Bridget advocating for regional women
This article featured in the Yorke Peninsula Country Times March 09 2021 written by Jess Liddy
City girl turned farmer’s wife Bridget Johns is on a mission to prove women in regional, rural and remote areas can do it all. Bridget is one of 12 rural women selected by the National Rural Women’s Coalition to attend a four day residential leadership and capacity building program in Canberra from March 14-18. Each year, selected women learn, network and grow their leadership skills whilst giving back to their communities through a volunteer project of their design.
Bridget’s volunteer project will involve running a Women’s Wellbeing Day on Yorke Peninsula. “While the focus of the day will be on self care, I hope to plant a seed of ambition in women’s eyes and hearts that anything is possible,” she said. “I hope the day will be a safe space where women can share their big, bold and audacious dreams. “Many rural women are highly educated and motivated but unsure of the next step to make their dreams happen in a rural environment. “By sharing their dreams, there may be other women in our community who can help make these dreams a reality.”
Bridget said she was incredibly shocked to be chosen for the program. “I’m looking forward to connecting with women from all across Australia for four days of embedded learning and reflection,” she said. “As a mum, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had six consecutive days and nights to focus solely on myself and growing my skills.” Bridget said she was passionate about advocating for women in regional areas because there was such a push to go to the city to progress your career — and she had successfully done the complete opposite. “If we want thriving regional communities, we need to empower women to know they can follow their dreams from wherever they are,” she said. “The internet makes the world our oyster but it takes courage to grow and try new things.”
Bridget is a multi-passionate entrepreneur juggling four part-time jobs as a professional organiser and consultant grant writer in her business Be Simply Free, as well as being the Barunga West Council’s tourism and economic development officer and the Legatus Group’s community collaborator. “I was born and raised in Adelaide, completing my schooling at Brighton Secondary School and completing a Bachelor of Food Technology and Management with First Class Honours from Adelaide University,” she said.
“Straight after uni, I left the city to gain experience as a food industry development officer with the Yorke Regional Development Board in Maitland. “I believed the narrative I couldn’t progress my career in the country so I assumed I would gain two to three years’ experience then move to Sydney, Melbourne or London.” Three months after moving, Bridget met now-husband Stewart Johns, a farmer from Alford, and never left. “We married in 2009 at the Alford church and now have two children,” she said.
“When I realised I wanted to make a life on Yorke Peninsula, I continued to study to broaden my skillset. “I completed a Master of Business Administration majoring in Agribusiness Management, Association Management and Local Government, a Diploma of Community Development, a Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, a Cert IV in Career Development and a Cert IV in Training and Assessment, along with many short courses. “For the first 16 years of my career I worked in state government and regional development roles.”
In 2019, Bridget became dissatisfied with a change in direction of her job role. “I jumped off the traditional career trajectory and followed my dreams by launching my business Be Simply Free,” she said. “Be Simply Free exists to teach women to reduce their mental load by decluttering their homes, phones and minds so they can find more space in their homes and time in their calendars to collect moments, not things!” Bridget now offers one-on-one declutter coaching sessions over Zoom to people all over Australia and in-person sessions in people’s homes on YP and in Adelaide.
“I also offer online courses including my latest course, Clear Clutter Make Memories, which is for mums who want to spend less time cleaning and more time collecting precious moments in their family,” she said.
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