She is young, she’s a woman and she’s 28 weeks pregnant, and none of these things have hampered Emma Spencer’s approach to her role as the custodian of a 121-year-old Novocastrian tradition.
As general manager of The Newcastle Show, she’s both efficient and approachable, traits that prove she’s the perfect person for the job.
The 30-year-old is now in the afterglow of overseeing her second annual event that attracts more than 35,000 visitors and more than 130 stalls, entertainers and businesses, each year.
It’s a tradition that has graced the Newcastle Showground at Broadmeadow since 1902.
And, while the role has belonged to a male for at least 118 years, times are changing.
Emma has managed to gain trust and respect from all her stakeholders.
Spending 15 minutes with her during the week prior to the 2023 big event it’s clear to see she shares both her time and energy on everyone she deals with.
She is living proof that women can successfully juggle several hats.
And, it is obvious the people surrounding her think so, too.
“Our board is happy to remain mostly traditional but also add modern elements, which is just like Newcastle itself,” Emma says.
“We’re not exactly regional anymore so we have the freedom to blend the regional traditions with a mix of surprisingly modern.
“That’s what we’re trying to do.
During a promotion for The Newcastle Show in February, Emma was asked by onlookers on Darby Street what event they represented.
She admits she was disheartened when they were oblivious to the term ‘The Show’.
“I guess Newcastle has become such a transient place, once upon a time everyone would have known the Newcastle Show just as ‘The Show’,” she said.
“This is a community event and whoever is in the community is welcome.
“We’re inclusive, I’d hate to think people who’d just moved to Newcastle wouldn’t know this is their show.”
Emma is expecting to return to her role four months after she delivers her first child.
“Being a woman now means having the freedom to do whatever you want and have the people and support behind you,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.
“You can achieve whatever you want.
“Whether that’s having an amazing career, and at the same time a family, or it’s travelling the world, or freelancing living week-to-week – just doing whatever makes you happy, that’s what you deserve.”
She believes this shouldn’t be limited to just a few either.
“Being a woman is one thing, but everyone should be able to have that freedom and the support of their community and the people around them to make them feel like they can do whatever they want,” Emma said.
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