Good morning Toowoomba. Last night I made a wish to wake up today looking and sounding just like Natasha O’Meara. Obviously, I didn’t wish hard enough!!!

But I would like to share some insights on Merivale’s professional partnership with ABIA. Since the late 1990’s ABIA has continued to host the most prestigious membership awards in Australia. These state and national events honour the 30 different service categories in the wedding industry.

The ultimate point of difference for these awards is the judging process which is based entirely on the scores provided by the brides and grooms. This specific value gives the award system a credibility which encourages every partner in their pursuit of excellence.  The post-award feedback and media-releases that vendors receive are simply added benefits that bring a return on investment for thousands of micro vendors.

Our ABIA partnership shared many mutually beneficial discussions which value-added to the strategic decision making for both parties. Discussions about the changing nature of wedding trends, industry demand for pricing transparency, shared statistics, marketing and media strategies, risk management and unregistered operators, does the industry need to self-regulate, does ABIA need to diversify into training and expos.

Fast track to 2020: the pandemic: the future of weddings and events. ABIA raised the bar and took the debate to the policy makers in caring for its community. Under Natasha’s leadership, with a clear, economic, substantiated stand, she stood-up to the state and federal governments for the continuance of Job Keeper. The result was unprecedented community support, publicity and success.

So it’s easy to speak up for ABIA and what you believe in. BUT, wait there is more, much more playing out here…because Kim Cahill has a dream too, and her dream just got BIGGER.  Kim vision is very clear as she already has her sight set on everyone in this room.

Kim’s capacity to forge collaborative partnerships is demonstrated by this very event – where collaboration is becoming the new norm for micro businesses everywhere. Kim’s passion, tenacity and determination to support micros, particular those in the wedding industry, is to lead from the front in order to generate growth, for everyone.

TDD’s footprint covers almost one third of this state. Coupled with her passion, knowledge and volume of social media followers, Kim has easily transitioned into an innovative regional business connector.  The immediate challenge for Brand TDD is to fill the connectivity void for wedding clients’ and vendors in regional, remote and rural Queensland.

This collaboration, this partnership, this initiative – between ABIA’s national e-platform and TDD’s wedding platform... will prove to be a game-changer for Toowoomba’s wedding industry. Natasha and Kim…thank you…for accepting this invitation to step up.