“What if it doesn’t work?”
These were the scary words whispered into Jacqueline McArthur’s ears—moments before the lights were switched off along Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.
Jacqueline is the driving energy and inspiration behind some of Australia’s epic events, such as Earth Hour and Bendigo’s own Women of Wool. Jacqueline resides on a sheep and wheat farm, in Womboota, Southern NSW.
It is exciting for me to be spending time with a business woman who has made so much happen from nothing, and to ask; How does creativity grow business?
In 2007, Jacqueline was sitting at Sydney Harbour with Cate Blanchett, Kevin Rudd, Peter Garrett and the WWF team for the first Earth Hour. Holding her breath waiting for the lights to be turned off for the first time, she realized that collaboration is the key to creativity in business.
“When you launch a concept and let it go into the world, you make space for others to respond.”
Earth Hour has grown to become a worldwide event. Each year, one-billion people celebrate alternative solutions for the environment—in the dark—around the world. In Tel Aviv, bicycles power lights and a music concert; In Fiji the absence of electrical lighting was celebrated with fire-walking and dancing; across the world, dinner parties are hosted by candle light.
Understanding the deep impact events have on communities, Jacqueline founded Women of Wool in 2014. “Ten years ago when I arrived in Womboota to live with my husband, I found myself within a severe drought. I became a new member of a community of formidable women, living in a very difficult situation—surviving and thriving against the odds for their family and their farms.”
Laugh your scarf off, was the tagline for the first Women of Wool event. “We wanted to create an event that gave women relief from the drought—celebrate together and have a laugh.” Each year, Women of Wool gives women on the land (and in the cities) a reason to travel long distances to come together. To dress up, to see their friends, eat good food, enjoy a drink and go shopping.
“Creativity is collaboration.”
“It is the excitement you experience when people come together for an event or cause. It is the interesting, random and unforeseen responses that take over a concept and grow it into something that can create real change in our world.”
Women of Wool has matured from a response to a drought into an annual event that brings women together; to celebrate women who contribute to and grow the creativity of regional Australia and the wool industry. “I like to share the practical knowledge and experience of women who know the business of making creativity survive.”
Cohorts is the name of Jacqueline’s marketing and PR agency, which was formed to help small and medium sized businesses that are developing solutions to the world’s biggest problems in food security, alternative energy, and smarter city design. “We have very talented cohorts from around Australia who work with our agency to be an outsourced marketing team for innovators. We are in the business of creative collaboration for innovative and ambitious causes.”