Bernie a finalist in national awards
Although she won’t admit to it, Bernie Jackson Managing Director of LaValla Functions, is a lady of many talents.
This was evident after the Tuakau resident was selected as a top sixth finalist in the national Enterprising Rural Women Awards two weeks ago. The Rural Women New Zealand’s annual awards showcase rural women who run their own successful businesses, and while she didn’t make it through to the final stages, Bernie says the process was very rewarding.
“It is a benchmark for us to know that we are doing the right thing. It is a nice way for people in business to get a peer review, especially when you are the employer, not the employee, as you often don’t get much feedback.”
Bernie first became involved with Rural Women after attending several local functions with a group of friends.
“I soon realised that it was a great way to meet like minded women, whose businesses weren’t just in the agricultural sector, but in the rural environment.”
Bernie’s business journey began five years ago, when the Jackson family purchased the former Marist School on Dominion Road in Tuakau. Dating back to 1921, the historic premises had been left in a derelict state, and the family, as well as the local community, have invested blood sweat and tears into restoring the property to the condition it is today.
Three years ago, and using one of the existing buildings, LaValla Functions was created, and with the help of her mother-in-law, Maria, they have now grown a multipurpose function centre on the estate.
Bernie was encouraged to submit an application into the annual awards, and says she didn’t expect to make it this far.
“To be selected as a finalist is an honour. There was an incredibly high calibre of business women, who have been in the industry for a longer period of time than what I have.”
While composing the application Bernie had the opportunity to reflect on the past three years and their core values.
“It didn’t take long to realise that LaValla holds a special place in the heart of the local community. For me, being a part of that community is much more than a business opportunity. Giving back, sharing and being ethical are foundations, that as a family and myself as the front of the business, take very seriously,” says Bernie.
“Also as a mother of two young children who lives onsite and sees what we do in every sense, it is vital our values are not simply words on a piece of paper designed to sell to the client, but something being demonstrated, honestly and consistently.”
Bernie said the whole process of the awards has been very interesting and says the achievement has been a credit to the team behind her.
“They are like family to us and have been truly amazing. I am really looking to this upcoming season, as the events are just starting to take off. Who know’s what next year holds for us!”