Former Miss Surf Girl Jacki Hendy talks about the new direction her life is taking.

After losing her partner Paul Botica to non-Hodgkin lymphoma in February 2012, Jacki Hendy was devastated from both the shock of the loss and the taxing journey that had come to an ultimately tragic end.

“We’d tried alternate and integrated therapies, we’d gone to Mexico and did Gerson therapy, and with that comes a huge journey – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically and financially,” she says. “I really went into a cocoon after that time. I gave myself a year to grieve, but I’m not one to stay isolated — I believe that my life is what I make it.”

Around the first anniversary of Paul’s death Hendy felt it was time to follow her passion by establishing the monthly New Beginnings corporate networking event, which aims at connecting entrepreneurs with a desire to make a difference.

“It’s a philosophy we both embraced — being holistic and more heart-centred and authentic in life,” she says. “Paul will always be a part of New Beginnings; he was the inspiration behind New Beginnings. He propelled me to make such changes in my attitude and approach to life and that means so much to me and I’m so grateful.”

The Gold Coast events attract average groups of 60 and the Brisbane presence is already solid, with 40 people attending the first event.

“It is about a new way to approach business; to be more heart-centred and authentic in business and build really powerful relationships, where you’re actually conducting business with people you like,” says Hendy. “Within that you find people who have generosity of spirit and are very community-minded; that’s the whole spirit of New Beginnings, embracing that sense of community and that sense of giving.

“The only cost of giving is receiving — how could you possibly lose when you’re giving from the heart?”

The New Beginnings corporate networking breakfast will be held at the Summit Events Centre (157 Given Terrace, Paddington) on Friday 22 August. See for more information.