Ladies at lunch: Innovation
The Sunshine Coast seems to be a magnet for innovative types and thanks to our ever improving infrastructure and rolling out of higher speed internet, there has never been a better time to start a business in our beautiful region. The lunching ladies share their thoughts on innovation and what it means to their industry.
It’s no secret the Sunshine Coast has been touted the innovative hub of Australia. The creation of the new Maroochydore CBD, the university hospital and expanded airport have all played a part in accelerating the need for innovation and growth.
You only have to look at the number of start up technology businesses in our region, spearheaded by young entrepreneurs to realise we are quickly positioning ourselves as Australia’s Silicon Valley. Cleantech is a buzz word we are hearing a lot more of lately too, with the Valdora solar farm set to make the Coast Australia’s most sustainable region.
Regardless of the industry, whether it’s the education sector, health, ecommerce, retail, news and media, hospitality or technology – innovation and ingenuity are essential for any business to prosper in today’s modern age.
I recently caught up with a group of ladies who are proving to be incredibly innovative in their respective fields, to discover how important innovation is in their line of business.
My guests for lunch at the stunning Spicers Clovelly Estate at Montville were Renee Galvin, marketing and sales manager with Tafe Queensland; Laura Klein, owner of Snotty Noses; Helen McNally, owner of All’ Antica Italian Restaurant at Kawana; Robyn Taplin, Principal of Brightwater State School; and Marina Nicholl, owner of Maleny Cuisine.
profile: What does innovation mean to you?
helen: It’s all about food for us. We need to keep up to date on all the phases coming through such as paleo and gluten free for example. My husband Shane, who is also head chef, has to be creative and innovative, it’s a very competitive industry.
laura: To me, innovation means new and creative. Whether that be product, service, method or even parenting. If it’s not working, you have to switch it up. In business there are people who might sell the same product as you, but you have to think, ‘What am I going to do to make myself different and hopefully better, and how can I offer a product and service that is superior?’ Even in my business of ecommerce, there are so many ways to build relationships online. In terms of products, my business wouldn’t exist without innovation and technology.
marina: I agree with Helen, being in the food field. For us, it’s about being creative with recipes. We are always looking at changing things up. There are a lot of condiment companies on the market, but we focus on our products having no preservatives and being very low in sodium.
laura: I always like to explain it like this – if Henry Ford did what his customers wanted, he would have created a faster horse and not a car. You can listen to your customers but you need to innovate and do something they haven’t even thought of yet.
robyn: As a teacher and school principal, I think about predicting how the world is going to be in five or 10 years. It’s almost like seeing into the future. In education it’s about how we teach kids to be employable when they leave school. What are the skills they will need and how do we package that in terms of an education service. We also have to always be thinking ahead of the competition. For us, it’s about how can we better meet the needs of our kids, what is our point of difference and how can we offer high quality education so parents have faith in us.
renee: I’ve been with Tafe Queensland for seven years and the way we market is so different to when I first started. Innovation and technology is growing all the time. We are looking at advertising through Snapchat for example, these are things that would not even be considered seven years ago. At a workshop I attended recently, they showed the scale of how humans adapt to change compared to the rate of technology and it clearly showed that our technology is moving at a higher rate than humans can absorb. That’s amazing. We have two online marketers in our team we call our ‘digi squad’, they are amazing.
helen: Young people these days are so savvy when it comes to computers and technology. I have a list for when my 23-year-old daughter comes home to do with technology and she does it all so easily. She’s actually an iPad teacher. The school sends her to Apple to do courses on the iPad, which she teaches to Grade One. That’s a subject now!
profile: Who is someone you look up to when it comes to innovation, particularly in your line of work?
marina: Jamie Oliver was groundbreaking in how he approached the schools and in bringing health consciousness awareness. His influence is worldwide.
robyn: Steve Jobs. In terms of backing yourself and having faith in yourself and being forward thinking and not being too afraid to take the leap I guess. Also Simon Sinek, he talks about the power of why. You start with the why of any project, you sell the why before you sell the what.
renee: On a professional level, our teachers are amazing. They change people’s lives. One particular teacher is up for numerous awards. She teaches mental health and having spent a lot of time in the industry, she has developed this program combining Tafe training and industry and has even managed to get some funding. She is changing people’s lives. Also an account manager who used to work for Tafe Queensland who transitioned to focus on a charity called Be Her Freedom where she raises awareness about human trafficking and slavery and those horrific things that happen to young people. She goes to schools to talk to students about how to avoid these awful situations. It’s innovative in that it’s raising awareness.
helen: My husband Shane. He has always been an entrepreneur, from a very young age. I have learnt so much from him.
Ladies at lunch review
The Short Apron
Spicers Clovelly Estate, Montville
The setting could not have been more perfect for our ladies lunch at Spicers Clovelly Short Apron restaurant – what a stunning venue to enjoy a decadent girly get together.
From the moment you enter this magical establishment, you recognise all of the special little touches that make it so memorable. From the champagne on arrival, to the warm welcome from our host and general manager Stephen McAteer, the scene was instantly set for a truly special experience.
Set amid beautiful manicured gardens, with a charming French-provincial feel, nothing has been overlooked at this beautiful a-la-carte restaurant.
The sister of two-chef-hatted restaurant The Long Apron and under the guidance of group executive chef Cameron Matthews, the relaxed Short Apron lunch experience continues to deliver Clovelly’s signature friendly personal service and exquisite French-inspired menus in a serene country setting. It’s the perfect choice for summer lunches and festive celebrations.
Head chef Chris Hagan really delivered on the day of our visit, his talent and expertise clearly evident on the plate. Each dish was beautifully presented and tasted just as good as it looked.
The current seasonal menu reflects the restaurant’s passion to serve only the best of what the Sunshine Coast has to offer and provides diners with an uncomplicated take on fresh local produce and flavours.
The Short Apron is a little piece of paradise right here on our doorstep.
The Short Apron
Spicers Clovelly Estate, Montville
68 Balmoral Road, Montville
Phone: 1300 252 380
- Baby octopus, almond puree, pickled onion, black olive
- Confit duck and quinoa risotto, pumpkin, pickled garlic
- Celeriac and camembert salad, pain d’Epices, hazelnuts
- Braised eggplant, barley miso, toasted grains
- Peachester chicken, roasted Jerusalem artichoke, chestnuts
- Barramundi, provencal sauce, smoked heirloom, tomato, caper leaf
- Black angus sirloin, watercress, burnt onion
- Dark chocolate mousse, bitter orange puree, passionfruit pate de fruit
- Red wine poached pears, rosemary streusel, confit rhubarb, creme fraiche
- Cheese board, seasonal accompaniments