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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland


21 October, 2020

Sammi's strong vision recognised

NOMINEES for the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network’s (QRRRWN) 8th annual Strong Women in Leadership Awards program have recently been announced, with a Longreach entrepreneur being among those nominated.

By Hamish Hart

Sammi Sheehan is grateful for the support Fresh Fitness has received since opening in 2017.

Owner of Longreach group gym Sammi’s Fresh Fitness, Sammi Sheehan, has been nominated for two awards as a part of the State-wide leadership program, including Small Business Owner of the Year and Young Woman with a Vision.

Since 2013, the Strong Women in Leadership Awards program has recognised rural, regional and remote community leaders for their dedication and ongoing commitment to providing local residents with invaluable support.

Last year’s recipient of Woman of the Year was former officer-in-charge of Longreach Ambulance and current superintendent of south-west QPS, Loretta Johnson.

Ms Sheehan opened her self-titled fitness gym in November 2017 after returning to Longreach two years prior, but she could never have imagined the positive reception her personal training venture would receive.

“It’s quite overwhelming. I feel so privileged to be nominated among such an incredible group of women,” Ms Sheehan said. “I was a bit shocked and confused initially as I received a missed call regarding a nomination, but when she told me and saw my name on the nominee list, it all sunk in.

“Fresh Fitness was built from individual trainings that I used to undertake which is now a group fitness gym that offers sweat sessions, yoga classes and pilates.

"It’s for all ages and fitness levels, so we try to keep the programs fun and creative to cater for a wide range of clientele to ensure everyone gets something out of the sessions.

“When I moved to Longreach five years ago, I admittedly was going to spend one year here to work and save money. Now it’s half a decade later and I continue to receive support from the community. I want to be here to support the community just as they’ve supported me.”

Ms Sheehan said her community gym had been about building a person’s physical strength, but also maintaining a positive state of mind.

“I want to impact as many people as far as I can with the value of ‘strong body, strong mind’,” she said. “It’s about connecting with people. There a lot of different elements with maintaining your physical and mental health to help you become stronger in your mind.

“Exercise is a drug and energy out is energy back. If you’re happy doing your thing and people also come in with a good vibe, the positivity will spread from there.

“Fresh Fitness is a happy place and I see new friendships being formed. It’s humbling to know you can make someone’s day that much better.

“I don’t overly try to be a leader. If you set good intentions, people will naturally gravitate towards that.”

Vice President of QRRRWN, Davida Melksham, said nominees like Sammi continued to inspire rural, regional and remote women across Queensland.

“We consider women to be the invisible glue who hold things together,” Ms Melksham said. “We find encouraging them to be comfortable, and to highlight their achievements which will benefit them and their business is integral to develop them as leaders.

“All our volunteers find the process and spotlight a little difficult, but I would offer words of encouragement toward Sammi for being a part of these alumni. This program is about being a part of something bigger than yourself and that’s what makes it work year after year.”

Ms Sheehan said she hoped like-minded people would join her team as she provided words of advice for other young entrepreneurs.

“Part of Fresh Fitness is remedial massages which I do throughout the day,” Ms Sheehan said. “Ideally I’d like to have another massage therapist on board and hit more of a holistic angle. I want to grow and cover more areas that can improve overall health as opposed to physical health.

“If I could talk to myself from five years ago, I’d say ‘be more confident’. I was a lot more insecure then as I didn’t think Longreach would like my training style and that I wasn’t a good leader, but the more I did it, the more I learnt.

“Just jump straight in, back yourself, and know that you have the ability to pull it off.”

Finalists of the 2020 QRRRWN Strong Women in Leadership Awards were announced on Thursday.

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