Speakers Profile - Di Williams

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In the 20 years since Diana opened her first Fernwood club in Bendigo in regional Victoria, she has built a veritable empire with 77 clubs and 80,000 members throughout Australia. Fernwood was Australia's first women's only club has since become synonymous with Australian women's health and fitness.

Fernwood grew out of Diana's recognition that women needed a place of their own - a sanctuary where they could exercise and reach their health, fitness and wellbeing goals.

With two young children and no formal qualifications, Diana opened her first club with just $7000 and second‐hand equipment provided by her business partner. What she lacked in physical resources, Diana made up for with a vision and dogged determination. She has been on a remarkable journey ‐ from housewife and mother to becoming one of the country's most
respected and successful businesswomen.

Her accolades include:

* In 1999, she was inducted into the Australian Women's Hall of Fame
* In 2005, she was named Telstra Businesswoman of the Year
* In 2005, she created The Fernwood Foundation - a not for profit
* In 2007, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Franchise Council of Australia's Hall of Fame
* In 2007, she was also appointed head of a newly‐elected executive committee by the Franchise Council of Australia to examine and address ideas and issues raised by women in franchising.
* In 2007, Fernwood Women's Health Clubs were short‐listed for the Franchisor of the Year Award
* In 2008 Fernwood was awarded the BRW Most Successful Private Business Owner Award
* Deputy Chair of Franchise Council of Australia and member of Executive Committee