It is very exciting to be at the birth of an idea that turns into something as beneficial and transformative as SPBA. I am probably unique in our organisation in that not only do I not have a professional qualification but I don’t and never have had, my own business. But my whole career , I worked for and enjoyed the benefits ( and challenges) of being employed by professional businesses. Being Office Manager in two different legal firms for a total of over thirty years in Nowra taught me the value of espousing the benefits of living, working and playing in the Shoalhaven. Keeping professional staff in the Shoalhaven and away from the lure of the big smoke ,has always been the big challenge. That is at the heart of SPBA.
I joined SPBA as an Associate Member at its foundation. I spent the first six or seven years as Co-Ordinator. These were fantastic years of building membership, establishing our ethos, drawing up our Constitution and drafting our Statement of Objectives. This foundational document is integral to who we have been, who we are and who we will be, going forward.
We planned speakers for our breakfasts, we organised social events and we whiled away a great deal of time coffee - ing with potential members. And along the way great lifelong friendships were born and we built a sense of family which we all value incredibly. It is my belief that SPBA has a warmth which belies its title. Yes we are about Shoalhaven professional businesses and all that is important to them, but we are much, much more.
And the benefits of these relationships flow in enabling the businesses to work collaboratively.
During the past eleven years we have established some amazing programmes including The Professional Snapshot which commenced in 2010 as a collaboration between the local high schools, SPBA businesses and Shoalhaven City Council. And our offshoot of Shoalhaven Young Professionals came into being. In addition, under Rhonda McGuire’s leadership we have run highly successful mentor and leadership programmes. These programmes have drawn on the best of a wonderful pool of established, experienced business people and linked them with our aspiring professionals, to the benefit of both. These programmes enrich our professional knowledge and capacity to run and grow our businesses for the benefit of all stakeholders. These stakeholders are varied; including school children, young professionals, clients, employers, employees and in more general terms the whole city of Shoalhaven.
During these years I have hung onto the coattails of some extraordinary people who have taught me so much. I am incredibly grateful f to all of them. I have loved my involvement with the programmes and have been awestruck at the achievements.
For me the past eleven years , ten of which I have been retired, have been a great big adventure.
Five years after our inception, SPBA granted me a life membership.
Thank you SPBA.