The Hunter Collective 2015 saw the introduction of workshops, a change of venue and an opportunity for Hunter entrepreneurs to have three minutes in the spotlight.
The day began with organisers Heidi Alexandra Pollard, CEO of UQ Power, and Christina Gerakiteys, CEO and Creative Director of Ideation at Work, having their creative problem solving skills tested.
Thirty minutes before Lisa Messenger, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Collective, was due to begin her Daring and Disruptive workshop, the phone rang. Lisa was at a standstill on the F3 and still an hour away. A little Googling and it was discovered that a truck had overturned and the three northbound lanes were closed.
The Hunter Collective organisers, both experienced and effective workshop presenters, started planning how they would begin the workshop. That changed with a second call and after a bit a scurrying around, Lisa was at the workshop via Skype. The workshop began and the traffic started to flow and around 40 minutes later Lisa appeared in the room in person.
Workshop number two was with Newcastle-based The Sista Code Founder, Melissa Histon and Heidi Alexandra, who recently spent five days on Sir Richard Branson’s Private Island, Necker. Nestled in the Caribbean, the trip was part of a Virgin Unite Leadership Gathering. With the theme ‘When Bold Minds, Big Thinkers and Brave Hearts come together,’ the businesswomen were fortunate to spend time not only with with Branson himself, but also spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg and Dermalogica Founder Jane Wurwand.
“A strong theme throughout the gathering was the belief that businesses can drive positive global change, particularly when people and planet are valued equally with profit,” Heidi Alexandra said.
“A core belief of everyone on Necker was the desire to put people at the heart of business,” Melissa added.
The final workshop for the day was with Gary Bertwistle, six times author and host of the Mojo Radio show. He emphasised the importance of taking notes and being active and engaged in conversations. He also spoke about the need for simplicity.
The headline event was in the evening, titled Frank and Fearless, which began with a conversation with Port Stephens based Melissa Edyvean, co-founder of Bondi Chai. In 2000 Melissa and her partner and Bondi Chai cofounder Martin, were ticking off an item on their bucket list and celebrating New Year’s Eve in Times Square, New York City. It was during that trip they discovered chai andthey ‘just knew’ they had to bring it to Australia. Melissa told the audience how “In 2008 we bought two tonnes of chai as their first order, but only had an order of 17kg!” Melissa said. “We then waited nervously to see if we could shift it, which we did.”
Another speaker was Jacinta McDonell, who, along with her brother and a third business partner, introduced Australia to Anytime Fitness. Fundamental to their success was to each take responsibility for the things they enjoyed doing. With three partners, chances were that if one of them wasn’t partial to a particular job, one of the others was. Delegation, hard work and plenty of vision have seen over 400 Anytime Fitness gyms established in Australia.
“My advice for entrepreneurs is to look at pain points for the consumer,” Jacinta said. “We found that in the fitness category that was affordable and convenient fitness.”
After a trip to Malawi in 2014 Jacinta set out to change the world. Jacinta’s experience highlighted the outrageous plight of many Malawians who experienced a five-month food gap, every year. So she established The Human Kind Project to empower businesses to know that business for good is good for business. The foundation enables businesses to connect to a cause and purpose without having to establish their own foundation.
The Hunter Collective 2015 offered so many take-outs,” Christina Gerakiteys said. “The guest speakers were united in their intent on sharing their stories and encouraging those present to pursue their own business and personal journeys with passion, belief and commitment.”
Image | Heidi Alexandra Pollard, Lisa Messenger, Jacinta McDonell, Melissa Edyvean, Christina Gerakiteys, Gary Bertwistle.