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Adapters: Third Perth Festival of Healing to Promote Alternative Treatments for Wellbeing on May 26

Ann Joel and Michele Vos Castle

Ann Joel and Michele Vos Castle

Wellbeing experts, Ann Joel and Michele Vos Castle, will hold the third Perth Festival of Healing this weekend in which psychic and spiritual healers, sound and colour therapists and energy healers of various disciplines take centre stage.

A free-to-enter festival, it will showcase various alternative methods of addressing illness. For those attending, the event will be an introduction to new ways to treat bothersome ailments and bring comfort in the face of terminal disease.

It is the third festival that Michele Vos Castle (of Complete Feng Shui), a Feng Shui Master and past owner of a wellness centre, has organised with Ann Joel, an international healing medium. Thousands of people flocked to their popular first two offerings held last year.

Independently, the two women had reached one conclusion – small business owners in Perth’s alternative healing industry lacked funds or expertise to market their skills.

Without a showcase, the public were ignorant of available treatments, known as modalities. And so, the idea of a festival of healing was borne, to help businesses and educate the public.

“Over 2000 people came through the door at our first festival in City West Function Centre in March last year,” Ms Vos Castle said.

Some weeks later, she was in conversation with a woman who recalled the 'amazing' festival, unaware that Ms Vos Castle was an instigator. The episode showed the festival was a winner.

It was no surprise when the second festival repeated success of the first, leading to this third event.

Ms Vos Castle recognised the need for a festival when running her wellness centre. Adept at networking, she has been a strong advocate for small business and organised small healing fairs before launch of the festival.

Most festivalgoers want to address personal misfortunes, ailments and illnesses of varying degrees of seriousness. Others seek knowledge about achieving peace and happiness. Both groups are exposed only to Western Australian healers and products.

For Ann Joel, who organises the festival with Ms Vos Castle, the event gives meaning to her remarkable journey of self-discovery that took her around the world.

Domiciled in Perth from 14, the young woman was forging a career in public relations when, in 1978, she was in a car crash that left her in a neck brace with a paralysed left arm.

She continues: “When the doctor said after a year that they could do no more for me, and I was still in a neck brace, I was taken to a spiritual healer in Perth who I saw every week for two years.”

When improvements arrived slowly, she quickly rebooted her PR career, rising to Myer divisional manager and an executive in Dallas Dempster’s Burswood casino project and other high-profile posts.

She built a PR firm with nine staff but burnt out by 1993 and moved to Sydney, seeking greater tolerance of spiritual healing. There she met an indigenous healer who profoundly affected her.

Soon she opened a spiritual energy clinic and in New York she was ordained an interfaith minister. She worked in China, the US, Canada and the UK.

Three years ago, she relocated to Perth to be with family and built a nationwide clientele as a non-religious spiritual healer. The festival is a pet project. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do since returning to Perth.”

This year’s event offers more space than before and it is tipped to be the biggest festival yet.

The Perth Festival of Healing will be at the Cannington Exhibition Centre and Showgrounds on the corner of Albany Highway and Station Street, Cannington on Sunday 26 May 2019.

This article is one of many which have featured in 'Adapters', a series exclusively for Perth Media clients, profiling news of innovative small businesses, startups and not-for-profits in WA Business News.

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Adapters: Balcatta Panel & Paint on Fixing Hi-tech Cars and Car Craft Crash-repair Quality

Andrew Jaques inspects a quality repair.

Andrew Jaques inspects a quality repair.

A Perth panelbeater has found that life-saving technology featured in modern cars and SUVs can greatly increase the cost of repairing these vehicles to manufacturers’ standards.

Andrew Jaques, owner of Balcatta Panel and Paint, says modern cars act like computers on four wheels and keep drivers and passengers safe with advanced sensor technology.

But a bingle in a vehicle with hi-tech safety features can cost much more to fix than a minor collision in a car not so well equipped.

“For example, blind-spot sensors fitted behind bumpers of new cars are actually a little radar,” Mr Jaques said. “As soon as you replace one you have to have the car recalibrated by the dealer.”

Recalibration increases the repair bill. He said replacing a sensor on a Kia Stinger, a luxury sports sedan that starts at $52,000, was costly.

“You think, Kia – inexpensive brand, but the sensor is $1700 plus GST,” he said. “After that we have to bring it to the Kia dealer to have it recalibrated, so you’re talking about more than $2000.”

