All Posts By

Tania Bunk


HBWN September Networking Event

Ticket sales close today!

Hunter Business Women’s Network invites you to an evening of fine dining and networking at Noah’s on the Beach with our guest speaker, Julie Eldridge.

Julie Eldridge is the CEO of local charity, Youth Express. For 23 years Julie has worked with the local Hunter community to provide support for young people as they make the important transition from compulsory education into life as active and participatory community members. She is passionate about providing opportunities for young people to learn through experience.

Members and guests will enjoy a delicious 2-course meal and drink on arrival.

When: Wednesday 13 September 2017, registration from 5.45pm.

Where: Noah’s on the Beach, Cnr Shortland Esplanade & Zaara Street, Newcastle, NSW 2300


  • $55 for 2017 financial members (including booking fee)
  • $65 for non-members and guests (including booking fee)

We hope to see you there!




Capturing Confidence

The job market is competitive at the moment with organisations receiving hundreds of applications for each position – many from over qualified professionals.

So how do you stand out in a crowd? One local business believes those in the corporate world can learn from their contemporaries in the acting industry when it comes to exuding confidence.

Already a successful casting agency, Captured Communications is branching out to help women incorporate acting strategies into corporate communication.

“Getting work in any field is all about looking in control because you are in control. That means you know your strengths and you know how to market them,” says Captured Communications’ Tania Bunk, who is a multi-talented actor, recording artist, graphic designer and human resources consultant.

“I learned that when I was an actor, and I went through it again when I returned to paid work after having my sons.”

Tania said she faced a range of challenges unique to mothers returning to the workforce, and her confidence really took a beating.

“Some employers wouldn’t look at me because they assumed I’d need lots of time off to look after my kids. There was also what I call the ‘guilts and gaps’ that nearly every mum faces, guilt about not caring full time for my kids, and worrying about gaps in my CV. This affected my self-esteem and I thought I didn’t have what it takes due to a lack of skills.”

But Tania soon realised that the skills she’d learned from acting – looking confident on stage, and being confident at the audition – are the same skills you need to impress in a job interview and perform well in challenging work situations. She also discovered that being a mother taught her invaluable lessons about organisation and negotiation – key skills in any workplace.

“I focused on the things I knew I did well and promoted those. In my own time I worked on the areas I wasn’t so confident in and I was able to get back to work with the help of good advice from strong successful women and by using what I’d learned as an actor. Now I want to share what I’ve learned to help other women get into a career too.”

Tania says Captured Communications focuses on helping people present themselves to potential employers.

“We can help people understand what their strengths are and how to ensure they can sell that to a potential employer.  We do this by working on a skills analysis, helping people write their CV, respond to selection criteria and by running confidence building workshops.”

The workshops aim to help participants feel confident about what they are saying and presenting themselves with assurance – not assertiveness training or management and leadership techniques, but short, sharp tips based on acting theories.

“It’s about acting the part – with substance – playing the role that you may not feel is you, and easing yourself into it so you believe in yourself and others will too!” says Tania.

“There’s a huge number of skilled people who are struggling to sell themselves and their experience. We’re here to help them understand the skills they can bring to the workplace or how to get that role.”

Contact Tania:


It’s All About Connection

Grow Your Network

Hunter Business Women’s Network (HBWN) was established in 1995 by a group of enterprising local business women that wanted to support each other. Members represent a wide range of industry sectors including finance, law, retail and wholesale, professional services, hospitality, transport, communication, public relations, health, education, manufacturing and government organisations. A diverse group of women, our members range from brand new micro businesses, small to medium businesses, the corporate and government sector as well as not for profit. This combination of experience creates a varied and supportive environment allowing members to share knowledge and skills with each other so they can connect, inspire and grow. Members are encouraged to participate in activities that will raise the profile and improve the status of women throughout the Hunter Region.

If you are looking for advice to help make this year your best business one ever, then look no further than HBWN. The committee and members form part of a supportive network aimed at giving you access to great business opportunities with a chance to make new contacts.

HBWN regularly holds networking events to help you meet new people, make great connections and extend your business. They also host special events such as International Women’s Day and Regional Women Connect, which gives you access to inspiring and informative speakers.

Promote yourself and your business via:

  • The HBWN website
  • A ‘Minute on Your Business’ segment – 2 at each meeting – the chance to raise your profile
  • Reduced ticket prices at our events including subsidised Christmas party.
  • Sponsorship of events – become a sponsor to promote your business and help support HBWN and other members at the same time
  • The ability to promote your business at our monthly ‘Table Talk’ table

Corporate Memberships are also available for organisations wishing to have the flexibility to send different employees to our events at members prices. You get five memberships which can be used for any employee at any time throughout the year to access our great networking opportunities. This will also help to raise the profile of your business as constant attendance at events will allow you to meet and greet with others as well as improve on connections already in place.

