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WA Branch President's Christmas Address

As 2021 comes to a close, I want to take the opportunity to give a very special thanks to the WA Branch Committee, WA YWP Committee and our Member Engagement Manager, Kyllie Whitehead. Together, we have delivered another good year of events to share information, connect people and celebrate our profession’s innovators and leaders.  

For the Association nationally we were so lucky to have been able to run Ozwater in between lockdowns and most states have been able to keep up a good offering of events face to face, online or both. In hindsight, 2020 feels a bit more amateur as we shifted to online events. This year I think we have made our online delivery of events much more professional, with a highlight for WA being the multi-venue online Breakfast format. The topic for the Breakfast, carbon net-zero, was also the perfect topic and provided a great lead up to COP26 and the increasing interest playing out in politics and industry sectors. Well done to the working group on that choice. 

Other highlights this year were our March regional tour to the South-West, which included a great opportunity to see some of our regional awards nominees and winners. We are already setting up our plans for the next in 2023. Will it be Albany, Kalgoorlie, or somewhere else? The food and beverage industry is proving a popular topic of discussion with a brewery visit on the SW tour to the Beerfarm and a dedicated technical event at the Seasonal Brewing Company in August.  

Our mentoring program had another successful kick off during the year and our Awards Dinner proved to be as popular as ever. We did not, however, fill all categories in our awards this year and while that did not detract from the categories filled and awards won, it does highlight there is room to grow the event and industry recognition in 2022. I’d like to give a special thanks to Kelly Lavell who again led the coordination of judging in what proved to be a challenging year to fairly classify entries into the right categories.  

The YWP quiz night was a great success with Mt Eliza proving a popular venue as the event sold out very quickly.  

Finally, I want to acknowledge Helen McGettigan for her coordination of the Sundowners this year. We had a great range of speakers and we saw a diverse range of members attending. I think the Sundowner concept has proven to be a valuable staple of our Branch activities, providing a regular, informal but still topically interesting forum for connection and sharing. We will be looking to continue these in 2022 and perhaps looking for a new venue with the right acoustics. 

As we all look forward to the summer and hopefully some downtime, I encourage you to browse AWA’s new website. I hope you find the format more enticing and that it better connects you to what is happening at the Branch and National levels.  

We are notably embarking on the development of the Association’s strategic direction as Strategy 22 comes to an end and we develop our next iteration. You might also like to consider the Specialist Networks, perhaps a new year’s resolution to get involved and continue your professional development? 

I wish you all an enjoyable summer and festive season. I look forward to seeing you at an AWA event in 2022.