Lady Boss weekend celebrates regional women

By Tara Whitsed

There are just two days left to secure tickets to this month’s Lady Boss Events in Shepparton, set to feature an informative panel of local women.

The Lady Boss Events will feature four inspiring Goulburn Valley-based speakers in addition to the headline guests of Lorinska Merrington (Yummy Mummies), Bec Douros (The Block), Shannon Kelly White (Shannon's Kitchen Australia), Tess Shanahan and Dr Nat Kringoudis (TCM).

The panel of local businesswomen — Nicky Kriss, Aishe Besim, Shinea Sali and Kadime Mehmet — will kick-off proceedings for the Sunday, October 20 event at The Woolshed at Emerald Bank.

Event organisers Jess Blizzard and Amanda McCulloch encouraged people to secure their tickets by Monday, October 14 when ticket sales close.

Taking to social media, Ms McCulloch said while there was no better reason to attend the event due to the array of fabulous speakers, Lady Boss Events also coincided with the International Day of Rural Women on Tuesday, October 15.

This year’s event features two days of jam-packed action, starting on Saturday, October 19 from 5pm with Shannon Kelly White.

Tickets purchased for this event ensure entry to the panels on Sunday, October 20 and guests can also purchase tickets to the Sunday only.

Tickets cannot be purchased for Saturday only.

“We've moved to a beautiful climate-controlled venue, so unfortunately our large shopping hall will not be present,” Ms Blizzard said.

“However we will have sponsors activating in the space along with many amazing surprises for you.”

Nibbles will be provided on Sunday.

To book, visit TryBooking.

Event sponsor Shellie Pearson, owner of Asthetique Skin Care in Shepparton.

Asthetique Skin Care’s Shellie Pearson ensured her local business supported this year’s Lady Boss Events in Shepparton.

Having previously supported the events by regional women for regional women, Ms Pearson said Asthetique Skin Care could not be happier to sponsor the weekend of fun once again.

“This one really does have something for everyone, something for all ages and interests,” she said.

“Not only do these kinds of events provide our local community with connection and fun, but they also help to raise money for local charities, and importantly, they also provide support for our very own local women who are doing amazing things in their own industries.”

Ms Pearson said this was something she felt extremely passionate about.

“Helping and supporting one of our own achieve whatever it is they desire … all whilst still having a bit of fun.”

The Asthetique Skin Care team will be at the event on Sunday, October 20 with something fun planned for those in attendance.

“The team is looking forward to listening to all the speakers and can’t wait to see existing and new clients there,” Ms Pearson said.

“These kinds of events don’t run in regional areas without the hard work and dedication from people like Amanda (McCulloch) and Jess (Blizzard) and Asthetique Skin Care are all for the local community — supporting and sponsoring these events is essential to keep them coming back.”

Ms Pearson said Asthetique Skin Care had been in operation for more than 25 years.

She highlighted the fact they were armed with a wealth of professional training and experience and, most importantly, empathy and compassion and looked to treat skin from the inside out.

“What we can provide you is very, very different; unique, just like you,” Ms Pearson said.

“We believe in working with the skin, not against it, and are here to provide you with honest and specific information about your skin, helping you to understand what is required to achieve your skin goals.

“Using a combination of science, skill, passion and compliance, together with you, we can achieve real visible skin results long term.”

Artist Nicky Kriss.

After she burst onto the scene four years ago on Chanel Nine’s The Block, self-taught artist Nicky Kriss will feature on the panel of local speakers.

The Kialla woman’s artwork was featured on the program and she was soon commissioned for paintings all over Australia and other parts of the world, including the United States, United Kingdom and Europe.

“My work is modern-abstract and my collections are predominantly inspired by feelings, sunsets and the ocean,” she said.

Ms Kriss started her business six years ago, initially painting as a hobby, before it became a full-time job.

“My business is solely run by myself, which includes advertising and marketing, emails, website and social media as well as the painting side.

“In recent years I have added prints, lifestyle products and calendars to my online store.”

Selected to be a part of this year’s Lady Boss Event in Shepparton, Ms Kriss said this was the first time she had done any public speaking.

“I've never spoken publicly before so I am looking forward to doing something a little bit different and hopefully inspire some women to give whatever ideas or dreams they have a go,” she said.

“Because I never in a million years thought I'd be where I am today purely because of my attitude and determination.

“I think that what Amanda (McCulloch) and Jess (Blizzard) are trying to achieve with these events is a great concept for our region, and we need to get behind them too, so Lady Boss Events can continue to grow every year.”

Lady Boss Events is not the only cause Ms Kriss has got behind in recent years, proudly partnering with several charity organisations including Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre, Love Your Sister, Good Friday Appeal, Brainwave Australia, Epilepsy Action Australia and Art for Bales (RuralAid) by donating proceeds of painting sales and a percentage of yoga mat sales.

Fashion Designer Kadime Mehmet. Zweck Photography.

