Rhona Parker-Benton (ILF2019)


Institution: Australian Institute of Company Directors
Course: Company Directors Course

Institution: Institute of Personal Care Science (Queensland)
Course: Virtual Cosmetic Chemist Internship

The ILF Board grant assisted me with attending the AICD course and an Internship with the Institute of Personal Care Science (cosmetic chemistry).

My move to the private sector after many years of working for the government left me with some doubts as to the currency of the knowledge required to be a Director of a company for which I was a major shareholder and the other shareholders comprise of nearly all lawyers.

Completing the AICD course delivered what I anticipated it would do and I now feel that I can contribute equally as a Director in the areas for which I was not as strong such as legislation, liability and risk management in the private sector. The real benefits for me came through the case studies with many examples pertaining to companies and entities that had misfortune or poor performance during COVID times and following other disasters such as the bushfires. These real world examples of companies manoeuvring their way round international and domestic crises was relevant and informative.

The ILF Board also saw value in my request to undertake a cosmetic chemistry internship. As a new entrant into the cosmetics market, the internship has proven so valuable to myself and our small business.

The internship provided 1:1 unbiased support to develop new products, learn and practice new techniques, gain access to previously unknown suppliers and liaise with others within the industry within Australia and Overseas. For a business that largely specialises in agri-tourism with lavender at the heart of everything we do, the development of advanced skills and networking is a major value add. The internship was quite challenging and demanding in a positive and productive way and through this opportunity I now have the confidence to drive business expansion. During the quieter times of 2020 I was able to develop new products and these are now being picked up internationally.

Despite the world impacts of COVID and inability to meet new customers from overseas we have successfully managed our first large export order to China in March 2021 and will soon be sending multiple pallets to the Middle East. Further conversations are ongoing around other Asian markets with an expectation that Brayfield Park Lavender will export to Hong Kong in early 2022. This success is due largely to the internship which gave me the additional confidence I needed to speak with a level of surety on cosmetics across international markets.