MOVER AND SHAKER: Johanne Wright finds great satisfaction after retirement.
MOVER AND SHAKER: Johanne Wright finds great satisfaction after retirement.

Johanne successfully transforms from corporate to community life on the Sunshine Coast

GOING into retirement after a long and fulfilling corporate career could spell trouble for many a high-flier, especially someone who has retired from the city to the Sunshine Coast.

But an easy way to stave off long and empty days is to get involved in your community and see how the journey flows from there.

Johanne Wright is proof that life after retirement from a corporate profession can be every bit as rewarding as it was when she sat in boardrooms.

After a career involving senior appointments in Queensland Health, the Queensland Public Service Commission and the Brisbane City Council before founding her own management consultancy with clients across Australia and Asia, Johanne retired to the Coast with her husband Ian to settle into a new life.

But retirement did not sit well with Johanne, there was a constant need to keep her mind active and engaged. She first looked around her and took inspiration from others.

"I was enchanted by the history of dedicated people prepared to invest their time and skills to ensure the (Sunshine Coast) environment was well protected,” she said. "This, combined with a wonderful feeling of belonging that is hard to experience in the city, hooked me into wanting to give back.”

With the cliché in mind of 60 being the new 40, Johanne took the first step by joining the local bridge club with her husband. This meant new friendships and new interests to explore.

"There are so many groups and fun things to do here (on the Coast) that we are spoilt for choice,” she said.

While new interests and friendships were appreciated, it was always going to be a case of deeper involvement for Johanne, putting her wealth of experience to good use. Fortunately, she had previously met playwright David Williamson and his wife author Kristen Williamson while she was still working. She casually mentioned to the Williamsons, the couple who had founded the Noosa Long Weekend festival, that she would like to volunteer for the event once she had retired.

"David began a very persuasive campaign to bring me on board there and then,” Johanne said.

Staying true to her determination of being involved, Johanne worked with the Noosa Long Weekend committee and is now president of the popular festival with its now name of NOOSA alive!

The 2017 festival was a resounding success and planning and work has already started for the 2018 event with its new name breathing more excitement into the festival.

"Noosa Long Weekend Festival was a great name,” Johanne said.

"Only in Noosa could you have a 10-day weekend. It served us well for many years. However, many locals and visitors were confused and thought we were a three-day festival. After 15 years we needed to refresh and after much research came up with the new name NO0SA aIive! It showcases our beautiful environment while also suggesting lots of fun and great experiences. The re-branding was a major exercise and far more than a new name and logo. It is a way of thinking about our festival that puts Noosa at the forefront.”

Johanne's involvement with the festival is just as rewarding as her management career but she says she could not do it without her husband's help.

"My lovely spouse looks after me and spoils me and makes me laugh and feel very special. I also get joy from friendships, from working with people who are so skilled and talented.”

Johanne encourages other retirees to follow her example and become involved.

"Joining something is a great start,” she said. "There are literally hundreds of organisations looking for volunteers, from groups such as Zonta, to sporting groups, arts and culture groups, not-for-profit organisations such as NOOSA alive! who cannot survive without a red army of volunteers.

"For 2018 we are looking for all sorts of people to be involved, not just during the festival when we need a team of 70 or more people.

"We have all kinds of opportunities for involvement such as on our management committee, in helping with programming and marketing, in business development and publicity, and helping with the distribution of our program.

If anyone has an administrative, financial, logistics, business, events management, marketing, fund-raising or stakeholder management background or has been involved in any area of arts and culture, or if you are a whizz in social media, then we have lots of options for involvement in our festival.

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