Richness is in the stories

“We need to find new ways of doing things.”

That was the message made clear when Sydney philosopher Dr Mark Strom came to USQ Fraser Coast.

“The richness is in the stories,” Dr Strom said after wrapping up a workshop on May 23, attended by nine regional people dedicated to finding the keys that will boost regional development through teamwork.

“In anything like this, it’s tempting to say ‘Here’s the program, this has been done in five other countries in the world, just apply this program and that will bring about all the changes you need’.

“However, that approach tends to alienate people and ignores the fact there is already brilliance on the Fraser Coast.

“What I mean by brilliance is not IQ but the ability for people to shine. There are already great stories, not just the wonderful stories you hear when there’s a flood and people pull together in extraordinary ways, but even in the times without crisis.

“There is always a school somewhere where teachers are knocking themselves out doing some great things with the kids, or a health service with someone doing an amazing job of taking care of people who would otherwise fall through the cracks.

“The richness that gives you the insights on how to bring about deep, lasting change is in the stories that you’d otherwise ignore, the stories of everyday brilliance.”

Fraser Coast Councillor Robert Garland said the workshop gave him a refreshing view of the world and greater insight into what regional development meant.

“It means different things to different people. For one person it might be he simply wants a job for his son, for another it could be she wants a $150,000 per year job.

“We need to look at their stories and see what’s different, to put everything into perspective, look at the successes and build on them, and to take centres of excellence and build around them.

“But rather than tackle a ‘dinosaur’, we want to break it down to the five top things that might stimulate development and look at the mechanics to get that happening.”

Dr Strom led the workshop at the invitation of USQ Fraser Coast’s Associate Professor Paul Collits (Research Director, Economic Development and Enterprise Collaboration) and researcher Dr Robert Mangoyana.

They believe the secret to the Fraser Coast’s fiscal success is the collaboration of its myriad economic development groups and bringing together of resources. The challenge is inspiring people to collaborate outside their traditional silos.

“The Holy Grail of regional development is ‘How do you encourage collaboration between people?’ It’s a difficult thing anywhere not just the Fraser Coast,” Dr Strom said.

“On Friday we looked for different approaches to regional development, given that traditional project models so often don’t work.

“I have seen this time and again in all kinds of industries and projects where there are complex social contexts, yet people continue to apply cookie cutter approaches that don’t work. Here we have a group of people who want to do better than that.

“Whether I’m working with governments, corporations or groups like this, all my work is about opening up conversations: first, about the ways of thinking and acting we’ve inherited that stop us working together well; and then about developing more natural, more human, and more effective ways of working.

“Fundamentally it’s about what it means to be wise and what it means to live well together.

“When you start there and encourage those conversations, all the management jargon evaporates. We see the patterns that shape our lives and discover the kinds of dialogue together where we create new meaning.

“Influence and change come down to relationships – you can’t have more influence than your relationships will bear.”

For a brief CV and more information about Dr Strom, log on to,, or


CAPTION: Dr Mark Strom leads a workshop on economic development at USQ Fraser Coast on May 23, 2013. Pictured are (l-r) Abbie Grant-Taylor, Megan Smith, Tracy Hetherton, Kerry Fullarton, Nathan Spruce, Dr Mark Strom, Nigel Hill, USQ Fraser Coast Associate Professor Paul Collits, Fraser Coast Councillor Robert Garland and USQ Researcher Dr Robert Mangoyana. PHOTO: Jocelyn Watts

De-stress and save $ with a home wedding

By guest blogger TONI McRAE, Australian print and broadcast journalist.

Traditionally we associate weddings with stress, especially it seems for the bride although we know of many grooms who have also melted into cold sweats and grown butterflies in their bellies on their big day.

Your wedding day owes it you to be stress-free. You owe it to you! Certainly if you walk down your garden, church, park, or registry office aisle, you’ll feel better and therefore look a heap better free of stress.

Firstly, make a to do list and start ticking the items off as you work your way towards your big day.

Here are just a few simple thoughts and tips to help to de-stress your wedding – and at the same time to save you heaps of dollars.

A home wedding is an excellent option to save money and make you feel literally “at home”. Why not host the ceremony and reception in your garden, or your family’s?

