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Meet the new SA Branch Manager: Shirley Fraser

The Australian Water Association’s South Australian branch sat down with the new Branch Manager Shirley Fraser to find out more about her.

Shirley Fraser Shirley Fraser


Wine Marketing – Roseworthy / Adelaide Uni
Art History – Adelaide Uni

Current employer

Australian Water Association
(and myself)

Current position

State Branch Manager, SA – AWA
Consultant – Wine Collaborators

Board Member – Wine Communicators Australia
Board Member – Australian Women in Wine Awards

Dogs or cats?

Dogs – my partner and kids are allergic to cats (although I like them too). I have a moodle named Stella.

What can’t you do without?

Coffee, wine, friends and family.

Rugby, AFL or soccer?

Dance. But AFL if you need a football!

Describe a typical workday

Working from home was already my norm. I switch from AWA members, committee, staff and projects, to my wine clients, committees and projects, to my kids and back again. Lot’s of Zoom and mobile calls. I love the flexibility and engagement, despite the COVID-19 isolation right now.

Hobbies past or present?

Travel in the past but clearly not at the moment. Three kids – 13- and 11-year-old sons and a 9-year-old daughter – mean the rest of my hobbies are restricted to work.

What’s in your music player currently?

Adele, Macklemore and the kids' preferences!

How do you maintain balance between your work and personal life?

Honouring the peaks and troughs. You cannot continually sprint, so sprint then change, adapt and juggle. Keep the human factor for personal connection and drink lots of coffee.

Do you have any other volunteer roles?

Yes – I'm usually a manager of one or more of my kids team sports (I can't coach as am useless at sport). Also Mentoring for Future Leaders and WCA. Plus the board roles I have with WCA and AWIWA.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Doing special effects for movies or sound tech.

What is your favourite film?

Pride and Prejudice or Harry Potter.

What is your dream job?

More of what I’m doing. Being secure to continue consulting to collaborate with many businesses across sectors.

Who do you admire?

My mum.

Career path

I fell into the wine industry after hospitality when I left school. Roseworthy was a hoot and I somehow had synergy with rural and regional areas despite always living in Adelaide.

My focus is strategic planning and problem-solving through connecting and simplifying complex problems. Sales and marketing with stakeholder management. I have also worked in global corporates (Nestle and Constellation/BRL Hardy), start ups and SME brands as well as consulting under my own business.

What would your dream holiday be?

Right now, it would be to relax somewhere other than home but that's simply not possible. Who knows what travel will look like after COVID-19.

Italy would be a key place for me and I’d love to take the kids to the US and UK while they’re young enough to enjoy it together.

Career highlight(s)

Being selected for Future Leaders 2017 (Wine Australia).

What was your first job?


What's the most unusual thing that's happened to you at work?

Selling pet food in a rural location dealing with greyhound and dog breeders. On a positive side, there was a conference in Las Vegas for work.

If you could invite four people to dinner who would they be?

My partner Nick, Jacinda Ardern, James Corden and JK Rowling.

What is the most important factor for success?


What was a defining moment in your life?


What are the important qualities required to be a good manager?

  • Articulation of the strategy
  • Discipline to stick with it
  • Support and encouragement of team
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Not micromanaging
  • Integrity
  • Decision making
  • Adaptability for change

What advice would you give to a young person just starting out in our industry?

  • Connect with your peers, colleagues and mentors
  • Ask for help
  • Say yes to opportunities
  • Keep learning
  • Adapt to change with positive attitude