Hunter Collective Lunch inspires innovation

CONNECTORS: Christina Gerakiteys and Heidi Alexandra Pollard have organised the Hunter Collective Lunch. Picture: Darren Pateman
CONNECTORS: Christina Gerakiteys and Heidi Alexandra Pollard have organised the Hunter Collective Lunch. Picture: Darren Pateman

FOLLOWING in the footsteps of the design, innovation and green technologies festival, a new event aims to mark Newcastle as a hot spot for entrepreneurs and innovators.

The inaugural Hunter Collective Lunch, set for November 11, promises to bring thought leaders, renegades and liberators together to inspire Novocastrians.

Organisers Christina Gerakiteys, a former television director-producer, and Heidi Alexandra Pollard, chief of business coaching and consulting firm UQ Power, met 18 months ago and knew they had to work together.

Since then the pair - who call each other in the middle of the night to register business names - have collaborated at every opportunity.

The BRW Most Innovative Companies Breakfast is one of their projects.

The Hunter Collective is inspired by Sydney-based entrepreneur Lisa Messenger's magazine and group The Collective.

The monthly Renegade Collective magazine profiles entrepreneurs, creative minds and thought leaders.

It is connecting a growing community made up of what Ms Alexandra Pollard describes as "multi-passionate entrepreneurs" around the world.

"We love the Renegade Collective because we are connectors and it's a way of connecting people," she says.

Both women say they were hooked on the magazine at first read.

Ms Gerakiteys says she immediately phoned to organise a meeting and discuss how the Hunter could be part of the Collective.

The line-up for the first Hunter Collective event brings together speakers who did not meet with success overnight.

"They've all done something disruptive, that's when their success has come," Ms Alexandra Pollard says. "They've all flipped their industry on its head."

Speakers include founder and editor in chief of Renegade Collective Lisa Messenger, Pandora Internet Radio managing director Jane Huxley, author and lactation consultant Pinky McKay and founder of brand research agency Brandhook Pip Stocks.

The organisers hope the panel will inspire the audience to look at innovation in different industries and examine their own businesses from fresh angles.

"We want them to see what we do as well," they say.

As part of that goal a select 20 Hunter businesses will meet with Lisa Messenger at a pre-event breakfast to showcase what they do.

www.huntercollective.com.au

BID FOR TOP PLACE

AFTER winning best small bar in Northern NSW, Newcastle's Reserve Wine Bar will compete for the national title at the Restaurant and Catering awards on Monday. Newcastle and the Hunter will be represented across a whole portfolio of categories. Esca Bimbadgen Restaurant at Pokolbin is in the running for the restaurant of the year award.

The winner will be announced at a function in Melbourne.

THE most senior-ranked female at the Royal Australian Air Force Williamtown base has been honoured with The Excellence in Aviation Management award, part of inaugural awards that recognise women in aviation and aerospace.

Group Captain Tracey Friend says she is "chuffed" to be acknowledged for her achievements outside of the air force.

"I think it's fantastic to be recognised in my sector and not just from within my organisation," she says.

Captain Friend, who has worked with the air force for 28 years, is an Air Combat Officer specialising in air battle management. She was the first female commander of a flying Wing - a role in which she oversaw the introduction of the Wedgetail surveillance aircraft that are currently deployed to the Middle East.

She likened the experience to running a small airline.

The awards are part of an industry initiative to boost the presence of women in aviation.

Captain Friend says it's important to catch girls as young as 11 and 12 to show them the type of careers they can have in the aviation industry.

Smart, intelligent, clever people are needed, she says.

Captain Friend says her own recruitment to the technical field was "slightly accidental" and came about after her brother joined the air force as a pilot cadet.

She signed up as an engineer but "a falling out with maths" led to a switch to air defence that she says was "the best thing that ever happened to me".

GEN Y specialist and psychologist Danielle Buckley will show businesses how to attract and retain talent at a workshop in Newcastle this week.

Hosted by the NSW Business Chamber's Australian Business Apprenticeships Centre the workshop will cover techniques for improving communication with young staff, reducing attrition rates and improving selection processes.

Registrations can be made online at skillsroad.com.au/newcastleemployer or by calling 1300 192 322.