Shepparton-based designer Kadime Mehmet will be among the Lady Bosses on the local panel.

Creative designer and owner of label KADIMÉ, Ms Mehmet said she was mentored by Shepparton woman Maria Boncaldo from the Pattern Drafter.

“I was taught … how to draft my own patterns to allow me to make custom dresses and gowns for women,” she said.

“It wasn’t until 2015 when I worked alongside the Melbourne Stylists (owners of label Bianca & Bridgett) for the Brownlow Medal that the KADIMÉ little girls label was established.”

Ms Mehmet explained this was a result of the pair sharing an image of a dress she created for her daughter’s first birthday to Instagram.

“They had a big following on Instagram and posted an image of that dress on my baby girl so that people would be familiar with my label the night of the Brownlow Medal,” she said.

“I was flooded with messages about the dress so it was then that I thought I would change the course of my business a little.”

Ms Mehmet went on to handcraft her first collection of children’s dresses and reached out to influencers and mini-influencers to help grow her brand.

“As time has gone on I have outsourced my work; I have now hired someone to make all my patterns and samples for me in my studio as I now have three children aged seven, five and one, and most pieces are manufactured in Melbourne.”

Ms Mehmet said she was honoured and a little nervous when she was asked to speak at the upcoming Lady Boss Events in Shepparton.

“I feel supporting regional events is very important to continue the growth of groups like Lady Boss,” she said.

“I feel local events give the opportunity for real local people to share their story and journey to other aspiring businesswomen and future leaders.

“Local to me means everyone has a chance to benefit when an individual or group is supported by each other.”

Aishe Besim, owner of The Sweet Meadow in Echuca.

After almost 10 years in the corporate sector, Aishe Besim took a leap of faith and opened country Victoria's first vegan cafe in Echuca.

The former Shepparton-based marketer said she opened her business The Sweet Meadow three years ago and it was now stronger than ever.

“Our focus is on encouraging people to eat in a way that nourishes our bodies,” she said.

Ms Besim said it was a result of her childhood spent growing up on a fruit farm that ignited her connection to nature.

“As I got older and made the decision to eat a whole-food, vegan diet in 2013, I realised something was instilled in me that I would never let go of — a desire for space, realness and peace that only a connection to nature provides.”

While taking an inspirational journey to Europe, exploring the Mediterranean including her grandparents' homeland Albania, Ms Besim discovered how well the villagers lived.

“I loved going into the remote villages and seeing how people lived, often as their families had done for decades,” she said.

“I was fascinated by their simple way of living, and loved how they utilised every spare inch of space they had to grow their own food.”

This led Ms Besim to recall a book she had read about those who live the longest throughout the globe.

“Almost all food consumed by these groups is fresh, seasonal and locally grown,” she said.

“And so, it was decided. Shortly after returning home from Europe, I began the formal process of creating a plant-based food business called The Sweet Meadow.”

Ms Besim said she felt humbled to have been selected as one of the speakers for the local panel at Lady Boss Events.

“To be recognised as a successful business owner in our region is awesome,” she said.

“I think it's important to support regional events because it helps develop a sense of community.

“People have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals that they otherwise wouldn't cross paths with.

“As humans we are hard-wired for connection so this event ticks a lot of boxes.”

Shinea Sali, owner of Shinea Sali Fitness Studio in Shepparton.

Joining the panel of local guest speakers is Shepparton’s Shinea Sali.

The mother of two boasts more than 10000 followers on Instagram, creating a fitness platform across social media.

The owner and operator of her own all-women’s fitness studio in Shepparton — Shinea Sali Fitness Studio — Ms Sali said she aimed to inspire women to be their fittest selves.

“(I want to) show that being a mum doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams and passion,” she said.

“I definitely think my social media presence grew when I fell pregnant and was living in Queensland.

“I had a group of five friends who were all pregnant at the same time and involved in the fitness industry as well as also having a social media presence.

“People started following my motherhood journey and were really interested in how I lost my baby weight after Porsha and the exercise I was doing.

“In the first year of Porsha being born I gained around 6000 followers.”

Ms Sali said her business began in late 2016 when she started running classes from her house which grew rapidly, prompting her to open the studio.

“To me health and fitness is so important for our physical and mental health and allows women to do something for themselves and believe they can achieve a specific goal.

“Bringing my style of workouts and studio to Shepparton allows regional women to feel comfortable and train in fun and safe way — we sometimes can get stuck in the boredom of the same style workouts on repeat, which is why I have tried to create a different gym to others and motivate regional women.”

Having hosted bootcamp-style fitness events at Shepparton’s Victoria Park Lake, Ms Sali is a well-known Goulburn Valley identity and has previously hosted a stall at Lady Boss Events’ first Shepparton day out.

Now selected to appear on the local panel, Ms Sali said she felt honoured to have been chosen.

“Being able to speak in front of my local community, as well as family and friends, will be an experience I won’t forget.

“Events like these allow regional women to feel special and enjoy a day out with people they enjoy.”