Bianca Stawiarski Managing Director and Counsellor, Warida Wholistic Wellness has devoted her business and impressive qualifications to improving the mental health and wellness of her community, and through her online resources, a growing global following. Warida Wholistic Wellness is an Indigenous social enterprise located in the Adelaide Hills. In addition to Counselling, Bush Therapy and Equine Assisted Therapy, Warida are also now offering day long Indigenous Wellbeing Retreats, Ngalimi Yunggudya (means we give to each other in Badimaya language), focussed on connection to each other and to Country.
Warida Wholistic Wellness has been recognised as a Finalist in the 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards, Indigenous Excellence category.
How have people applied the skills they have learned through your online Assertiveness course?
Assertiveness skills, or the lack of these skills, permeates through every part of people’s lives. Every time you have an interaction with another person, having competent assertiveness skills can improve mutually beneficial outcomes for all people involved. Amongst the people who have completed our Assertiveness courses, we’ve been amazed at how they have applied the skills – from improving their horse riding, to barristers managing professional relationships, to various personal development areas such as establishing personal boundaries, to even negotiating purchasing a vehicle for the price that they want! Really, the applications are endless.
What led you to create other online courses like your self-discovery course, and your courses for mental health and equine assisted therapists?
Every day I interact with people, usually middle-aged women, who aren’t living the life that they want to. They are disillusioned with life, may have issues with self-worth, or feeling walked over in their personal and professional lives. They may be feeling broken, ashamed, or trapped in a situation they feel they can’t change.
I wanted to provide a way for people to access deeply transformative coaching regardless of where they live or what their available times are – between kids, work, caring responsibilities, or who may be having a difficult time just getting through the day. I also understood that the unique way that I see and interact with the world, isn’t how most people deliver their services. Ultimately, there is only one of me, so the logical step was to go online so I could help more people to grow! Once I launched, I was surprised by the uptake not just in Australia, but internationally as well. Visit our brand new, hot off the press Warida Learning platform.
In relation to equine assisted therapists, many of them are heavily subsidising their businesses or not operating viable businesses due to the high costs of including horses in the therapeutic process. What this means is that it is less likely that they will remain in business, delivering the service, in the long term. This ultimately means that there just aren’t enough qualified therapists to support all the need in our local and wider communities.
Seeing this needed support, and due to my own success, I implemented an equine assisted therapy business coaching training facilitation approach online to improve specific business skills. These masterclasses have been well supported and I hope the uptake increases significantly because ultimately the community needs the services that we provide.
What role will you play in the Adelaide Hills Wellness Tourism Strategy?
The importance of our Indigenous Healing Practices for wellbeing and good mental health are being recognised internationally and starting to be more recognised within Australia too. As an Adelaide Hills Indigenous social enterprise operating internationally within the wellbeing and mental health space, Warida Wholistic Wellness, is perfectly placed in providing a ‘two ways’ (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) approach. Wellness tourism is a growing area, with our one-day wellbeing retreats increasing in interest as more people are wanting tourism activities with an Indigenous focus, including connection to Country, that improve their mental health and wellbeing.
We are continuing to plan wellbeing tourism activities for 2022 and beyond, with our expertise recently recognised when we were a guest speaker at the Adelaide Hills Wellness Unearthed conference. Following that success, we are also part of the Wellness Wander events being held in early 2022. Our Ngalimi Yuunggudya Wellbeing Retreat (pronounced nga-li-mi yung-gu-dya), meaning we give to each other in Badimaya (Badimia) language, is being held on Saturday 2nd April 2022 at our Warida Sanctuary. The wellbeing event symbolises reciprocity to all beings and to barna (Country). You can visit our website to learn more.
Tell us about the chapter you have written in a book on reciprocity through an Indigenous lens?
I was recently involved in a collaborative business book, yet to be named, by female entrepreneurs across Australia. This book is due for release in early 2022 and I’m really looking forward to it. For me, communicating how I, as a Badimia (Badimaya) woman, views reciprocity and the importance of involving reciprocity through an Indigenous lens needed to be raised in reference to business approaches.
The chapter really represents my ethos of Gudu-guduwa (coming together) and Ngalimi Yuunggudya (we give to each other) making sure that we always involve and consider our relationship with others (not just people, but Country as well) and balance, moving away from a purely transactional way of interacting with purchasers of your products / services to really connecting.
Being able to start to yarn about this on a different platform, I hope inspires others to start to think about connection and reciprocity on a much deeper level than a western social enterprise approach. Your community will benefit, you will benefit and the whole process enriches and honours the connection.
You are currently undertaking a Rare Birds mentoring scholarship funded by AMEX. How has your mentor helped your journey?
I have actually been given two opportunities, one through Rare Birds and a part scholarship through First Australian’s Capital with Silver Lining Pty Ltd (US based) for their Silver Lining Action Plan. I have mentors through both programs, which is just fantastic. As I’m possibly more than a little driven, I was never going to access a mentor for mindset or for accountability reasons. For me relationship, connection, networking and having someone to bounce around ideas is my real benefit personally and professionally.
My Rare Birds mentor is Merendi Leverett from Authentic Healthpreneurs, and my Silver Lining Action Plan mentor is Peter Millard, Business Advisor and Executive Coach. Both of them in their unique and different skill sets and experiences support me to reflect, celebrate my successes, and help me to dig deeper into things I am trialing rather than my usual approach of just jumping in. The entrepreneurial journey can sometimes feel a little lonely but checking in with both of them on a monthly basis has been awesome and a vital part of staying true to connection.
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