The Hunter Valley Boutique Collective Inc (HVBCI) was formed in 2018 by 5 Hunter region female business owners and while the name was not easy to arrive at, the group itself has formed, incorporated and grown with ease.
The committee is made up of Katherine Geczy, President, Owner of Excellence Laser Clinic & Registered Nurse, Gemma Bunner, Vice President, Director & Principal Lawyer Shaw & Bunner Legal, Emma Gillings, Secretary, Managing Principal MAI Hunter Valley Pty Ltd, Marsh Advantage Insurance, Kerri Shaw, Treasurer, Director & Principal Lawyer Shaw & Bunner Legal and Tegan Tyrrell, Committee Member (Marketing), Director & Graphic Designer Design et cetera.
President Katherine Geczy said the idea came about as they were looking for somewhere that they could meet other professional women that offered not only support but also education and inspiration.
“There were plenty of networking groups around, but we were after something different, with a focus on collaborative professional development and so we decided to form our own group,” Katherine said.
Katherine told us that they wanted to create a group where people could enjoy the collective experience of continuing to learn and develop, and at the end of each meeting walk away feeling inspired without having to travel outside of our local area.
“Our group caters to a wide range of people including business owners and employees and is targeted to professional development within business rather than to a specific qualification. Whether you are an employee or an employer, we try to make sure we offer value to each member.”
Although members are predominantly women, it is not exclusively for women and Katherine said everyone is welcome regardless of gender or profession.
“We’ve had men who come along that know we are onto a good thing. At our meetings there is no pressure to network or be defined by your profession, just come along and have a chat and hopefully you will find encouragement and motivation. We find that from here the networking happens organically,”
The group meets on the first Thursday evening of each month from February to December. They aim to be accessible to everyone and the first meeting is free so people can come along and see if the group is right for them. If they want to continue coming to meetings, then they can join as a member.
Each meeting has guest speakers and topics vary to provide members with education and inspiration. “We have had members tell us they walk away from meetings with the energy to get things done. We provide supper, a glass of wine, a good laugh, and plenty of wonderful welcoming people to meet,” Katherine said.