Last night the funky Barbara Brown HQ hosted us in Wickham. It was a special place and a special evening, as it is our board member Grant Thomas‘ final stint at Awesome Newcastle. Barbara Brown is an active investment company which offers their lovely space for Growth Retreats. Grant is Barbara Brown’s Managing Director, and he’ll be heading overseas soon for a new business opportunity; good luck, Grant!
We were welcomed to the warehouse by Barbara Brown’s Executive Director Stephen Thomas, and met Nadine Baretto and Steve Baretto from Eight Recruitment. All three also happened to be generous guest board members. They showered us with adult beverages, party pies and sausage rolls! Later two more guest board members Ryan Macpherson and Alan Parry from The Edwards joined us.
The lighting was lovely and the vibe was bright, as we all chatted and got to know our interesting finalists.
Our first finalists to speak for the evening were Jess Shuwalow & Gem McBurnie from The Grateful. Their business allows customers to buy a bouquet of flowers from their online store, and then The Grateful produces a second bouquet that is delivered on the customer’s behalf to the John Hunter Hospital or Ronald McDonald House. Customers get an update on who the flowers went to and a story about their donation. Jess and Gem hope to use the funds to actually open The Grateful Boutique, rather than just operating online.
Next we welcomed Margaret Kavanagh who is a volunteer with Slow Food Hunter Valley. She works with the community food program. With this program, nearby farms, gardens and businesses donate food to volunteers who turn it into nutritious and tasty meals. The food is made under the guidance of local chef and Slow Food leader Amorelle Dempster. OzHarvest then distributes the delicious meals to disadvantaged people within the community. Margaret said she would use the grant to include meat, pulses and local eggs in the meals on a regular basis.
Our third finalist for the evening was University of Newcastle student Stephanie Tappouras. She told us that several students have been writing and shooting a short 12-minute filmed set in Newcastle. Called Disclosure, the film is about a police detective who commits a crime, and just short of getting found out, devises a way he can confess his crime to an interrogating officer whilst totally avoiding charges. She and fellow-Uni student Peter Danks have largely self-funded this project, and hope to use the money for distribution and also to reimburse some of the cast and crew members.
The board members then retired to the actual board room, and after a bit of deliberation they made their decision. During their discussion, guest board member Alan shared a personal story of initiatives like the ones Margaret volunteers for had made a huge difference for him and his family.
“It does not take too big an act of kindness to help motivate someone to persevere through some solid hardships,” Alan said.
After the votes were tallied, Margaret was the clear winner. Alan presented Margaret with $1,000 cold hard cash. Awesome Newcastle can’t wait to hear how the money helps people in need!
Since Grant’s heading off, Awesome Newcastle will be looking for new Board Members in the coming months. If you’re interested, please get in touch!