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Business Community Embraces Diocesan Charity Business Luncheon

21 September, 2021

On the last Friday in August, the Diocese successfully hosted its first major Charity Business Luncheon with former Brisbane Broncos CEO Paul White. 


Great food, great company, and a great speaker together in one room to support great causes was the purpose repeated throughout the event. 


Bishop Michael McCarthy had been looking for an opportunity to host a lunch with various business and community leaders throughout the Capricorn region. Nathan Harding, the Diocesan Community Engagement Manager, saw an opportunity to collaborate with Peter Lynch, the coordinator of the Regional Industry Networking Group, to put on a lunch that would raise money for, and the profile of, the great work of the Church’s Diocesan Ministries – Woorabinda Ministry, Prison Ministry and Seafarers Centre in Mackay

The invitation to the business community was to come join us in ‘doing some good’. 


The event featured various moments that showcased the great work the Church is doing right here in our region. Work that all of us, inside and outside the Church, can be proud of. The feature story of the day was Sr Cecilia Prest’s story of her reconciliation work in Woorabinda. You could hear a pin drop as the story of her work left a significant impression on those hearing it.


The 180 Business and community leaders who converged on the Red Lion Hotel were also captivated during lunch by Mr White’s inspirational story, and interesting facts about how he came to be the Brisbane Broncos’ CEO.


Nathan Harding, who conducted the interview with Paul, started off by questioning the sanity of Paul’s unusual daily habit, a cold shower. Paul, with his warm and good-humoured style, replied that ‘Starting your day with a cold shower is all about doing the one thing you don’t want to do first. If you do that first, everything else in the day is going to be easy!’. For the next thirty minutes, Paul’s enthralling storytelling charted his journey from bush copper to CEO of the Broncos. Along the way, he offered leadership advice, business insight from his experience of growing the Broncos from a $26m to $52m business and his strict unwritten rule of no phone/wearable devices allowed in business meetings, no exceptions, whether it’s the Premier or the delivery man.


Another highlight of the day was a silent auction that ran throughout the lunch and had people bidding against each other for an exclusive item that Paul White had generously arranged in order to raise money for the Diocesan Ministries on the day. The auction item offered an exclusive VIP experience to a pre-match dining experience, in 2022, with the Broncos Chairman and Board of Directors and reserved VIP seats outside of the corporate suite watching the match at the halfway line.


Bishop Michael said that the event was an incredible example of drawing people together from all different sections of the city in a collaborative effort to bless those on the margins of our region. He mentioned that it had been a desire of his for a while to host one of these. Along with praying for the meal, he also gave a blessing for the city and region, which was well received.


Paul also shared his experience of battling cancer and how his faith had helped him through that period of his life. “I made a bit of a deal if He or She (God) keeps me down here a bit longer, I’ll do some good,” he said. This is what has driven much of his focus on giving back, whether it’s supporting indigenous initiatives out at Woorabinda, Mt Isa or coaching his local catholic school footy team.  


Paul was accompanied by his mum, Marie White, who is also well known around Rocky for her faithfulness and dedication amongst her Parish community.


The rest of the terrific afternoon was left for socialising and mingling between our community’s most influential people. Feedback from guests was overwhelmingly positive, commenting on what a great initiative it was and that it was socially a success.


A huge thank you has to go to Swanwick Murray Roche, who sponsored the collaborative event and helped us secure local Rocky boy, Paul White, as the guest speaker.


Thank you to the Red Lion Hotel for going above and beyond in catering our event and hosting our guests. Thank you to Catholic Education Office Rockhampton, Capricornia Chamber of Commerce, Capricorn Enterprise and Advance Rockhampton for advertising our first event through their networks.


The event raised $6,000, with 100% of the funds raised going towards the Diocesan Ministries.

I think it’s fair to say it was well-received. We are already eager for the next one.