Kaye Perkins

Melbourne, Australia

Hi everyone. My name is Kaye Perkins and I completed a Master of Business Administration at Monash University in 1991. Continuing the tradition, two of my sons graduated as engineers from Monash. One works for a Danish company (Vestas) in renewable energy and the other works as a systems engineer for Amazon in Vancouver. So much has changed since I graduated, but the inspiration in business and motivation to make a difference remains the same.

2020 has been a bit surreal in Melbourne with an extended lockdown. Like New York, Melbourne’s core cultural identity has been challenged. Melbourne’s strong network of parks has been a sanity saver. We’ve found a new culture in the quiet times, one built around walkability, our local villages and our unique communities. There’s an opportunity post-COVID for a rethink and change in the way we do business to revitalise our local villages.

As a founder and co-founder of two start-up businesses (HOPONIT Design and Royal Indigenous Surfing), I’ve thought about some of the unique challenges posed by the pandemic, similar in many ways to Melbourne needing to adapt to a changing landscape.

There have been benefits to being small and responsive in business in times like these. Thinking outside the box, being innovative, being passionate - these are great values when responding to change. The future of HOPONIT Design, which produces limited edition fashion, textiles and homewares, is likely to involve creative partnerships to bring new energy and fresh directions.

I’ve also become more committed to and focussed on my passion projects. Royal Indigenous Surfing is a new movement in surfing, the vision of Pipeline Master and accredited indigenous surfer Robbie Page. We’re dreaming of a new future in a way that Melbourne needs to as well.

If something really positive comes from the pandemic, it’s that it has given us a reason to take a breather and to reassess, not just our business priorities, but life priorities too. We may have more time to keep in touch - see you again sometime soon!

Image: Me in front of the National Gallery of Victoria.