Q and A with Chyka Keebaugh – Women Inspiring Business Guest Speaker

Q and A with Chyka Keebaugh – Women Inspiring Business Guest Speaker

Warm, kind and smart business woman, Chyka Keebaugh, is this year’s guest speaker at Manningham Business’ Women Inspiring Business luncheon. The annual event in its fourth year, gives women, especially mothers in business, an opportunity to connect, share, learn and grow with other like-minded women.

We sat down with Chyka and asked her what drives her in the often challenging world of business.

How did you get started?

My husband, Bruce, and I share a passion for entertaining, design and looking after people. In 1990, we started a small, independent catering company, The Big Group, with a plan to push the boundaries by delivering unimaginable and unforgettable experiences.  The business took off and today we now have four venues – Mural Hall, Luminaire, Glasshouse and Gandall Hall, plus three cafés. Across all our businesses we now employ 600 full time staff.

What challenges have you faced?

We have had so many twists and turns along the way. However, opportunities have also come along when we least expected.

The support of friends and family is so important.  In our early days, we worked from our parents’ kitchens, doing a boardroom lunch a day, eventually growing to an event opening catering for 6,000 people with 350 staff.

I think being a creative person you can sometimes get carried away with ideas and concepts.  They can be hard to get across the line, which can be frustrating, particularly when you know how great it could be.

What inspires and motivates you?

My friends and family inspire and motivate me in everything I do.  Having my own business and being surrounded by like minded people is also very exciting and rewarding.  I love the energy, enthusiasm and the family like feeling we have created in our different teams.

What business advice would you give?

Embrace the detours.  We were once asked to do a pilot for a cooking show, which ended up on the cutting room floor.  However, this opened the door for me to do a weekly segment on Good Morning Australia.

All our projects have given us incredible contacts and because we both thrive on new challenges, we have loved all the different roads we have taken.  I never imagined I’d be where I am now, but I am loving where it’s all going.

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