Guest Speaker, IWD Event, Cowra

Thursday, 17 March 2011

I love country towns. I love them for the contrasts - for the surprises and beauty they have in store. And my recent trip to Cowra was no exception.

Travelling 2.5 hours north of Canberra to this large country town for an International Women's Day event and school visits was an inspirational experience, especially the spectacular Beautiful Strength event organised by local dynamo Kylie Wood, where I was guest speaker.

The event was held at the spectacular Mulligan's Vineyard, just a few kms west of town. Held in their long wine bunker, Kylie and her team had already set up rows and rows of retro blue chairs and lined the walls with lashings of ladies-who-lunch high tea style treats, goodie bags and IWD information. Talk about stunning.

I set up my book table, met the truly lovely vineyard owners Emma and Andrew, then before we knew it, the women started pouring in - and pouring in - until there was standing room only... a really astounding and inspiring turn-out of women from all over Cowra and surrounds.

Kylie Wood made a heartfelt intro about her connection with the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.

Then it was my turn - I spoke for about 40 minutes on how important it is for women to follow their hearts in life, no matter their dream, no matter the obstacles.

It was such a thrill to see such a diversity of women turn up at the event - Kylie had hoped to attract around 50 women, but there were well over 100 in the end. What a fantastic turn out for such an important women's event.

When I was done, the intensely soulful and talented Nerida Cuddy sang a superb song she had written just for the event, whilst plucking at her banjo. Talk about moving.

Also moving was meeting so many women who lined up to have a book signed - and tell me a little bit about themselves and their dreams. Several women had been so inspired by the event, their eyes were shining with a quiet ambition... I knew some wheels were certainly turning! and it's so exciting to think about the wonderful possibility these women are creating with their lives.

A huge thank you to Kylie and all her 'helpers' for such an incredible experience - and to everyone who turned up. It was an overwhelming weekend and one I'll never forget.

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