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Melinda Richards

She’s the Gold Coast Mum who recently made her mark in the Masters Games crediting her performance to a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Not only competing on a national stage though, Melinda Richards is also the owner of local company Super Sprout, fruit and vegetable powders that are just as good for you as actual fruit and vegetables. But way more convenient.

We sat down for a chat with Melinda about staying healthy at any age and how we can all be motivated to do exactly that.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Most of my life. My father moved the family down to the Gold Coast from Brisbane in 1971. He acquired a house on the river where we could see the Surfers Paradise skyline and this became the family home for 30 years because it was in such a magic position. Watching the Gold Coast evolve and grow from that vantage point has been incredible over the years.

What do you love most about living here?
The Gold Coast is just pure lifestyle. It is not just the sun and surf, it’s about a relaxed attitude and an informal feeling that permeates not just in a recreational sense but also within the work environment. It is about being a part of a small community yet has an upmarket chic appeal combined with a relaxed attitude. This is what makes it so unique and it’s why a lot of people love living here. You can be anyone you want to be.

How did you go in the recent Masters Games?
Fortunately winning was never my aim, but I was so happy to be involved and swim to my best ability in both races! The freestyle race was great fun and I finished in the middle of the pack. The butterfly race was quite the challenge, but I was really proud that I stuck with it. After all my training and healthy eating I managed to push through the race.

How did you come to be involved in competitive swimming?
When we moved to the Gold Coast in 1971, I was three years old. We had a pool in the backyard and lived on the Nerang River with a retaining wall. Literally the first thing my mother did was book me into swimming lessons at the old Mermaid Beach Motel where they had a 15 metre pool and Robert Brough was running a small swim school. Within a few months I was swimming the length of the pool freestyle and he suggested I join the Mermaid Beach swimming club, which I did when I was four. By then I was happily swimming 25 metres. From there it was training with Lou Vaughn and a 10 year stint competing.

Tell is us about your busines Super Sprout?
Super Sprout is 100% pure fruit and vegetable powders, which are just as good as eating fresh produce. Super Sprout is powdered so you can quickly and conveniently scoop and add to all of your favourite recipes and get an amazing nutritional outcome. It is great for the 95% of us who struggle to get our daily recommended amount of fruit and veges. The most important product in our range is the Broccoli Sprout Powder. We grow our own broccoli sprouts in our factory in Melbourne in an incredibly controlled environment, which ensures maximum nutritional outcome and ensures they are the best of their kind in the world. We’ve had our broccoli sprouts scientifically tested both here and in the United States and they show incredible levels of the disease fighting compound sulforaphane. We are so proud to be growing and manufacturing here in Australia, and now exporting to the US and China.

Why are you so passionate about nutrition?
My mother taught me at a very young age to be careful about what I put in my body. She especially talked me out of eating too much sugar. I also made a very strong connection between my performance in the pool and what I was eating. I am fascinated that all of these years later science really has caught up with how bad sugar and processed food is for your body yet I feel we still haven’t made that connection properly in wider society. I am devastated for those children who suffer from obesity at such a young age, and reversing the cycle of Type 2 Diabetes being the new epidemic is something I want to get more involved in.

As we get older, we tend to let fitness fall by the wayside, how can we stay motivated?
Just by doing what we love. Fitness is so different for each person and it is sometimes hard to look at yourself and what you really want rather than looking outwards through social media at what everyone else is doing. I sometimes think that social media can have a bit of a paradoxical effect of almost being a bit de-motivating because it can sometimes overwhelm us and therefore becomes a little exhausting overall. Also, sharing exercise with friends or family as much as possible makes it fun. It’s about balance but the real key is not to put to much pressure on yourself. Life is for living on your terms – not about trying to keep up with everyone else.

What are some simple things we can incorporate into our lives to stay happy and healthy?
Set a few short and medium goals, remember if you don’t fail occasionally you are not going to learn and progress, don’t sweat the small stuff (keeping everyday issues into perspective) and eat the best food you can everyday as this effects your health, your mood, your energy and your future.

What’s the plan for you now the Masters Games are done?
I want to use this as the basis for getting back into competing again on a more regular basis and improve on my times. Now that I have just turned 50, I want to exercise a little bit more to ensure I keep up my stamina and strength which helps with running the businesses and just being a good Mum with lots of energy.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Restaurant: Edgewater
Cafe: Le Cafe in Mermaid Beach
Beach: Miami
How does your weekend usually look? Very varied and absolutely no routine at all! We are very social so we like to mix it up with events, dinners at night. Exercise can happen on Saturday mornings as well as having family time on Sundays. There is a lot of beach action squeezed in over summer as well. We have a horse stud up in Toowoomba and some property in Iluka so often we plan weekends away. Living on the Gold Coast means weekends can be anything you want them to be with so much variety and fun available for the whole family.

Darran Franks and Nicka Atkins

They are two of the most passionate, creative Gold Coasters you’ll ever meet and, with their powers combined, they opened everyone’s favourite bright pink co-working and event space, Hotel Miami earlier this year.

