Megan Lewis described heading the Forster Tuncurry Business Chamber as one of the most rewarding experiences of her working life, apart from establishing her business, The Resolution Network 10 years ago.
Megan was elected president at last year's annual general meeting following a 12 month stint as an executive committee member.
"I've learnt so much about other local businesses, about our area and about the broader region," she said.
"I've been amazed at people's creativity and commitment, and this has shone through in particular over the last couple of months.
"I am passionate about helping the chamber continue to add value and play a leadership role locally, and I'm grateful to the wonderful committee and our 154 members who support and share that same vision."
While Megan is a relative newcomer to the Great Lakes, she has a strong connection with the Mid North Coast spending many family holidays in Old Bar, worming on Saltwater beach and fishing out at Mud Bishops.
According to family folklore, Megan's grandparents were one of the first land owners in Old Bar.
"They used to own a grocery store in Taree and they'd catch the punt across to Old Bar and get a cart to their beach shack," she said.
"At the time I didn't realise how magical a place it was and what wonderful memories were being formed.
"Funny enough, we never ventured any further than Old Bar or Taree; never once did I head to Tuncurry or Forster, Wingham or Harrington or any of the other parts of what now makes up the Mid Coast LGA."
Returning to Sydney, following a stint in Singapore working in a regional marketing role with IBM, Megan began to feel disenchanted with inner city living, craving quieter, wide open spaces.
"It felt stifling, and dare I say, a bit boring," she said.
"Yes, there were loads of lovely restaurants and exciting things to see and do, but also loads of people, constant hustle and bustle and rarely a moment to sit still in nature."
I've always found the Forster Tuncurry chamber to be a very welcoming and active chamber so I was keen to see how I could help out and be a part of the local business community.Megan Lewis
With her late mum then living in Old Bar and keen to experience coastal country living, not too far from Sydney and within her price range, Megan began investigating her options.
"After exploring the Hunter Valley - way out of our price range - to Gloucester - still a push - we landed in Wingham and discovered Elands," Megan said.
"We fell in love with 80 hectares in the middle of nowhere and that was our home for the next six years."
Country living was an ideal fit until Megan established her business, which came with early morning meetings and hundreds of kilometres travel around the area.
"So we decided to become townies and moved to a smaller farm closer to town."
Two years later Megan and her partner swapped town life for the coast, moving to Hallidays Point.
Back in 2010 when Megan established her business she joined and became an active participant in a number of chambers throughout the Mid Coast LGA.
Fast forward to 2018 when Megan was asked if she would be interested in joining the Forster Tuncurry Business Chamber by secretary, Maxine Calladine.
"I was pretty excited about the idea," she said.
"I've always found the Forster Tuncurry chamber to be a very welcoming and active chamber so I was keen to see how I could help out and be a part of the local business community.
"The chamber has been part of the local community since 1957."
Megan acknowledged and praised the resilience and imagination many business operators have displayed since COVID-19 impacted enterprises throughout the Great Lakes.
She is looking forward to a bright and constructive future for the business community.
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