The RRR Network Board consists of 8 diverse women that span Western Australia. Their skills, experience and personalities are driving a robust organisation that is relevant and influential. Our CEO – Kendall asked Marilyn a few questions about herself and her connection to the RRR Network. 

Where is home?

Now that all the children have grown and left home, I have called Busselton my home on and off for the past 11 years.  I say on and off because I lived in Carnarvon for 4 of those years working for Regional Development Australia Gascoyne concurrently with roles as a Small Business Advisor and economic development consultant.  Home is always where my family is, and they have followed me all over Australia mostly living in regional areas. “They” being 4 children, 2 step children, 7 foster children and 1 young girl I adopted in Melbourne as a sole parent. In WA that has meant Nannup in the southwest and Newman in the Pilbara, the outskirts of Canberra, Riddell’s Creek in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria and a gorgeous little farm in Bung Bong in the Pyrenees in Victoria. Although I have had stints living in the cities of Perth and Melbourne, my heart is truly in the regions where I have met the most amazing women and made some lifelong friends.

How do you keep yourself busy?

Starting a new training and consultancy business last year, I now work from home while my husband commutes to Perth Monday to Friday each week to conduct the training component. As we were about to launch into our signature “we come to you anywhere” training offers to cover regional WA, Covid 19 pandemic hit and we had to re-strategise our business to conduct it online. This meant a steep learning curve in social media marketing which has been an exciting challenge for me and a surprise for my children, as it turns out I am not such a dinosaur! I continue to operate my own economic development consultancy and grant writing business, mentor small business owners and assist in event management for several organisations.  My work over many years has been very diverse and given me a range of skills and experiences that provide me with an informed knowledge to assist others.  A role I wholeheartedly embrace and gain a lot of gratification from.  I have been an event manager taking South West and Swan Valley regional businesses to an Expo in Parliament House Canberra, started the Gascoyne Regional Business Awards, managed the Busselton Jetty Swim, Geographe Bay Regatta, a Culture and Corroboree Festival and umpteen others.  I have owned 7 restaurants, a landscape gardening business, and international business office, and import/export employment agency and employed as an Export Advisor for Austrade, EO for the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce, RETA Regional and the Institute of Export.

How did you learn of the RRR Network?

I was introduced to the RRR Network over 10 years ago by former chair of RRR Leonie Noble and have avidly followed the organisation ever since. I always looked forward to the magazine arriving and was keenly interested to read the life and stories from incredible women all over WA.  I found them more than inspiring and wanted to feel that I could contribute more by being involved in some way. I have always strongly cared about the regions that I lived in and understood many of the challenges women in particular face in socialising, education, and many other areas and was fortunate to be able to mentor women in business in regional and remote areas sometimes travelling from Shark Bay to Carnarvon to Exmouth and Gascoyne Junction each week and then in the South West from Busselton to Walpole and everywhere in between. RRR has always been like the glue that connects us and keeps us together.

What does it mean to you to be a Board Member of the RRR Network?

Being a member of the RRR Network Board has given me greater opportunity and enabled me to contribute to the bigger picture and represent women at whatever level I can. I have a network of women from large and small business, governments on all levels and from the various volunteer organisations I am involved in. I have been privileged to have consulted and worked with the two women political leaders in Federal Government representing the South West and the Gascoyne who place incredible time and effort and always keen to help, into promoting regional businesses and advocating for women on a range of issues at the Federal level.

Any last comments?

RRR Network women are truly inspiring. I have enjoyed meeting the RW Awards winners, reading the incredible stories in the RRR Magazine, and sitting with Board Members doing the strategic planning, channelling ideas, and approaching “tough” topics empathetically.  That, and acknowledging what energy, creativity, desire to change, improve and adapt our members have, are just some of the new memories I am creating by being a proud RRR Network member.