Strength in unity

Janet Kake. Photos: Dave Gleeson, Surfshots

By Margaret Maccoll

Building a stronger voice for business by bringing together Noosa’s many business groups makes perfect sense to sixth generation local Janet Kake who views the ups and downs life has thrown her as the next step forward in her life journey.

“Everything we do gets us to the next stage,” she said. “A lot of people live with fear. I practice living with no fear.”

In typical fashion Noosa’s newest Chamber of Commerce president had no desire to be president on joining the group but when asked to stand for the role only two months into her membership last October, has thrown herself into the task with a team approach that has seen membership quadruple over that time.

“I knew I needed strong people around me and we now have a strong Committee to grow our membership which has grown to over 180 members and become one voice for business,” she said. “We are the conduit between businesses and the Noosa Council and other government bodies.”

With her own individual approach Janet can see the benefits of Noosa’s many fractional business groups but also of uniting to support each other. “Business Groups are like people, with a variety of many personalities, so it is important for the business to find the right fit for their business personality,” she said. “For instance, tourism businesses join Tourism Noosa, Noosaville business owners join Noosaville Business Association but to reach out further to a larger range and variety of business people, Noosa Chamber represents all areas of business.”

Recently the Chamber began meeting monthly with Council on issues affecting all local business, a relationship she sees as a way of having a wider input in decision making. “We don’t always agree on things,” she said. “They want to have input otherwise it’s just people who complain who have their say but the majority may not agree.

“We need (the majority) to be a loud voice.”

Recent discussions have focussed on Council’s proposed changes to advertising signage.

“Council’s proposed changes to advertising signage is a current issue that will have a marked effect on businesses,” Janet said. “We want a common sense solution.

“The Noosa Chamber is committed to helping businesses ride the wave to success in Noosa.”

As well as growing the chamber with its monthly sunset meetings proving particularly popular, introducing students to the chamber is a project close to her heart.“Local 19-year-old Emma Tomlinson has achieved amazing success as an opera singer and has been inducted into the Noosa Chamber as the first Youth Committee Member to attract and lead other young people,” she said. “We feel we can support our youth in their transition from school to work.”

Janet may be sixth generation in Pomona and fifth generation in Kin Kin with a large extended family that provides its own network across the region, but it was in Brisbane where she first gained success before illness brought her back to Noosa.

“When I was born I lived in the main street of Eumundi for six years and went to Eumundi State School. After five primary schools we settled in Brisbane. “All my holidays as a child were in Noosa where I worked in my uncle’s Tourist Information Centre on Weyba Road.

“At 18 years old and very shy I fell into modelling which showed me how to present myself using body and energy language.

“In my early 20s I ventured into insurance for AMP and became number one salesperson in Australia. My success came from target marketing sponsoring the Army, Airforce and Police sporting teams with my name and phone number on the back of their shirts.

“From there I fell into Project Marketing starting my own company in 1995 in Toowong. My role was recruiting, writing systems and training salespeople. I bought a building, put on 40 salespeople and staff and took over Brisbane.

“We have to ‘climb the mountain to enjoy the view’ which means working smart and hard to eventually delegate and become an owner instead of an employee.”

Janet has three children, aged 33, 31 and 18, three grandchildren and three horses. After the birth of her third child, daughter Lili Rose and a second diagnosis of breast cancer she felt a strong calling for nature and spiritual growth.

“I bought my gorgeous property on Cooroy Mountain in less than 10 minutes at auction and 16 years later it is still my soul place,” she said.

“I have had breast cancer three times with a double mastectomy five years ago, having five operations that year. “My nipples are made out of my crotch which sounds awkward but is actually really cool.

“Breast cancer has been a gift that showed me how much love is around, and taught me to have more patience for people as we never know what is going on in their lives, but mostly, don’t sweat the small stuff as we are all going to die.”

When Janet moved to Cooroy she also discovered the magic of horses and their teaching ability which she now uses in training others.

“At age 40, people kept giving me horses and I ended up with 12,” she said. “My first horse of 16 years Arnie is my best teacher and was dangerous and wild when I was still in the fast lane. We are both much slower now.

“Horses have taught me to get into the other being’s reality, to become one out of two, to be connected, be strong enough but not controlling, leadership and most of all teamwork – give and take.

“As my working life has been all about systems, my mind immediately downloaded a system for business people to improve their sales presentation through talk, body and energy language.

The horses help people to reveal leadership qualities required to success in business. They help to expose real fears and anxieties people have in life, not just in the round yard, but also revealing the leadership ability of each individual.

There is no horse riding in her training.

“The student learns the art of the presentation from the meet and greet, objections, features and benefits, storytelling and much more to the closing of the sale, but most of all how to become one energy from two,” she said. “There’s no pretending with horses.”

Horse have also transported Janet along Noosa’s Heritage Trails where she discovered many Heritage signs around Kin Kin and Pomona referred to her ancestors.

And for the last five years she and Arnie have represented the Light Horse in the Eumundi, Tewantin and Cooroy Anzac and Remembrance Day parades.

For her next challenge Janet will be working with a 25-year-old Sunshine Coast company that houses 140 financial advisors in Brisbane and Sydney. Her role is to support them grow to 250 financial advisors within the next year. “This is exciting,” she said.


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