Space for women to be inspired

Lauren Harkness

Lauren Harkness of Rise Events is creating space for women to be intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally inspired.

Her new venture, At Her Table, hosts events and seasonal gatherings for women to connect in a friendly environment where an abundance of love, friendship and food is the theme of the day.

She has always been in her element getting people together and solving problems. For her, a career in event management was a natural fit but, Lauren decided to take her skills one step further.

While raising her family and running her own business she was drawn to the idea of creating space for coffee catchups with other mums juggling a busy life.

Around this time Lauren moved to Canberra. She didn’t know anyone so put a message on social media inviting young business mums to connect over a coffee. Ten women turned up, all running small businesses. One of the things that came out of the meeting was the struggle to find affordable spaces that would enable them to meet with clients outside the home or to host client events or simply availability of places for them to network.

This idea evolved and soon she was scouting buildings to find a unique space. Lauren, a longtime member of the Uniting Church, approached them in the hope that they would have a building that could be repurposed. Armed with a list of potential sites she found the Sanctuary. It was a real fixer upper but, with a grant from the Church, she worked tirelessly to create a beautiful event, meeting and gathering place.

The Sanctuary is a charming old building with two spaces. A studio for photographers and content creators to hire, and the Rise Room where At Her Table seasonal meetings and events are held. This is also available for hire.

At Her Table runs two types of activities, the first being networking events for businesswomen. Lauren organises a topical speaker and provides nibbles and drinks. Invitations go to everyone on her 400 strong mailing list. So, if you want to join, here's the link.

The second are seasonal meetings, where women meet four times over an eight-week period. To attend you buy a season pass. At these gatherings women explore values, spirituality, and share and celebrate their individual journeys. The get-togethers are for the spiritually curious and provide a safe space to be heard, to belong and feel supported.

Loneliness and isolation are a very real circumstance for many, and establishing relationships is vital for improved mental health. At these gatherings friendships are often formed and many continue on after their seasonal meeting package is completed.

As a social enterprise, a portion of Lauren's profits are distributed to various charities including the Cancer Council and the Pink Elephants Support Network (advocating for women who have miscarried). Lauren is 2023 Mill House GRIST graduate.

Events are always advertised on social and if you want a seat At Her Table find you can out more here.

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