Year: 2017

Megan Oaten | Experimental Social Psychologist

As a mid-career scientist specialising in the field of Experimental Social Psychology, Megan Oaten is among a small but growing group of women pursuing a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), hoping that others will follow where they lead. “Women are equally represented in sciences at university, in post-graduate studies, and at doctorate level”, Megan says, “but once you enter the post-doctorate phase the numbers drop significantly. At the senior levels it’s a male dominated space.” Homeward Bound, which Megan has been selected for this year, is an initiative which intends to change this, through their program aimed at increasing the presence of science-minded women in policy and decision making roles. Participants receive a year-long mentorship which includes career coaching, collaborative research opportunities, mentoring meetings and networking. It culminates in a three-week trip to Antarctica in February 2018, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “This program is really about creating a network of women across the globe. We’re aware that we are stronger together, and we support each other into our …

Kym Strow and Sarah Jones | a.k.a. Flock Espresso and Eats

“I am boss of everything,” jokes Kym Strow, one half of the couple behind Lismore café, Flock Espresso and Eats. “She’s the whip holder,” agrees her partner, Sarah Jones. “I’m the organised practical one and Kym’s the ideas lady, the creative one.” “She’s the breaks, aren’t you babe?,” laughs Kym. Sarah is the barista and taste tester at the popular café that has recently reopened in Lismore following the March 31 Flood. The cooking was Kym’s job, but in their new space she’s had to let go the reins a bit and hire some chefs. “With a space this size I can’t be in the kitchen and in control of the floor and engaged with customers,” she says. Like many in Lismore, Kym and Sarah weren’t prepared for the amount of damage caused by the recent flood. Only having lived in the region for 5 years, they were naïve about the extent of the destruction the overgrown river would cause. “We were still really busy that day and all of a sudden there was no-one,” …

Kaine and Jade Hunt a.k.a Secret Chef Catering

Still high from the success of their first appearance at Eat The Street in Lismore, Kaine and Jade Hunt were brimming with enthusiasm and ideas to enhance to their fledgling catering business when I caught up with them recently. The couple run Secret Chef Catering from their 5-acre property in Clunes, where they grow coffee, fruit trees, herbs, vegetables and chickens. They’re about to begin work on a commercial kitchen next to the house. “It will be great in summer when it’s really hot, you can put your knives down and jump into the pool!” says Kaine. The impetus for moving out of Sydney to the Northern Rivers in 2014 was to have a quieter pace of life, work from home and enjoy their growing family. They have two cute-as-button children, Axle, 3 and Ryder, 1. “When we found out we were having our first child we set things in place,” Kaine says. “Secretly Jade knew all the time that this is where we were going to live, before we even met!”  Kaine worked as sous …

Vlad Kolas | Artist

Prize-winning painter, Vlad Kolas, is moving about his studio, brush in hand, music blaring, when I appear at the door one hot afternoon. Startled, he turns and jumps off the ground and walks over, wiping his hands with a rag. Music is a crucial element to Vlad’s artistic practice, giving him energy and inspiration. Today, as with other days, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie are on high rotation. “You know how you dance when no-one’s looking? I’m doing that with the paintbrush. Then you stand back and assess what you did, and make some adjustments. It’s a balance between those critical decisions and the intuition,” he says. Vlad’s white-walled studio is a relatively new addition on his Clunes property, where he lives with his partner, Jessica, and their four boys aged from 3 to 15. There’s not a clean surface in sight, with couches and office chairs spattered with paint, and entire tables serving as mixing palettes, covered in oils blended together in endless colour combinations. Growing up in Bondi Beach, Vlad loved surfing and …