New business chair comfortable in the driver’s seat

Headshot of Michael Philipps
Michael PhilippsSouth Western Times

Business South West chairwoman Dr Robyn Morris could not be more qualified for the role.

With a keen interest in developing small businesses in the region, Robyn is passionate about what drives regional growth.

“I have always had a passion for small business and with an economics background I am particularly passionate about what drives regional economic growth,” she said.

“I know the small business sector is one of the biggest components of growth, especially in regional areas,” she said.

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“When you have about 97 per cent of your businesses which are small businesses they have to be one of the big powerhouses within a regional economy.”

Robyn said she loved working in the role for a variety of reasons.

“From an intellectual point of view I find it interesting and challenging,” she said.

“I love to look at what some of the issues are in the small business sector and how we might be able to come up with solutions or help them through a difficult period.

“From a self-satisfaction perspective it is wonderful getting really positive feedback from your business community saying you have been really helpful and made a real substantial difference to our business.

“It is about giving back to the community as well because everything I do is voluntary

Our board is a completely voluntary board so whatever time we put into it is our own.”

In terms of experience, Robyn is more than qualified for the role.

“I have got a bachelor’s degree which I got from UWA which is a double major in economics and geography.” she said.

“Then I went on and did a master’s degree in the United States in economics.

“In 2009 I got my PHD which is in the organisational behaviour and psychology area which again is business related.

“It is about looking at work motivation amongst staff and employees, what drives them and what gets them to go above and beyond what is required of them.”

Robyn originally moved to Bunbury in 1984 after teaching in Newman.

“I chose to transfer to Bunbury and taught at Newton Moore Senior High School,” she said.

“My early career was as a high school teacher and I loved the interaction with the students but I hated the marking.

“I also worked as an associate professor for Edith Cowan University and got to spend a lot of one-on-one time with the economics students.”

As the wife of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan, Robyn said she enjoyed the opportunities to attend the various official functions accompanied by the role.

“We both love it otherwise he wouldn’t have run for a second term because it was a joint decision, even as his decision to run for a first term was a joint decision,” she said.

“On a Friday night at home, over a glass of red wine, we will discuss a lot of things happening in the city and look at different ideas.

“The part that I like is you really get to meet a lot of people in the community that you probably wouldn’t cross paths with otherwise.”

Robyn said in 10 years time she would like to see Bunbury in an even more solid position than it was now.

“I would like to see it really buzzing and I think the energy in the community has really picked up in the last four or five years,” she said.

“I would like to see a lot of things happening but at the same time I think it is nice to keep that little bit of a calm lifestyle here which you can’t get in Perth.

“To me that is one of the good things about Bunbury in that it is big enough to have a whole range of all sorts of essential services and really good quality health and education.”

Robyn said the most important development in Bunbury since she moved here was around the Koombana Bay and Leschenault Inlet area.

“Right from the knocking down of the silos and the redevelopment of that area and all of the residential and business developments in that area,” she said.

“I think this Koombana foreshore development is a real game changer for our city.”

“It is putting a huge focus on one of our greatest assets which is our water.”

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