‘Supporting each other’ – living the values at Bega


Why communication and community support really matters – before, during and after a crisis.

Large employers are an intrinsic part of the community eco-system, particularly in regional Australia. Beyond providing important employment opportunities, their people represent many facets of a community, such as volunteering with the local RFS or SES, being members of the local Rotary Club or coaching sporting teams and supporting school BBQ fundraisers.

1 PM - 2 PM (AEST)


  • NAWO Events
  • NAWO NSW committee
  • NAWO VIC committee
  • NAWO Members: Complimentary

More than 120 years ago, Bega Cheese began manufacturing cheese and dairy products out of the Bega Valley and the company and its people are an important part of the area’s rich history. The organisational culture and value of ‘supporting each other’ was never more visible and pronounced than during the catastrophic bushfires in the summer of 2020.

Although the people of Bega are still healing and their experiences are still very raw, their remarkable stories of personal courage, innovation and adaptability are relevant to every workplace today.  Humbly, the locals say it was – ‘just getting the job done’ but to employees, their families, farmers and the wider community, the way Bega led with compassion and supported the town demonstrated their unwavering community spirit.

This conversation will touch everyone, especially those in regional areas. Our session will discuss:

  • How the lines between business and community priorities become blurred during a natural disaster – people come first
  • The power of communication in times of crisis
  • How innovation and adaptation are the cornerstones to ‘getting things done’
  • Building resilience and overcoming trauma through community spirit

This will be a rich and moving discussion with three people who were at the frontline of the leadership, communication and support activated by Bega in response to the bushfires.

  • Max Roberts, Dairy Farmer (retired acting Chairman Bega Cheese 2020)
  • Andrea Thistlethwayte, Group Manager – HR Operations, Bega Cheese
  • Melissa Balas, Manager – Farm Sustainability and Technical Services, Bega Cheese