Regional Women’s Initiative to Connect and Inspire

The Central West Inspired Women (CWIW) initiative launched in Orange on Wednesday, 30 November and aims to roll out to other local government areas (LGAs) in the Central West in 2023. The initiative, established by Regional Development Australia Central West (RDA Central West), aims to connect and inspire regional women with networking events featuring guest speakers, as well as upskilling and capacity-building workshops. The launch featured guest speaker Dr. Jo Braid, certified life coach and medical doctor, who shared insights on how local women striving for success and balance in their lives can make the most of 2023. RDA Central West events and communications officer Rachel Chippendale said there was a real need for these types of events and opportunities for rural and regional women, many of whom travel to metropolitan areas to attend such events and hear from quality speakers. 

“Many local women travel to Sydney to connect with like-minded business owners and industry colleagues, when we have so many inspiring speakers and top-tier educators right here in the Central West,” said Mrs. Chippendale. “We hope to see this initiative grow throughout our region, empowering local women and filling knowledge gaps in an environment that fosters the sharing of knowledge. We want our women to grow, not only as individuals, but also as a community.” 

The sold-out launch event, supported by a CUP Grant from Charles Sturt University, attracted 80 local women to The Greenhouse Function Room at the Orange Ex-Services Club, with much applause and positive feedback from attendees.

Founding committee member and local Quest franchisee, Amy Van de Ven, said there was such a huge demand for such an initiative. 

‘‘CWIW is an exciting initiative which aims to create a space to network, collaborate and lean into connections. Three years ago, when I relocated to the area for business there was no structured space for this and I’m so proud to be involved moving into 2023.’’ Said Ms. Van de Ven. 

The initiative has a core committee comprising of Rachel Chippendale, Amy Van de Ven, motivational speaker Jessica Hickman and RDA Central West acting director Lynda Smart. 

Jessica Hickman said that the first event proved the need and want for such an innovative initiative in our community. 

“A sold-out event packed with rich knowledge and experience created a safe authentic space for women of the Central West to deepen relationships and create opportunity for growth. I am very excited to watch this blossom in 2023 and beyond,” said Mrs. Hickman. 

RDA Central West is calling upon local women interested in the initiative to subscribe to the CWIW newsletter for updates. Applications for joining an LGA committee will be open soon, as well as an opportunity to suggest event and workshop themes. Local women across all industries and sectors are welcome. To find out more head to and hit the ‘projects’ link or follow Central West Inspired Women on Facebook 

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