Amanda Jefferys may not see herself as a leader, but with roles stretching from Clinical Psychologist to restaurateur, it’s hard to deny her status as a role model in her professional and local community.
Tell us about Bitter Suite Cafe and Wine Bar and The Croft Restaurant and Catering.
Bitter Suite Cafe is the thriving hub of Gunnedah community, providing an eclectic outdoor catch-up space bursting with impeccable coffees, breakfast, brunch, and lunches of carefully sourced fresh local produce. Building on the success of the Bitter Suite as
a destination venue, and after featuring some amazing nights of live music, tapas and wines at the cafe, the concept of a fine dining restaurant experience for Gunnedah emerged. Whilst The Croft venue is still in its infancy, the chefs have excelled such that the venue is in hot demand, having become known for the high-quality food experience. The Croft is also proving to be popular for private functions, and we supply gourmet catering for special functions.
What makes BitterSuite and The Croft unique?
Bitter Suite is purposefully rustic, set amongst an all-seasons outdoor garden setting where you can soak up ambience and art and marvel at our eclectic ambience. We celebrate the diversity of amazing fresh local produce and the local influences of farm life. The Croft is the manifestation of a vision to provide Gunnedah dining with pure, luxurious joy. A relaxed space to celebrate life with friends and family, to experience incredible flavours in our chef’s menu, which is anchored in seasonal influences, and accompanied by fine wines, craft beers, or our range of crafted cocktails. More recently, we have added daytime prestige teas and coffee so more locals can experience the delights and warmth of The Croft.
Before the hospitality industry, you were a psychologist. What prompted the change in career, and how different is your life now?
Interestingly I continue to work full-time as a clinical psychologist as a senior lecturer at the University of New England and assisting in the training of the next generations of clinicians for rural and remote regions. I feel this is my legacy: to leave more abundance of well-trained clinicians in the bush.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
I don’t really see myself as a leader; I see myself in a more humble framework, and I work harder than I would ever ask of others. But I acknowledge I am quite the cheerleader in instigating and supporting others to fulfil a plan. We have an incredible team which has taken quite a while to evolve, and each and every member brings some magic to the businesses. There have been plenty of barriers, from major health issues which continue to impact me daily to significant loss events. Roadblocks are everywhere and ongoing and part of the passage of life and business - you just need to find a path through them.
Do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top, and if so, why?
Absolutely - bringing a perfect balance, a burst of a different emotional perspective and nuanced considerations. The workings of both genders working synergistically would be optimal in working toward a more holistic and successful outcome.
How do you balance work and life responsibilities?
I actually hate the women juggling analogy because in my life, realistically, sometimes just letting the juggling balls drop is the only option. There truly is no balance, there is simply just do your best, stay tuned into you, pull back when you need to, and give your all the rest of the time. It’s a full and beautiful life, so shake all the branches. For me, family is everything.
What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?
Stay grounded and hold perspective, learn, value and appreciate others, speak up when you need to; always, always, always be kind.
Are there specific women who inspired you?
I am especially inspired by my daughters as women in this modern world. I am in awe of their spirit to show strength and vulnerability, they hold life as being so precious, and they bring light to my world.
What’s on for Bitter Suite Cafe & The Croft in 2023?
This year we featured at Taste Tamworth and will be at many other events! Excitedly, we continue to strive to build, and grow our team, extend our offerings, re-commence live music and events, celebrate the wins with the team, and hopefully find a small space to enjoy this crazy ride.
Location: Gunnedah | NSW
Photography: Wander + Collect