emphasis on the development of leadership traits and personal confidence in our members so they can use their voice to expand the opportunities ahead for women in business in regional areas.
"There has never been a better time to be a woman in business in South Australia, so we need to be equipped to make the most of the opportunities ahead and I'm excited about having the chance to make that happen."
Carolyn said organisations like the Women in Business Regional Network and SA Woman Australia are the ideal vehicles and platforms for women in business to take advantage of the opportunities that are available now and into the future. If women work together and support one another the possibilities are endless.
"Thanks to SA Woman Australia for the very professional awards process that provides the opportunity to reflect upon our business journey and also to Juliet Lever OR Relaunch My Life for sponsoring the award. It was so wonderful to get back to my motel room too to see the wonderful array of delights inside my winner's box, so thanks to all who contributed to that too," Carolyn said.
"This year I have organised, attended and addressed almost 70 women in business functions throughout the state. Over the past two years I've travelled thousands of kilometres, sacrificed time and money to build the network and many people ask, "Why?". The simple answer is that watching women grow and support one another gives me such a boost that money would never be able to buy.
"This time last year I would never have dreamed I'd be standing before a room of more than 90 people, overseeing a network of 138 financial members, over 1500 social media followers and 800+ subscribers."