20 February 2020

Latrobe Women in Business event at Narkoojee WineryCelebrating Gippsland
 Business Women

Our first LWIB event was held 10 years ago, Breaking the Glass Ceiling.
How far have we come in 10 years?

GWIB are pleased to be celebrating our 10 year anniversary by kicking off the year featuring a panel of successful Gippsland business women who are breaking the Glass Ceiling.

Maree McPherson will lead a conversation with a dynamic panel of Gippsland business women from various industries, discussing topical issues such as leadership, gender equity and working in non-traditional roles.

Meet our panel

Maree McPhersonMC - Maree PcPherson
Maree is passionate about people creating possibility in regional and rural areas. Working with corporates, non-profits and individuals, Maree’s primary work is with organisations that invest in and support regional Australia.

With a portfolio of clients across the eastern seaboard, Maree is an experienced leadership coach, facilitator, and professional mentor. She is a member of the current Victorian Government’s Regional Development Advisory Committee, with experience in regional planning forums for successive governments since 1998.

Also an author, in November 2017, Maree published her first book, Cutting Through the Grass Ceiling – Women Creating Possibility in Regional Australia. A second book is planned for release in 2020.

Jane BurtonJane Burton
Jane is Acting Executive Director, Earth Resources Policy and Programs, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

Jane has spent almost three decades forging a career in roles and industries traditionally dominated by men. In 2019, Jane was named the Exceptional Woman in Victorian Resources, an honour bestowed by the Minerals Council of Australia. It was an award which recognised her experience and skills in facilitating the responsible development of Victoria’s mineral resources.

In her current role as Acting Executive Director, Earth Resources Policy and Programs, within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Jane oversees a large team of staff delivering a diverse range of projects and initiatives including policy and legislative reform in Victoria’s earth resources sector and long-term planning for the sustainable development of brown coal resources.

Jane holds a Masters Degree in Chemistry, is a member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, a fellow of the Australian Institute of Energy and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She also has extensive experience in the design and delivery of community and stakeholder engagement programs relating to resource development and town planning and urban development.

In her (limited) spare time, Jane is Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors at Quantum Support Services which provides support to some of Gippsland’s most vulnerable individuals.

Firhat FirdousFarhat Firdous
Farhat is a skilled migrant from Pakistan, a mother, and a Gippslander.

Having worked in diverse roles within the non-profit sectors of Pakistan and Australia, Farhat brings with her an indepth understanding of the human services sector, especially family violence, gender mainstreaming, mental health, and settlement.

Currently, she is working as Multicultural Strategic Engagement Coordinator for Gippsland and work collaboratively with local services to create opportunities and appropriate service responses for improved settlement outcomes.

Farhat has recently joined West Gippsland Healthcare Board and enjoys being an active member of the community.

Erika McInerneyErika McInerney
Erika is a social media trainer and speaker on all things marketing, with a particular passion for local and small town businesses.

Erika grew up in the Latrobe Valley but left when she was 17, returning to Warragul many years later with her young family. It was during that time away that she gained a BA and a Masters of Marketing, worked in advertising agencies here and in the UK (the obligatory London stint). With 25 years working with countless businesses ranging from startup to international chains, Erika has a knack for connecting the dots - pulling her in directions well away from her dream to “make jam and ramble about the countryside”.

After moving to the ‘country’ Erika set about building what would soon be a very connected life. She cofounded a successful local farmers’ market and worked part-time in marketing for the regional library service. It was during those years that she first spent time with many small and micro business owners who were crying out for help promoting their businesses - hard when you have limited budgets and resources.

In early 2016 Erika launched Mac&Ernie, an agency dedicated to upskilling and empowering regional businesses, individuals and community organisations to take control of their marketing and promotion and do #bettersocial.

In recent years, Erika also cofounded and is on the committee for the Binary Shift Conference and often quietly volunteers her time and energy to help local community groups with strategy and social media, particularly around events and tourism. Erika was also the 2018 recipient of the Herald and Weekly Times ‘Shine’ Award for Passion for her community involvement and passion for increasing the digital literacy of businesses across Gippsland and beyond.

This year, more than ever, Erika is focused on helping Gippsland businesses increase their confidence and skills in digital and social media marketing.

Dr Elena KelarevaDr Elena Kelareva
Elena is the founder of GippsTech, a Warragul-based digital innovation consultancy which won the Gippsland Business Awards New Business category in 2018. Elena founded GippsTech in 2017 after leaving her job at Google, with the mission of supporting Gippsland businesses to grow through world-class digital innovation. Along with building up a successful website development and digital consulting business, Elena cofounded Binary Shift, one of Australia’s top regional innovation conferences, and worked with councils to create Startup Gippsland, the largest regional startup program ever run in Australia, which supported 46 Gippsland startups to go through the program simultaneously. She has been recognised for her work on building regional startup and tech communities by being selected as one of 3 finalists for the Regional Development Victoria Leadership & Innovation Award 2018, and with being invited to present at conferences in other regional areas, including the Bendigo Invention & Innovation Festival and the Australian Regional Development Conference in Tweed Heads, NSW. Elena has also recently joined the board of Committee for Gippsland, where she aims to support the Gippsland business community with her expertise in technology, innovation, and small business programs.


Date and time
Thursday 20 February 2020
5.30pm to 8.30pm

Narkoojee Vineyard
220 Francis Road, Glengarry North

Event cost
$54 per person, includes gst and booking fees.
Dinner will be cocktail style with a range of delicious finger food and platters. Includes one complimentary drink per person (wine, sparkling, beer, soft drink), plus tea and coffee.

Men are welcome to all GWIB events.

Thursday 13 February 2020


To register and pay online please click here.


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You’re also welcome to read more about Gatrobe Women in Business and find out more about our Events.