  • Book your favourite eatery to cater for the occasion and opt for a buffet on the patio, or if need be under a marquee, which you can hire.
  • Waiters may come with the caterer but otherwise head for your local employment agency and check out who might be available.
  • If you decide on a hired venue for your reception, pick one that allows you to bring your own wine and champers. The venue will charge corkage but what a difference this will make to the overall price.
  • Choosing a luncheon reception rather than dinner is always a clever option and keeping to a buffet will allow guests to sit where they want – except for the official party of course.
  • Have you considered saving even more by holding a champers, strawberries and cream and cake celebration instead of a sit-down meal?
  • As for those favours we so often want to place at the table sittings for our guests to take away with them, consider buying flower seed packets from your hardware or garden store and wrap them in tulle, then tie with satin ribbon. Add a note that says something such as: “As our lives will from this day grow and blossom, may these little seeds bloom for you as you remember our happiest of days. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.”
  • Lean on your bridesmaids, sister, mother, aunt, friend to go to the market to buy flowers to decorate the house up to two days before the wedding.
  • Organise willing family and friends to create the boutonnieres for the groom, his best man and your bridesmaids – not forgetting the two mums and dads involved!
  • Why not get the girls to also make your own bouquet? Beautiful satin ribbon is so cheap at your local craft store.
  • Brilliant table centrepieces can be created out of crystal salad or fruit bowls. Fill them with perfumed floating candles and sprinkle the heads of seasonal flowers around them.
  • Your bridesmaids’ bouquets (hopefully home-made) can come in handy to adorn the cake table and place some tall candles at the corners of the table.
  • Thinking of cakes, here’s a great tip. Order an unadorned three-tier cake of your choice and an additional sheet cake of the same mix. Decorate it your self – or get the girls to work again! Flowers from your wedding theme can make an ordinary cake look stunning and romantic.
  • If you want the event to look immaculate, there are conscientious cleaners and cleaning agencies who will spruce up the house for you. Make sure you hire them to return after your big day to clean up!
  • So many of us arrange to be married on a Saturday. Many dollars will be saved it you choose to marry on a Friday, or even a Sunday. These are often down time days for hospitality workers, celebrants and suppliers.
  • For music during your reception suss out your family and friends’ musical or DJ talents. If you have a virtuoso violinist in your immediate circle, suggest they play and tell them you will accept this gladly as their wedding gift.
  • A friend may also be able to make an MP3 DVD that can be played from a computer or sound system. Totally free and you can actually choose your songs and music!

Related Images:

How to choose the right wedding jewellery

By guest blogger TIFFANY ROOK of Noni B, Hervey Bay.

Determine your skin tone:

The first step in choosing your wedding jewellery is to locate an area on your body where veins are visible. Usually the wrist serves as a good reference point. Based on the colour of your veins, your skin tone may fall into one of two categories – cool or warm:

– Cool skin tones are identifiable by bluish coloured veins. People with cooler skin tones may notice pinkish or rosy-red undertones when looking in the mirror. Eye colour can range from light blue to dark brown and anywhere in between. Most people have cool skin, including people with dark or tan skin.

– Warm skin tones are identifiable by greenish coloured veins. People with warmer skin tones may notice yellow or golden-apricot undertones when looking in the mirror. Eye colour can, again, be any colour. People whose natural hair colour is red, orange, or strawberry blonde almost always have warm skin. Sometimes hair may be browner but it will have a reddish tint. People with darker skin are not usually warm-skinned.


Pick a metal and complementary colour:


Cool skin tones favour metals such as silver, platinum and white gold.

Warm skin tones favour metals such as gold, pewter, brass and copper.


Cool skin tones favour stones such as white pearls and diamonds. Stone colour should focus on jewel tones such as pinks, purples, blues, reds, and magentas.

Warm skin tones favour stones such as coral or golden toned pearls. Stone colour should focus on more earthy tones such as browns, oranges, greens, yellows, peaches, corals, and also turquoises.


Consider the shape of your face:

Heart/Inverted, Triangle/Diamond

Earrings – Dangle or drop earrings help to lengthen the face.

Necklaces – Chokers help contrast and soften the sharp angle of the chin.


Earrings – Try elongated shapes such as ovals, or angular shapes such as rectangles. Square shaped faces look particularly well in teardrop earrings.

Necklaces – Look for necklaces that elongate your face, typically necklaces that extend below the neckline.


Earrings ­– Choose short or round earrings to contrast the longer face shape.

Necklaces – Chokers, especially if you have a long neck.


Earrings – Dangle earrings (not too long), preferably angular shaped.

Necklaces – Can be either long or short (if long neck, chose a shorter necklace).


Related Images: