Ignite MNC 2019 – Featured Speaker – Fiona Barden

In our second interview of speakers and presenters that will be attending Ignite Mid North Coast Symposium 2019 we are featuring Fiona Barden.

On November 6, Fiona will be speaking at the Slim Dusty Centre, located in the beautiful Macleay Valley and location for this year’s event. Ignite MNC Symposium 2019 will bring together creative thinkers and inspired innovators from within the region and beyond to talk about “Your World 2030”.

If you live in the Mid North Coast or have ever considered relocating to the region be sure to come along, tickets are available HERE

Fiona Barden brings personal and learned business experience to her role as Section Leader, Industry and Destination Development at Coffs Harbour City Council. Fiona has worked in private and small business, running a business with her husband for 12 years in Coffs Harbour before moving to working with small businesses on the Coffs Coast. Her role at Council sees her working with a variety of industry partners, understanding the needs of business within the community and advocating for development and opportunity.

Where did you grow up?

I have lived in a number and variety of places while growing up – Sydney, Papua New Guinea, Sydney, a small country town, Temora and then Sydney again.  I moved to the mid north coast in 2000.

Given the choice between living in the city or country which would you choose and why?

I would choose to live in a regional area – one where you get to know people, you can be part of a community and where there is opportunity to connect with places and people – I guess in Coffs J

Describe your area of expertise?

I am a generalist – with knowledge based on customer service, tourism, small business and leadership.  I also have a great interest in data and analysis.  I currently work in Economic development and look at how to create opportunities for our community and its sustainability.

Your world 2030, what will it look like and what do you hope will have changed?

My world will look a little bit older.  I would hope that there is a little bit more automation to help but also a vibrant people culture to drive relationships and community. I would love to think we are considerate of what our actions do to our natural environment and that there isn’t a large divide between metro and regional opportunity.

What is the greatest hurdle you have had to overcome in your career and how did you do it?

Deciding what I wanted to do.  I don’t believe I’ve had any hurdles in my career – certainly running my business with two very young children was something I look back on now and wonder how we did it but at the time it was what we had to do along with recognising what we needed others to do for us.

If you could solve one problem or issue what would it be?

Apathy and blame – I would love people to be able to think of a way that something can be done and then take responsibility for giving something a go rather than just waiting for someone else to do it or looking who to blame that it’s not happening.  I’d also like to solve the barriers between metro and regional opportunities – to see how regardless of where you come from you have an opportunity for greatness.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I think the advice I would give my younger self is advice my parents gave me – always try your best at what you are doing and always give something a go.  Believe in yourself.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?

Immediately I think of Nelson Mandela, to understand how his beliefs and understanding forged the person he was and how he handled the “bad” days.  More practically my grandmother – she passed away when I turned 21 – people say I am a lot like her and now that I’m a lot older I feel that there are a lot of other questions I would like to ask her.

Best advice you have been given.

One of my employers thanked me every day when I left work for what I had done for him that day.  He taught me a lot about what it meant to be a boss!

What are you looking forward to most about attending Ignite MNC 2019?

I think it is exciting to see people from all over our region get together to learn and get excited about the future.

Thanks Fiona




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