Business Day Out 2023 – Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Kara Templar

Yesterday Taryn and I attended the Commerce Ballarat Business Day Out at the Goods Shed in Lydiard Street.  I had never been to the Goods Shed before and was super impressed with the venue (and the food!).

Taryn and I had previously attended the Business Day out in 2022 and thoroughly enjoyed listening to Carolyn Creswell (founder of Carman’s Kitchen) and Abdullahi Alim (WA Young Australian of the Year Leaders Award Recipient), who told a touching story about blatant workplace discrimination he experienced. He also spoke about his experience as a refugee and how institutions can take tangible action around recognising talent from diverse communities.

When we received the first email from Commerce Ballarat promoting this year’s Business Day Out, Taryn and I had a quick email exchange confirming we would both like to attend again and promptly cleared our calendars.   Maybe this will become a tradition!

The theme for this year’s Business Day Out was ‘Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable’, and whilst I am not one to push myself too far out of my comfort zone, it was evident that each speaker acknowledged and emphasised the importance of stepping outside one’s comfort zone to achieve personal and professional growth.

To be perfectly honest, writing a BLOG is uncomfortable for me! I don’t like talking about myself to those outside my family/friendship group or putting myself out there to criticism.  When Ange KINDLY suggested that I write the BLOG about our experience at the Business Day Out my first reaction was – no, I don’t think so! I quickly came to the realisation that that was not the attitude to take and I needed to ‘get comfortable being uncomfortable’.

The first person to speak was Alex McMahon, National Retail Excellence Manager at Ampol. Alex was added to the line up at the last minute due to the unexpected illness of the originally scheduled speaker, Alex Kelly. Just to add confusion, both Alex’s work at Ampol and in the same team (though one based in Sydney and the other in Perth)! Fortunately, Alex McMahon happened to be in Ballarat to support Alex Kelly, so he was able to step in with very short notice. This turned out to be a lovely surprise for Taryn and I because Alex McMahon happens to be the son of one of our clients and is known by many at Inspire HQ. He delivered an excellent presentation and we had the opportunity to speak with him during the ‘after party’ at Aunty Jacks.

During his presentation, Alex discussed his role as Co-Chair of the Ampol Rainbow Alliance, Ampol’s employee network dedicated to ensuring the LGBTQIA+ Community and its allies have a voice inside Ampol.  Alex shared personal anecdotes about his own journey, starting from his upbringing in Wangaratta to his move to Ballarat at the age of ten.  He spoke passionately about being your authentic self (you can’t be what you can’t see), discovering who he was and offered practical insights and advice on how to be an effective ally for the LGBTQIA+ Community and encouraged progressive thinking and actions in this area.

I was very impressed with the role Alex played in the ‘Glampol’ Campaign (a clever play on words) which supported the LGBTQIA+ Community charity partner Minus18 Foundation, raising over $22,000 which will enable Minus18 to provide much needed support to more than 1100 young queer people across Australia.

Taking the stage as the second speaker was Matt Nunn, the Founder and Managing Director of Nunn Media.  As another local from Ballarat, it was quite entertaining to listen to Matt’s presentation, sharing anecdotes about his upbringing in Ballarat, attending Ballarat East High School, playing basketball for the Miners and attending Federation University.   With a strong entrepreneurial mindset, Matt passionately discussed the influential mentors in his life (some were in the audience) and he also touched upon the challenging period he faced in 2010, both personally and in his business, emphasising the resilience required to overcome challenges.

It was truly inspiring to hear another success story originating from Ballarat, showing that anything is possible. Matt attributed his accomplishments to his connection with Ballarat and his upbringing. He strongly advocates for having mentors, surrounding yourself with an all-star team and refusing to make excuses. Holding yourself accountable was a key principle for Matt, as he believes excuses only serve as weakness.

Nedd Brockmann was the final speaker and wow – he was fantastic! If you are anything like me, my Instagram feed was full of posts supporting Nedd whilst he was completing his run across Australia. Nedd is now the fastest ever Australian to run across Australia and the second fastest in the world.  In 46 days Nedd ran nearly 4,000 kilometres raising $2.5 million for homeless charity, Mobilise.

Nedd gave a very real and witty presentation which appeared to be off the cuff (I am sure it was well rehearsed!).  He spoke confidently with lots of energy and talked about his time growing up on a cattle farm in NSW. Nedd had a very “free range” upbringing, full of risk taking.  This taught him resilience and problem solving skills, something he NEEDED to complete his run across Australia. Nedd said something I really resonated with, and that was you can either win or learn. Nedd has certainly done both and described himself as not a motivated person, but rather a disciplined person.

We also heard from the ‘Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable’ Panel including: Dave O’Brien (CEO, Bartlett), Sara Quon (CEO, Sovereign Hill), and Claire Vrieze (Practising Psychologist, Commerce Ballarat) who each discussed a challenging time they had faced.  Claire commented that the source of all stress is uncertainty and if we can turn this into a challenge, it can help give you energy and clarity.

The ‘after party’ was at Aunty Jacks and while I enjoyed a drink and a delicious toastie from Tim’s Toasties, I was only able to stay for a short period of time.  The consensus of the day was very positive and Nedd was definitely the highlight. Other businesses showcased at the after party included Kilderkin Distillery, Tim’s Toasties, Aunty Jack’s, Clothesline Café, Tin Roof Café, Pinot and Picasso, Windflower and Formosa Gardens and Nursery.

I have been fortunate enough to hear lots of motivational speakers over the course of my career at conferences in Bali, New Zealand, Fiji and also on the Gold Coast, and I always leave feeling enriched to have heard someone else’s story and life experience.  Yesterday was no exception, it was a very inspirational day.

About The Author
Kara Templar

Kara began her career in marketing at a major Ballarat utility provider, then had the opportunity to move to London to work for a large sales and marketing company. Since commencing her recruitment career back in Australia in 2005, Kara has years of experience in the recruitment industry and five years working in the hair and beauty industry in an operational role.

Living in Melbourne since 2005 and then returning to Ballarat with her family at the end of 2019, Kara is our resident multi-tasker, keeping the operations of Inspire HQ running smoothly and efficiently.

Kara enjoys cooking for her family, even though she says she’s not very good at it!


For more useful information, follow Kara on LinkedIn.

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