If you have any enquiries regarding membership, please visit the HBWN site:
or email HBWN at


Facing Great Challenges

Doing It For The Kids.

Have you ever wondered what inspires people to undertake big physical challenges in their lives?

A group of 13 women and 1 man are about to undertake a 16 day challenge in the Northern Territory desert trekking the Larapinta Trail in aid of Camp Quality.

Camp Quality’s purpose is to create a better life for every child impacted by cancer in Australia. Right from diagnosis, throughout treatment and in remission or bereavement, Camp Quality’s programs support the whole family by building optimism and resilience.

Trekker Ellen Fleming has had a connection to Camp Quality through her husband Anthony who over the past four years has ridden in Camp Quality’s 1000K’s 4 Kids bike ride. In 2017, Ellen has decided it is now time for her to take a more hands on approach to fundraising so she registered for the trek. Upon speaking about her upcoming journey Ellen said, “I’m most excited to show people that you can do anything you set your mind to. And to show my kids how helping others does wonderful things.”

With its rugged landscape, the Larapinta Trail is one of the most spectacular multi day hiking experiences in the world. Situated in the heart of Central Australia, the Larapinta Trail extends over 223 kilometres along the back bone of the West McDonnell Ranges.

Donna George, a Fundraising Specialist from Camp Quality, is no stranger to these challenge events. The Larapinta Trail will be her fourth gruelling trek in aid of Camp Quality having previously tackled Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Kokoda track and the Sandakan Death March. “Our aim is to raise funds to continue the wonderful programs Camp Quality provides to local children living with cancer. We do that by challenging ourselves to show resilience and optimism in the face of great challenges – something the children of Camp Quality must do every day.”

This inspiring group departs Newcastle for the Northern Territory on the 18th of June and hope to raise $60,000 for local children living with cancer. They will be taking their motivation from the kids!

To follow their journey or to donate:

My Story


Everyday Hero

Cristen Cable fits a lot into a very busy schedule. Cristen owns a successful marketing company, Kis Marketing, has four children and is taking on the challenge of learning ballroom dancing for a very special cause. She is an everyday hero.

Family is everything to Cristen, and it is family that has inspired a monumental step out of her comfort zone. “Having a grandmother who was a cancer survivor, as well as losing a grandmother and a cousin to this awful disease, this cause is extremely close to my heart. Ironically, the grandmother I lost to cancer was a professional dancer, so I will definitely be giving this competition my best efforts in her honour.”

Cristen is excited to be participating in the 2017 Stars of Newcastle. Now in its third year, Stars of Newcastle is a dancing competition raising funds for Cancer Council NSW. Showcasing local celebrities and prominent business figures as amateurs on the dance floor, the stars are each paired with a professional dance partner and attend lessons to learn and perfect their routine in the genre assigned to them. Cristen remarked “I’m using muscles I never knew you needed to dance. Ballroom dancing is much harder than it looks!”

All the hard work culminates in a glamorous performance at the Newcastle Exhibition Centre on Saturday 17th June, 2017. The next few weeks will be filled with gruelling training sessions for Cristen’s stage debut and a busy schedule of fundraising for this worthy cause.

The current statistics predict that 1 in 2 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of cancer by their 85th birthday. Cancer Council NSW receives 97% of it’s funding from the community. All money that is raised from the Stars of Newcastle event will remain in the Hunter to help local families affected by cancer. Along the way, the stars will be holding their own private fundraisers leading up to the big night. Cristen Cable will be hosting a private screening of Wonder Woman on its opening night in the Gold Lounge at Kotara. For more information on this event visit:
or to simply donate to the cause visit:


Don’t Look Back

If You’re Not Improving, You’re Going Backwards.

If you’re like me you want to be as efficient as possible with your time so you can spend it doing the things you enjoy. But with our busy schedules it’s hard to fit everything in, including our own fitness. That’s why I recommend people do training or sports they enjoy most. There’s no need to make the habit any more difficult for yourself.

You may find that after a period of time in your chosen activity you want to become better and improve. This is no surprise because we tend to compare ourselves to others. Plus, we’re goal striving creatures.

Issues can arise with this however. Take for example, you love running and you want to become better. Improving beyond the point of being proficient really requires more time investment. Simply, to become better at it, you need to run further.