Meet Nicka Atkins and Darran Franks. We sat down for a chat with the good-time loving (and also super professional) pair about meeting at a silent meditation commune and the big plans they have for connecting the Gold Coast community.

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
Darran 20 years and Nicka 32 years

What do you love most about our city?
The opportunity!!! We are a city on the cusp of greatness and people are moving to the area in droves. There is abundant opportunity for business as long as you are dedicated and good at what you do.

Tell us how you two met…
Nicka “I met Darran on a Vispassina silent retreat at the Barjuan commune in India. Our eyes met over a hot vegetarian dahl and we knew it was a perfect business partner match.”
Darran “We met at my cousins wedding.”

How did Hotel Miami come about?
Darran and myself had both relocated home from different cities and wanted to create a workspace that felt more in line with a big city feel – an artistic hub where we could shoot/edit/paint and collab on all of our fun projects. We found the location and realized it was perfect. The support for Hotel Miami has been so amazing especially with all the young and up and coming artists.

Why do you think co-working spaces are the go these days…
I think more and more people are working for themselves and becoming entrepreneurs of sorts. The Gold Coast has so many people out there working on a side hustle or new idea. The co-working model works because people like to feel inspired by others at work. Anyone who has worked from home knows it’s handy for a while but nothing beats having others around to bounce ideas off and just to generally have a laugh with. Our little community here have a bunch of laughs and really get things done. There has already been other business formed out of Hotel Miami, which is awesome!

You host events and art shows too, tell us what you’re aiming to create for the local community?
We do. It’s called First Friday’s. On the first Friday of every month we host a local Gold Coast artist to showcase their work. We always make it FREE for the artist and we don’t take any commissions. This has been a huge part of what Darran, Jessie and I consider our success in this business. We feel very fortunate to be in a position where we can help promote homegrown creative talent on the GC. The truth is, there are tonnes of brilliant artists on the Gold Coast, young and old. We would love to see more and more people host art shows and get our towns’ name out there as a culturally forward and supportive community. I could go on and on about this subject but seriously seeing all the awesome people come to our studio and buy art off the walls is a truly epic experience.

How have you seen the Coast’s art and culture scene change over the years?
The Coasts’ art and culture scene has exploded. The people want good dining, music and artistic experiences and there’s a bunch of amazing people in the community making that happen. I’m not going to lie, introducing new and exciting businesses isn’t always easy because there’s no framework to go off when making these spaces however we have experienced very positive feedback from our city leaders and we are very excited at what the Gold Coast is becoming. I can’t wait to see what the GC will have to offer in another five years!

What else do you think we need?
A late night eating scene. A central independent live music venue, more buskers, more forward thinkers, a modern art gallery, more relaxed food truck laws, more spots to enjoy food and drinks on the beachfront that aren’t surf clubs.

What’s on for the rest of 2018 for you both?
We are gonna keep on fighting the good fight and developing our brand here at Hotel Miami. We love the Gold Coast and we love the creative community. Come join us!

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Bar: Cambus Wallace and Granddad Jacks
Beach: North Burleigh
Café: Stones Throw, Burleigh Social
Restaurant: The Scottish Prince, Mr Hizolas
How does your weekend usually look: Nicka: Up early with my new baby boy Abe, we go and do a surf check, talk mum into letting me go surfing and then usually hanging at the Hotel cleaning up and preparing for the next week of mayhem.

Sophie Spratt and Rose Lamont

Rose Lamont and Sophie Spratt are the sweet sisters responsible for the creation of one of the Coasts’ favourite yoga and Pilates studios, Ritual Palm Beach, for which we can all be grateful.

We sat down for a chat with the longtime Gold Coast locals about the realities of working with your family on the daily and why yoga and Pilates are something we should all introduce to our lives, ASAP.

How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
We grew up here on the Coast, so always!

What do you love most about living here?
The lifestyle on the Gold Coast is second to none, we love the pristine beaches, the people, the amazing food, the growing live music and arts scene and of course our prime location being only 45 minutes to Byron Bay and an hour to Brisbane. On top of that we love the diversity of the landscape; within the space of an hour you can be at the beach and then out in the Currumbin Valley or the Hinterland.

Tell us how your studio, Ritual Yoga and Pilates came about?
We began dreaming up Ritual over five years ago, we’ve always shared a passion for yoga and Pilates and our dream was to create a community space offering quality classes and a place where people could be themselves. At the time we were both studying at University so it always felt more like a big dream rather than something that could be a reality. Despite this, we’d talked about the idea so much over the years that when a space came up for rent in Palm Beach we decided to enquire, not thinking we’d actually go through with it, it was more of a ‘fake it til you make it’ kind of thing. Amazingly, lots of things fell into place at the right time, which led to us eventually signing the lease and going for it. It was a huge leap of faith and involved converting a solicitors office with 16 rooms and grey carpets into a spacious, light-filled studio with wooden floors and two rooms, all while we were both in our last semester of Uni. We did this with the help of our Dad, who basically did the renovations himself, along with the help of some of our amazing friends and family who all helped create the beautiful space that is now Ritual. When we first opened up we taught all 60 classes per week by ourselves, today we have 12 incredibly wonderful and knowledgeable teachers plus the amazing community of students who make Ritual the warm, welcoming place it is! Looking back it was a crazy decision that took a lot of hard work and commitment but man has it been worth it!

