Image: Back row: Melissa Butterworth (CBA), Samantha Pearce (CBA), Jane Benston (Springboard Consulting), KerryAnn Bartle (author, Hundreds&Thousands), Richenda Vermeulen (ntegrity)
Front row: Bianca D’Alberto (CBA), Alisa Camplin (Guest Speaker), Megan Iemma (Tech Coach HQ), Robyn Poulton (Guinot)
As I was making my way to the Business Chicks: CBA Women in Focus team’s breakfast, with guest speaker Alisa Camplin, I found it difficult to contain my excitement. On approaching the Palladium Ballroom at Crown Melbourne, what lay before me was a colourful spectacle of beautifully clad women all chattering happily – and so early in the morning. I was impressed! A gentleman stopped me to say, “Every day I walk to work and wonder where all these amazing women are going and how do I get invited along?” I had to smile to myself and think, if only he knew.
On meeting some of the wonderful Women in Focus team, who had kindly invited me to this fabulous event, I was immediately made to feel welcome. And can I add, we had some of the best seats in the house, nestled right next to the Business Chicks team and Alisa Camplin. I was thoroughly delighted.
With the room now bursting with hundreds of enthusiastic, professional ladies, I took to my seat. The table before me was adorned in a colourful array of delights and goodie bags full of wonderful gifts yet to explore.
With breakfast served, and every detail delicately considered (a much needed coffee added into the mix), I enjoyed the friendly conversation that surrounded our table. Anticipation mellowed as a sweet, beautiful and aspirational Alisa took to the stage. As she started to speak, the room became silent, all except for the subtle sound of alarm clocks through the hotel. But, alas, us ladies were already up and dressed, eating a delicious breakfast and about to hear one of the most amazing stories. They do say it’s the early bird that gets the worm.
Alisa Camplin commanded the stage like a true professional. This incredible lady shared her adventure of how she triple twisted and double back flipped her way to winning Australia’s first ever Olympic skiing gold medal at Salt Lake City in 2002. And she did this all with two fractured ankles. As we sat awe-struck at her journey and the roller coaster ride she endured, we were suddenly bounced out of our seats for our very first lesson at aerial skiing. Much needed after indulging in two eggs and sweet pastries!
After we settled from our vigorous morning training session, Alisa embraced us on another level entirely. A deep and truly emotional tragedy of how, even after all her broken bones, nothing could compare to a broken heart. Alisa’s sweet baby boy, Finnan, was born prematurely at 32 weeks and diagnosed with a congenital heart disease. Although he managed to fight hard for 10 days, his precious little body gave out. We were all so honoured and touched to be a part of this special moment. Even though some of us knew the story, being amongst this group of special ladies and hearing the sighs from around the room, one could not help but shed a tear.
Karan White from Pod Legal was equally moved by Alisa’s speech. “Alisa was willing to sacrifice everything to achieve her goal … These goals were challenging and on the verge of being un-achievable, but the end goal was always very clear and she didn’t waiver from these.” Speaking of the event, she continues, “Business Chicks continue to make available world class speakers to their community. These speakers take their audience on a journey of laughter, tears, joy and awe. Alisa Camplin was no exception.”
As the breakfast concluded, a stream of ladies lined up to say hello to the wonderful Alisa and give her a hug. Her story had deeply touched us all. We felt like we had not only learnt to triple twist and double back flip, but also experienced the slopes of her personal journey. Now we happily walked away with the knowledge that we can soar to the greatest heights by harnessing our inner goddess. With sheer determination and dedication, absolutely anything is possible, no matter what life throws at you!