The same occurs for many sports. Time is one of the best ways to improve. If you genuinely value your time there is a better way and it involves weight training.

I believe weight training is the best way to improve at many sports and activities and to improve your general well being.

Beyond all the advice that is given on the internet and media about ways to get lean or improve muscle mass, the simple fact of the matter is: the best way to get better is to get stronger.

The term we use is progressive overload which is just the name given to increasing the load you lift for a given exercise over a period of time such as weeks, months and years.

One of the great things about this very simple concept is that it is the most time efficient way to improve. In a gym or training facility you can easily and quickly increase the load without the need to invest any extra time into your training. An hour spent training in the gym today can be the same as an hour training in the gym in 6 months but you would have improved because of progressive overload.

What people often don’t understand is that getting stronger helps improve so many other activities and sports where strength doesn’t appear to be a key ingredient to success.

Will getting stronger help you run further or faster? Your muscles were used to the load they had to carry – your own bodyweight – but getting stronger means that bodyweight now seems light in comparison.

Getting stronger means your muscles won’t fatigue as quick. Getting stronger means you can carry a heavier weight. Getting stronger means you have improved. All with the very time efficient act of adding just a little more weight than you did the week or month before.

I respect all types of training and activities, but just remember that the best way to improve your fitness is also the simplest way. It also saves you time. Time you could spend doing the things you love with the people you love for the rest of your strong and healthy life.

Now that sounds like a type of training I could get used to.

For more information on training, nutrition and mindset go to or signup to the Newsletter here for weekly updates.

Marco is the Coach and Owner of PEAK Strength & Nutrition. His aim is to help those in the Corporate Workforce optimise their health, work efficiency and mindset so that they can achieve their full potential.

My Story

Missing Mum

Every Day is Washing Day

It was one of those ‘I don’t feel like facing the world’ kind of days. I was in the bathroom applying my make-up. Masking my weariness so that the outside world would think I was actually OK. My eldest son came in. He was about 13 at the time.
‘Are you OK mum?’
‘Yes honey. I just don’t feel like being a grown up today.’
‘But Mum… that’s your job.’

He’s right. It is my job. I am a grown up. I am responsible. I am a solo mum of two amazingly beautiful teenage boys and I am extremely grateful for that. But there are days I want to stamp my feet and have a little tantrum. I don’t want to be responsible and grown up. And that’s OK.

Some days I still need my mum. I miss my mum. I only realised when she was gone how much she did for me and my two boys. When I came home from work I would get cranky at her for hanging up my washing. She was having chemotherapy at the time and yet her obsessive compulsion for making sure the washing got dry in the winter months couldn’t keep her in bed. I also struggled with my feelings around wanting to be self sufficient and not letting anyone help me. I could do it all! A few months after she had passed away I was hanging out a load of washing at midnight. I was so busy at the time and finishing chores at midnight was becoming a regular occurrence. I missed my mum. If only I could get cranky at her again for hanging out my washing.

I miss her for so much more than just that.

Wishing everyone a blessed and peaceful Mother’s Day. I think I’ll have a day off from hanging up washing.


My Story

Laura’s Story

My missing Link.

There’s a certain type of love that I think we all crave in this lifetime. A love that mends a broken heart, a love that fills a void. A love that comforts us, a love that feels like home. A love that makes us feel whole, like we’ve found our special place in the world. A love that let’s us breathe. Finally…

In 2016, I found this type of love. I grew, nurtured, protected and fiercely loved this love for 8 months.

It was the perfect manifestation of my entire life’s dreams. The dreams I had as a lost little girl, a desperate teenager, a reckless 20 something young woman. I longed for this love, and for this life, from the deepest depths of my soul for as long as I can remember.

Finally, a baby. My son, Link.

Like all expectant Mothers, I was eagerly anticipating the birth of my baby. Nervous, excited, emotional. All the feels. Among the nesting, nursery decorating, last minute shopping trips and ticking off the never ending to do list, I was also thinking about my families future. My future.
I spent my days looking at tiny, bright, hypnotising squares, scrolling and scrolling into the deep, seductive abyss of Instagram… #nurseryinspo #nurserystyle #nurserydecor #babythis #babythat #babyEVERYTHING.
Within the scrolling pages of my feed, I stumbled across the most stunning baby basket of all. A handwoven, one of a kind, Moses basket. I had to have it. #need. 

When my package finally arrived after it’s long and expensive journey from overseas, I thought, perhaps I could be the one to supply my region with this beautiful product. My days as a travel agent were wearing thin and I really wanted to make a change. I felt like I was wasting my creativity, like I could be doing something more, like life had other plans for me. 

