2019 Speaker Shanna Whan

Shanna Whan is the founder and creator of Sober in the Country. 

Five years ago the ex Fairholme girl was a successful businesswoman living two separate lives: a confident and outgoing photographer and public speaker by day – and an increasingly desperately alcoholic behind closed doors ‘after five’.  Thanks to the support of her husband and family and her own commitment to beat the disease that saw her suicidal and staring at an early death; she is now five years alcohol free, happy, healthy, and well.

Her own inability to access basic support, information; or even a safe community in the rural space – inspired her to ”be the change” she wanted others to see in the demographic of her peers which she says is overlooked by government and health professionals far too easily.

One blog turned into two, and several years later Shanna is supporting hundreds of rural professionals in the most progressive culture shift outback Australia has ever seen.

Her rural health movement is now going to be a registered national non profit and Shan plans to make a documentary in the near future.

During her talks and education; Shanna uses her raw authentic humour to break down ancient stereotypes, stigmas, and false truths about alcohol addiction – and in sharing her own story she gives others the chance to find their own truth and courage and has inspired hundreds upon hundreds of rural Australian men and women to reassess their own ‘story’ with alcohol to make change for the better.

As a qualified health consultant, a rural corporate professional, a speaker, ex-journalist, and a recovered alcoholic: she is making enormous impact by simply speaking the truth and somehow she does so in a way that people are entirely comfortable with. 

Shanna doesn’t claim to have ”all the answers” – but she is advocating around awareness and change that must happen if rural Australians are to be safe and sustainable.