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Networking - the benefits for everyone

18 September 2014

Brigitte Doupe on cycling and networking

“This November,” Brigitte Doupe, Manager at KordaMentha, tells us, “I’m back at it. The Chain Reaction Women’s 300 cycling event is on again, bringing together business women to help support children in need.  Another 300km in three days will be tough, but it’s more than worth it for the activity, the charity dollars earned and the networking.”

Brigitte has come across plenty of inspiring professional people in her working life: successful, good at what they do; examples of what you can achieve with determination, tenacity and drive. But is success in business the ultimate personal accomplishment? 

“I would have said ‘yes’ not that long ago. Then I met someone who altered my perspective on that: Berrick Wilson, the Managing Director of KordaMentha’s Real Estate division.

“Berrick works tirelessly not just in his job but with the not-for-profit foundation he founded, the Chain Reaction Challenge.”

Chain Reaction began in 2007 after Berrick’s daughter Milla was rushed to hospital with a brain haemorrhage when she was just two days old. Milla recovered fully, but the experience drove Berrick to do something that would allow people in a similar position to himself to assist sick and hospitalised children.

Chain Reaction raises funds for children’s charities through corporate cycling events. The Foundation brings together like-minded business professionals who have a passion for cycling and an awareness of their corporate social responsibilities, challenging them to ride 1000km in just seven days. Riders must also raise significant sums of money from both their personal and corporate contacts which go directly to funding projects with selected children’s charities.  Chain Reaction has hosted 15 events across Australia and raised over $12.5 million. 

An avenue for networking

“Chain Reaction,” Brigitte explains, “has always been promoted as an avenue for business people to not only help those less fortunate, but to benefit their own businesses through networking and frequent interaction. There’s no doubt that when you’re looking to build professional networks, the standard business lunch just doesn’t ‘cut it’ anymore and golf takes too long. People want more from their professional interactions. 

“Of course, as a somewhat junior professional, still building my own networks and ‘learning the trade’, I was immediately keen to get involved in Chain Reaction. The ways in which a professional can intertwine their business ambitions and philanthropic goals became obvious to me professionally but it also helped me redefine what success means. 

“However, as a beginner cyclist, 1000km in seven days was simply beyond me. So, when Chain Reaction introduced its first women’s only cycling challenge in 2013 – an event targeted at professional women that would cover a distance of 300km in three days – I was there. 

“On reflection, I find it difficult to express what an amazing experience, and achievement, completing the event was. I, along with the 19 other professional women involved, managed to raise almost $80,000 for Freedom Wheels, a not-for-profit organisation that customises and builds bikes for children with disabilities. I met some amazing professional women. Sally Macdonald, former CEO Oroton Group, Emma Gray, Head of Strategy Woolworths and Caroline Curry, Senior Executive Westfield, are just some of the wonderful women I spent three days on the bike with and now consider friends.  I truly can’t imagine another environment where one can fuse professional development with charitable benefits in a healthy setting.” 

If you’re interested in joining the Chain Reaction Women’s 300, please visit or email Andrew Drucker, Marketing Manager, Chain Reaction Challenge Foundation at