I think back to my first week in the role as Manager of the City Heart, it was a stifling hot February day synonymous with a Mildura Summer, the temp had hit 43 degrees and the streets were barren as everyone took refuge from the heat.
Foot traffic was scarce, the PA system was broken, the sky was a vast clear blue without a banner or flag in sight, I sat at my desk looking directly at vacant shops, and I’d yet to get to know the Traders in the way I do now, truthfully, I was wondering what I’d gotten myself into!
But one thing I knew for certain, my heart yearned for the streets of this town. Born and raised in the region, I’m a mallee girl through and through. Spending younger years out in Werrimull where I grew up, and all my life relating the taste of juicy oranges, cold crisp grapes, and the dusty smell of summer rain that evaporates on boiling hot sticky asphalt to this place we call Sunraysia and the place I call home.
So now, as I hit the 5-year milestone as Manager of the Mildura City Heart, I’m once again sitting and reflecting as I write this. Only this time, the shops in front of me are filled, the streets are pumping with sounds from the PA system, interrupted only by a Trader walking past and popping in to say hello, or a visitor to the town asking to borrow the basketball to shoot hoops in the permanent basketball ring. And although we’re lucky enough to always have vast blue skies they’re now strewn with the vibrant colours of the mall flags that celebrate the cultural festivities and holidays in our region…and yep, we still get the 43 degree days! But somehow, with the greener areas thanks to new trees and meeting places across the Mall it all feels so welcoming.
I truly do love this place. It’s not just a slogan to me, it’s everything I live and breathe each and every day in my role. And what a diverse role it is! I wear the PR, Marketing, Event Management, Admin, Reporting, Advocacy, and even Christmas Character hat! (yep, that was me in the Gingerbread Costume!). In the 5 years since that first week; I’ve had the complete honour of working beside Traders, the Board of Directors and organisations like the Mildura Rural City Council and Regional Development to develop our CBD into the space it is today.
Outside of business reporting, it’s not often I stop to write down everything we’ve achieved – big and small, no two days are the same in the Mildura City Heart office and we might come in of a morning with a plan only to be pulled into a different direction, a new happening, or a problem that needs to be solved. We market, build, shape, grow, change, connect, celebrate, commemorate, and strive to make this place a place for you all to use and love.
So, across this year I’ll be stopping to reflect more, to talk more about the big events – like our annual Mildura Powersports Show and Shine on Good Friday, and the little details – like what our role is as a Traders Association.
But for now, as I celebrate 5 years working alongside the incredible Traders, Community Groups and all of you as members of the community, I wanted to say a very big thank you for welcoming me, entrusting me with the duty of managing this incredible precinct that is the heart of our town, and here’s to a (very) busy 2023 with more events, school holiday programs, and great things happening in our town.
I really do love this place, and I’m so proud to call it my home.