Why do you think incorporating yoga and Pilates into our lives is so important?
With the proliferation of the fitness industry and rise of social media it seems that collectively our focus is on ‘looking good’. However, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that health is about more than just looking good, it’s also about feeling good and understanding ourselves so that we can have healthy relationships in all areas of our lives. This kind of inner and outer work is exactly what the practices of yoga and Pilates provide, namely they offer physical and mental practices that are a platform for self-exploration and growth. From a physical perspective, they are excellent ways to keep your body in great physical health as they incorporate strength, balance and mobility, but we believe the beauty of these practices lies in their holistic approach to health. We are living in a time where we are being fed lots of information about who we should be and what we should look like and the practices of yoga and Pilates offer an antidote to the obsession of looks. They are for everyone and they invite us to explore the potential of our body-mind complex and provide powerful tools that help us find stability and confidence within ourselves rather than looking outside.

What’s the best thing about going into business with your family?
We can fight like cats and dogs and then just call and say sorry and it’s done and onto the next thing.

What would you say to people thinking about starting their own business?
Go all in, running a business takes 100% commitment. Don’t worry about the ‘how’ just focus on the goal. Find mentors who have your best interests at heart and who can hold you accountable. Make sure your passionate about the work you’re doing, then it’s not work at all! Spend your energy wisely.

Besides classes, what else can people do at Ritual?
Ritual offers retreats, yoga, meditation, Pilates training and lots of amazing workshops spanning over a variety of different topics with some excellent guest speakers from Australia and around the world. We also run yoga philosophy club once a month.

Final workshops for 2018:
Yogic Spring Clean with Brooke Elliston 16/11
Handstand Workshop with Brooke Elliston 17/11
Sound Healing Meditation with Matty Rainbow 25/11
Pain & Consciousness workshop with Mitch Hunter 8/12
Yoga Philosophy Club with Rose Lamont 15/12

What’s happening for the rest of 2018?
We’re in the middle of running our Pilates Matwork course which has been so much fun! After that we’re heading off to New York for a work trip to go check out all of the studios there and undertake some training! Apart from that we are making final arrangements for our Yoga Teacher Training beginning in Feb 2019!

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: The Alley
Café: Barefoot Barista, of course!
Restaurant: Etsu Izakaya
How does your weekend usually look: Classes, beach, family, friends 🙂

 

Tomas Steenackers

He might just be the one person who loves your pet as much as you do and recently, due to that exact passion, Tomas Steenackers was awarded the honour of 2018 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Tomas is the founder of National Veterinary Care, an ASX listed company with over 90 clinics across Australia and New Zealand whose aim is to stay connected to the communities they operate within.

We sat down for a chat with Tomas about how it felt to take out the prestigious honour and why progress is more important than perfection when starting out in business.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been on the Gold Coast since 2003. I’m originally from Canada and I was looking for a good location where I could surf in board shorts all year round.

What do you love most about our city?
The unbelievable opportunity and lifestyle the city and wider region offers to people who are keen to work hard. The community supports local businesses really well and the talent pool available to develop high performing businesses is great.

Tell us about your business, National Veterinary Care…
National Veterinary Care (NVC) is one of Australia and New Zealand’s fastest growing veterinary groups. NVC owns and operates 93 veterinary businesses and has another 420 independent clinics interacting with its Management Services Division. Plus, NVC has established two custom built Veterinary Training Centres in Melbourne and Queensland with a third to open in New Zealand in early 2019. These training centres offer practical training workshops to the entire veterinary industry, delivering on topics including dental, pathology, radiology, surgery, behaviour, surgery and much more. NVC invests significantly in the ongoing training, education and support of our clinics and employees, as we believe this is the foundation for empowering veterinary excellence.

How did it feel winning the Gold Coast’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award?
It was really exciting. I didn’t expect to win considering the calibre of the entrepreneurs. NVC has grown really quickly from five employees to 1200 and from one clinic to 93 clinics, all in three short years. Sometimes you don’t stop to realise what you, the team and the business have achieved. Winning the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year made me realise that we have built a great sustainable business and the future is really exciting.

What’s been the secret to your business success?
Working really hard and making sure I’m well supported by my team.

Any advice for other young entrepreneurs who might be thinking about starting a business?
Progression not perfection. Business will evolve and trying to reach perfection will slow you down. Find people that support you and believe in your vision and dreams.

What’s on for the rest of 2018 for you?
NVC has recently purchased 25 clinics in New Zealand and we need to integrate them quickly into the NVC community. The team has developed a great integrations plan to make sure we can support the new businesses and their additional 300 staff members, so we can truly recognise all the benefits of the acquisition.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Beach: Burleigh Beach
Cafe: Commune Cafe
Restaurant: Rick Shores
How does your weekend usually look: I love to park the car in the garage on Friday night and spend time enjoying the Gold Coast lifestyle (beach, surf, bike, run, coffee shops around Burleigh) with my wife and three kids.

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