Women Doing Business – The Heart of a Community

By Baldish Kaur

At Scottish Pacific, we’re passionate about sharing our expertise with the business community in order to aid the growth of New Zealand businesses. Over the last four years we’ve built a solid friendship and strategic partnership with director of The Engine, Catherine Sherwood. As well as being a renowned business advisor and entrepreneur, Catherine brings businesses and communities together to collaborate and share knowledge to build sustainable and long­term success.

Scottish Pacific and The Engine knew that building communities was more than just assembling bricks and mortar, understanding the market and reading financial statements. The heart of building communities is in people. Catherine evolved The Engine using collective professional intelligence. By working together with other like-minded providers, partners and community leaders, we more accurately identify problems and develop pragmatic and effective solutions, adding value over purely lending solutions.

And so, grew a partnership and friendship to connect Scottish Pacific with businesses and community groups who understood their community needs with a stake in their success for growth and transformation. One such group we wanted to connect with was women.

New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote. We continue to be centre stage worldwide helping businesses thrive. However, Catherine and I wanted to connect more with our women peers in business.

Catherine is a member of a women’s Facebook Group called Girls Talk Business NZ. After seeing the benefits and engagement in the group, she approached founder Ines Curin, to discuss how they might work together. Catherine and Ines’s relationship led back to us here at Scottish Pacific, where we actively support the growth of this dynamic community group of business women.

The allure of the Girls Talk Business NZ community (affectionately known as GTB) is the vision and energy of the founder – Ines Curin and her co-collaborators Yvonne Letton from Brave Talks and Lori Satterthwaite from Lola Media. These three women came together through their shared passion of being self-employed entrepreneurs. They no longer wanted to do this all on their own. Instead, they were looking for connection, support and a way to bring more fun into their daily lives. As it turned out, these three principles formed the foundation of what has grown into a more than 7,000-strong community of female entrepreneurs who were all looking for the same thing.

The story behind the creation of the Girls Talk Business NZ community is what makes this connection so interesting.

Ines, Yvonne and Lori were searching for more about themselves and how they could achieve balance between their work and personal lives, while doing what they really love. They would learn that you can’t separate the person from the profession.

They began by visiting their own vulnerabilities and working on the areas in their life that had been holding them back. Doing this together was the secret to their success, because “no girl should have to do this alone!” With their collaborative approach towards building on everyone’s strength, these ladies demonstrated how working together helps create more possibilities in life and in business. Drawing on their shared experience, they applied their philosophy to Girls Talk Business and have created an online platform, the place where women throughout the GTB community share their collective knowledge and resources.

The benefits are twofold. On the one hand women with business expertise gain recognition for contributing their knowledge and support. And on the other, entrepreneurs growing their own business become more empowered and better equipped to make the best decisions for their businesses.

Scottish Pacific recognises the value of coming together to support businesses from the community through the likes of The Engine, Girls Talk Business NZ, Brave Talks and Lola Media. This partnership has opened doors to a new way of forming business relationships by building strong personal connections where we all raise each other up and grow everyone’s business through our personal and professional development. It shows how working together creates greater connection, trust and more engagement. By collaborating and helping businesses grow through the difficult early stages of development, we’re building lasting partnerships which will empower women into the future.