Attending training was part of the Board of Director scholarship opportunity with Wheatbelt NRM (Natural Resource Management). I was new to the world of directorship and was eager to learn. I was presented with the opportunity to undertake the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course. I was warned it was intense but also that it was the best of the best and very highly regarded in the business world. I was keen. I looked up dates and found a regional week long course down south. I knew I had to go to this one. It would mean I could immerse myself in training for the week without the worry of driving and getting home to attend the animals. I organised it all and headed down to Bunker Bay Resort in Dunsborough on the 4th April 2016.
Little did I know that date was destined to change my life.
Bunker Bay was the most beautiful setting, I loved connecting with the ocean and dolphins. Although it was cold, I was committed to swimming in the ocean each morning as a daily ritual. The course was full on, like I couldn’t keep up and was completely out of my depth. I had no prior experience in directorship (other than attending 1 Wheatbelt NRM Board meeting), the terminology being used was new to me, I was attempting to do the mammoth amount of required reading but retaining the info just wasn’t happening. I felt fairly confident the first day, but then my confidence steadily headed down hill. There were group exercises for each module and I just didn’t feel like I could contribute. I started to blush severely anytime someone looked at me or asked a question, and I continually had the feeling of wanting the floor to open up and swallow me to put me out of my misery.
I remember meeting Brett at the first night’s introduction drinks on the 4th. He caught my attention, but I didn’t know why. It was just a quick meet and greet and then I headed off to bed so I’d be ready for the first days learning.
When I walked into the room the next morning, there was seat free next to Brett, I decided to be brave and take it. We had a group of 4 at our table and we all got to know each other through conversation. Brett and I got chatting in the lunch break and discovered we both had a passion for sustainability. He had his own electrical company and had a history of investing in solar, including starting up a renewable division focused on sustainable solutions AND creating an amazing commercial building full of environmentally friendly features, not to mention taking various actions in his personal life to lessen his environmental footprint. I was sufficiently intrigued, as was he about my stories or chasing camels around the outback, starting farmers market’s and writing sustainability plans for communities.
We started walking on the beach at the end of each day, and by chance, ended up sitting at the same table for 4 days out of 5 during the course. By the end of the week I’d discovered he was a genuinely lovely, caring, generous and kind hearted person… I’d also established he was single – BONUS!
By the last night of the course, and at our last dinner event, I remember thinking it felt weird to have Brett sitting at one end of the table and me at the other, it just felt like we should be sitting together. I knew I liked him, but I also knew I had a HUGE emotional wall up that definitely required some alcohol to allow it to come down. So, I got drunk, we kissed, and the rest is history.
My confidence knock with feeling out my depth within a Director role unfortunately didn’t leave me and I decided not to put my hand up to continue on the Board with Wheatbelt NRM. The experience however was wonderful and gave me new insights into running and managing an environmental business, including some of the trials, tribulations and successes involved with such a path.
I met Brett before getting the Northam Farmers Market contract, and he helped me with each market and provided support in my life like I’d never known. The more I got to know him, the more respect I developed and he continuously leaves me in awe of the integral, honourable, kind and loving person he is – every day. Finally, I’d found my rock, someone who grounded and anchored my floaty Piscean ways, and most importantly, someone I could walk alongside hand in hand during this big game of life. He was worth every one of the 35 years I waited.
It wasn’t long before we started talking about moving in together and at the end of 2016 I wound up all my affairs with my much loved country home, markets, community dreams, and headed for our new home in the Perth Hills of Glen Forrest.
**Photo: Brett and I