But you know how it is. Life get’s in the way and you dismiss these ideas as a dream and get on with things. I had a wedding to plan, a house to renovate and you know… pregnant.

My last day of work was a Friday. The 11th of November, Remembrance Day. I was so ready to finish. You know them feels right? RIGHT? I was exhausted. The long days. The heavy traffic. I just wanted to be at home. I remember waking up on Saturday morning, my first day of maternity leave. I was so excited. For the first time, since the dawn of time, I had the one thing that no one ever has… time. I couldn’t figure out what I was going to do first. Would I have breakfast? Play with the dogs? Sleep in? All of these things at once? I could do anything! But, something just didn’t feel right. 

With my Husband at the gym, I thought I’d just make a quick call to the midwife. Just to, you know, check in. Just in case. I felt embarrassed to call. I didn’t want to seem like one of those paranoid mothers that called at the slightest feeling of discomfort. I’m pretty tough, I can handle more than most, ’I can handle anything’ I thought.

But not this…

Two days later, it was the 14th Nov 2016, I was 35 weeks into my pregnancy & the moon was full. That night, with the help of the almighty Mother moon’s power, I gave birth to my breathtakingly beautiful, sleeping baby boy, Linik ‘Link’ Allan Grzelak. His heart was still and for a minute, so was mine.

He was placed onto my chest and I couldn’t bare to look down. 

I couldn’t face it. I had to deny it until it wasn’t true. It wasn’t real. It couldn’t be real. 

When I finally had the courage to look at him, at my beautiful baby boy, my world as I knew it, my soul as I knew it, everything as I knew it, changed, forever…

My whole life had led me to this moment.

His pure, innocent beauty and the deeply intoxicating love that I felt in that moment, just took my breath away. A moment that can only be described as transcendent, sacred and profoundly heartbreaking. A spiritual awakening, unfolding in slow motion.

It’s funny you know, I was sort of waiting for his presence in this physical realm to fully and finally heal me. To make that lost little girl, that lonely teenager, that reckless young woman, whole. And in those moments when we found out he was gone, I thought I’d lost not only him, but I’d lost my chance at peace. Like I was so close. I nearly made it. But I couldn’t quite get there. I felt like it had slipped through my fingers and I’d be better off just giving up. 

But, as the days unfolded, I realised that I have still found peace. Link still completed my puzzle, I still feel his presence, I still feel his love and he has still made me whole.
I’ve spent the past 5 months trying to figure out who I am, without Link. What is my purpose in life, without my baby? Why was I chosen for this experience? What the f$%k is ‘normal’ and will I ever be that again?

I realise now that I don’t have to have it all figured out, I just have to trust the process. 

So, I’m getting out of my own way and letting the universe do its thing. And the universe has led me right here. With the strength that Linik gave me, I took the plunge and started my business, aptly named Link & Luna. Throughout the process, I have encountered extreme depths of fear and anxiety so acute that I found myself literally unable to breathe or swallow. I feared judgement, I feared failure, I feared success. 

Exposing myself like I have has been terrifying, but not making an impact or a difference wasn’t an option. I had to make sense of losing Link, I had to find the positive, I had to make him proud. I had to somehow make his existence one that mattered. I was desperate to find the meaning, to create a ‘reason’.

I know my heart will never fully heal, but Linik has given me so much strength. My heart is now full of gratitude and my home is full to the brim with beautiful, vibrant baskets. 

I feel sadness every day. I miss him terribly in every moment, but Link gave me peace after all. 

What a soul and what a gift.

To help me raise awareness, to help me raise funds, to follow my journey or to purchase a beautiful basket please head to , sign up to my newsletter or join me on Instagram @link_and_luna 

With nothing but love in my heart, 

Laura xx


The Hula Hoop Syndrome

Lost your mojo or stuck in a rut?

You know that feeling. You’re comfortable staying right where you are and yet you often feel unfulfilled. Stuck within the bounds of your invisible hula hoop.

According to the State of the Service report on employee engagement in the APS, ‘An engaged workforce is likely to be more committed to organisational goals and (be) more productive.’ Employee engagement in the Australian Public Service, (APS), has remained consistent at 65% in both 2014 and 2015; but how does the APS classify engagement? Statistics don’t tell the full story when it comes to determining an individual’s personal engagement  in their APS role.

“One area of the statistical analysis is based on the intention to leave. This does not reflect the fact that employees may just be staying in their current role due to financial circumstances or maintaining a feeling of security”, says Tania Bunk, a trained Life Coach and Human Resources professional, from Captured Communications.

