Red Wine and a Dinner Party

I promise this isn’t a blog about the effects of red wine after a dinner party. Ok maybe it is, but not in the way you’re thinking.

In May 2015 I saw myself at a cross roads – ‘What did my future hold?’ I had a secure job, I was working with great people but felt I was missing a little something.

It turns out that little something, was a big challenge.

While having drinks with the Kellogg’s Rural Leadership cohort in Wellington, I came across participants of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust Escalator course, who were also enjoying a wine or two. There, I met two women who would eventually change the road I was travelling on.
These women invited me to their group dinner at Juniper (I highly recommend this gin themed restaurant – and not just for it’s SHELVES of different Gins!).

It’s not easy being an ‘uninvited’ guest to dinner. Especially one that has a multitude of highly respected women in the Agricultural Industry all around one table. But, I went along anyway and the conversations I had were inspiring.

Michelle Wilson and Tanya Quinn (for those who know the series Dr Quinn medicine women – she’s the real life version) I must thank you for being the catalyst for my change. They encouraged me to challenge myself and most of all take the plunge. But their biggest piece of advice….believe in yourself.

Photo Credit: Agri-Women's Development Trust Escalator Graduates

From that same dinner my first client was signed up, to what was at that point, an ‘unnamed business.’ Rob Hoult from Team Leader had a lot of faith in my ability to deliver. Maybe it’s his innate ability to pick a leader, but he employed me to work ‘on’ his business while he continued to work ‘in’ it.
Rob and I are still working together today. Thanks for the great support over the last seven months Rob - here’s to another seven!


One Sunday morning I was sitting in my dressing gown, sipping my morning coffee and filling out an application form for the 2015 Innovate Manawatu competition. I had an idea that I thought would make a good business, I just needed a little help. Fast-forward to a cold Fieldays morning in June 2015 and I got a phone call that would present me with the big challenge I had previously been missing.

I’d made the Top 11 for the Innovate competition and my first class started Monday and would continue for the next ten weeks.

It’s never easy venturing into the world of start-ups. Any entrepreneur will know the feelings of fear, excitement and confusion – all rolled into one ball of uncontrollable emotions and thoughts.
Needless to say that idea is now gathering dust in my bottom draw. However, the best idea to come out of that process was my media business - Grass Roots Media NZ.

I will always remember my final 10 minute pitch to the four judges. One judge Larry Ellison, a successful entrepreneur himself, challenged me. He said ‘Give me a one minute pitch on Grass Roots Media NZ.’

When Larry leans forward on the table to listen, you know you’ve got his attention. This was my opportunity.

40 seconds.

40 seconds, was all it took me to make him lean back in his chair, make Dave (our mentor) grin and laugh. I then received a hand from Larry - that hand contained his business card. “Come and see me when you start your business. I know we need your help and THIS is your revenue stream not your original idea.’ The other judges agreed.So here we are – Grass Roots Media NZ. A boutique consultancy, with big ideas and big plans.The journey’s never straight, there will always be bumps in the road you take. This always adds to the excitement, your personal growth and means every day brings new challenges. 2016 will be a big year. Join us for the journey.

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