Margie’s a champ
HONOURED: Margie Murphy has been recognised for her ongoing commitments to the people of the Whitsundays with the 2015 Whitsunday Business Women's Awards’ community champion award.
WITHOUT Margie Murphy, one of the Whitsundays’ biggest events just wouldn’t be the same and New Year’s Eve fireworks wouldn’t light up the Airlie Beach night sky.
For the past six years, the 46-year-old mother of two has given tirelessly in her role as committee member and now chairwoman of the Whitsunday Reef Festival committee.
Last week she was rewarded for that effort with the Whitsunday Business Women’s Airlie Beach community champion award.
Nominated by friend and fellow Reef Festival committee member Lisa Stockow, Ms Murphy described herself as “pretty overwhelmed” by the accolade.
“I felt proud but I was sur- prised to win because there are a lot of women – and it is mostly women – who do community work,” she said.
Originally from Sydney, Margie Murphy and her husband, Tim, arrived in Airlie Beach in 1998 in a campervan.
“People had said ‘you’ll love it’ and they were right,” she said.
When Ms Murphy fell pregnant with the couple’s first child, Mia, they moved out of the campervan and haven’t looked back.
Less than three years later, their second daughter Alana was born and it was then Ms Murphy began to take on community work, first through the kindergarten events committee and then co-ordinating local netball.
Ms Murphy joined the Whitsunday Reef Festival committee about six years ago as secretary and soon found herself the event spokeswoman, becoming chairwoman in 2012.
Through the years, she has worked hard to grow the festival, describing her greatest achievements as securing more sponsorship, creating new events, overcoming the red tape involved in closing Airlie Beach main street, and bringing top-class acts such as Tim-O-Matic and Gautier to Airlie Beach.
“It’s always a juggle of what you can afford to what you can put on,” she said.
“But having a business background (through the family business TM Murphy Constructions) helps.”
Going forward, it is still Ms Murphy’s aim to keep making the festival bigger and better than ever before, with a Tourism and Events Queensland grant secured for 2016 and plans for “street eats” to be added, along with an art installation on the theme of reef to shore.
As for why she does it all: “It’s working with the amazing people and making lifelong friendships with likeminded women (also on the committee),” she said. “Obviously it’s a lot of satisfaction and with the team of predominantly women we have at the moment, it’s amazing what we can achieve.”
LEADERSHIP, courage, opportunity, passion – these were all words that resonated with the 80-strong audience at last week’s Whitsunday Business Women’s Awards, held to recognise local women mak- ing their mark in business.
“Small business underpins all our industries and the local economy,” Denise Kreymborg from Whitsundays Marketing and Development Ltd, who organised the awards scheme and the celebration breakfast at The Palm House on Thursday, said.
“But we need to be providing opportunities for these businesses, a lot of whom are struggling... and that’s what today’s about – today is about supporting all of you.”
While the audience feasted on a gourmet breakfast provided by the Fat Frog Café, they also listened to two inspirational speakers, who have both made it to the top in the business world.
Danielle Duell is founder of People with Purpose, which creates, promotes and activates purposeful people, projects and causes around the world.
Ms Duell, whose projects include the Story Bridge Adventure Climb, in Brisbane, and the creation of Australian Harvard Women for Australian female graduates of Harvard Business School, told the audience she was not just a businesswoman but a mother, wife, provider and homemaker.
“Success does not run in a straight line – sometimes opportunities come from nowhere – it’s what we do with opportunities that makes all the difference.
“If you are prepared, you will make the most of them,” she said.
Kerry Brocks, founder and CEO of the Institute for Learning Professionals (ILP) agreed, saying there were always reasons to keep putting off your dreams but at some point, you have to “stop talking and start doing”.
“Be determined, there will always be doubters, including yourself.
“Also, stay dedicated and turn your dream into a burning desire,” she said, using the awards ceremony as an opportunity to launch the Whitsundays branch of the ILP.
The last word went to Mayor Jennifer Whitney, who said to be a true leader you had to “dare to be courageous, not popular”.
“Women play a significant role in Australian business, especially small business,” she said.
“The contribution that each and every one of you here today makes, is enormous, but we all have challenges.
“When you dare to be courageous, you are taking your business forward and leading from the front.”
WONDERFUL WOMEN: Karen Vloedmans, Margie Murphy, Noelene Spurway, Denise Kreymborg, Christina della Valle, Leanne Fordham and Tanya Bandow at the Whitsunday Business Women's Awards last week.
INSPIRATIONAL: Danielle Duell addressing attendees at the Whitsunday Business Women's Awards.