“Employees may actually be disengaged from their role and are staying due to fear based reasons. Physically they are listed as ‘engaged’, yet mentally and emotionally they are not fulfilled.”

“On average, APS staff are only 65% engaged with their job. This could be seen as being quite high in terms of retention, but are individuals satisfied with their job rather than simply being listed as engaged?”

Tania says she has spoken to many women who are currently disengaged with their current roles in both the public and private sectors.

“This is due to many varied reasons – lack of job satisfaction, not feeling valued, wanting to work less hours to spend more time with family or dreaming of expanding their undervalued skills to their own businesses to help others and to benefit directly from the rewards.”

“The aim of searching for your new purpose isn’t to tell you to quit everything right now and run. It’s about discovering what you are suited to and how you can make decisions and take action to start taking baby steps toward your new journey whilst still maintaining the security of your current situation.”

Tania says life coaching sessions are one of the best ways to shift current fears around change, as hope conquers fear and small steps toward change become easier.

“It’s often people who appear to have it all that struggle to focus on what they really want. A recent client, Lynne, had a well paid job, a loving family and husband, a lovely house filled with beautiful things, but she wasn’t happy within herself because she was living the life expected of her rather than the one she wanted.”

Tania helped Lynne discover what she could do to fill that void and become truly engaged, but it wasn’t about prescribing solutions.

“I didn’t tell Lynne exactly what she needed to do. To be honest I don’t do a lot of talking in the sessions. I pose a series of questions to the client,” says Tania.

“The starting point of the journey toward change is defining one’s big picture dream goal and then breaking it down into tangible achievable processes. It is so satisfying experiencing the engagement and excitement a client feels as they weave their way through the coaching journey.”

Lynne is now transitioning to a start-up business and a whole new exciting chapter of her life, having gained the confidence to make a complete jump from her comfort zone and self awareness around her strengths and capabilities.

Captured Communications also provides services in the areas of journey guidance, career & life coaching, résumé design, selection criteria, interview strategies, self-esteem validation, skills analysis, casting services and design management. Visit for more information.


Fascia and the pelvic floor

What women should know about Fascia
(and its role in healing and building strength)

All humans have fascia. It’s the soft tissue made up of collagen, elastin and bound water that exists from head to toe without interruption, surrounding and connecting every muscle and organ of the body. Think of this tissue as an organ or movement that has 3 major roles: elasticity (jumping), protection and storing stress (both emotional and physical).

Both men and women can benefit from releasing tension in this tissue – it’s why we stretch. (But that’s a conversation for another time).

There are 3 important areas of the body – lumbar spine, achilles heel and pelvic floor – where fascia exists in multiple layers to form a trampoline like structure. For women in particular, the pelvic floor is one of the most under-utilised and misunderstood areas of the female body (which is ironic since it is women who have to STRETCH that tissue to allow for childbirth).

This lack of knowledge is no fault of our own. There is, unfortunately, very little in the way of pelvic floor explanation and demonstration in the hospital system or in the fitness industry, unless you source out a qualified Pilates instructor.

Having become increasingly aware of the importance of fascial tissue in the pelvic floor, I have committed more time to learning about it, and explaining to my clients what it does, and how they can find it on their own.

As you may be aware, part of the abdominal wall is attached to the pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor is responsible for stabilising parts of the pelvis, controlling urinary function, sexual satisfaction and, of course, core strength.

However, most exercises prescribed for building core strength focus mainly on the “abs”, with little or no attention to pelvic floor. Over time, this neglect can become disastrous – it’s like building the framework for a house without laying the concrete slab first. Symptoms such as bladder control, restricted breathing and a lower back pain can be signs of a weak pelvic floor.

The dense formation of fascia means we need to train it differently to how we train muscles. Fascial Stretch Therapy® is a new therapy that focusses on fascia, but is also mindful of how connected the body is. Thus, it not only treats the source of pain, but the underlying cause as well.

In a nutshell, FST® is assisted stretching by a therapist on a massage table which allows you to relax and reach positions that would be near impossible if attempted on your own. As a result, you leave feeling relaxed and more flexible, and will have a significant reduction in pain. This relatively pain-free experience is suitable for people of almost any age, and benefits anyone experiencing short or long-term pain who is ready to try a new approach to healing.

Jesse is owner and operator of Stretch360 and is one of only two advanced Fascial Stretch Specialists in Australia. She can assess whether you need stretching, stabilising or increased space in the joints.