Reversal into a roadside pole can incur a new sensor. “And that amount doesn’t include the cost of the bumper and paintwork repairs,” he said. “We always try to offer competitive pricing for private repairs, but we highly recommend getting insurance that will cover these types of expenses.”

Mr Jaques is an exemplar in the car repair business, after buying into it six years ago. His background in aviation led him to focus on high quality work that he insists on overseeing personally.

“The owner of the business has skin in the game,” Mr Jaques said. That approach helps safeguard the business in an evolving marketplace. “There’s always room for us as a niche repairer.”

Balcatta Panel and Paint is in the nationwide Car Craft crash-repair network that originated in WA in 1987 to improve industry standards. Mr Jaques and staff undergo tutorials to maintain quality.

He arrived from his native Sweden 30 years ago, having started working life as a pastry cook and chef who owned an American-made V8 Valiant at 16 when still too young for a driving licence.

In Perth he indulges a lifelong passion for cars from a spick and span workshop in Balcatta’s business community. “Our team is highly qualified, and we deal with local customers and businesses. We love to help getting fleet cars back on the road, and we offer priority services for local businesses.”

Away from work, it’s more cars. Mr Jaques is a member of the American Car Club of WA. “It’s a great way to connect to other passionate car lovers and sometimes I even bring the family along,” he said. For more information please visit www.balcattapanelandpaint.com.au.

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Adapters: Journeys of the Spirit's April Bhutan Tour Will Help Business People to be Happier

Owner of Perth-based Journeys of the Spirit, Julie Baker, Runs Extraordinary Tours

Owner of Perth-based Journeys of the Spirit, Julie Baker, Runs Extraordinary Tours

Perth entrepreneur Julie Baker is tapping into demand from a growing number of people who are seeking relief from stress.

Her WA company, Journeys of the Spirit, guides business owners and professionals on two-week sojourns of self-discovery in mystical locations that include Bhutan, Land of the Thunder Dragon.

She hit on the wellness formula by packaging her two passions – spiritual health and wellbeing, and travel. These she markets in journeys and retreats aimed at rebalancing stressed individuals.

“I am a business person,” Ms Baker says. “I love business, I love creating businesses and I love creating different business models.”

Stressed souls experience spiritual awakenings in Bhutan, Spain, Italy, India, Japan, Scandinavia, Peru, France, Hawaii or some other destination.

Ms Baker describes her ideal client as a successful person who is still not feeling happy. “They realise their version of success doesn’t necessarily make them happy,” she says.

It took her more than three decades and three travel-related businesses to produce Journeys of the Spirit, motivated in part by a devastating childhood experience at 15.

“My mum was misdiagnosed with menopause at 48 and had a mental breakdown,” Ms Baker says. The teenager stopped eating meat and gained a juvenile understanding of there being more to life.

It helps explain her captivation with Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom the size and population of Tasmania landlocked in the Himalayas between superpowers China and India.

“Bhutan is the only place in the world that is 100 per cent certified organic,” Ms Baker says. “And wealth is not measured by GDP – it’s measured by Gross National Happiness.”

The scenery is an awe-inspiring panorama of rivers, mountains and verdant slopes. Journeyers, as Ms Baker calls them, are housed in three to four-star accommodation with private bathrooms.

They are immersed in Bhutanese community life, consuming some of the freshest produce on Earth and seeing how simple living and family values are central to happiness.

The experience aims to redefine their understanding of success.

One journey follows the trail of 8th century Indian sage, Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. It ends at breathtaking Paro Taktsang monastery, perched perilously on a cliffside.

Guides are all business owners. Prospective journeyers must first discuss their expectations, and are supported in their physical, emotional and mental preparations.

Ms Baker is proud of one seasoned traveller who had owned several businesses before going on one of her journeys to Bhutan. He said afterwards: “I learned to measure success in a different way.”

The next Bhutan journey runs from April 15 to 28. For more info go to: Journeys of the Spirit website.

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Adapters: Perth Business Captivate Connect Keeps Customers Calling Globally

Captivate Connect Mark Horwood

Captivate Connect Mark Horwood

Perth-based company has revolutionised the dreaded 'on hold' experience by developing new technology that transforms call wait times into payday time.

Mark Horwood, chief executive officer of Captivate Connect, compares being on hold as akin to waiting for luggage at an airport. “There’s nothing you can do but stand and wait.”

His company, now run from modest offices in Burswood, stunned the corporate world in 2002 by offering daily news, sport and weather information to callers on hold.

