Janene Rees, Mentee
In a changing world, this business woman found that mentoring can change your world for the better
When Janene Rees’ world was turned upside down, she signed up for a Sourdough webinar. She couldn’t have known how pivotal it would be for her business.
Why did you decide to start Rees International?
My husband Martin and I started Rees International in 2015, helping regional tourism businesses engage with international markets.
We developed a coaching, mentoring, and consulting business, delivering training programs to get businesses international product ready.
We grew quickly and won the NSW Tourism award for Best New Tourism Business in NSW in 2016.
What was your biggest challenge before mentoring?
I was in China just prior to Christmas 2019, hearing reports of people cancelling flights. Then our borders closed. That brought my business to a halt overnight. I was reeling. What do we do now? There is no Rees “International”.
That same week my husband, Martin had a secondary cancer diagnosis. His prognosis was two months to live. Everything I was worried about – the business, covid, borders closing – it just became irrelevant.
Martin is still with us 18 months later – surfing, working and his last two scans were completely clear. It’s a miracle.
What inspired you to contact Sourdough and request a mentor?
In 2020, my business was in hibernation and everyone was talking about ‘pivoting’. I signed up for a Sourdough webinar about goal setting.
The facilitator, Kate Ramsay, mentioned her book. I got hold of a copy, and to my surprise, it was about her journey of moving to this region with her husband who was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I went straight back to her and told her my story.
Kate suggested the Sourdough mentoring program. I jumped at the opportunity to participate.
Can you describe your mentor and what expertise they offered?
Kate has given me hope. She opened my mind that it is okay not to be okay. And, that it is okay to change your mind and find the thing that is going to work for me. She also encouraged me to study my Certificate IV in Workplace Training.
Kate was also instrumental in developing a new initiative that combines my experience in tourism and my personal journey. ‘Project You’ is a carers’ retreat focusing on nature therapy, yoga and nutrition to be held in the hinterland area.
This was born 100 percent out of my mentoring with Kate.
Do you have any other insights to share about your mentoring experience with Sourdough?
You need to be willing to have a really hard look at your business. Having an outsider look at your business is a very special thing as it is easy to get bogged down in the day to day.
Nothing stays the same forever. You can’t know everything yourself. I highly recommend Sourdough’s mentorship program.