“Commercially, it was very successful for us. The technology was internet-based to help accommodate the immediacy of updating the daily news and sport,” Mr Horwood said.

Captivate Connect is now inspired by internet multimedia technology and once again is refining the “on hold” experience; this time for mutual enrichment of callers and businesses.

The company sponsored a website called Horrible on Hold to determine exactly what people disliked about waiting on hold. There was an overwhelming response that it’s generic, repetitive and boring.

“This wasn’t anything new to me,” Mr Horwood said, “but how can we play audio everyone will be happy with? We give them the choice.”

Music not your thing? Perhaps a quiz or a podcast may be more up your alley. Globally, this interactive-on-hold has never been done before and there’s no-one else who can do it, he says.

Callers become immersed in the business, causing these callers to become loyal brand ambassadors, relaying their experiences to friends and associates – in turn, boosting sales.

“The only way to win word-of-mouth referrals is by delivering an experience that exceeds expectations,” Mr Horwood says.

Interactive-on-hold collects caller data. A caller being directed to the sales department can be offered a brochure on any new/best-selling products. The Caller opts to receive the brochure by entering their number, it is then sent via text and, in return, the sales team effectively gathers the caller’s details to follow-up.

After two minutes, callers are invited to leave their name, number and reason for calling to receive a call back. This costs as little as $1. Mr Horwood believes businesses employing more than 20 people would readily pay $1 to retain a customer.

Statistics suggest that, within five years, 68% of all business transactions will involve the human voice – down from today’s 72% – but the importance of these transactions will become more valuable.

“Fax is virtually redundant, snail mail doesn’t work, and trying to get anybody to respond to emails is like pulling teeth, which is why we’re seeing a shift back to phones,” Mr Horwood says.

Visit www.captivateconnect.com to find out more.

This column is part of the Adapters series produced by Perth Media. It profiles Perth Media small business and not-for-profit clients exclusively.

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Perth Media Adapters: Business Strategist Wendy Davies Joins Nexia in Perth

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More columns, written by Perth Media, are being published in WA Business News. Here is one of our favourites.

Nexia Australia has recently appointed Wendy Davies as a business advisory director in its Perth office to focus on strategic advice for small and medium businesses.

Ms Davies, who is originally from the UK, brings with her a range of high-level global experience. In WA, she is at the forefront of a new, innovative approach to accounting – a profession that can no longer rely on simply formatting tax returns.

In the Perth office of Nexia Australia, Ms Davies is offering bespoke advice to small and medium enterprises with annual turnover between $1 million and $20 million.

She works closely with start-ups and owners of small to medium-sized businesses, helping them understand and demystify the numbers side of the business. “It’s about identifying client needs – often focusing on cashflow forecasting and budgeting to help them manage and make informed decisions,” Ms Davies says.

Independent specialist advice can highlight opportunities not immediately apparent and potential problems can be foreseen before they are critical.

As Nexia’s business advisory director, Ms Davies visits clients’ operations, to educate and empower the owners. It is a new field for senior practitioners who have witnessed shrinking tax return work. “Technology enabled business owners and bookkeepers to do more, so those of us with accounting skills have had to adapt and innovate,” she says.

Ms Davies began her career 30 years ago in south-east England. After qualifying, she worked for a small practitioner in the northern city of York and bought him out when he retired. Her clients have the bonus of engaging the services of a former businesswoman. For over a decade in England she co-owned the accountancy practice which had 10 staff.

Her attendance at a migration expo in the UK led to an unexpected job offer in accounting in Perth. She flew to Perth in January 2008.

Here she became the only female director in the Perth office of her new employer UHY Haines Norton, a member of the global accounting network, UHY. She once again found herself as the only female director when the firm merged with rival Moore Stephens WA.

Ms Davies believes networking is key to ongoing success in her profession.

“In the past, the sector has been fairly complacent but a network of key business relationships will be critical to ongoing success, both personally and for the firm,” she said.

Prior to joining Nexia last month, Ms Davies had started a new firm, The Counting Room, to execute her advisory approach. “Before I joined Nexia, I made sure their values and approach aligned with how I saw the future of accounting, which includes advisory work and utilising softer skills to assist clients,” Ms Davies said.

In Perth, Nexia Australia is Western Australian owned and independently operated and a member of the global accounting giant Nexia.

This column is part of the Adapters series produced by Perth Media. It profiles Perth Media small business and not-for-profit clients.

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